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Thread: Survival Sharpening: Sharpening tools in a serious pinch??

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    Question Survival Sharpening: Sharpening tools in a serious pinch??

    With all the prepper and survivalist craze going on at this present time I do think a lot about what I would do personally if faced with that ultimate challenge. I've pretty much mastered making water drinkable/potable. I have 3 fairly surefire methods of making fire without the use of matches, lighter or torch. And I do believe that the most important tool anyone can have is a sharp/useable knife. Because a dull knife is about as useless of a tool that there is in my opinion.

    The one thing I do think a lot about is how I would keep my most important tool which I believe a is KNIFE whether it be a fixed blade, folder or any culinary blade. A sharp knife in my opinion is a must-have tool if you are going to survive any type of disaster, economic breakdown or even war or an all out societal breakdown. Fortunately I do have 3 different places to go in the Ozark Mountains if we were in a SHTF scenerio.

    I've seen them do a limited amount of sharpening with crude tools on shows like "Dual Survival" and "Survivorman" but they do leave a lot to be desired. I know that there are a lot of rocks and minerals in nature that can be used as whetstones. I've also heard that the botton of some ceramic jugs work great.

    I've had a thread similar to this in the past but I feel it's high time to revisit this most important subject again. So what would you all use if you didn't have access to your sharpening tools that you have now? What would you all use in a pinch? I do know that many types of sandpaper and silicon carbide paper does do a decent job but I haven't found much else that gets a KNIFE as sharp as I would like one.

    Also if you had access to your regular sharpening tools which ones of those would you use? OK let's talk "SURVIVAL SHARPENING"
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    If we're actually in the wilderness, and not around any kind of urban environment where glass/toilets/coffee cups/clay plant pots/etc can be found, I would simply look for a suitable rock. Afterall, many high quality sharpening stones are just that...stones. It worked for our ancestors, and I think if you had to make due, you'd do just fine. You should be able to develop a decent working edge on most steels with any rock that has a relatively flat surface and is abrasive. Murray Carter sharpened a knife on a cinder block and stropped it on newspaper and it was sharp enough to shave hair off his arm.

    Otherwise, it's pretty well known that the bottom of ceramic coffee cups, the top edge of car window glass, the rim of the water reservoir on ceramic toilets, and clay pots can all give you a nice working edge if you know what you're doing. This is also one scenario where I absolutely support stropping your edge on whatever you can find, since you won't likely have a better stone to use in place of a stropping device. For that you can use just about any kind of paper product including the straight edge of cardboard.

    With any of these methods, you may not be whittling hair, but you should be able to maintain an edge well enough to carve, make wood shavings, clean animals/fish, etc.

    If I had access to any regular sharpening device, I would probably just want a simple diamond or ceramic rod, unless we're fortunate enough to have a Sharpmaker or Edge Pro "WTSHTF".



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    Moh's Hardness Scale Will Show What Might BE Best

    That's all pretty sound advise EVIL and a great start to the thread. I do appreciate your input it was really thought provoking.

    Now when you mention that most sharpening stones ( the natural ones that is) are nothing more than rock then that makes me want to know more about the rocks and minerals where I will be. Metallurgists have what's called the "MOH's Hardness Scale" and it would be nice to know which one of the rocks or minerals in your locale that would make a decent whetstone based on where they are on the Moh's Hardness Scale and what their abrasive properties might be.

    Especially as hard as some of these newer supersteel blades have gotten to be over the past few years. I'm thinking if I had my choice of conventional sharpening tools to take with me I'm pretty much going to stock up on Diamond benchstone and diamond sharpening tools in general. Because diamond will cut/abrade anything we deal with.

    We have a limestone here in Missouri known as Bethany Falls Limestone. It's really hard stuff because I literally messed up a jackhammer with it once. I do know that novaculite and obsidian both have decent abrasive properties and those would be 2 to keep in mind.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User xceptnl's Avatar
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    David beat me to it. Murray's video immediately popped into my head when I read your first post. I would be looking for a really flat rock in a wilderness situation or a cinderblock, coffee cup, toilet, etc. in an urban one. If I were to have my tools with me, the 701MF pair would be the most likely. They are in my daily bag and rarely farther than 100 ft. from me at any point.


