Paul Austin reviews an in-the-field knife sharpening system that is compact and packed with features to effectively sharpen any knife on the go

credit: Archant

Since adding two custom knives to my stalking gear I have adopted a pretty systematic approach to sharpening them, which I do at home with the big brother of this system (more on that next month). However expensive a knife is, or the type of steel it has and used it as intended, it will dull gradually over time. You can either regularly touch it up or wait until it is so dull it needs a much concerted and time-consuming effort to get it back to its best. I fall into former category so that I can enjoy my knives at their best.

The problem with a bench system is what to do when you are away hunting for longer periods and are regularly using your knife. I certainly notice when it is dulling, even when others may still claim it is sharp – after all, how often do you get passed a ‘sharp’ knife and find it is only good for butter?

To help solve this problem I picked up the WorkSharp Guided Field Sharpener to help me keep my knives razor sharp in the field. It arrived looking a lot smaller than I had imagined, considering how many sharpening options the manufacturer boasts about. It comes in at just 17.2cm long and 135g, but it really does cover just about every eventuality a knife user could need in the field.

To start with, should you need to reshape the edge there are coarse and fine diamond plates that sit alongside a moulded angle guide set at 20°. Granted not every knife edge sits at 20° but I found it useful as a starting point for a knife that is set at 22.5°; you just need to adjust your hand. The two plates are held to the main body by magnets and underneath is a storage area. There’s also a place to remove bow broadheads – not exactly an everyday need in the UK. The stones can be turned over when travelling so that they do not mark anything and simply snap back on to the magnets.

After you have completed the initial sharpening phase using the two stones, next up is an array of ceramic hones that are fixed to the body but with a dial that spins around to change the courseness, which is ideal for adding the finishing touches to fish hooks, etc. There is also a hone designed specifically for serrated knives and one on the end for very small serrations.

The last step, and the one I turn to most when away, is the leather strop. It is pre-loaded with a stropping compound, which again sits next to a pre-set angle guide, this time at 25°, with the guide reversed, as you obviously strop backwards.

This little unit is packed with options to help in every sharpening situation. I will still turn to the desk sharpening system for the bulk of my work, but now I can take out a chip or just hone and strop in the field should I need too. Highly recommended!

Supplier: Knives and Tools
Price: £26.95