How to Sharpen Serrated Edge Knives-Serrated Knife Sharpening

Today I thought I would talk about a little problem that many folks that carry and/or use knives in their homes seem to have all over the country. That little problem is serrated knives. We all own them in one form or another like a serrated survival pocket knife or serrated bread knife or even a serrated carving knife. There is an issue that arises for many people that own serrated knives. That issue is how to properly sharpen a serrated knife? The question of the ages for the modern knife owner. In this post, I am going to address this issue and when I am done with it you will know how to sharpen your serrated knives.

How to Sharpen Serrated Edge Knives

For the most part, your serrated kitchen or pocket knife will stay sharp longer than your straight edge pocket or kitchen knives will and they will even cut when the serrations are getting dull. As the scallops and teeth of a serrated knife get dull the quality of the cuts that you once got will slowly degrade into tearing, pulling and shredding of the item that you are cutting. When this tearing/shredding effect starts to happen then it is time to sharpen your knives.

For many people the chore of sharpening knives is time-consuming and for many, it is a daunting chore. The fact of the matter is that sharpening serrated knives for many is more problematic than sharpening standard straight edges. Proper care and maintenance of serrated knives will keep those scallops cutting cleanly for a long time. Have no doubt though; these serrated knives do need a greater level of experience to sharpen properly. Another thing to consider is that serrated knife blades take longer to sharpen than their plain edged counterparts.

As I said earlier serrated knives can and do stay sharper longer than plain edged knives and because of this it will take longer for a serrated blade to become dull, and this is even true for combination bladed pocket and kitchen knives. The “teeth” of a serrated blade “bite” or start the cutting process first and then the scallops of the blade follow through to complete the cut. The “teeth” take most of the cutting pressure and the scallops take the least amount of cutting pressure. Because the scallops take the least amount of cutting pressure they stay sharper longer.

Now let’s talk about how to sharpen your serrated knives. In order to do this, you will need to obtain the correct type of sharpener designed for sharpening these types of blades. There are many on the market made by many manufacturers that are specific to the chore. Some are good, and in my humble opinion, some are just plain old bad. Some of the types of serrated knife sharpeners are the “draw through” type. (I personally do not care for “draw” or “pull” through sharpeners)Then there are the sharpening rods that come both in standard and tapered versions and made of different materials from carbide to diamond coated. There are specialized serrated sharpening stones that are textured to accept the scallops of serrated knives. Many of the sharpening rods or sticks come in a triangular shape to work on the scallops between the teeth of the knife. The “rat tail” type of file or sharpener is tapered in order to naturally fit the diameter of the scallops of the blade. The one thing to keep in mind when wanting to sharpen serrated knives is that as with sharpening plain edges you will have to take the same considerations with serrated knife edges and that means that you will need to choose the correct sharpener and what materials you want that sharpener to be made of.

Many of the sharpeners that you would use to sharpen a serrated knife can be used to sharpen plain edged knives as well and you can get pocket-sized sharpeners for serrated knives and combo edged knives to carry with you for daily honing and sharpening of your daily carry knife.

When it is time to sharpen your knife whether it is a plain edge or a serrated edge one of the things to keep in mind is the angle that you will use to sharpen your knife. It does not make any difference what type of sharpener you use, keep the angle in mind. Most of the time when sharpening combo edged blades the serrated portion of the blade in the majority of cases will be of the same angle as the plain edged section of the blade. This means that when sharpening the serrated section of a combo edge it should be kept at the same angle as the plain edge section of the blade as well. Now there are many sharpeners out there that are referred to as “guided” sharpeners like the Lansky Sharpening Systems. This type of system will maintain the proper edge angle as you sharpen your knives and you can get stones or diamonds that are triangular in shape to sharpen your serrations at the correct angle with the Lansky System too!

Many people that I have met and many people that call themselves “professional knife sharpeners” for a living have sharpened serrated knives by either drawing the back/flat side of the knife across a bench stone, and in many cases I have seen them sharpened by drawing the back/flat side of the serrated knife across a sanding belt. This is not the correct way to sharpen this kind of knife. I order to sharpen the scalloped part of a serrated knife you can use the serrated sharpening stone or diamond from something like the Lansky System and work it into the scallops in a perpendicular movement to the cutting edge one scallop at a time. You can also do the same thing using one of the many diamond or ceramic files or tapered “rat tail” files and move them in the same perpendicular fashion to the cutting edge of the scallops.

