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So for Christmas my wife and kids decided to get me a Buck 113 Skinner with S30V steel. It's on it's way to me. I'm not sure what makes someone an expert at sharpening knives, but I'm sure that person is not me. I already have the Smith's Tri-Hone kit, a couple of pocket diamond rods and an old German-made honing steel that belonged to my dad when he was a butcher - maybe in the 50's??

Any insight on what might work well for the S30V blade at home and in the field? As I mentioned, I'm sure I'm not an expert at sharpening knives, but I'm the type to really not let my hunting and EDC knives get that dull to start with. I wonder if maybe even constant touch-ups with a leather strop might be the way to go, providing there's a good one that would fit in my hunting pack.

Thanks in advance, and a happy New Year to all!!

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Im not the best at sharpening.

So i try to touch up a blade before its too dull.

I use ceramic sticks and strops.


I made a couple strops out of horsebutt leather.


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S30V has a reputation for being harder to sharpen. The best you can probably do is a diamond based sharpener, either a good sized flat stone, or maybe one of the oval diamond "steels". The diamond steel has a learning curve to it in that you have to work harder at keeping the same angle. The Vanadium is tough stuff to sharpen even in cheap kitchen knives, or maybe more so in them. Maybe the best thing to do is buy both and practice a lot on your kitchen knives until you get to be quick at it.

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I have been leaning more and more into stropping and have been enjoying the results. As Big Dave mentioned, maintaining your edge before it truly gets dull is a huge benefit. If needed, I'll touch up on a ceramic rod before a round of strokes on the strop. I have been doing this to good effect with a variety of steels, including S30V and even some of the harder stainless alloys.

Not that this is a profound statement, but maintaining a consistent angle, and the right angle, is the cornerstone to effective sharpening. One tool that I have had for a few years and highly recommend is the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener.

https://www.worksharptools.com/shop/benchtop/manual/guided-field-sharpener/

It's not something meant for reprofiling an edge or getting a mirror polish to show off to your friends. However, it has a good combination of tools, it's conveniently sized and it's handy to toss in your pack before heading out the door....or even leaving on the table next to your recliner for evening blade maintenance.

I have found it is dang near perfect for general maintenance and really prolongs the intervals between breaking out the Edge Pro. I have a larger strop (8"x3") and various compounds, but I still reach for that little field sharpener just because it's so convenient.

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If you the dmt duasharp style stones,

This strop is handy.

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Sold by the sharpeningdepot.com


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A well made S30V blade probably won’t require a touch up in the field. There are several good tools to sharpen at home. EdgePro is what I use, and it hand,es that steel easily.


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Yep-edge pro is my choice too, especially sharpening custom blades that have the good hard steel that I also don’t want scratched badly.

I thought I was getting somewhere after years of free free handing with flat stones
Nope- I was sharpening one side of the blade at a different angle than the other side. That kinda worked until using any device that sharpened the same angle on both sides. Took me a long time to figure that out
Now once I get both sides even with the edge pro I keep the edge with just a light stropping. Like War Eagle, I prefer an 8”x3” strop

If it needs more than an occasional stropping I give it a few light passes with ceramic sticks in an angled stand

Don’t let those harder steels get dull. Touch up the edge early on with an edge pro or your favorite system and maintain that edge before it becomes a butter knife

If I need to sharpen harder steels, Im glad I have DMT diamond stones that fit the edge pro. I no longer enjoy sharpening marathons.

Last edited by rd7fox; 12/31/22.
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Originally Posted by Mannlicher
A well made S30V blade probably won’t require a touch up in the field. There are several good tools to sharpen at home. EdgePro is what I use, and it hand,es that steel easily.

This...


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I use a DMT Diafold in fine (red). Works great on S30V.

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I appreciate the information. I am still researching what might be best for me. The DMT Diafolds look great for field work, but I do want to experiment with a leather strop as well - not just for this new knife but others in the house.

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I have a Buck Vanguard with S30V and the steel is incredibly hard but really holds an edge. I use the Gatco Diamond sharpener and haven't found the need to sharpen it in the field.



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I have the Buck Vanguard with S30V and the "grippy" rubber handles. Lotta knife. One of my favorites. It allows me to leave the expensive, pretty, custom knives at home.

Whitail nailed it!

Last edited by rd7fox; 01/03/23.
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I have the Lansky with the diamond hones. Sharpening D2, S30V and S35V is not too bad using this system. I agree the secret is to not let them get really dull before sharpening. This fall using a Buck Pro 102 I processed and skinned 2 deer in one day without sharpening. A couple minutes with the diamond hones touched it up. A few days later I got another deer and processed that deer without sharpening. Again a quick touch up had it back in top form.

The D2 and S30V knives I own are a bit harder to sharpen than the S35V. But diamond stones make sharpening a non issue.


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Sharpmaker with diamond,med and fine work well.


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I don't know anything about that Buck version of steel or heat treatment but for sharpening at home, I think the vertical rod sharpeners are very easy to learn how to use well. And quick to setup. Maybe not the ultimate sharpening method, but plenty good without a lot of setup, clamps, etc.

In general, I like a ceramic rod and old leather belt for a strop.

I think that this is a good video on three different vertical rod sharpeners. Good tips, and fairly objective even though they are trying to sell their version. Hope this helps.


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As mentioned above, I like the vertical rod sharpeners for use at home.

For field use, I just switched to the Benchmade pocket hone. I really like it. It's light and compact, but big enough to be effective.

