I don't like any I've seen. I'd recommend a small, portable steel that will at least straighten an edge. Of course, I've never been in a position where an on-the-fly sharpener is a life or death commodity.--OKG
I don't carry a sharpening tool around daily. I do pack a Spderco double-stuff combination stone with me whenever I am away from home for several days, or am going backpacking for any more than a day. The stone is ceramic, with two grits on either side of a 1 X 5 X 0.25 inch long slab. Grey, a medium grit stone on on side, and a white fine stone on the other, all you will ever need for some serious edge work on carbon or stainless steels.
It comes in a nice smooth leather slip sheath which makes carry easy. I coated the back (non-engraved with the Spyderco logo) with green chromium oxide stick, and use it as a small strop with the stone inserted in the sheath to provide a good hard surface for the leather. This small stone and strop combo works very well for me, and I prefer razor sharp edges at all times.
However, with the really good steels available in both custom and production knives (ATS34/154CM, BG-42, and 440V and 420V, for example), it is hard to see why one would have any real need to carry any sort of sharpening implement or device while going about routine daily tasks.
My double stone rides in my backpack when it is not on my desk. Not my pocket.
Hmm I see that it was mentioned above me...but I'll still second the Double Stuff!
Spyderco has a nice small set called Double Stuff, works well and small enough to carry anywhere....ceramic stones glued back to back in a little slip sheath. Mine had come unglued but I used some RTV and now they are as tight as tight....
"The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions!"
Take the time to read your Bible Now, don't be left behind...
[This message has been edited by Gary W. Graley (edited 12-05-2000).]
Dmt makes a 2 sided 2 grit folding diamond sharpening stone called the diafold.It is about 1"x5" when closed and it folds open like a balisong.It comes in several grit choices like fine-extra fine or coarse-fine etc.These are high quality quick cutting stones and they are great for things like hunting,fishing,backpacking,etc. where portability is an issue.
I've got the little keyring model (red/fine). It's the bottom one in the first thumbnail in Sergiusz's link.
Bought it to put in my backpack, but it usually stays in the truck. 3 1/2" long x 1 1/8" w x 3/16" thick. It's ok for touch-ups.
Where space is at a real premium, I've carried and used[mainly to sharpen OTHER peoples knives] a GATCO MICRO-X. It works pretty well, and the one I have has 2 different grit ceramic stone sets with it. Not bad to touch up a pocketknife.....it would take awhile with a large fixedblade.
What I have found is that with the new Sharpmaker,204, the hard case allows me to carry the sharpener without fear of breaking the stones, so I carry it more often to hunting camps and the like.
I ALWAYS have a sharpener in my wallet though, since last BLADESHOW. I was talking to the guys at the DMT booth, and they showed me these new diamond coated 'sheetmetal' squares they are selling. About the size of a business card, and VERY thin stainless steel sheet with diamond coating[different grits avialible] on one side. I just slide one in my wallet, and I ALWAYS have a diamond stone on my person. Just lay it flat on a countertop/table top, whatever is flat and smooth, and use it like a regular diamond stone. VERY KEWL. I carry the DMT medium grit.
I used to carry a small GERBER pocket steel alot, but I usually just use the old car window-edge trick, and leave the steel at home.
You bet I use mine! All the time, in fact! And, not just for myself. I work at a small college and I have found it interesting when "Threatening Knife Carrying Redneck" becomes "Nice, Useful Knife Carrying Redneck" when I haul out my ceramic pocket rod (just break one of your "crock stick" rods and you will probably end up with one of those, too--just add a ball-point pen cap and you are ready to go!) and offer to "touch up" a knife that has become dull. Makes big points with the kitchen and maintenance folks (BIG survival advantage,here!) and it is surprising how many of even the "politically correct" types carry something like a SAK. Since I became the resident "knife guy" who is always available for knife sharpening and knife advise it has been amazing how the atmosphere has changed concerning what many used to consider just "weapons".
