A knife is the basic survival tool that without it, you will have a much harder time surviving. This was true for the caveman, the ultimate survivalist, and is still true today. The famous Swiss Army Knife is a prime example of a survival kit in a fold up pocket fitting form. However, you ever hear the old saying “You only get cut with a dull knife.”
There is a lot of truth in that rather odd statement. A sharp knife blade will cut exactly what you mean to cut with the least amount of expended energy, which is very important as extreme energy spent as you cut equals less control of the blade … less control heightens the chances of you cutting yourself. Thus the saying. Let’s look at five knife sharpening tricks that will help you keep a razor sharp blade edge.
1. Sharpen Often
When you buy a new knife the edge is machined to a perfect edge designed for that blade. If you wait for the knife to become too dull before sharpening, you’ll never be able to restructure that exact edge again. You can still make it sharp, but it’ll never be perfect again. If you’re using the knife, make a habit out of sharpening it every week or so depending on usage. You’ll be happier with a razor sharp knife edge, and you won’t have to spend a lot of time and work re-honing it.
2. Stabilize Your Stone
I know there are people who can sharpen a knife nearly blindfolded once they begin, but that doesn’t me you or I can. If you use a slab shaped whetstone to sharpen your knife blade, it’s best if you stabilize (lock it down) to prevent it from wiggling. A wobbling sharpening stone creates uneven friction which produces an uneven pattern on the knife’s edge. Remember the desire to maintain the original edge angle for maximum performance, the stone wobbling puts that goal at extreme peril.
3. Maintain the Correct Angle
Some new knives come with a manufacturer’s suggested sharpening angle, but even if it does, who keeps the box and who reads instructions? Besides I really know of nobody, even experienced knife owners, who knows what the original angle their knife came with. The important point is to choose an angle when you begin sharpening your knife, usually 20 to 23 degrees, and hold that angle the entire time you are sharpening.
4. Maintain Consistency
What do I mean by that? Simply put … count your strokes as you sharpen and maintain the same number for each edge side. Over-sharpening one side of the blade will result in an odd edge bevel, which is not as sharp as an evenly shaped bevel. There’s nothing wrong with whistling while you work, just keep your count right.
5. Grind Till Its Gone
Here’s a pretty spiffy trick. Use a Black Sharpie pen, place on top of knife edge, gently push downward and move the pen along the blade’s length, or mark each side of the edge by placing a line along the blade’s length. Either method, you now have an identifiable visible mark along the blade’s edge. That way as you are sharpening the knife you can see the black marker disappear. The remaining black marks tells you the areas you have missed sharpening. Repeat this trick as often as you need to create a razor sharp edge.
Obviously your knife is an important and useful tool which you should always take care of and sharpen to maintain its best performance. It’s an essential tool you can rely on during an emergency, while camping outdoors, or when the SHTF. But always keep in mind that although knives are useful, they are also dangerous. Always maintain your focus on the task at hand in order to avoid accidents to your eyes, hands or fingers.
Think how embarrassing it would be to go to the emergency room for stitches because you, a macho woodsman, cut yourself sharpening your knife.