Sharp knives

bruce moulds

AH legend
Joined
Aug 10, 2018
Messages
2,274
Reaction score
2,929
rather than invade other threads, I thought it better to star a new one.
I have always believed that sharpening knives should only require a good stone or diamond tool, with the blade "slicing" into the sharpening device.
I can usually get a blade to shave arm hair dry this way.
of course keeping the angle the same for each slice will speed up the process no end due to not wasting slices, and some form of jig is the easiest way to achieve this.
however I have come across guys that think their knives are blunt, but are sharper than mine.
they all use a steel.
I have recently discovered that a steel is not meant to remove blade material to sharpen a knife.
this is why a new aggressive steel is bad news.
knife edges bend or roll over, and the steel re straightens them so the sharp edge is not pointing sideways.
god users of a steel starting with a sharp knife rarely need the stone. all they need to do is keep the sharp edge pointing in the right direction.
then comes the strop.
strops seem to contain some abrasive, but the blade is dwawn backward over them rather than slicing like the stone.
I suspect they do remove some metal, and also act as a fine tuned version of the steel at the same time..
no knife edge is smooth, but is more like a saw when looked at microscopically.
I have started skinning and or field dressing only to have the blade seem blunt very quickly.
I now realize that it has probably bent the cutting edge, and or as garry says become blocked by tissue.
I remember skinning numbers of donkeys and thinking that dirt and sand in the skins had dulled the blades.
it was quicker to have 4 knives than stone one often.
from now on I will experiment with a steel and removing tissue from the cutting edge.
the other thing to consider is sharpenability vs edge holding.
gain one and you lose the other, so it is a balancing act to suit the individual.
and the harder to sharpen, possibly the more likely the blade is to snap.
don't ask me how I know this, but spyderco is part of the story.
I will sacrifice stainless steel to have easier sharpening, better edge holding, and a non snapping blade in the overall balance of things.
bruce.
 

Bill DeHaan

AH senior member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
77
Location
Midwest USA
Media
2
Hunted
USA; Alaska, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Idaho, Texas. Canada; Ontario
This is an interesting topic that merits study and conversation. We’ve probably all learned the lesson in the field as I have (bent over a downed elk with a flashlight in my teeth) that there is no such thing as too much sharp knife. Following that early lesson I started carrying multiple knives; eg a field dressing:butchering blade and a skinning blade. This works well but no one has ever said “hey, I need to find more things to go into my pack!” I’ve also carried the more modern disposable edge knife kit. This works very well in the field for most tasks. However, I truly missed the relationship that one forms with edged tools, their materials, craftsmanship, and surprisingly also with the edge maintenance.

However I can’t invest a lot of time on maintenance. This thread has me thinking.... Watch a meat butcher, a pro, at work and you’ll see exactly what Bruce pointed out. That is their heavy reliance on and frequent use of a steel. Their work station will have two or three knives, but you rarely see them set one aside for sharpening. You will see them steel the same edge multiple times during the butchering of a single animal.
Can anyone recommend a packable steel that is effective and may allow me to carry a single knife in the field?
 

BeeMaa

AH legend
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,486
Reaction score
3,676
Location
Eastern US
Media
85
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI
Hunted
Eastern US & RSA
I've been using a Lansky Blade Medic for years.
My wife and I each carry one.
We will also take them as gifts for the trackers, guides and kitchen staff.

Lansky also makes the Tactical Sharpening Rod.
I've never used it, but it's closer to the "steel" you are looking for.
I just find the preset edge easier to use for minor upkeep in the field.
 

Attachments

  • 31mA8V3q6VL._AC_.jpg
    31mA8V3q6VL._AC_.jpg
    8.2 KB · Views: 66
  • 71LPwzhmFhL._AC_SX425_.jpg
    71LPwzhmFhL._AC_SX425_.jpg
    18.1 KB · Views: 68

375 Ruger Fan

Gold supporter
AH legend
Joined
Jun 14, 2015
Messages
3,782
Reaction score
5,603
Location
Houston, Texas
Media
235
Articles
4
Hunting reports
Africa
7
USA/Canada
4
Australia/NZ
1
Member of
NRA, DSC
Hunted
Namibia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, South Africa (Eastern Cape & NW), Alaska, TX, LA, MO, OH, MT, ID, WA, WY, Canada (Yukon)

BeeMaa

AH legend
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,486
Reaction score
3,676
Location
Eastern US
Media
85
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI
Hunted
Eastern US & RSA
Also the type of steel used to make the knife makes a big difference.
Without getting overly technical, high carbon steel holds an edge longer than stainless.
The downside is that carbon steel does rust and requires more maintenance.
Also because high carbon steel is "harder" than stainless, it can be honed to a finer edge.