Remember, you have to take your time and sharpen one scallop and one tooth at a time before moving to the next one. When you are done you should be able to feel a “burr” on the flat side of the knife. Many will tell you to lightly grind that burr off. I do not do this and I tell others not to do this. I have a small piece of 2X4 wood and I then lightly draw the serrated blade across a corner of the 2X4 to remove the burr this is also the way many people who sharpen Japanese kitchen knives do it as well. You can also take a hand held ceramic rod and start at the top of the rod and work your way down to remove the burr and polish the flat of the blade. When you “grind” you are removing metal and when you use a ceramic rod you are taking much, much less metal from the blade. I do it this way for the longevity of the blade.

Here is another way to sharpen a serrated knife really quick that I use all the time. Take corrugated sharpening steel and then take your serrated knife and start at the bottom of the steel at the handguard and take the very tip of the serrated knife and stroke the blade across and up the steel holding the blade at your chosen angle. Don’t just put the flat of the blade flat on the steel. Put the flat to the steel flat and then raise it up to your desired angle. If you know what 20 degrees looks like when sharpening on a flat stone then you should know what 20 degrees look like against the sharpening steel. Then after 10, 20, 30 reverse strokes up the steel the burr will be raised on the flat of the blade and I lop it off on the 2X4 and then a few strokes on the ceramic rod to polish the flat and I am good to go!

 

Survival Quote Series

Throughout the year we will be posting some of our favorite Survival Quotes, we hope you enjoy and share them.

Survival Quote Series - Year Zero Survival
 

Secret Uses For Common Household Items

Secret Uses For Common Household Items

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5 Essential Items to Take Hunting

The first item that comes to mind for a hunting expedition is a riffle and a hunting vest, but what about all of the other needed essentials? It’s key to remember that you might be trekking out into the wilderness, and you might find yourself being there longer than expected. So, use this guide to remember the 5 important items that many hunters seem to forget.

Essential Hunting Items

1. Hunting Binoculars

One of the most often forgotten items is your hunting binoculars.

The most obvious reason is that without a pair of good quality binoculars, you might miss some animal at a distance. Forgetting your binoculars means that you may come back with less to show for, making for a less enjoyable hunting trip.

But, more importantly, you can use binoculars for navigation, to discern your path and spot sources of water, roads, and civilization at a distance.

Other Benefits to Bringing Binoculars

• Be able to decipher an animal from a rock or foliage (Also, so you know you aren’t shooting at a human!).

• See your terrain more clearly to prevent injuries or see signs of animals that the naked eye would not be able to see.

• Allows you to spot predators or wildlife you’d rather avoid.

Important Features on My Binoculars?

You don’t want binoculars that magnify too far or too near. It’s important to get the right set that matches the terrain you will be hunting in. Generally, in wooded terrain you’ll want something with less magnification, such as 8x and in open terrain you can go as high as 12x. You can go higher, but you’ll end up needing a stand or tripod.

2. Cold Weather Gear?

Staying warm while you are out hunting is crucial for any tracking expedition. Even if you have double checked the weather forecast. It is always safe to stay prepared for unexpected cold fronts. You should keep some cold weather gear in your daypack and take it with you, just in case.

If you get disoriented or injured, you might find yourself spending the night in the woods. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the summer or not, it will feel cold when compared to the daytime highs. Also, you can get hypothermia even if it’s as warm as 70 degrees if you are wet and not clothed properly.

Which Cold Weather Gear Should I Bring?

You’ll want properly fitted boots so as not to reduce blood flow to your toes along with spare socks. You’ll also want:

• Clothing articles that are not made out of cotton as this material absorbs moisture and doesn’t insulate when wet.

• Keep your head warm with a hat or beanie while protecting your face with a face mask.

• Bring gloves that are not made out of cotton.

• Have spare, loosely fitting layers available to add or take away as temperatures change.

• Hand warmers that you can keep in your pockets.

3. Water Purifier

The fact is you can only carry so much water. If you are unexpectedly stuck in the wilderness for more than a day, you’ll need to find a water source. Since unpurified water can leave you sick, weak, and unable to walk your way out, you need to clean all contaminants from water.

