Portable small-sized sharpeners and devices for sharpening knives, axes, shovels and saws in the field, requirements.

If you are going for a one-day or two-day picnic, you can, of course, dispense with your equipment without a sharpener or sharpening device, it is enough to sharpen your knife, ax, shoulder blade and other sharp items of equipment carefully before leaving. 

Portable small-sized sharpeners and devices for sharpening knives, axes, shovels and saws in the field, requirements.

Unless they are cardboard, then for a couple of days should be enough for any operation. Well, maybe, except for the exclusively idiotic one like cutting nails on a stone, digging with a knife and the like perversions. But going on a serious journey through an unpopulated area, on a long expedition, on a multi-day hunt or something like that – you should already take care of the possibilities of grinding your knife.

Yes, and not only the skin and not only his own. When traveling in a group it’s enough that at least one person takes with them sharpeners or a sharpener and, of course, does not forget the ability to sharpen at home. Not only knives, all that will require sharpening. Or rather sharpening, because I must immediately warn you – for a thorough, in full program, sharpening with the formation or reprofiling of the cutting wedge, in the field there is nothing to count.

Even if you drag along some large abrasives that provide high-quality sharpening (which would be quite meaningless), you won’t be able to find places where they could be installed for efficient and safe work. Not the time that could be devoted to this work.

Portable small-sized sharpeners and devices for sharpening knives, axes, shovels and saws in the field, requirements.
a backpack behind me, I would like to take for a thorough sharpening of a knife. Moreover, worries about arranging the overnight stay and cooking are enough for everyone.

I want to warn you immediately against the hopes that are extremely poorly substantiated in practice, to grind your cutting tool, at least a knife, on random stones found under your feet. You just will not find ones that could be used even for a light grinding of the blade. Pellets with a smooth surface can be found on the banks of a river or sea, but they will never be flat enough to be used as an abrasive for sharpening..

I assure you that on a stone found underfoot a knife or an ax can only be blunted. It’s better not to try such sharpening at all, doing with improvised means. In addition, there are places where it is quite difficult to find any stone at all under your feet. At least in a sandy desert or in a swampy wooded area. No, let’s better sharpen all our cutting tools at home, and on the trip we will only grind them slightly, often enough and regularly. It is in order to prevent the need for thorough sharpening.

Especially carefully it is necessary to follow these hunters for a large beast. When cutting carcasses, such as wild boar or moose, a thick skin on the belly, covered with coarse, stiff bristles, besides abundantly flavored with adhering sand and dried mud, can thoroughly dull the knife after several cuts. So let’s take a closer look together at sharpening devices, which it would be worth taking with you on the road. They are quite different from those that we would use at home, in the garage or in the workshop.

Here are the basic requirements that I would make for devices for sharpening in the field, or portable devices:


Carrying with you different sharpeners or accessories for various sharpening jobs is an inadmissible luxury. If we take some kind of adaptation with us on a hike, then we need to be able to undermine with it almost everything that may require grinding.

Light weight.

I don’t really need to convince anyone of this, especially those who have already been carrying backpacks.

Compact size.

But also without excesses. If the device turns out to be so small that it will impair the effectiveness or, even worse, the safety of its use, it is better to leave it at home.

Simple and uncomplicated design, easy to use sharpener.

The loss of a screw can easily turn a complex advanced device into useless trash. And the need, for example, to wet the abrasive with oil entails not only the need to carry this oil with it, but also the appropriate detergent to clean the abrasive and hands after finishing work.

Possibility of effective and safe work in the field.

That is, without using a table and other household items, with which certain difficulties may arise at the taiga rest. A portable device should allow it to be used on a stump, on a knee, sitting on a backpack or, generally, not resting on anything, just holding both the device and the sharpened tool.

High work efficiency.

Even somewhat to the detriment of the accuracy of sharpening or its stunning results, which are sometimes nice to boast at home among experts. In the field, there is no need to sharpen the knife to razor sharpness. It is enough that he cut at a good working level. And it is precisely such acuity that must be achieved with minimal time and effort, which will find the best application.

Mechanical strength.

More precisely, the insensitivity of the sharpener is not only to shocks (for example, we will drop the device on a stone), but also to static loads. For example, we accidentally step on a device left by the fire or unsuccessfully attach a backpack, in the pocket of which it lies.

Safe packaging.

All kinds of abrasives are quite aggressive by their very nature, they have the nasty habit of mercilessly scratching everything they come into contact with. It would be unfortunate if the victim of this contact would be, for example, a lens of binoculars that was inadvertently not blinded by the appropriate cover, inserted into the same pocket of a backpack.

The grinding device will inevitably ruin which rubbing against it during the movements caused by steps. And the money that the binoculars cost will be a pity, and even more – the loss of the opportunity to use it at the right time. An example, of course, is extreme, but I assure you! you don’t even have to be some kind of especially gifted booby and messy to inadvertently arrange for yourself such a more than dubious entertainment. Happens…

Excerpt from the book of Sergei Mitin How to sharpen knives.
Published with the consent of the author.

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