OKG,I have used a diafold for years to sharpen knives when time and portibility are factors.I just got 2 new ones from Bayou Lafourche yesterday in fact.After reading your post I used one of them to sharpen a dull small sebenza,it took about 3 miniutes and it will now shave arm hair.Like you,I own an EdgePro Professional(along with countless bench stones)but it takes me that long to set it up and I would not take it along on even a flat water canoe trip.
In case of a REAL emergency, pick any decent sized gravel and use it either as "steel" to turn the edge back or as a "lousy" hone.
Almost any kind of stone is hard enough to get you back cutting. Not a shiny edge, but cutting.
I have sharpened 3-4" long blades on DMT Double Sided Diafold numerous times. Sure it is not as comfortably as on their Diamond Whetstones or SPYDERCO Bench Stones nor as easy as on SPYDERCO Sharpmaker. But in the field conditions it is possible to sharpen even pretty dull edge to decent working sharpness or even more.
For field use I could advise Coarse/Fine Diafold rather than Fine/Extra Fine one.
BTW, I really can't consider Diafold as mini-sharpener. Yes, it is very light and pretty compact when folded, but it has full 4 inches of sharpening surface. This is not little at all for diamond sharpener.
To Sergiusz: Yes, the DMT is one of the best, and four inches does give you ample working area. My observation is that very few knuts can sharpen 'free hand,' and under inclimate field conditions the problem is magnified. I have said elsewhere that BEFORE I go to conditions like that, I take a knife I don't mind dinging, sharpen it, and forget it. If I felt that conditions were so severe that this primary knife would fail, I would pack a second knife, or use a multi-bladed knife like a Stockman. If you notice most of the reponses relate "it was good enough to get home." That does not sound like a well thought out plan.--OKG
ive got a fiskars sharpener about 1.99 at target it has a v shaped pair of course and fine ceramic rods emmbedded in a 2.25 x 1.75 plastic handle not bad it works well, i can get my crkt bear claw hair popping sharp and have used it on blades as big as my cs bushman. it also took a couple of nicks out of my bear claw easily
OKG, I do sharpen free hand. I can sharpen almost as well with my double-stuff stone in the field as at home using larger bench stones. The only drawback is the greater potential to run the blade off the stone and risk scratching the blade on the corner of the stone.
I also agree with Zut&Zut about using improvised sharpening materials. I have a couple of smooth river stones that I have used (at home) just to see if it would work in the field. I am happy to report that that technique works very well in a pinch.
This reminds me of an Ed Fowler article in Blade magazine some time ago when he talked about sharpening a flattened brass rifle cartride on a smooth stone to use as an improvised knife to dress out an elk.
I have a small sharpener that is shaped like a wide nailfile. I think it was made by DMT. It is too coarse to put a good edge on anything. I don't know if a finer one is available. I also have a short, round ceramic rod. It has a wood handle that looks like a knob from a drawer. The overall length is about 3 1/2 inches. I don't recall what brand it is. I found it not to be very effective since it is too short for me to keep it at a consistent angle with respect to the knife. I keep them in my desk at work and use the Spyderco set at home. So far 0 out of 2 for the small sharpeners for me. Hope that the rest of you get better results.
To Para: We have knife outlets by the hundreds, and blade steel with edge holding characteristics like none other in history. Plus, we pride ourselves on being rugged survivalists. How could conditions like this end with one of our well educated knuts broke down in Timbukto with a dull knife? Add to that, one of our knuts with 20 knives at home on display in a mahagoney cabinet, and only one dull one in his pocket in the wilderness?!! I put clean undies on when I left the gym, checked my fuel level in the truck, hit the grocery store and checked the edge on my LCC. It's not that hard.--OKG
Actually I carry my sharpmaker 204 and my Lansky everyday in my backpack-o-tricks. When I'm just out on the town without my backpack I carry a Gerber collaspable steel in my multitool sheath along with the multitool. I really don't like it though and would perfer to have a more useful tool there. I used to have two of the keychain DMTs superglued back to back on my keychain. Worked great last long time but became to big to carry, and I gave it up. The EzeLap pocket stone is also nice.
Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.