That being said, I have both stainless and HC steel hunting knives.
I prefer the HC because I sharpen them less and they are still wicked sharp.
 

BeeMaa

AH legend
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,486
Reaction score
3,676
Location
Eastern US
Media
85
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI
Hunted
Eastern US & RSA
For professional level sharpening I highly recommend Tormek.
Take a look at the T-8.
Not exactly a "field" item, but a very useful bench tool.
 

Bill DeHaan

AH senior member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
77
Location
Midwest USA
Media
2
Hunted
USA; Alaska, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Idaho, Texas. Canada; Ontario
impressive piece of machinery BeeMaa. The beginning segment when he took the edge off the knife was painful and disturbing. I will be starting therapy next week. ;-)
 

Standard Velocity

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
424
Reaction score
594
Media
2
Articles
1
In the field splitting hairs over sharpening vs honing becomes moot pretty quick. The Lansky sharpener above will fix most any knife for field butchering. Go ahead and take a little steel off the knife if you have to. If your knife is at a different angle (chisel grind, V grind or asymmetrical) you may have to use each side of the sharpener separately. I have used the spine of a second knife as a makeshift “steel” as well.

At home I use a steel and stones when necessary. I also use a mildly abrasive ceramic rod and a diamond rod on cheaper knives.

upload_2020-3-22_11-47-33.jpeg


Ceramic rod, steel, diamond rod
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jeanes

AH enthusiast
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Messages
261
Reaction score
409
Location
Texas
Member of
TSRA Life Member, NRA
Hunted
Texas, Colorado, South Dakota
Has anyone ever used Warthog sharpeners? I saw a V-Sharp demoed at DSC. Seemed to work well.
 

Shootist43

Gold supporter
AH ambassador
Joined
Apr 25, 2015
Messages
5,744
Reaction score
5,658
Location
Grosse Ile, Michigan
Media
25
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA
Hunted
Michigan, Texas, Missouri, Limpopo Province South Africa
I am a little perplexed by some folks statements that they need to sharpen their knives in the field. It makes me wonder what use and or abuse they put them through. I'm not a guide and I'm pretty sure that three white tails was the most we ever field dressed during a day's hunt. I know for a fact that we used my Cold Steel Carbon V Master Hunter on 11 deer without any kind of touchup or sharpening. My sharpening system was made by Luray which was later bought out by Lansky but for all practical purposes is identical. I did resharpen my Master Hunter but have only done so once and to this day still works just fine. That being said, because of this thread and others like it, I thought I'd take a look at Lansky's field and or pocket tools to see what they have to offer. This one intrigues me, have any of you used it? https://lansky.com/pocket-sharpeners/d-sharp/
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 11.21.21 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 11.21.21 AM.png
    934.4 KB · Views: 63
  • Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 11.21.23 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 11.21.23 AM.png
    421.7 KB · Views: 63

JimP

AH legend
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
2,001
Reaction score
2,430
Location
Gypsum, Co
Media
43
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
3
Member of
NRA, RMEF
Hunted
US (Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada. Canada (British Colombia), South Africa (Eastern Cape)
On sharping knifes you will find that even a butcher who's livelihood depends on sharp knifes will turn his knifes over to a professional every now and then to put the keen edge back onto them. There are people that make a living by doing just that.

As for me when I am hunting and once my knife is sharp I don't use it for cutting wood, food, or anything else besides dressing and skinning the animals. For other uses I pack a Leatherman that will get the wood cutting and the food slicing is left to the other knifes in camp.

