do you sharpen?

how do you sharpen?

  • freehand using stones or plates.

    Votes: 5 38.5%
  • sharpening guides on stones or plates.

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • sharpening systems like EdgePro, Lansky, Spiderco, DMT, etc.

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • those ghastly V-shaped things you drag your blade through.

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • ceramic blades only, so no sharpening for me!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • pay someone to do it however they do it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • sharpen? ha! just bin it and get a new one.

    Votes: 6 46.2%

  • Total voters


Head of Complaints (PABs), Senior Forum Moderator
Staff member
Jan 20, 2004
Oh, so this is a bit out of the blue, bear with me.

I was standing in my kitchen this morning sharpening a small paring knife and it occurred to me that what I was doing -- or, more specifically, how I was doing it -- might be a bit odd. I was sharpening the knife freehand on a sharpening stone, as I usually do.

I'm somewhat loath to admit it but over the years I've spent a small fortune on sharpening gear: stones (oil, water and ceramic), diamond plates, sharpening guides, sharpening systems, flattening plates, abrasives (sheet, powder and paste), etc etc. I know that "normal" people probably don't do this but then I realised that I have no idea what normal people do to sharpen their kitchen knives, pocket knives, bush knives, carving knives, chisels, gouges, scissors, axes, adzes, plane blades, spokeshave blades, drawknives, machetes, billhooks, parangs .... And yes, I do have all of those, plus a few more actually, but I digress.

Anyway, that's why I've started this, to find out what other folks use. Feel free to chip in, mention things I've missed, whatever. All fair game IMO.
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I bought a Ruixin Pro years ago for about £5 straight from china l, re-engineered some of the crappier parts of it and I could shave with and in the reflection of my knives.
Have got some pretty expensive Japanese whet stones but could never really master them.
Interesting early results! Freehand sharpening on stones is the (slim) leader which surprises me a bit, I thought it was becoming an extinct skill. I find that result very encouraging for some inexplicable reason. :)
... Have got some pretty expensive Japanese whet stones but could never really master them.
Yeah, the Japanese stones are not easy to get the hang of that's for sure. FAR too many ways to screw them up and given the cost it's no surprise that most people who buy them end up shelfing them. I know I did for quite some time.

I finally __absolutely__ needed to tune up some wood carving knives and pressed on with the water stones. Did get the hang of it eventually but they do require a fair bit of care and maintenance. I totally understand why people move on to other options.

"Ruixin Pro" is a new name to me, I'll have to Gooble it and school myself a bit. :thumbsup:
It occurs to me that the uninitiated might not know the difference between a "sharpening guide" and a "sharpening system".

This is your typical sharpening guide:


As shown they're most often used for chisels and plane blades. There are guides for knife sharpening but they're mostly pretty crappy.

These on the other hand are examples of typical sharpening systems:


As you can imagine these can run into serious money. But they continue to be popular so people are obviously shelling out for them. I have an EdgePro from 25-odd years ago. The Ruixin Pro mentioned above is an upscaled version that controls the process by holding the blade and allowing the user to flip it from side to side in a controlled manner (unlike the early EdgePro style systems) and thus ensure even sharpening on both sides:

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I have my Dad's sharpening block that is donkey's years old.

I think it might be a bit like Triggers broom though....

The block may have been replaced somewhere along the way, but it's kind of sentimental to me. Kids will be chuffed as it makes the family heirloom list.
I have my Dad's sharpening block that is donkey's years old. ...
:thumbsup: Old school is still cool when it comes to sharpening.
I bought my first set of oil stones when I was about 15. Still have them, and in pretty good nick too if I say so myself. Broke them out for the first time in many years last week and was well pleased how well they do the job.

That said, not a big fan of messy oil stones these days. But water stones aren't really much better TBH, nor ceramic stones nor diamond plates if you're using a fluid on them (as you should, at least according to those who pontificate on such things).
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: Everyone should have a little friend.


The one on the right my father made from an industrial planer blade about 40 years ago. He cut it to be balanced for throwing and I can tell you, it does!

I didn't want to risk having the cops confiscate my father's knife so I bought the one on the left to use in its place. It's not pretty but it sure does the job.
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Sorry Daz, your point is?

FTR my blades are for the bush. To and from location they are buried in my rucksack. I could probably get out my bedroll and be tucked away in it faster than I could get my blade out. The only crimes my knives are ever going to be guilty of is chopping branches, clearing brush and carving ugly spoons.
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I've not really ever got into knives as such. Only really during the past 10 years or so where I caught the 'wild' camping bug is why I would ever consider having one. But alas, I still have not progressed past my handy swiss army multi tool pocket knives, which is more than enough for my needs.

I don't build fires when camping out in the wild and also follow the LNT philosophy, so that and my foldable shovel are the only tools I need.
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Something soothing about sharpening by hand. Learnt the hard way as a kid that if you want to make arrows for a bow, don't hold the stick and cut down from the top to make the slit for the feathers.
LNT is a great thing, absolutely! I never build fires directly on the ground -- a fire basket on a stand on a fire blanket over stones works well -- and usually take only standing deadwood or windfall. That said I (obviously) do have a thing for knives, the product of a gloriously misspent youth running around in the forest. If I said how many bladed things I own I'm afraid someone would soon be trying to report me. Nothing weird mind you, pretty pedestrian stuff really, but the sheer volume is a bit breath-taking.

Something soothing about sharpening by hand. Learnt the hard way as a kid ...
Same here. I learned to sharpen because I was a little "accident prone" you might say and my father refused to sharpen my knives for me. Only choice was to learn to do it myself, and I have the scars -- LOTS of scars :) -- to prove it.
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As long as you are not wandering around a town or city centre with it or them in your possession you should be good. Unless you bump into Dunover on a munro that is 🙃
I'm the guy you see walking along a side road outside of town with an old-fashioned rucksack doing his best to be the grey man dressed in a lot of brown and olive drab. Couldn't be further from a city centre if I tried and every stitch of clothing and gear on me says "nerdy bushcrafter". If that's any defence -- and I certainly hope it is -- then I'm covered. :D

Speaking of the grey man I may look like a bit of a tool as I head away from all that is urban but I seem to blend into the woodsy environment fairly well. Last weekend a small group of adolescent foxes were play wrestling and enjoying a bit of tug-of-war not more than 100 ft or so away from me. I was quiet and still and must have watched them for 10 minutes or more. When one split off from the group and started wandering closer I gently waved and made a soft "tsk tsk" sound and it, then they, finally saw me. They set off into the deeper wood quiet and calm as you please. Same thing happens with deer and rabbits all the time.
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Im a bit lazy when it comes to sharpening my knives.
The one i keep with my fishing gear is always sharp because its a pain in the ass preparing/filleting fish with a dull blade, and i have 1 or 2 sharp knives at home so i can cut veggies and meat without having to resort to brute force.
But if im out in the woods i just bring a small swiss army style knife, but more importantly one of those 'survival' axes, or i guess its more of a tomahawk.
I have one similar to the one in the picture, always found an axe to be much more useful when out and about.
Sure i could prepare firewood and whatnot with a big knife instead, but its easier with an axe.
If i need to cut stuff that require a bit more finesse a small swiss army knife works just fine.

For lightsabers i also use the swiss army model, but you dont need to sharpen those so i guess thats a bit off-topic.


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