EDGE UP
Knives Illustrated|January-February 2021
TIPS, TRICKS, AND TECHNIQUES TO SHARP WHEN ADVENTURING FAR FROM HOME
JASON HOUSER

As nice as it would be to have an electric sharpener, a stone, or any other sharpener at the ready when knives need to be touched up, life doesn’t always work in your favor.

The fact is that situations occur that may be out of our control, leaving us stranded without a conventional way to put an edge on our knives. It might be as simple as going camping and leaving it at home, or it could be something as drastic as a survival situation occurring deep in the wilderness.

Hopefully, you never find yourself in a survival situation where your life depends upon having a sharp knife nearby, but if it does, will you know how to maintain the sharp edge on your trusted tool? No matter your experience level, there are simple ways to keep your knife in good working order. Additionally, these techniques do surprisingly well at sharpening just about any style of knife.

AN ASSIST FROM A CUP OF JOE

A ceramic coffee cup is something many campers, hikers, and all-around outdoorsmen have with them. If not, the world is full of litterbugs and it really isn’t difficult to find a piece of ceramic along a riverbank. With a piece of ceramic from the cup, you can sharpen your knife with a little improvising. All that you have to do is to turn it upside down and run the blade against the raw, rough part that’s at the bottom of the cup. Hold the mug upside down in one hand, and then place the base of the knife blade at a 45-degree angle against the exposed ceramic rim at the bottom.

Keeping a firm grip on both the mug and the knife handle and maintaining that 45-degree angle, drag the knife against the rim using even pressure as though you were using traditional sharpening steel.

Do this three times on the first side. Repeat on the other edge of the blade, drawing the knife against the ceramic rim three times. Repeat using the first edge of the blade twice. Repeat using the second edge of the blade. This will likely take a couple of times on each edge to achieve the results you want. Carefully wipe the resulting carbon dust from the blade. It will be sharpened and ready to use.

A ROCKY SOLUTION

Can you use a random stone instead of a sharpening stone? The answer is a solid yes, and although an actual sharpening stone will probably give you a better result, using a flat rock can be a very good option if you don’t have one on hand. Survival situations can hit fast and unexpectedly, you may not have access to your ready-to-go gear.

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