Small sharpeners for light carry

Jun 22, 1999
There must be more than a few of you out there who just has to carry a sharpener whereever they go because every dull edge demands immediate attention.

I throw a DMT diafold in my backpack to deal with this, but I'm finding the fine/coarse combination doesn't get the final polish on some blades to make it shaving sharp and need to usually finish the edge with a fine ceramic rod (if I have one at hand).

What do other compulsive sharpeners pack in their toolkit to sharpen on the go or in the field?

Spyderco 204's portable, but a bit much to pack or set up. Seems like you need coarse/fine/extra-fine in order to take a really dull edge to a shaving finish...or maybe I should just bring it home to my benchstones? A shaving edge isn't really necessary, but nice to demo to the folks after all your trouble
Often all you need to do is take your belt off and use it to strop your edge after the fine diamond hone. Alternately you could replace your 'fine' diamond hone with extra-fine ceramic rods. A nice portable combination like that is AG Russel's Field Sharpener. It has a compact box/holder and a pair of diamond rods and a pair of ceramic rod. See link:

[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 14 September 1999).]
For touch-up at work, I use EZE-LAP's pen sharpener. Literally the size of a pen, so you can carry it anywhere.

For ceramics, I also like the Gatco Micro X, which has two sets of 2.25" sticks, fine and med. The "X" is wider than any other similar sharpener, 7/16" across the opening, so it'll work on fixed blades, as well. It's fixed at 20 deg, so it won't please folks who wrinkle their nose at predetermined angles. Additionally, the other two sticks store to one side to effectively sharpen serrations, and are also pinched together to sharpen fish-hooks, darts, or anything pointy which you'd like to make pointier. Overall it measures 2 1/8" x 2 3/8" x 7/16". I believe you can find a pic at

under either "Gatco" or "sharpeners."

Jeff: Good point, however my only belt is made of braided leather and it makes a lousy strop
Guess I might give the old shoe sole or cardboard a try (ala Desert Rat).

The AG Russell kit is nice, but my diafold is more convenient (about 5"x1"x3/8")...just lacks an extra-fine...unless I get another diafold in extra-fine.

Storyville: I have something like the Gatco Micro-X at work. It comes with smooth white ceramic sticks that are a bit coarser than the Spyderco white sticks, but do a good job of polishing...just something of a nuisance to have to keep clean and they foul up fast..unless now I want to also carry a stick eraser.
If you want ultimate in compactness, get a variety of Wet-Or-Dry paper and cut in into 2"x5" strips. Keep them in your check book. The last few sharpening passes should be done like stropping on the finest grit (600 or finer). If you get yourself a leather checkbook cover you can use it for true stropping after that.
Personally, I carry a GATCO Tri-Seps with me. Works great on both plain and serrated edges, and is really all the sharpener I need (then again, I'm definitely on the light use end of the spectrum). But, if the DMT diafold isn't doing the job you want, I doubt if the Tri-Seps is going to be your answer.

I actually carry the DMT diafold coarse/fine and the extra fine stones with me.
I bought the camo mini-maglight pouch for each and the DMTs fit perfectly with about 10 or 12 pipecleaners. They also have a velcro belt flap.

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[This message has been edited by William Johnson (edited 14 September 1999).]
EZLap (?) has a credit card size diamond sharpener, with coarse and very fine. I don't have one but have considered it. You can get a fine (white) ceramic stone that is easy to carry, and for a finer edge yet strop on some leather.
I frequently carry a Sterling Superior Sharpener. It's one of those carbide types of sharpeners with V-shaped blocks mounted on an aluminum body. It weighs about an ounce, is only 3" x 1" x 1/8" and has a keychain hole. It's so tiny and light, you won't even notice you're carrying it.

It does a decent job, and does it fast. It's also pretty much bonehead proof.

And at ten bucks you won't feel embarassed for using some fancy gizmo instead of a brick and shoe leather to sharpen your knives.

