October 01, 2010
Petzal: Cutting-Edge Sharpening
By David E. Petzal
Probably the least-mastered skill in all of hunting is knife sharpening. I make it a practice to grope every knife I see in the field (which gets me some strange looks, but who cares) and I doubt if one knife in 50 will actually shave hair. Sharpening a knife by hand, on a stone, required both considerable time and skill, and the many weird devices designed to make the job easy either give you mediocre results, or wreck your edge, or both.
So when the Field & Stream office told me they were sending me a new power sharpener to test, I emitted a groan not unlike a manatee cow in labor but agreed to try it anyway. It’s called the Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener (above), and rather than using grindstones, it uses belts. (Just about all custom knifemakers use grinding belts to put edges on their products.) The thing works. I have fed it soft blades and hard blades, thin blades and thick blades, serrated edge blades, cheap blades and costly blades, and every one of them emerged sharp enough for surgery. By stopwatch, it took me one minute and 58 seconds to bring a medium-dull knife to shaving sharp, and this included a belt change.
The WSKTS will not overheat your blades or tear away steel. I don’t see how you can screw up with it since it’s not only very simple, but actually comes with DIRECTIONS YOU CAN USE! It’s small, $80, and the only thing you’ll ever need to replace is the belts.
To see more, go to worksharptools.com.