‘A sharp knife is a safe knife‘ is a common saying among survival instructors. And for good reason, a dull knife can make cutting more difficult which can cause the knife to do erratic things as you put pressure on the blade. This presents a safety hazard and all knives should be kept sharp enough to complete their given task easily. There are a variety of different methods that can be used to sharpen knives. One of the newer methods is using a so-called “diamond file/stone”. A diamond stone is a metal plate with diamond abrasive material on the surface. The advantage is that diamond stones require no water or oil, last a lifetime and they are very durable.
A problem with diamonds files in the past has been that they are typically coarse to medium, and most people use the diamond stone to start the edge work then finish with a traditional stone. Recently some very good inexpensive but well made fine diamond stones have been released to the market. One of these is from Lansky, who makes a variety of sharpening devices for the knife connoisseur. Lansky’s product is a 6″x 2″ diamond bench stone with rubberized feet which keeps the diamond bench in place while sharpening.
What I like most about this product is the size. It’s large enough to sharpen larger survival knives but still small enough to easily pack in your ruck. In practice, I’ve found that the Lansky diamond bench stone has a good consistency across the abrasive diamond media which makes sharpening quick and painless. My beat up cutting tools sharpened efficiently and with a good edge. The edge wasn’t quite as smooth as it is when finished with a stone, but very close. And given the advantages of the diamond stone over traditional oil stones I’ll be using this for the foreseeable future.
For those of you like me who have been using oil stones in the field for a while, I’d recommend taking a hard look at the Lansky diamond bench stone. It’s a simple, lightweight and intuitive design which lends itself to shop or field use. And while the price may seem high ($22 dollars as of this writing), factor in that it will last you a lifetime when cared for correctly and you will likely not have to buy another one. Contrast this with a traditional oil stone which on average I replace every 8-16 months. The price quickly adds up. I will give an updated review in approximately a year to determine how well it has held up.