The most obvious way to do this is by boiling your water. But, starting a fire is not always practical and in many places there may be a high danger of fire. So, the best option is to bring a water purifier.

What Can I Use a Water Purifier On?

With a water purifier at your disposal, you can obtain water from the environment around you. This includes water from a creek or any other wild body of water.

Various Types?

There are different types of water purifiers that you can purchase for your next trip. Each type will have pros and cons and you should weigh what you need vs their price and other features.

Here are a few types:

• Water filtration pump

• Squeeze or gravity flow system filters

• Tablets or drops

• Lifestraw

• Lightweight backcountry stove

4. A Compass

Although we tend to use GPS to get around these days, it still is important to carry another location device such as a compass. Hunters are frequently out in the middle of nowhere to find the best prey, putting themselves in risk of either their phone losing service, getting destroyed, or running out of battery.

There are a variety of compasses based on how you plan to use them and the difficulty of the terrain you will be in.

5. A Topographical Map

A topographical map is a detailed and accurate representation of two-dimensional features on the Earth’s surface that are natural and human-made. It will allow you to know the features of the surround area without being able to actually see them.

Why Bring it?

According to Real Tree, topographical maps are an essential when hunting out in an area that is less familiar. You can even use these maps to locate deer travel corridors.

More importantly, even if you get completely lost or disoriented, you can figure out where you are and navigate back to safety. There are plenty of stories of people who have got lost and died less than a mile from well worn trails, you don’t want to be one of them. So, bring a compass and a map.

How Can I Read One?

Topographical maps can be confusing to read without the proper training. You’ll want to spend some time learning the major and minor terrain features, how to convert from grid to magnetic north, and how to determine your exact location in a variety of ways.

What Else Do I Need?

Hunting expeditions lead one far away from civilization, making it a priority to pack properly. While there are probably 100 different things you might want to take, you have to balance between necessity and your ability to carry it.

Regardless of what you do or do not bring, make sure you have these 5 items.

101 Uses for Paracord [infographic]

There’s a good reason why you don’t bring a lot of things with you when you go on an outdoor adventure. You may need a pillow for a more comfortable rest at night inside your tent, or a rope ladder to climb some treacherous terrains. But you don’t bring all of what you think you might need when camping or trekking or whatever you do in an adventure. If you did, you would be carrying your whole house with you.

 

This is where a modest piece of equipment comes in. A paracord looks like it won’t be much, but it can actually do so much. A paracord, which means a parachute cord, is basically a lifesaver. You need a shoelace? Use a paracord. Your leather watch strap ripped? A paracord will hold it together. You suddenly need to rappel? Paracord can be your lifeline. Aside from the obvious uses—such as tying an object to something or using it as a rope—there are a lot more that you can do with a paracord. You don’t have to be trekking in the countryside or camping in the wild to have a use for it. You can find that even in an urban setting, a paracord can be crucial to you.

 

Learn how to use a paracord in so many different ways in the infographic below.

 

infographic 101 Uses for Paracord

Airbed vs Sleeping Bag – Which is Better for Outdoor Survival?

Preppers who are just starting to learn about survival in the outdoors tend to compare the experience with camping, but besides the fact that you’ll have to live and sleep under the clear sky, the resemblance ends here.

Unlike camping, where you eat the food you brought from home, in a survival scenario you’ll be forced to hunt your own dinner. This is why, when you prepare the BOB, you must consider the type of hunting equipment to include.

You’ll also have to rationalize food supplies, learn how to use the environment in your favor, and last but not least, manage to be comfortable enough to catch some Zzz’s. When I describe the process this way, most new preppers get a bit anxious. And, while they’re quite OK with most of the processes, I get a lot of questions about sleeping outdoors and the equipment one should pack.

How to Sleep Outdoors and Be Comfortable

When you don’t have a car to serve as a temporary home, or even a tent to keep you warm during the night, how do you get by?

Well, first I want everyone to know that sleep is crucial in an SHTF scenario. If you’re sleep deprived, your mind will get fuzzy affect fast decision making, your hands may tremble while you’re trying to hunt, and you may lose focus during a life and death situation.

