What’s The Trick To Sharpening Your Blades In The Wilderness?
If you find yourself in the wilderness with a blunt knife, you’re first step might be to panic.
But, there’s no need too. You can easily overcome this by using nature to your advantage and get that blade nice and sharp again. Particularly if you bought an awesome knife to begin with.
While there can be a lot that goes into getting your knife back to its sharp self, the overall process is pretty simple, so let’s look at the best ways on how to sharpen knives in the wild
Step #1 to Sharpen your Blade – Look For A Stone:
Like we said, the true first step is not to panic!
But the first step in terms of sharpening is to find yourself a stone, nature provides them in plenty so have a look around and try find the perfect one to use as your sharpening tool.
Look for a stone with some sharpening characteristics. Fine-grain round stones work well and can usually be found near water. Choose a stone that has a smooth section and a similar texture to that of the sharpening implement you would use in your kitchen.
Step #2 – Survey The Blade Damage:
We suggest you properly survey just how blunt your knife is before tackling sharpening it. If there a nicks on the edge of the blade or it cannot cut paper and rope, then you’ve got a bit of a large task ahead of you.
If it can successfully cut rope, and doesn’t have any major structural damage, then you’ll find the sharpening a lot easier. Either way, the bluntest of knifes can be brought back to life with a stone and some elbow grease!
Step #3 – Create a Whetstone:
Get your stone and apply a little water too it. You want to use your stone and create small strokes over each side of your blade and keep repeating the motion.
For a four-inch blade, it’s recommended you do around thirty small, circular strokes on either side.
If there are nicks and damages to the blade you will need to do this for a longer amount of time until the edge grinds back into shape.
If you keep rinsing the stone a little as you go along, you’ll find the knife sharpens easier, and try to match the edge angle of the blade as best you can with your new tool.
Choose the sharpening style that works best for you. Some prefer to use the blade over the stone and others, the stone over the blade, so find the technique that works for you and go with that motion.
Just be careful to keep the sharpest edge away from your body in the process.
Keep repeating this process until you’re satisfied the blade is relatively sharp.
Step #4 – Give Your Blade a Light Polish:
Once you feel happy the blade has been successfully sharpened to a point it can be used again, we recommend you remove any dust-like fragments from the blade.
You can even give the knife a little clean/polish by using clothing or a leather belt if you’re wearing one.
You can do this process on something as simple as a log, leaf, or your trouser leg if you’re careful, make sure you remove any debris the best way you can.
Step #5 – Test, and Assess:
Test your knife. If it easily cuts through rope then you should be good to go, but if you aren’t happy until it slices paper like a Ginsu then don’t be afraid to go back and keep repeating the process with your stone and circular, or even up and down, motions until you are 100% happy with the end result.
Ray Mears suggests a different technique of sharpening which still uses a stone, but is one he carries with him, if you want to be prepared for anything-you can adopt this tactic.
His stone has one side that hosts a coarse diamond abrasive like texture and the other side, a fine ceramic-like texture.
He then places the stone onto a log by using a screw and hammering this into place, before running the blade up and down the stone, always keep the sharper side away from the body. You can check out this technique here:
You can also check out this video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlJivKNHzyk], which shows how you can create the ideal sharpening stone if you aren’t quite as prepared as Ray Mears or Bear Grylls might be. By using two wet stones and rubbing these against one another, you can create the ideal surface to sharpen your knives on, the ideal stone leads to the ideal sharpening, which in turn, leads to the ideal knife.
There is no directly wrong way to sharpen a knife in the wild, as long as you can find a stone that will be abrasive against your blade, and have some patience, you should be able to sharpen the bluntest of knives. The process gets easier the more practise you have.