Ease of use
Compact, capable, and affordable.
Summary : The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener takes your knife through five levels of sharpening, including a leather strop. Serrated knives and fish hooks can be sharpened as well.
The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener is one of the best ways to keep an edge on your knife in the field that I know of. It has two features that set it apart from other sharpeners: 1) five levels of sharpening, and 2) angle guides for each of those levels.
Five levels of sharpening
The sharper starts out with a 220-grit diamond plate. This is fairly course, and is something you would only use to reprofile a blade. This is something that happens at the campsite though. You might chip a blade when engaged in heavier tasks, or you might wear your axe down after splitting firewood. In these cases, a few runs on the 220-grit will give you the headstart you need to put on another edge.
When you flip the sharpener over there is another 600-grit diamond plate. This is where I usually start if a knife has had a weekend of heavy use. 5-10 runs and you’ll be ready for the next step up.
The edge of the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener has a ceramic rod that can be twisted for different levels of sharpening as well. There is a course grit and a fine grit. The ability to move up through gradual levels of sharpening like this not only puts a razor-sharp edge on your knife, but it’s also foolproof. Now, if you wanted to, you could stop at the fine grit ceramic rod and you’d have a sharp knife with a workable edge. Knife sharpening fanatics (like myself) still have one more option to take it further.
On the other side, you’ll find a leather strop. This allows you to get your knife hair-popping sharp if that’s your goal. The leather is conditioned with micro-abrasive, so it actually functions quite well as a strop, despite its small size.
Here’s the other thing that makes this sharpener appealing. There are 20-degree angle guides for every level of sharpening. This is the main reason I’ve recommended this sharpener to so many people. You don’t have to be an expert to keep your knives sharp. The angle guides ensure an accurate draw across the surface each and every time. There are even angle guides for the leather strop. Once you get going you don’t really need them, but it’s nice to have an idea of where to start.
A few more clever features
On the end of the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener, you’ll see a tiny ceramic rod for sharpening serrated knives. If you have one, you know that they can be tricky to keep sharp. This gets the job done in the field easily. Also, one edge of the large ceramic rod has a deep groove for sharpening fish hooks. Last, but not least, I didn’t mention the diamond plates are magnetic. When you open them up you’ll find two broadhead wrenches built into the sharpener. One for four-bladed broadheads and one for three-bladed broadheads. It’s a feature that didn’t take up any extra space, and I think it was a pretty clever move. You could even use that space to store tinder or a micro first aid kit.
To reuse an old phrase, it really is the little sharpener that could. I like that everything is contained in one piece and that I don’t have to assemble anything at the campsite to quickly throw an edge on my knives and axes. For everything that it does, I think the price is more than reasonable as well. Two thumbs up from me.