Knives are one of the oldest tools and remain to be very important assets when it comes to outdoor activities. Many choose to have good knives with them in urban settings too, by including them in their every day carry as long as the law allows it.
The use of knives in the outback is paramount to making the most of the adventure. Whether you are up for hunting and you need to gut a game animal, or you are out fishing and you have to make adjustments to your tackle, having a sharp knife can make a world of difference. And the use of razor shape blades doesn’t end there. They are useful during camping or backpacking and can even be handy during a diving stunt.
Hopefully, the sharpness aspect of the blade is not lost on you. It’s what separates professionals from amateurs and this isn’t particularly true for survivalist only, but it also applies to woodworking tradies and workbench gear of other kinds. There are different types of knife sharpening systems and each has its pros and cons.
Lansky Sharpener – Deluxe Knife Sharpening System
A ubiquitous household name of sharpening knives. The components of this professional-grade sharpening system include stones with safety holders, knife clamp screws, diamond hones with different grit level (120, 280 and 600) and guide rods. They are designed with ergonomics in mind – the holders have grooves for your fingers and are coated with colour. Clamps are made to secure any kind of blade (thick blades, too) so you can completely focus on getting a razor-sharp blade. Speaking of which, this controlled angle sharpening system with diamond hones allows you to use it at four distinct angles:
- The 17-degree setting is recommended for scalpels, razors and blades. You’ll get an edge that is very sharp, but very delicate too.
- The 20 degree sharpening angle is to be used for kitchen cutlery i.e. high quality blades for chefs.
- The 25 degree is most convenient for knives intended for outdoor use. Hunting knives, and similar survival blades, which ought to have edge that will remain sharp during longer periods.
- The 30-degree angle is for heavy duty knives. I’m talking about cutting through wire, dense fabrics (carpets) and cardboard.
KME Precision Knife Sharpening System (Diamond Hones) KF-D4
The set includes the usual knife sharpening system jig, but on top of that, it also has hones with different levels of grit (140, 300, 600 and 1500) and even a water bottle, cleaning cloth and sharpie black marker.
This KME system has a number of distinctive features which are hard to miss. It uses rotating blade clamp which is bound to speed up the process and is easy to use regardless of your dominant hand. The bearing rod guide operates within adjustable sharpening angles that range from 17 to 30 degrees. Movement is smooth, but you are guaranteed to get no deviation to the sharpening angle you’ve selected at all times.
Knifemate Precision Knife Sharpening Tool (Designed and Made in Australia)
This is a unique Australian approach to sharpening blades. The model was developed to accommodate optimal function at any location and for anyone who needs a knife with cutting edge. You would need a flat surface though, be it in your kitchen, at your workbench or out in the outback. The design is remarkably light (weighs 283 grams) and tough at the same time thanks to the CNC machined alloy with great properties.
One can use any stones for this set including whetstones and bench stones. The sharpening angle on this tool is adjustable and can be maintained to any desired setting. This makes it friendly to any common blade, regardless if their edges are serrated or ceramic. It’s a very straightforward philosophy with this model – to be compatible with all knives and to be easy for transport and storage. Knifemate is designed and manufactured in Australia and extends a lifetime warranty.
Spyderco Sharpener – Tri-Angle Sharpmaker Knife Sharpening Set 204
These knife sharpening systems are made in Japan and are fairly compact – they consist of four grit ceramic stones. The utility of the set is far-reaching though, for you can even use them to make serrations, or sharpen scissors, fishhooks and awls. These triangular stones offer you sharpening a plain edge on the flat sides and serrated edges on the corners.
To handle the set, you need to follow proper instructions though and to apply the two safety rods made of brass. The stones are to be set on keyed slots and holes which offer sharpening angles of 30, 40 or 12.5 degrees. Since these stones are ceramic, they will break if dropped, so apply caution while using them. They are also not friendly to oil and lubricants.
Although unconventional, the Spyderco system for sharpening knives is very reliable. It does include a steep learning curve before you are able to use it, however, once you are past that point, you are looking into high performance and ergonomic design. The materials this set is made of are out of the norm in the industry, however, hold your judgment until you have come to actually use it.