A knife is a tool and it’s important to keep your tools in proper working condition. A dull knife is an unsafe knife. Any adventurous outdoorsman can tell you how important a sharp survival knife is and the only way to ensure that it always stays sharp is by taking the time to learn how to sharpen your knife the proper way.
Would you think of venturing out into the wild with a survival knife that couldn’t cut well? No way, and if you ever did, you’d probably find yourself in an extremely difficult situation. Don’t take that chance!
When by your side or on your person, your knife should have a sharp blade, because you never know when you’re going to need to use it. It might turn out to be your only life-saver in a survival situation and you better be prepared when it comes to something as serious as that. Sharpness of a knife will be lost very quickly if you use it for a while to make some rugged chopping or cutting. Because of that, it’s vital to know how to be able to sharpen your knife when off the grid and not in the comfort of your home or workshop.
It’s easy to learn how to sharpen your knife in the wild. While it’s always best to start your trips with a properly sharpened knife. Sometimes though, you might find that you need a way to sharpen your knife occasionally during an outing, so here, we have put together some cool tips and suggestions on how to sharpen your survival knife in the woods or while off the grid.
Don’t venture to wilderness without a way to sharpen your survival knife blade. If your blade is dull (even if it the world’s best survival knife) it is useless. Once you find yourself in a life threatening situation, a knife could save your life or that of someone else. From hunting for food to fighting a wild animal to setting up a makeshift shelter, a survival knife is essential. A dull knife won’t help you cut the wood, slice your fish or fend off a wild animal. A knife that is dull when it’s really needed might take you to frustration levels during your adventurous excursion in the wild. So remember, always come prepared!
Below are a number of ways you can rely on to sharpen your knife in the field if it becomes dull.
Carry Whetstone or Diamond Stone
To make it into wilderness and survive with a quality knife you intend to use on a daily basis, you do need a sharpened and polished knife. To provide the longest lasting edge on your blade, you can also consider carrying a whetstone or diamond stone if it doesn’t burden your backpack weight. It will give you the ability to sharpen your tool in the best possible way while camping, hiking or hunting.
Makeshift DIY Whetstone
It may be a burden to carry a whetstone on your backpacking trips, especially if you’re an ultralight hiker. What about making a DIY whetstone for sharpening your survival knife in wild? For this, you need nothing but some small coarse stones and some living wood.
Find some stones from a river and crush them into a pulp with a huge stone. Take a piece of living wood, and rub the mush around with your hands. It is a makeshift whetstone, and you can sharpen your knife by scrubbing it around the stick. Ensure you scrape the knife perpendicular to the log all the time you sharpen it. Only then, you will get the knife blade sharpened faster.
Strop Your Survival Knife
Stropping is another cool technique used for sharpening your knife. And so, it comes to be a key option in our guide on how to sharpen your knife. When it comes to knife stropping, the blade gets sharpened by smoothing out the microscopic burrs on the edge. For this method, you need to use either a leather belt or a piece of rubber. During an outing, you might be wearing a leather belt, and so make sure that it would be suitable for stropping.
That makes the belt multi-functional and allows you the ability to do it if needed. You may have seen old school barbers use this method to sharpen up their shaving blades before a trim. Below you have the process on how to sharpen your knife through stropping laid out in better detail.
You need to drag the knife’s edge slowly back and forth on the strop. You should hold the knife at a very shallow angle and drag it very slowly on the belt. Remember that a simple distraction may result in the chopping of your belt. Instead of a leather belt, you can also use a piece of rubber. Alternatives, like the rubber sole of a boot are also used by hikers to sharpen their knives in the wilderness in extreme cases.
Make Use of a Rock
It is actually a rustic way to sharpen your knife. If used prudently, a flat rock or sandstone is enough to give sharpness to your knife blade. But you should take care not to rub the knife hard on the rock as it may result in speedy depreciation of its edges. You can also find small rocks from rivers or streams in the wild. For sharpening, you need to glide the rocks slowly on both sides of the knife for an equal number of times. If you get cool sedimentary stones, they are rather nice for sharpening survival knives. Be careful what types of rocks you choose as the different types of material will generate different levels of abrasion.
How to Sharpen your Knife: The Basic Things to Know
1. To get your knife sharpened properly, you, first of all, need to know the exact angle the knife is sharpened at. If you go for a different angle and attempt to create a new edge, it may take significantly more time to fix. Every knife has an appropriate angle for sharpening. If you don’t know your knife’s current angle, you can seek help from its manufacturer for the right angle.
2. It is also recommended that you oil your whetstone, diamond stone or any other sharpening stone for better results. You can use a small amount of mineral oil for it. It makes your knife blade pass over the stone smoothly and with minimal friction.