I wrote recently about the Lansky sharpening system and how well it works. While I stand by that review, I must add that it is not a practical system to really use in the field. This brings up a problem. Our blades often need sharpening most when it is the least convenient time. In the middle of skinning a deer, while slicing up kindling, or when working your way through a pile of bluegills—these are all times that knives love to dull on us. If you’ve been sharpening knives your whole life, you can likely just pull out a whetstone or file and perform a quick touch up. For the rest of us, a user-friendly guided sharpener is much easier to use well. That’s where the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener comes in.
The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener is a very capable sharpening device in a compact package. At Just under 2 x 8 inches, it easily fits in a pocket or pack. Weighing in at only 4.6 ounces, it also won’t weigh you down. It features two diamond honing surfaces, coarse and fine. Both have 20-degree angle guides which is perfect to get any field or filet knife razor-sharp. The honing surfaces are securely held in place by strong magnets and are easily replaceable. In fact, removing the honing surface reveals a 3 or 4 prong broadhead wrench which is a nice addition. The top of the sharpener has a guided turning ceramic rod which has a setting for coarse, fine, and fishhook. This can help deburr the blade after honing. There is also a thinner short ceramic rod which is perfect for sharpening serrated knives. Finally, the bottom of the field sharpener has a leather strop for putting that nice polish on your blade after sharpening it. The strop features angle guides as well. At $30, the Guided Field Sharpener is a lot of bang for your buck.
I have personally been using the field sharpener for about a year now. This has spanned two hunting seasons, a summer fishing season, and a lot of use while camping or just touching up blades at home. While not as fully featured as a precision sharpening system, for the size and weight the Work Sharp device is one of the best on the market. In fact, the only thing I don’t regularly use it for is sharpening kitchen knives where I prefer a seventeen-degree angle. I have used it to touch up my skinning knife while processing deer, sharpen my larger bushcraft knives for camp use, and even touched up my hatchet blade on it. It is so simple to use, that I am confident anyone could watch the Work Sharp instructional video, practice a couple of times, and then be putting some really nice edges on their blades.
The knife market is beyond saturated with quality blades and the home sharpening market is quickly following suit. You can spend hundreds of dollars on great home precision sharpeners, but they will do you no good if your knife goes dull when you need it most. For $30, the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener will be some of the best money you have spent. It will increase your skills at sharpening and allow you to make sure your blades are always razor-sharp and ready to perform at their best.