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The Best Tools for Sharpening Your Pocket Knife
A pocket knife is a versatile tool that can come in handy in many situations. Whether you're camping in the wilderness or simply need to open a package, a sharp pocket knife can make a world of difference. But with regular use, the blade of your knife can become dull, making it less effective and more dangerous to use. So, what are the best tools for sharpening your pocket knife?
The Basics of Sharpening a Pocket Knife
Before we get started on the best tools for sharpening a pocket knife, let's briefly touch on the basics of knife sharpening. When it comes to sharpening a knife, the goal is to create a V-shaped edge that tapers from the spine of the blade down to the cutting edge. There are several ways to accomplish this, but the most common methods include using sharpening stones, honing rods, and electric sharpeners.
Sharpening stones are the most traditional method of sharpening knives, and they're also the most affordable. These rectangular stones are made from various materials, including natural stones, synthetic stones, and diamond plates. Sharpening stones are available in different grit levels, ranging from coarse to fine, with coarse grit stones removing more material and fine grit stones providing a smoother finish.
To use a sharpening stone, you'll need to apply a thin layer of honing oil or water to the stone's surface. Then, hold your knife at a 20-degree angle and draw the blade across the stone, starting at the base of the blade and pulling towards the tip. Repeat this process on the other side of the blade, alternating sides until the blade is sharp.
Honing rods are shorter and narrower than sharpening stones, and they're designed to realign and maintain the edge of your blade rather than remove material like sharpening stones. Honing rods are typically made of steel or ceramic, and they're available in various sizes and textures.
To use a honing rod, hold the rod in your non-dominant hand, holding the knife at a 20-degree angle with the cutting edge facing up. Beginning at the base of the blade, draw the blade across the honing rod, working towards the tip. Repeat this process on the other side of the blade, alternating sides until the edge is realigned, and the blade is sharp.
Electric sharpeners are another option for sharpening your pocket knife, and they're the most convenient and efficient method. These devices use sharpening wheels or belts to sharpen your blade quickly and effectively. Some models also offer different stages of sharpness, including coarse, fine, and ultra-fine.
To use an electric sharpener, turn on the device, holding the blade against the sharpening wheel at the recommended angle. Pull the blade through the first stage, then repeat the process through the remaining stages until the edge is sharp. Electric sharpeners are an excellent option for those who sharpen their knives frequently.
The Best Tools
Now that we've covered the basics of knife sharpening let's take a closer look at some of the best tools for sharpening your pocket knife.
1. Sharpening Stones
Sharpening stones are an excellent option for those who prefer a more traditional approach to knife sharpening. They're available in various grit levels, allowing you to choose the coarseness that's right for the level of dullness of your blade. One of the best items on the market is the Smith's TRI-6 Sharpening System. It comes with three different grit stones that can be used to sharpen and maintain your knife's edge. From coarse to fine, each stone is color-coded, making it easy to use and store in its base.
2. Honing Rods
Honing rods are a great option for those looking to maintain their knife's edge between sharpening sessions. One of the best items on the market is the Wusthof 9-Inch Honing Steel. It's made of high-carbon stainless steel, providing a highly durable honing rod that's perfect for use on all types of knives. The non-slip handle provides a safe and secure grip, and it comes with a loop for hanging storage.
3. Electric Sharpeners
Electric sharpeners are an efficient option for those who want a quick and easy way to sharpen their knives. One of the best items on the market is the Work Sharp Culinary E2 Kitchen Knife Sharpener. It features two stages of sharpening, with interchangeable diamond sharpening belts for a customized edge. The device also comes with guides to maintain the correct angle for sharpening.
4. Combination Tools
For those who want the benefits of both sharpening and honing, a combination tool may be the ideal choice. One of the best items on the market is the Lansky Deluxe 5-Rod Turn Box. This compact and portable tool features two sets of ceramic rods, one for sharpening and one for honing, that can be easily flipped out of the box to switch between stages. The sharpening rods are angled at 20 degrees, and the honing rods are angled at 25 degrees, making it easy to maintain the correct angle for each process.
Additional Tips for Sharpening Your Pocket Knife
- Always use the correct angle for sharpening and honing your knife. A 20-degree angle is standard for most knives, but some may require a sharper or more acute angle.
- Use a consistent amount of pressure when sharpening or honing your knife, as too much or too little pressure can result in uneven sharpening.
- Be sure to clean your knife before and after sharpening to remove any dirt or debris that could prevent a sharp edge.
- Take your time and be patient when sharpening or honing your knife. Rushing the process can result in a poorly sharpened blade or even an injury.
Maintaining a sharp pocket knife is essential for anyone who uses this versatile tool regularly. By choosing the right sharpening and honing tools and following the correct techniques and practices, you can keep your pocket knife sharp and effective for years to come. Whether you prefer a traditional approach with sharpening stones, a convenient electric sharpener, or a combination tool like the Lansky Deluxe 5-Rod Turn Box, there is a tool out there that can meet your needs. By taking care of your pocket knife, you'll be sure that it's always ready to assist you, no matter where you are or what you need it for.