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Some times a few swipes on a steel can prolong the life of an edge and make sharpening unnecessary. The Raz-R-Steel from Razor Edge folds up into a compact size for the pocket and even has a clip (although mine is so tight as to be unusable
). I bought one after reading Cliff Stamp's review and have found the preset angles make it very easy to use (thanks Cliff

Take care,

Don't worry that the world might end Australia it's tomorrow already.

dsvirsky: I got a Tri-Seps also (courtesy of David Williams), and while it's a smoothish stone, I can't seem to get a good polish off of it. It seems coarser than the white Spyderco stones.

Jeff: thanks for reminding me about the sandpaper idea. I think you've posted that before on another thread. Do you actually carry some of these around? How hard is it to hold down while sharpening?

johno: I'll have to look into what's the finest grit for the credit-card sharpener. There's no shortage of small sharpeners, but I just wondered what works for others in making a razor edge on the field. Ergonomics and other factors sometimes dictates against a solution.

William: A 2nd diafold won't add too much bulk, but does the extra-fine do a good job of polishing to a razor edge? Also, I was thinking about a pouch like your maglight pouch... but if I could find one in leather, I might be able to use its surface to strop also.
One of my favorite pocket sharpeners not yet mentioned here is the Spyderco Double Stuff. A 1" x 5" bar with medium ceramic on one side and fine on the other. These are the same materials used in the Spydie SharpMaker which receives universal raves. Works for me

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bald1: The Double Stuff would be smaller than a 2nd diafold... I wonder if there are cheaper ceramic stones of a comparable size? I wouldn't really need the medium stone since I already have the DMT...and the Double Stuff by itself probably doesn't work as fast as the DMT on dull edges.
I think that 'blowout' has 4in and 8in fine ceramic stones for around $1 or so. I don't know how fine they are though as I have noticed a fair amount of difference in some that I've run across.

Small individual fine and medium (very fine too ?) ceramic stones seem hard to find, ones say about 4inches in length, up to 8 for bigger blades, even though they seem they'd be cheap and available in large quantities. Is this something to ask to have in the store ?
Years ago when I carried stainless steel knives it was very hard to find a compact knife sharpener to carry along in the field. Now I only use carbon and/or Damascus blades and all you have to carry to "touch-up" the blade is a few swipes on your leather belt and the blade is back shaving.
Spyderco's "ProFile" (8" x 3/4" x1/4") comes in fine or medium. Has large and small radius (serrations) as well as a flat surface and a groove for points or hooks. comes in a leather carry case. I will also carry in the field 1/2 of a profile in either or both grits.

A double stuff with one of Spyderco's triangular ceramic files glued to one edge adds serration sharpening capability to the double stuff.


Hi Sal.

The half-sized ProFile idea sounds good. I'd like to see a kit like your Spyderco file set, but consisting of a leather pouch and three 1/2 sized ProFiles in fine, medium and coarse. Then I'd be well-dressed and ready for any (reasonably sized) knife however dull and however sharp I want to make it!

Truth be told, the kits (including the 204) are pretty portable, but sometimes you're just waiting in line (like at the bank
) and get a hankering to sharpen your blade.

A stone in one hand and a knife in the's almost theraputic!

Trouble is, you don't sell the ProFiles in half sizes (I think)....are they easy to split? Being ceramic, I'd think there's a risk of shattering them.
Check out JSP Bladeriggers "Stat Sharp".
Very portable creditcard sized diamond hones
in a wallet type pouch.
I carry a Lansky triangle stone with rubber ends, and a 3M fine grit diamond hone.

But most of the time, I have my 204 with diamond sleeves with me.

Marion David Poff aka Eye, one can msg me at If I fail to check back with this thread and you want some info, email me.

My site is at: Including my review of the Kasper AFCK, thougths on the AFCK and interview of Bob Kasper.

Longden - They can be cut with a diamond lapidary saw. If your interested, I can check to see if we have any laying around. I know that we made some 1/2 stones for some dental companies.