    FYI a few pairs of these great Profile stones popped up on the bay recently.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Stuart Ackerman's Avatar
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    Some small pieces of wet and dry 200 grit and 600 grit paper rolled up and stored with firelighting gear would be a good backup...
    Wet them and place on heel of shoe or flat rock and sharpen away...

    I normally keep some type of diamond plate around 2 by 3 inhces with me in my waller around 200 to 400 grit, DMT at the moment...
    I have a short length of round ceramic rod in my EDC backpack ( I walk to and from work everyday )

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    Like Murray said, if you can scratch the steel with it, you can sharpen with it.

    As for natural stones I believe most are types of mineral deposits as opposed to stone but either way simply finding a flat enough rock will do. You can really over think this topic.

    SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User defenestrate's Avatar
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    depends on the environment. For example, If you are looking to sharpen an axe, and you have a couple of bricks nearby, rub those bricks together to ensure flatness and it is fairly easy to sharpen said axe on one, unless it is made out of some kind of hard-to-sharpen supersteel.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Johnnie1801's Avatar
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    Buy a Fallkniven DC4 sharpening stone, it's made for this. One side is diamond coated and the other is ceramic. It's small and light enough to fit in your pocket or bag without being noticeable. Better yet it is small enough to fit in some type of pouch that you can attach to your knife. I use mine to sharpen everything from pocket knives, axes and a 9 inch blade survival knife.

    Here's Ray Mears using one

    Jon

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    701 Profile stones: A bug out bag must have a set

    Quote Originally Posted by xceptnl View Post
    David beat me to it. Murray's video immediately popped into my head when I read your first post. I would be looking for a really flat rock in a wilderness situation or a cinderblock, coffee cup, toilet, etc. in an urban one. If I were to have my tools with me, the 701MF pair would be the most likely. They are in my daily bag and rarely farther than 100 ft. from me at any point.


    FYI a few pairs of these great Profile stones popped up on the bay recently.
    I'm glad that I stocked up on the 701 Profile stones when they just got discontinued from the line up. With those stones having the ability to do plain edges and most serrated edges I couldn't think of a better finishing tool than those. I just wish they had done those in the diamond variant.

    Again as far as rocks go I will reiterate that not all rocks are created equal and I would think that the hardness and properties of the rock could certainly make a huge difference. Because I've found that not all rocks have abrasive properties to them.
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    I keep a diasharp folding dmt Coarse/fine in my bag. If I lose that a river rock will work fine.

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    [QUOTE=Johnnie1801;947839]Buy a Fallkniven DC4 sharpening stone, it's made for this. One side is diamond coated and the other is ceramic. It's small and light enough to fit in your pocket or bag without being noticeable. Better yet it is small enough to fit in some type of pouch that you can attach to your knife. I use mine to sharpen everything from pocket knives, axes and a 9 inch blade survival knife.

    I have heard great stuff about Fallkniven's sharpening tools. I've yet to own one or use one but I'm anxious to try one out. Looking at them in catalogs they sure look like they are good quality. I'm leaning toward diamond tools for hard times because I know they will cut/abrade anything in a blade steel. It also seems like cleaning is not as much of a factor as it is with most whetstones or benchstones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by defenestrate View Post
    depends on the environment. For example, If you are looking to sharpen an axe, and you have a couple of bricks nearby, rub those bricks together to ensure flatness and it is fairly easy to sharpen said axe on one, unless it is made out of some kind of hard-to-sharpen supersteel.
    Greetings Def: Bricks and other refractory type materials are certainly a main consideration for use in sharpening. I've even wondered if the mortar itself wouldn't be a nice abrasive to use in a pinch?

    I've also seen on a couple of these latest survival shows using sand on a hard surface to create a sharpening media of sorts and it does seem to work for some types of sharpening. I have no idea where most bricks fit in the Moh's Hardness Scale but I'm sure they would work in some situations to sharpen or touch up a dull edge.

    There are so many types and grits of abrasive sandpapers, emery cloth materials and silicon carbide papers that would certainly aid in survival sharpening.

