Maintaining An Edge – The Bear Grylls Field Knife Sharpener
How many of you have dulled the edge of your blade and wished there had been an easy solution to bringing it back? Fortunately, there are options that mean we don’t have to carry around a whetstone or have a strop about it; solutions like the Bear Grylls Field Knife Sharpener.
Along with a group of other useful products released by Gerber and Bear Grylls over the last couple of years is the Bear Grylls Field Knife Sharpener. It’s made for, as the name suggests, sharpening on-the-go. For those times when your blade needs a quick touch up, wherever you are. To make this product work, it needed to be light, compact and of course do a good job of sharpening a blade. Gladly, it does all three.
The Field Sharpener weighs in at a mere 65g (2.3oz) and is 4.5 inches long – yet is more than sturdy enough to handle even your most rugged combat knife. Made out of the same plastic used across the board in the Bear Grylls Gerber range, it also shares the ever-present rubberised ‘grip’ effect along the sides and across the top, for ease of use and nothing more. The BG logo is of course emblazoned across the front in bright orange, along with a barely visible Gerber logo just above. At least we can be clear whose product range this is!
The top of the product has a hole through it that can be used as a lanyard attachment – meaning you can tie this onto your bag or even wear it around your neck, Cody Lundin style. On the back is another SOS reminder – dit dit dit, dah dah dah, dit dit dit. Though you obviously won’t be able to use your knife sharpener as a device to send out an SOS signal! There’s no included whistle like other products in the range, so the guide is helpful but useless unless you have a way of sending out that signal.
Like the sheath on the Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife, the Field Sharpener has a hole in the bottom of the cap to allow water to drain out. The cap is held onto the useful bit of the sharpener with a simple notch and groove. The closure is simple but effective – the cap won’t come loose and fall off, but is strong enough to come away nicely with a bit of a pull.
There are two diamond-coated, 400 grit rods that allow you to sharpen the serrations on your blade. I found these to work well but they aren’t without their problems. Unfortunately, even the smallest rod is too large to sharpen some of the serrations on the Bear Grylls Compact Scout Knife. This is a bit of an oversight, since the larger rod will cater to the vast majority of knifes, but the smaller isn’t quite small enough to deal with a knife from the same range of products!
The most important features of the Field Sharpener are of course the two pull-through inserts that sharpen the edge of your blade. There is one coarse, carbide sharpener that takes off the most metal and puts an edge back on it, before the second carbide sharpener tidies it up and gives you that ultimate sharpness. The sharpener is super easy to use and works with both right and left handed people. Down the centre on both sides is a rugged, rubberised grip that allows you to keep a firm hold while you’re sharpening. I found it easiest to hold the sharpener on a hard surface for support, rather than in open-air where it’s more challenging to keep a straight pull all the way through the V-shaped inserts.
One ‘problem’ I found with the product – and really, it comes with the territory – was how the knife blade cuts the plastic below the pull through sharpeners. As the end of the blade is pulled through, it has a tendency to nick the plastic below (shown in the above picture). This is only aesthetic , affecting the product in no way other than a small black cut line on either side. Realistically, there’s nothing they could have done to prevent this.
The Bear Grylls Priorities Of Survival Guide is also included, but like nearly all of the range, there’s nowhere to store it. A great guide, but useless if you forget it! Stick it in your rucksack and forget about it, until you need it.
The Bear Grylls Field Knife Sharpener retails at £19.99 but you can pick it up for closer to £15 if you know where to look. At this price, and in this form, you’re never going to get a device capable of putting the sharpest of edges on a blade. For that, you’d need a sharpening stone and a leather strop. The purpose of this tiny device though, is to allow you to sharpen an edge well enough to maintain a fine cut, not one that’ll slice through anything with even the slightest of touches. For its purpose, it does a great job and at a great price too.