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Assuming I am lost with minimal tools, but have my knife, is there any way to improvise a knife sharpener in the woods?

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You can use a fine sandstone with a little water on it. Sandstone works the best because of its fine grain and good abrasive quality. Using water smooths the sandstone surface.

  1. Drag the stone slightly diagonal away from the edge on one side
  2. Change the side with each stroke
  3. Check the sharpness with your thumbnail once a while
  4. Repeat

If you can't find sandstone you could also use another fine grained stone as a fallback.

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IMO -- this answer leaves a bit to be desired, it doesn't really provide any idea about how to actually do this. A reader could not take this answer and try to apply it in the real world without having so much surrounding knowledge that the answer would no longer be necessary. In it's current form it's barely one step above "sure if your knife is blunt, try a rock". Is there anything you can do to flesh this out and be thorough? – Russell Steen Feb 20 '12 at 18:51
I refined my answer – Thomas Rawyler Feb 21 '12 at 10:23
And if you have a leather belt it can be used. Never really understood sharpening with leather myself though. Also another knife or metal object can work, but that is another thing I have never done myself or even understand exactly how you go about it. – Jonathon Wisnoski Dec 9 '12 at 3:18

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