For sharpening I have started to use the Worksharp sharping system. Once I have established the angle and fine edge all I use is the finest grit belt that is one it and with just a few passes I have a knife that is once again sharp enough to shave with. Now if I do need to touch it up in the field I have a ceramic rod that does quite nicely.

There is no excuse for a dull knife.
 

Standard Velocity

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
424
Reaction score
594
Media
2
Articles
1
I am a little perplexed by some folks statements that they need to sharpen their knives in the field. It makes me wonder what use and or abuse they put them through. I'm not a guide and I'm pretty sure that three white tails was the most we ever field dressed during a day's hunt. I know for a fact that we used my Cold Steel Carbon V Master Hunter on 11 deer without any kind of touchup or sharpening. My sharpening system was made by Luray which was later bought out by Lansky but for all practical purposes is identical. I did resharpen my Master Hunter but have only done so once and to this day still works just fine. That being said, because of this thread and others like it, I thought I'd take a look at Lansky's field and or pocket tools to see what they have to offer. This one intrigues me, have any of you used it? https://lansky.com/pocket-sharpeners/d-sharp/

That Lansky tool looks interesting. Haven’t seen a touch up sharpener that pays such particular attention to angle. A slip stone or small rod of medium grit should suffice when away from home.

I keep a separate skinning knife and a pocket knife. This way I always have a clean, sharp knife for game. Since most pocket knives are used primarily for opening Amazon boxes I’ve found that the majority of the time my pocket knife has a thin layer of packing tape goo on the blade. An otherwise sharp knife has all manner of debris stuck to the goo.
 

Art Lambart II

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
997
Reaction score
1,486
Location
Kansas City
Media
27
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI, QDMA
Hunted
MI, TX, MO, South Africa Limpopo & Northwest Provinces
I own three tools for sharpening a knife in the field but I must confess I have never needed them. Most of us carry a sharpening tool with us every day but we never think about using it, the back side of your leather belt makes a great strop. If you start with a sharp knife all you need is a strop to return your edge to shaving sharp.

20200322_125246.jpg


On the top I have a Victorinox ceramic rod, in the middle is a Lansky diamond rod and on the bottom is a three sided Gerber stone.
 

sgt_zim

AH elite
Joined
Mar 26, 2017
Messages
1,290
Reaction score
1,770
Location
Sugar Land, Texas
Media
14
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Australia/NZ
1
Member of
NRA, Houston Safari Club Foundation, NWTF
Hunted
Texas, Louisiana
I use a lansky kit for both kitchen knives and field knives.

I only sharpen 2 knives at 20º - my butcher knife and my boning knife.

All other knives get a 25º edge.

I hone the kitchen knives every time I use them, the other knives get honed as needed, certainly prior to skinning.

I've discovered there's almost nothing I need a 20º edge for, save cutting meat. Skinning/butchering and every day use, 25º and ad hoc honing is more than adequate for everything else.

Unless you've notched a blade, or done so much cutting between honings that a rod won't straighten out the cutting edges (likely because they've broken off), I have gotten to where I only need the lansky medium-fine-extra fine stones maybe 2-3x/year to get them back in shape.

There are few things I hate more than a dull knife.
 

Ray B

AH legend
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
2,410
Reaction score
2,690
Location
WA St, USA
Media
76
Hunting reports
USA/Canada
1
The main rule on keeping a knife sharp when dressing game or any big mammal is DON'T CUT HAIR. Very little is faster at dulling an edge. With the point of the blade insert it at each end of the animal and at the ankles/knees. Turn the blade so the edge is up and push the blade to make cuts from between the skin and flesh. Once the guts have been removed grip the sides of the hide and pull it away from the flesh, using the knife to cut the tissue that holds the skin to the flesh. If the animal is healthy you should be able to pull the hide apart more than cutting the tissue. If the animal is gutted and skinned in this manner you shouldn't need to sharpen the blade during the process.
 

Standard Velocity

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
424
Reaction score
594
Media
2
Articles
1
The main rule on keeping a knife sharp when dressing game or any big mammal is DON'T CUT HAIR. Very little is faster at dulling an edge. With the point of the blade insert it at each end of the animal and at the ankles/knees. Turn the blade so the edge is up and push the blade to make cuts from between the skin and flesh. Once the guts have been removed grip the sides of the hide and pull it away from the flesh, using the knife to cut the tissue that holds the skin to the flesh. If the animal is healthy you should be able to pull the hide apart more than cutting the tissue. If the animal is gutted and skinned in this manner you shouldn't need to sharpen the blade during the process.

