View Full Version : Sharpen Kinves

2006-11-12, 13:45
Before I get started on this Veteran's Day weekend, I wanted to give a shout out to all my brother and sister Veterans and active duty on the list--you guys are the greatest. Many years ago in a different lifetime I myself was a radarman on the USS Galveston CLG3 in the Tonkin Gulf tracking Migs out of Hanoi. It was a sad day when they scrapped the old girl, but I keep telling myself she could live on as part of the metal in my car. Yes it's true, I'm officially an old fart, but hiking keeps me young.

Anyway, I was wondering what people on the list do to keep their knives sharp. Do you freehand with an Arkansas stone, or maybe use that Smith device you clamp on the blade. There are all kinds of portable honing devices with two v shaped rods, and then of course there are diamond sharpening stones. What works for you? I can get a tolerably good edge on my favorite Imperial folding lockback with that Smith clamping thing, but I always feel that I could do better.

Good luck finding your perfect knife Sarge!

SGT Rock
2006-11-12, 15:04
I have one of those things you clamp on the blade back home.

But I just ordered one of those diamond hones with the folding cover to go with my RAT-3 I also just ordered.

For now in Iraq, I have one of those retractable pencil style sharpeners with a flat side and a side for working serrated edges. I can keep my blades sharp enough to shave your arm.

I've never been good with an oilstone. And I also tried one of those three sided things like this without any luck.

BTW, I found a Gerber Skeleton Frame EZ-out knife. Field treasure!

2006-11-12, 17:02
I use the DMT diamond like the red and black Rock had a picture of in the last post. They come in a variety of grits, I think the Blue (med) and Black (coarse) combo is the most useful. For routine use the blue is all I use on knives, a machete or an ax sometimes requires the coarse. To get a shaving edge you need some sort of steel to provide the microscopic sawtooth edge that cuts flesh best (and rope, and cardboard). DMT makes an even smaller keychain sharpener that is light enough for all but the "gossamer" set to carry. I've used the back edge of my Leatherman micra as a steel afterwards and gotten a shaving edge. I understand the use of jigs, I use them to sharpen chisels and plane irons (these must be much sharper than a knife to work properly). I have always sharpened freehand because I consider it a survival skill. I have a 6in DMT blue hone that I've been using since 1987. Arkansas stones work fine on non stainless knives but not very well with the newer steels.

2006-11-12, 17:08
I have been using the same sharpener for over 20 years. I use an original "crock stick". Now Lansky makes the device, but the sticks are of a more coarse design. I like my original device. Smooth "fine" rods. Takes longer to get a blade razor sharp, but once there, easy to maintain the edge. Very happy with the device. Really nice to keep out as you are cutting deer or elk or a pile of bluegill, just reach over ever so often and touchup your edge.


I am always looking around at garage sales etc... for another "original" fine rod unit. We have a lansky, and it is just not the same...too coarse.

2006-11-12, 18:00
I use all first three items Rock posted up. First two I purchased through
Lee Valley Tools. The gerber pen type is available pretty much anywhere.
Never seen that last one Rock posted up.

Recently I am trying to find information about stropping technique. Trying
to come up with a SUL rig where I could carry a short strop and a small vial
of .5 or even 1 micron paste. I dont have much experience in keeping convex
bevel edges in razor sharp or scary sharp condition. I am playing on my
HI khukuri's edge. I can maintain razor sharpness, but I cannot achieve the
'scary sharp' that many blade experts can attain on the same blades.

anyone have any strop ideas? - something i could perhaps make multi-use?

*scary sharp - often defined by bladeforums writers as being able to drop
silk or tissue across the blade and have it cut under its own weight.

2006-11-12, 19:07
Turk, I don't know much about stropping pastes, I know that woodworkers use them, mostly to flatten the backs of plane irons and chisels. There are rouges that you can charge a piece of leather with, like a razor strop. Maybe you could fasten a piece of firm leather to some part of your gear, for a kukhri it will need to be pretty long. I've found that some steels respond to a strop better than others, but I've never tried adding any compounds to it.

