There aren’t many things that are as frustrating as being unable to cut with a knife, regardless of whether it’s food, a rope, or even wood, just because the knife is dull and you don’t really want to spend the money on a brand new one. This is especially true in industrial settings and when you’re out hiking or camping in the wild, and you need precise cutting power. For all of these reasons, a knife sharpener can be an invaluable addition to your tool or outdoor kit.
Knives and blades are best kept in shape by frequent maintenance and sharpening. Not only does a knife sharpener prolong their life-span, but it also increases the safety of the user, and their cutting efficiency. A lot of people claim that sharp knives are dangerous, this is especially true in the case when they explain all the ways sharp objects are bad for children. But the reality of the situation is, dull knives are a bigger threat than sharp ones.
Dull knives require more force in order to cut, and that can lead to the knife slipping and shifting its direction at a considerably high speed. Best case scenario, you don’t have a body part in the way. Worst case scenario, you get cut. A sharp knife, on the other hand, should require very little effort to perform a cut, even on tough materials. That being said, a knife sharpener of any type can be extremely beneficial. Here are the most important sharpening methods and tools.
Honing and Sharpening Steel
As their name implies, the main use of these tools is to hone the blade instead of sharpen it. Some models are indeed capable of sharpening the blade as well, but this isn’t the best method to sharpen a blade. You’d be better off with using a sharpening stone or a handheld sharpener, both which we’ll discuss in a moment. Some of the most common sharpening or honing steel cuts are diamond, ceramic, regular and a combination of all three. There are very minimal differences between the three, and your choice will mainly be influenced by your allowance and whether you want more options or not.
There are 3 popular types of sharpening stones used to sharpen blades, namely: India, Arkansas and Crystolon. Arkansas are natural stones, while India and Crystolon are man-made. Crystolon stones are ideal for initial sharpening, Arkansas stones can vary from fine to coarse in grit type, and India stones are ideal for fine sharpening.
Hand-held sharpeners are the most portable type of sharpeners, and they’re meant to make the entire process simple. Their small size enables you to fit them anywhere, which makes them ideal for outdoor activities like hiking and camping. Depending on the design, you can draw the knife you sharpen through a slot, or down the length of the knife.