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Friday, 17 February 2012

Gerber Pocket Sharpener Review

Key Info
-Handy, pocket-sized.
-Course and fine grit in one unit.
-Removes little metal - fine grit is fine, course is more like medium.
-Ceramic rods.
-Restores sharp edge to knife moderately blunted through use.
-Not a replacement for a set of stones. 

Overview
While never a substitute to a set of stones, a pocket sharpener can be an invaluable tool in the field. Pocket sharpeners are designed to rejuvenate the edge of an already sharp knife, after it has lost some sharpness due to use - not to give an edge to a severely blunted blade. The Gerber Pocket Sharpener consists of two ceramic rods, set at an angle of around 20-30*, to match the angle of most knives' edges. One end of the rods is a coarse grit (which is more like medium), that is used for restoring the edge to a moderately blunted knife, and the other end of the rods is a fine grit, which is used to refine the edge of an already sharp knife, after it has been slightly blunted through use.

Use
Sharpeners of this type are not designed to replace a set of whetstones, a Lansky System or similar. They are designed to refine your edge after it has taken a become blunted through normal use. This little sharpener does just that. It makes short work of restoring the blade of your knife to a good edge, but removes very little metal. 

A common misconception with sharpeners of this type, is that the ceramic rods are supposed to rotate. This is incorrect! They are supposed to stay still, so that they can remove a small amount of metal and remove any burrs caused by use; honing the edge back to the correct shape. 

Although this sharpener is made for restoring the edge to a knife after use, and only removes a small amount of metal from your blade, it removes metal nevertheless, and therefore should not be over-used. Only use a sharpener like this if you feel the edge of your blade has been compromised enough to warrant a sharpen - don't use it every time you use your knife! However, do not neglect to use it at all if you feel your knife is becoming blunt, because using this fine ceramic sharpener will remove far less metal than would be removed if you let your knife become blunt to the point where it had to be sharpened on the set of stones.

After using this sharpener for a while, you may want to reprofile your knife on your stones, as the very edge of the edge (can't think how else to describe it!) will probably be made a slightly different angle to the rest of the bevel by this sharpener, giving you a double bevel.

Quality
The quality of this pocket sharpener is good. It is made from plastic, but feels pretty tough, and not like it's just about to snap in half, like some do. The ceramic rods are of just the right coarseness to give a quick sharpen, or add a bit more 'bite' to your edge for cutting rope etc., but also have a very fine side, which I find the most useful. 

Conclusion
If you're looking to replace your sharpening stones, then don't bother with this. However, of you're looking for a quick, handy and reliable way to hone your knife on the field, then this sharpener is definitely worth a look, and can be found on Amazon.com

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