It's actually made by Work Sharp but is different than the Work Sharp pocket sharpener. The Benchmade has a ceramic rod and leather strop. I was skeptical of the strop but it actually works well.

The guide is fixed angle, but they offer a couple angle options. Or just freehand whatever angle you want.

The Work Sharp version has a diamond plate with guide at 20 degrees and a ceramic rod with guide at 25 degrees. Again, you can freehand any angle that you want but since you seem to want something easy to use the built-in guides might be useful to you.

I prefer 20 degrees for the vertical rod sharpener at home, and the 20 degree Benchmade for the field. Simple and easy. And I'd rather have the leather strop than the diamond plate on the Work Sharp version. That small section of strop really does make a noticeable difference after using the ceramic hone. Super handy to have both on a light weight pocket hone.

Note that Work Sharp and Benchmade sell a Field Sharpener but it is bigger and heavier than the Pocket models.

Not the best video below, but gives you an idea:


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My only complaint is that the Benchmade pocket hone costs quite a bit more than the Work Sharp version.

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Originally Posted by 4th_point
My only complaint is that the Benchmade pocket hone costs quite a bit more than the Work Sharp version.

Doesn’t it say made or assemblies in USA?

Seems like i saw that, i picked up to look at it, thinking is was the same as worksharp.


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Yes, something like "designed, calibrated, and inspected in OR".

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Again...I appreciate the info and insight. I thought I had a system picked out but the group reminded me that once I have a sharp blade in the field, the goal is not to sharpen it start to finish but rather to just maintain an already-sharp edge if necessary. So, I went with the DMT set of 3 stones for home (hard to break the old habit of having a block in front of me I guess) and a leather strop. For the field I already had some small diamond steel rods, but added a DMT "fine" folder and a small strop for my bag to see how those work.

And by the way, I got that Buck 113 Skinner delivered. It's a site to behold and I'm eager to use it. I already had a Buck 110, but now I also have a Buck 112 on the way. I've had a small Buck Alpha Dorado for many years, but just recently noticed that it also has S30V steel. I got it before I even knew what S30V was.

A good day to all!

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Originally Posted by AZ Southpaw
Again...I appreciate the info and insight. I thought I had a system picked out but the group reminded me that once I have a sharp blade in the field, the goal is not to sharpen it start to finish but rather to just maintain an already-sharp edge if necessary. So, I went with the DMT set of 3 stones for home (hard to break the old habit of having a block in front of me I guess) and a leather strop. For the field I already had some small diamond steel rods, but added a DMT "fine" folder and a small strop for my bag to see how those work.

And by the way, I got that Buck 113 Skinner delivered. It's a site to behold and I'm eager to use it. I already had a Buck 110, but now I also have a Buck 112 on the way. I've had a small Buck Alpha Dorado for many years, but just recently noticed that it also has S30V steel. I got it before I even knew what S30V was.

A good day to all!

Isn't "fine" diamond for dull knives? That seems too coarse for touch up compared to a ceramic.

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Lansky system

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You will not need to touch up your S30V blade in the field if you arrive with it already sharp. You should be able to breakdown two elk without a touch up. Although not necessary, I carry a collapsible hooked blade carpet knife for the hide cuts, it is faster, lighter and smaller than most sharpening systems. Cutting dirty hide and banging the edge against bone is your edge's enemy.

These types of blades: https://www.amazon.com/Home-Planet-Gear-Hook-Blades/dp/B0872J1TPP/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2GLL93HORLRLK&keywords=hooked+cutter+tool&qid=1673892291&sprefix=hooked+cutter+tool%2Caps%2C167&sr=8-4


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Originally Posted by 4th_point
Originally Posted by AZ Southpaw
Again...I appreciate the info and insight. I thought I had a system picked out but the group reminded me that once I have a sharp blade in the field, the goal is not to sharpen it start to finish but rather to just maintain an already-sharp edge if necessary. So, I went with the DMT set of 3 stones for home (hard to break the old habit of having a block in front of me I guess) and a leather strop. For the field I already had some small diamond steel rods, but added a DMT "fine" folder and a small strop for my bag to see how those work.

And by the way, I got that Buck 113 Skinner delivered. It's a site to behold and I'm eager to use it. I already had a Buck 110, but now I also have a Buck 112 on the way. I've had a small Buck Alpha Dorado for many years, but just recently noticed that it also has S30V steel. I got it before I even knew what S30V was.

A good day to all!

Isn't "fine" diamond for dull knives? That seems too coarse for touch up compared to a ceramic.

Hey 4th Point...good call!

I continued to research and read what actual users had to say and ended up getting the DMT folder with a fine stone on one side, but an extra fine on the other. The extra fine side does seem much better suited for touch-ups. Thanks!

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When I get new diamond stones I’ll sharpen all my cheap knives first as it seems to break in the stone and it is not as aggressive afterwards. I use the DMT red diamond stone mostly, but I rarely use it as I don’t let my knives get that dull by maintaining the edge with ceramic rods and a leather strop.

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Search Dozier knife sharpening on YouTube and one of the first videos will be Dan Crotts sharpening a knife. It’s worth watching.

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Originally Posted by AZ Southpaw
Hey 4th Point...good call!

I continued to research and read what actual users had to say and ended up getting the DMT folder with a fine stone on one side, but an extra fine on the other. The extra fine side does seem much better suited for touch-ups. Thanks!

Good deal. I bet that extra fine and mini strop will do a good job.

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