100% this
 

zephyr

AH enthusiast
Joined
Feb 27, 2011
Messages
316
Reaction score
280
Location
Vermont
Media
9
Hunting reports
Africa
2
For those that have spent anytime in a "Skinning Shed" in Africa watching or participating in the processing of your Trophy you may have been somewhat surprised to see your prized Kudu being caped with a $1.00 knife from the gas station and a soft river rock used as a sharpening stone

 

Attachments

  • RRKfhGa.jpg
    RRKfhGa.jpg
    106.1 KB · Views: 39
  • SaOxN3E.jpg
    SaOxN3E.jpg
    2.3 MB · Views: 37
Last edited by a moderator:

Bill DeHaan

AH senior member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
77
Location
Midwest USA
Media
2
Hunted
USA; Alaska, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Idaho, Texas. Canada; Ontario
Seems even this old dog might need to learn new tricks. Hearing your methods, experiences and expectations have me thinking. My current practice is as follows;
I keep my knives sharp, and only used for game. (I have a pocket knife for all else).
I put a 20 degree edge on my hunting knives (boning and skinning) and a 25 on my pocket knives. - too steep?
I hang field dressed big game for 2-3 days if I can, then skin and bone while hanging. (skining is tougher, but..?)
I use the same hunting knife from my pack for field dressing and rough boning (final trimming is done in the house with another fine bladed boning knife).
I almost always use a dedicated skinning knife for caping, and skinning the carcass before boning.
After processing two deer my hunting/boning knife can benefit from a touch up.
I sharpen and hone edges with a WorkSharp.

Your thoughts?
 

Standard Velocity

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
424
Reaction score
594
Media
2
Articles
1
Seems even this old dog might need to learn new tricks. Hearing your methods, experiences and expectations have me thinking. My current practice is as follows;
I keep my knives sharp, and only used for game. (I have a pocket knife for all else).
I put a 20 degree edge on my hunting knives (boning and skinning) and a 25 on my pocket knives. - too steep?
I hang field dressed big game for 2-3 days if I can, then skin and bone while hanging. (skining is tougher, but..?)
I use the same hunting knife from my pack for field dressing and rough boning (final trimming is done in the house with another fine bladed boning knife).
I almost always use a dedicated skinning knife for caping, and skinning the carcass before boning.
After processing two deer my hunting/boning knife can benefit from a touch up.
I sharpen and hone edges with a WorkSharp.

Your thoughts?

Sounds like a good method to me.

Hanging game for a few days with the hide on is ideal. It’s never quite cold enough down here so I use a very large cooler with hide off. I do all the boning on the dining room table or the in-laws kitchen island then vac everything up.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
35,608
Messages
664,489
Members
60,365
Latest member
AleidaCoth
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

Tally-Ho HUNTING SAFARIS wrote on jfowler812's profile.
hi Mr fowler

im happy to do these deals for 2021

i will knock off 10% off each deal if you take 2 so $18000 per package

look forward to your response

regards
Mule deer and Colorado elk seasons almost done! Hunters driving farm roads, looking for racks, their PH driving them along, I ask that you not pull into my drive. The buck behind me, on the boundary line of the GMU somehow knows. The hunter laughs, I would invite you in to see my Searcy rifles but social distancing prevails, darkness arrives and the buck slides away into secret tree grove...
Boyd Brooks wrote on Skinnersblade's profile.
Ellwood Epps has 1 box of 25-20 in stock. Look them up on the web. They are located in Orilla Ontario.
Lkhntr wrote on Warpig602's profile.
On the vx6 2-12 what does the zl2 stand for?

Thanks, Oliver
bowjijohn wrote on AfricaHunting.com's profile.
Many thanks for re formatting my article for the forum

I served my time in both the bush and during the bush war

I hope it did it justice

Education is where it is at - without it the wild places are history

You - sir - are well placed to make a difference

J
 
Top