Sunday, 17 Feb 2008
While not strictly camping or survival gear, the Smith’s Sharpening System is very useful to have around the house. I have tried several types of sharpening rods, Arkansas stone of different grits, and none worked well for me. I am pretty sure it is because I cannot hold a proper angle while sharpening the blade. The Smith’s system comes with a clamping tool to hold the knife blade in place, and two plastic guides with different angles for the stones. There are two preset angles, around 20° and 25°. The 20° angle is used for everyday kitchen knives, and thinner blades. The 25° angle is for tools that are for less delicate work, and bear more force. Something like a thick bush knife, a machete or an axe. The guides ensure a consistent angle across the entire blade edge, and different stones allow for easy sharpening. There is a coarse surface for getting old or rough edges into shape, then the fine surface to finish up. There is even a triangular bar for cerated blades. The kit comes with a bottle of honing oil, and a nice case to keep everything together. I have inserted an old sharpening stone into the extra loop in my kit. Current version may come in a plastic or fabric case, and with regular or diamond stones. Replacement stones are available from Smith Abrasives Inc as well.
This system was purchased at Lowe’s about a year ago, and I use it on our kitchen knives every one or two months. Once the proper angle was set with the coarse stone, I only have to use the fine stone to maintain the edge. There are several different sharpening systems out there, and anything that will allow you to keep a consistent angle is much better than a regular stone. If you have good expensive knives, but do not understand why they do not work well, or dull quickly, it is probably because the edge is rounded instead of flat.