Sometimes all you need is a positive attitude and a sharp knife. Whether you are a backpacker, survivalist, hunter, fisherman or boy scout you know the importance of a sharp knife. You might not have mastered the skills necessary to keep your knife sharp, but you understand the importance of having a sharp knife. Real life leads to a dull knife over time. The Morankiv knives are tools and should be used as tools, but doing so will dull them. It’s a whole lot easier to survive when your knife is sharp and ready to use. Preparation begins at home, and having the right knife sharpening tools can help you to keep your knives sharp before you leave on an adventure or while you are in the field.
There are a number of different ways to sharpen a Morakniv knife; below are some great tools to sharpen your knives and some tips and information to help you get started. The key to having sharp knives is practicing with the tools that you have and working at the process to get better and better. Grab a couple of older knives and spend some time using the tools that you have to sharpen them and practice. One kitchen knife, one boning knife, and a fixed blade knife like the Morakniv Kansbol which is a great knife to practice knife sharpening and a great knife to use day to day.
Manufacturers choose the knife edge based on the kind of knife they want to build. Once a knife is in your hands, you first look at the blade thickness, then edge thickness and finally the angle of the blade edge so that you can consistently sharpen that knife the same way every single time. The Morakniv Kansbol is a knife that you can clearly see the blade thickness, the blade edge and the blade angle. Looking at a filet knife and comparing it to the Kansbol you can see that the blade edge is at a different angle designed to finesse the blade through meat. The Kansbol is a great knife to learn how to sharpen your own knives because it is solid and built to be an outdoor knife.
Using a whetstone is a skill learned through practice. A whetstone is a primary tool to provide a really sharp knife. Many great knife sharpeners still use a whetstone as their primary tool in sharping their knives. Up until 20 years ago almost every knife was sharpened with skilled hands and a quality whetstone. Whetstones are often called oilstones or Japanese Waterstones. Some of the best whetstones come out of Arkansas from stone mined out of the earth. Whetstones are gritty stones, generally rectangular, can be natural stones like the Arkansas Whetstones or synthetic surfaces like the Japanese Waterstones. They work by sharpening the edges on your knife instead of grinding new edges. It takes a skillset to learn how to hold your knives at the right angle as you push them and pull them down the stone over and over.
It is important to make sure that your stone is secured to your countertop. Because the knife needs to move forward and back, the stone needs to be 100% secure to the counter. Start with the coarse side up. The knife blade should be faced away from your body and you need to figure out the angle for the knife that you are sharpening. The key to sharpening your knife is to lift it to the angle of the blade edge and then consistently draw your blade down the stone in a wide long manner keeping the blade constantly at the right angle until the tip of the knife runs off the edge. Repeat this several times depending how dull your knife is. Once the first side is sharpened run your thumb perpendicular to the edge of the blade to feel the burr. Don’t run your fingers parallel to the blade. Run your thumb across the knife, NOT ALONG IT. Turn the knife over and repeat the process in the opposite direction. Once this is done, turn your whetstone over to the fine side to complete the sharpening. Always use the course first, then fine side and repeat the process of drawing your knife across both sides of the knife first on one side to feel the burr and then on the other side. Once this is done your knife should be amazingly sharp.
Whetstones must be kept secure to your counter for all of this to work well. In addition, the blade needs to be kept consistent to the angle that you want to create. Some whetstones require water or oil to use them properly, don’t hesitate to be quite liberal in the use of both. There are blade guides that can help you learn. One way to learn is by practicing on a couple of coins. You can use two quarters for a strong outdoor edge like the Kansbol or you can use two dimes for an edge like a filet knife. Drawing your knife across a whetstone requires pressure from your fingers near the edge and the knife is kept at the right angle by using your thumbs to hold up the back of the blade at the same angle for every single draw. Take your time sharpening your knife, and it will feel different depending on which side of the blade you are sharpening and which hand is dominant but practice makes perfect.
Not everyone will take the time to learn how to use a whetstone to sharpen their Morakniv knives. An easy way to sharpen a knife is through the use of a ceramic or belt-driven powered knife sharpener. These electric knife sharpeners are built to bring dull blades back to life. Some electric knife sharpeners are built specifically to sharpen kitchen shears or Japanese knives and even tools. These can be great for kitchen knives, fragile knives or even strong tools like shears, cutters and chisels. For a knife like the Morakniv, the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition works great and is quite easy to use. This powered sharpener uses belts that are 80 grit, 220 grit and 6000 fine giving you the ability to work your way from rough to medium and super fine. These are great to use for quick tune ups or a complete regrind on your existing knife. Be careful not to take too much metal off a blade. Keep in mind that these electric sharpeners still take practice.
Mechanical knife sharpeners can range from best-in-class sharpeners like the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpeners to the great products like Work Sharp Ken Onion Angle Set Knife Sharpener with Tri-brasive which is a fantastic sharpener for the Morakniv. This tool allows you to set your angle and draw the blade down both sides by holding your blade straight up and down the sharpener at different angles. This allows you to make sure that the blade is always consistent and the same every single time. The angle can be set at 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, and 25 degrees. The Tri-Brasive on this sharpener allows you to go from coarse grit to fine grit and then to ceramic for honing and to get a tack sharp edge at home.
Keeping your knife sharp in the field is an important part of maintaining your Morakniv sharp and ready for anything you need. A dull knife can be dangerous, possibly leading to injury, and can ruin meat if you are fishing and hunting. No one has time for a dull knife. The Accusharp knife sharpener is an inexpensive tool that can last a lifetime and easily fits right in your pack to keep your Morakniv sharp in the field. It weighs less than a half pound.
When you are skinning and quartering big game, you want your Morakniv to be as sharp as can be. The Morakniv needs to be sharp as possible when tackling a large job. The Accusharp uses a pull method by putting your knife cutting side up. The next step is to pull the sharpener across the blade which allows you to keep your fingers safe. Just pull the tool along your blade. After five to seven pulls, test the blade. It should be sharp and ready to go. When your knife gets dull, it is ready for pulling and it is easy to touch up when you need to. The Accusharp is well under a pound, and they have small, lighter versions for backpackers and adventurers. Morakniv also makes simple-to-use knife sharpeners.
In the outdoors sharp knives matter and can make a difference between a great day outdoors and a bad day outdoors. Preparation begins at home by choosing the right Morakniv knives to carry with you and checking each one to make sure they are sharp. Keeping your kit ready to go provides the opportunity to be nimble in the outdoors and takes the stress away. Practicing knife sharpening will allow you to build up your skillset and gives you a tactile task to accomplish while you are planning your next adventure.