Keep Your Tools sharp
If the knife edge is very dull, use a sharpening wheel or stone when sharpening your knife.
Use plenty of water on the stone or grinding wheel.
My knives seldom get so dull that I have to use the sharpening weel, but it is a nice thing to have if you should hit rocks with your axe or knife.
After the initial sharpening use a finer stone or diamond hone.
Obviously this is something you can`t take with you in the woods.
But it is no problem just using a small stone to touch up in the woods and take the bigger jobs when you come home.
At right is a picture of some of the stones (both carborundum and diamond hones) I use for sharpening my tools.
I use them both to sharpen my axes as well as my knives.
These stones sometimes find their way into my rucksack on longer trips.
I usually carry a small DMT hone in my jacket pocket, but sometimes I feel that it is not enough.
If you have a problem sharpening your knife it is mostly because it`s difficult to hold the same angle on the sharpening stone all the time.
This will change after some practice or you may buy a sharpening kit with a jig to do the job.
Be sure to buy a expensive (or real) sharpening kit.
The cheap ones I have tried is no help.
I find them a pain to use.
Hopefully a more expensive kit is better.
The “scandi grind” knives are easy to sharpen. Just let the stone follow the angle of the grind and you will get a sharp knife (left photo).
Sabre ground (convex) knives could be sharpened on a sand paper glued to a mouse mat.
Use a piece of leather glued to a piece of wood or a leather strap/belt to take of the burr.
Just draw the knife edge over the leather strap until you get a nice polished edge.
I know people who do this 100-200 times or more at each side, but in my opinion this is not neccesarry.
I usually strop about 20-50 times on each side.
I`m done when I have a nice polished edge.
To speed up the process you could apply jewelers wax to the leather or use car rubbing (Turtle wax) as I do.
Remember to do both sides equally.
You could also use fine, smooth rocks from a riverbead or beach to sharpen your knife in an emergency.
I used a small rock to sharpen my Leaf hook after it had been in contact with the rocks when splitting driftwood into kindling.
Just drag the stone along the edge until the "edge" of the nick, to make it smooth.
The nick can be grinded off later, at home.
Sharpening my axe
I usually sharpen my axe in the (almost) same manner I sharpen my knives.
I use a bench stone (a grinding weel if really dull) first, then a finer diamond hone (or two; medium and fine) and lastly the strop.
This could sound strange as the edge of most axes are convex, but it works for me.
I`m not very anal about knife/axe grinds nor their steel. If they shave hair from my arm or make a decent fuzz stick it is good enough for me.
Sometimes I also polish the edge and the sides of the axe with a cloth weel and polishing paste.
This is mostly to prevent the axe binding in the wood when splitting.