2006-11-12, 20:13
I use a 3-way stone at home, a steel for taking off the burrs and false edges, and a ceramic rod for touch ups. (I was a cook).

If you don't know what I'm talking about, here are a couple links with pictures:
3-way stone (www.cutleryandmore.com/shop/details.asp?SKU=166&src=Overture&ovmkt=98M491P9GC5P78OSDQABH68F3C&OVRAW=3%20way%20stone&OVKEY=norton%203%20way%20oil%20stone&OVMTC=advanced)
steel (www.cutleryandmore.com/details.asp?SKU=8893)
A ceramic rod looks like a steel but is made of ceramic. It's for quick touch ups and final edges.

Problem with using these correctly is it takes some training (not much - but some) and a LOT of practice to become good at it. -Which is why usually only cooks use these.

Turk, if you want to get your knife really sharp and can hold a good angle by hand when sharpening, use some rubbing compound and sharpen the knife on a sheet of glass.
- Glass alone will actually give you a good edge, but it is much quicker and easier using the rubbing compound.

Oh you can get rubbing compound in most stores next to the car wax (same type of can).

2006-11-12, 22:12
Dropkicks poste brought to mind an article I read many years ago about sharpening woodworking tools with sandpaper. A lot of guys use spray adhesive to stick the sandpaper to a piece of glass which is flatter than most anything else you can find, the flatness is especially important with plane irons but not so important with a knife. Different grits of sandpaper could be glued to pieces of kit and used to sharpen your tools in the bush. I think the silicon carbide paper like you use to sand metal is waterproof. 220 grit would be a good start, 600 would probably be fine enough for a servicable edge.

SGT Rock
2006-11-13, 07:55
Arkansas stones work fine on non stainless knives but not very well with the newer steels.
Makes sense now that you point it out. Explains why I don't have good luck sharpening knives with them.

2006-11-13, 08:36
has anyone ever used the top edge of the window in their car? I have been using this for years. just use it like a rod and you always have a car window around. I stroke it 10 times each direction and then count down 9 each way and then 8 and so on and so on.

SGT Rock
2006-11-13, 09:26
Never heard of that one.

2006-11-13, 10:43
Heres an ultralight tip for keeping knives sharp on the trail or in the sticks. Sharpen them good at home before you leave and carry two peices of emory cloth (1 light grit and 1 heavy). It works great for keeping an edge and is very small and lightweight.It can be found at Wally World,Rite Aide etc.

Jim Henderson
2006-11-13, 12:34
Kind of depends on what knife and how bad it needs sharpening.

If I have a real dull knife I use my big Arkansas 3 stone set, tri hone. It has fine, medium and coarse Arkansas stones. I use the coarse to quickly bring the edge back into shape and the medium to smooth it out. The fine is only when I need to sharpen something that needs a very keen but delicate edge on it, like a fillet knife. When I am on a serious sharpening binge, the tri hone is what I use. I lay out all my knives and have at it.

For touch up I use my butchers steel to remove the "curl" on the edge. For fine touch up I use a Crock stick, ie ceramic "steel". I usually use the ceramic after my serious tri hone binge.

For fast and dirty work I use my diamond coated "stone" or for cheap knives I use my carborundum stone.

I like the tri hone best since the stones are a foot long and make for easy work. The diamond stone is more handy. The steels get the most use.

I never used a V stick so have no idea how well they work. Once you learn how to hold the angle, a stone is easy to use. The small stones are a bit of a pain, but workable.

Just my experience.

Jim Henderson

2006-11-13, 19:25
I have upon occasion, when out camping or fishing, used any old flat rock I could find to sharpen a knife.
- Water smoothed rocks work best.

2006-11-13, 19:42
Dropkick, the founder of the Army's SERE course, the late-great Col Nick Rowe, would be proud of you for knowing that you can sharpen a knife on a river rock. That was one of his specifications for the SERE knife made by Al Mar.

2006-11-22, 14:27
streamweaver..thats what I do. but I glue my emery to a plastic bottle I use for a matchholder. The emery doubles as a striker.

2006-11-22, 17:17
JPW, that's a great tip. I too have emery glued to my match container for striking but never thought of using that as a knife sharpener. Thanks!