OTHER KNIFESHARPENING DE­VICES

American Survival Guide - - FIRST WORDS -

Yes, there are many sharp­en­ing tools avail­able. Toruno was shown this se­lec­tion and said that any of these are fine—if you know how to use them and you find them to your lik­ing. How­ever, when shown the small, black Ger­ber Pocket Sharp­ener, Toruno said, “I wouldn’t have any­thing to do with that one.”

Tra­di­tional steels such as these are used by butch­ers to main­tain a keen edge on their knives:

EZE-LAP’S Model M di­a­mond knife—a sharp­en­ing rod with a leather stor­age pouch. It’s por­ta­ble and easy to use ... but it must be used care­fully.

EZE-LAP’S Model S di­a­mond knife—the sharp­en­ing rod is less ex­pen­sive and smaller than the Model M. It is good for a broad as­sort­ment of knives.

The Speedy Sharp car­bide-edge sharp­ener—an in­ex­pen­sive, por­ta­ble sharp­ener that is good for many ap­pli­ca­tions.

Shrade’s Old Timer Hon­es­teel—a bar de­sign used for finer and less-abra­sive work than the di­a­mond rods. It comes with a pro­tec­tive leather sheath.

Ger­ber’s Pocket Knife Sharp­ener—in­tended for quick touch-ups in the field. It em­ploys in­ter­nal sharp­en­ing rods for both coarse and fine work.

par­tic­u­lar rec­om­men­da­tions. He sharp­ens what­ever you bring him. But he does point out that you can of­ten find an ex­cel­lent func­tional knife at a yard sale or thrift store.

Sure, you can spend hun­dreds of dol­lars on a sin­gle knife, and if you’re happy with that knife, fine! But all too of­ten, when col­lec­tors spend hun­dreds on a knife, they tend not to use it. Why? Pre­cisely be­cause they spent hun­dreds of dol­lars on it, and they don’t want to mess it up.

“I know lots of chefs who go to yard sales and find ex­cel­lent knives,” Toruno pointed out. “If you know what to look for, you can of­ten pick up a great knife that the home­owner no longer wants or needs.”

We talked about thick, heavy knives that are pop­u­lar in the so-called “sur­vival” world; knives that could typ­i­cally hold up to se­vere use.

“How­ever,” Toruno ex­plained, “it’s a mis­con­cep­tion that a knife with a thin­ner spine is of lesser qual­ity. It all de­pends how you plan to use that knife. In the culi­nary world, a knife with a thin­ner spine is def­i­nitely pre­ferred.”

He added that you should not use your knife as an axe ... if you need an axe, you should buy one.

On the other hand, Toruno said that one of the most ver­sa­tile cut­ting tools is the ma­chete.

“In Nicaragua, I’ve seen guys who use the ma­chete for ev­ery­thing. Of course, that comes with prac­tice. I sug­gest you buy and use the knife you are most com­fort­able with for your needs.”

Toruno saw the ver­sa­til­ity of the ma­chete when he lived in Nicaragua for a short while (from 1992 to 1999), try­ing to make a liv­ing as an or­ganic farmer. But it didn’t work out for var­i­ous rea­sons, so he came back to the United States.

In terms of a stain­less ver­sus a car­bon-steel knife (a car­bon-steel knife is of­ten thought of as “old fash­ioned” and made with me­tal that can cor­rode eas­ily), Toruno says that “a car­bon-steel blade def­i­nitely holds and keeps its edge bet­ter than a stain­less knife.” But he quickly adds that he’s mostly deal­ing with stain­less steel knives, which dom­i­nate the culi­nary world.

A full tang is best, of course. The tang is the sec­tion of the knife that goes into the han­dle, and so the best knives have me­tal the full length and width of the han­dle.

HE POINTED OUT THAT IN SOME CIR­CUM­STANCES, HE MIGHT MAKE SOME VARI­A­TION TO [THE] RULE IF THE KNIFE EDGE IS DAM­AGED OR IF A SLIGHTLY DIF­FER­ENT AN­GLE WOULD IM­PROVE THE KNIFE. “I HAVE TO EVAL­U­ATE EACH KNIFE IN­DI­VID­U­ALLY.”

Left to right: A Butcher steel; Eze-lap sharp­ener mod­els “M” and “S”; a Speedy Sharp; Shrade’s Hon­es­teel; and a small Ger­ber sharp­ener are among those the author dis­cussed with Julio Toruno.

Right: A knife’s size doesn’t mat­ter to lio Toruno. Shown here is a small us­tom knife he just nished sharp­en­ing.

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