    But the one big advantage bricks would have is that there is such a huge plentiful supply of them.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    One thing you can do if you're into prepping is get some double sided tape and stick a sheet of sandpaper on the back of your sheath (assuming you have a fixed blade) then cut/tear the sheet to fit the shape of the sheath.

    A few months ago one of the knife mags had an article about how hollow handle "Rambo knives" are making a serious comeback and several companies are making quality versions of the movie knife, most of them are forged from a single block of metal and the handle/blade are one piece so they're plenty strong. If I were buying a survival/SHTF type knife, I would definitely consider one.

    SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Stuart Ackerman's Avatar
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    Some I did a few years ago..all 440C, but the tailcap is still annealed...sorry to go off topic...





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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil D View Post
    One thing you can do if you're into prepping is get some double sided tape and stick a sheet of sandpaper on the back of your sheath (assuming you have a fixed blade) then cut/tear the sheet to fit the shape of the sheath.
    Well "EVIL" I'm glad you brought up "sandpaper" >> because it's a very abundant item and easy to get at a very cheap price. I've found a myriad of all kinds of diffent grades and grits of sandpaper at garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. I just recently bought a huge collection of sandpaper with everything from floor sanding paper to crocus cloth and emery cloth included. I've even got a couple of videos on the use of sandpaper as a knife sharpening tool that I haven't even watched yet but will do here in the near future.

    I've also looked into all types of different files for instance>> I've gotten a pretty decent collection of diamond files and I hear that there are a lot of ceramic files now available on the open market.

    But again SANDPAPER can be quite useful in a lot of survival type situations.
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    Stuart, those look pretty cool!


    And my on topic reply...I would think that a rock like shale would do very well at getting a knife back up to sharp. Nice and flat, smooth-ish surface.
    On the hunt for...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathBySnooSnoo View Post
    Stuart, those look pretty cool!


    And my on topic reply...I would think that a rock like shale would do very well at getting a knife back up to sharp. Nice and flat, smooth-ish surface.
    The problem with shale is that I think it's probably too soft and too smooth for it to have abrasive properties. If I remember right shale is pretty far down on the Moh's Hardness Scale.

    Because even novaculite ( Arkansas Stones) are now considered too soft for many of the new supersteels. I hardly ever use any of my Arkansas Stones anymore>> I have one of the older Blue-Black Arkansas Stones which is harder than most of the Arkansas Stones and it does a nice job finishing many edges but I think with the way many of the newer steels are heading upward on the hardness scale I think we are going to see many of these natural stones become antiquated.

    It's got to be something high up on the Moh's scale and have abrasive properties as well to have the ability to sharpen in a survival situation.

    I was talking to a guy the other day and he told me that he used solid glass insulators that used to be found along railroad tracks. But I've yet to try them to see if they would work. I've also been told that Obsidian is somewhat harder than Novaculite.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Monocrom's Avatar
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    Honestly, just put a small diamond hone in your pack. Use that for re-sharpening.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    Honestly, just put a small diamond hone in your pack. Use that for re-sharpening.
    Greetings Monocrom and thanks a lot for your input. Good advice because that's the conclusion I'm coming up with. That is if I can get out of Dodge with my sharpening equipment.

    Now on this thread I was mainly wanting to know what I could use the sharpen knives without having the luxury of having premium sharpening tools at my side during a tragic survival situation. But if I did have my personal choice as to what types of sharpening tools I would select I'm leaning toward diamond tools for a lot of reasons.

    But I'm still wondering what people can use during a survival situation where there are no sharpening tools handy. So far I've got some pretty interesting answers. It seems like ceramic hardware of many types is the popular choice of many people.

    Again I'm wondering about what type of rocks and minerals that there are in the area you'll be living in at that time. Find out what rocks and minerals rank high on the Moh's Hardness Scale and try and use those for sharpening.

    I do remember Cody Lundin on one of his shows using a slurry of sand on a hard rock and he said it worked pretty well. I'm still hoping for good information on this subject. Because with knives being one of your most important tools it just makes sense that you must know what to do to get them sharp in pinch.
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  20. #20
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    Bottom line, anything that can scratch the steel can also sharpen the steel, with varying degrees of ease and difficulty.

    SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
    ~David

    Official plea to Sal: Can we PLEASE get a DLC Yojimbo 2? PLEASE!!?

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