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"Field" sharpening recommendations?

Nov 21, 2006
I'm about to take delivery of a new Ranger RD7 that will be a trail / camp companion. I don't expect to have to do a lot of blade maintenance in the field, but if necessary, was wondering what you might recommend in the way of 'portable' sharpening accessories. I've seen some small steels that could fit in a sheath pouch or pocket, but they don't look practical for a knife of any significant size. I've also seen that new "Ozitech" gadget advertised on the tube and wonder if anybody's had any experience with it.

I would normally say the DMT diafolds, but for a large knife I don't know. If you want something to fit in your pocket or belt you'll probably be limited to something that's 4" long or under. If the requirement is only to carry with you maybe a DMT diamond steel. For field sharpening you're usually limited to something that doesn't take oil or water, so either ceramic or diamond is the way to go. There are also ceramic "steels" available, which is basically a ceramic rod with a handle.
I think the DMT Diafold is an excellent suggestion, particularly if you're humping a pack in your adventures. The hone is lightweight and aggressive.

It's not written in stone that you can't work the bevels of a longer blade in 3" or 4" sections with the little Diafolds.

Hope this helps!
The Diafold is great if your skilled at freehand sharpening. If your not, try a EZE Lapp diamond sportsmans steel. Works as easily as a chefs sharpening steel ...

I like the diafolds also, you can also carry sandpaper for touch ups. Doesn't take up much room.
Another vote for diafold - since I don't pushcut newspaper in the field, I use a moderately tired blue DMT.

I'm usually working other peoples blades though - LOL - and the combination of soft steel and toothy edge equals "big eyes" from the owners.

There is no reason you can't touch up, or even completely sharpen a large knife on a small stone. Nor is there any reason to sharpen in small increments.
You can even sharpen lengthwise.
I have a Buck tapered diamond rod that does nice quick touch-ups. Does fishhooks and serrations too. The tapered end flips over and stows in the handle and it all packs down about pen-sized. I also have a DMT Mini-Sharp that goes in my survival kit. Both are light enough for hiking.
I stumbled onto a pretty effective field expedient for fine sharpening without equipment - the neck of glass soda or beer bottle works quite well.

I had been cutting open some boxes at work, and didn't have anything else handy, so I grabbed a soda bottle and gave it a try. Works surprisingly well, and the angle of the neck seems to make it easier to keep the blade at the angle I want. Not a replacement for full sharpening setup, but fairly effective and cheap.
Just writing to cast another vote for the DMT Diafold.

Double sided Diafolds can be had in various combinations of grits: fine/extra fine, coarse/fine, coarse/extra coarse.

Mine is coarse on one side, fine on the other and it always accompanies my knife in the field.
Field sharpening I'll go with the puck. Commonly called a axe or hatchet stone. Round about 3" diam two sided fits any day pack. Cheap. Check your local dollar store. Max price I've seen is 9$. I've found them as low as 1$

Norton makes them and they appear under a lot of brand/store names. http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=6142

At the bottom of the page.

Lansky also offers one though I don't know who makes it. It is under their multipurpose sharpners listed for 5.99$