Now that everyone is up to speed, I must highlight the fact that the quality of sleep is just as important. This is why you should always try to improvise a bed that provides some cushioning and protects your body from humidity and low temperatures.

For this, the best equipment to have in your BOB is a sleeping bag and an insulating layer. For the insulating layer, you can use either an air bed or a self-inflating sleeping pad, but in my opinion, air beds are a bit more advantageous – learn more about it here.

But, if you’re forced to choose between the two, which one is more important?

Air Bed vs. Sleeping Bag

When you decide which elements go in your BOB, it’s important to understand their use on the long-term. So, I am not just going to tell you that the sleeping bag is more necessary; I am going to show it to you by comparing the two.

The sleeping bag is designed to cover your entire body and fit around you like a protective cover. I recommend getting a mummy type, so you’ll have protection around the head as well. Sleeping bags come with various levels of insulation but for an SHTF scenario, I recommend one that can be adjusted for all seasons. This type of bag has some inner lining that can be removed when it’s too hot outside, so you won’t sweat.

The main purpose of a sleeping bag is to keep you warm, but it won’t provide insulation from the ground or cushion the feel of a hard surface.

On the other hand, an air bed will do just that: provide insulation from the cold ground and cradle your body while supporting the spine. However, it doesn’t wrap around you, so it won’t provide protection from the cold night air or the humidity.

As you can see, if you have the possibility, it’s ideal to combine the two. But, when you can only take one, the sleeping bag wins. It’s lighter, more compact, and can be used in all sorts of situations. After all, you can always create a bed of leaves or tree branches – it won’t be as comfortable as an air bed, but it will provide insulation.

Sounds Fishy: An Often Overlooked Bug-Out Bag Item That I Always Add

I’m always intrigued by what people argue about when trying to decide what to put in their bug out bag or survival kit. You know…. fire starters, water filters, food rations, I need not say more. We all picture survival scenarios that we try to be prepared for. Maybe one of those is being stranded in the woods or lost near a stream or lake.

Freshly caught trout cooking in a skillet over an open flame

So here is a question…..Do you have any actual fishing lures and line in your kit? I’m not talking about a bit of string, a few hooks and a sinker. I’m talking about maybe a small 150 yd spool of super high tech fishing line. Maybe you have paracord in your kit but think you have nothing but time to strip one of the 8 strands out of it and use it for lashing or fishing line. Why waste your time and precious resources? The latest technology can give you the diameter of old 4 lb test with the strength of 40 lb test using super braids made out of exotic fabric like trademarked “Spectra” lines. Snares, bed and shelter lashing, trip lines, temporary sutures, and yes fishing, the possibilities are endless and ready to use.

So you have some compact line, what kind of lures could you carry for let’s say a salt, fresh or fly fishing situation? Opinions are close but vary on the top 10 lures in the world for these types of fishing. Most would agree on our sample of a short list of some of the best lures ever invented because all and many more are time tested and proven fish catchers. Do your own research if you wish but consider the possibility of including one or two lures from each category to your well thought out survival kit.

add-lures-to-bugout-bag

Here’s a list of just a few lures to save you some time…..

Fresh water:

Heddon Torpedo, Red Devil or Daredevil Spoon, Rapala Floating Minnow, Panther Martin, Hula Popper, Mepps Aglia Spinner, and of course the famous versions of the rubber worm!

Salt Water:

Diamond Jig, Gold spoon, artificial shrimp or DOA shrimp, Mirrolure twitch baits, Bucktail jigs and Johnsons Silver Minnow

Fly fishing manufactured lures:

Hares Ear Nymph, Adams Dry Fly- which some consider the most effective, Woolly Bugger, and one of the new modern favorites…The green “mop fly” (That’s’ right, a fantastic lure made from the tiny microfiber fingers in a floor mop. Talk about survival…make your own!  It resembles the parachute inch worm which fall from trees and the trout and other fish go nuts.)

We hope this article gets you thinking of the few extra inches of space you could add to your survival kit and of course many arguments can be made of all the amazing lures we haven’t even begun to mention. That is the real point of the article…just to get you thinking and preparing!

3 Reasons Why You Need a GPS in Your Bug-out Bag

Intro

Usually, it would be instinctive to stay away from electronic gadgets when you are choosing gears to bug-out or to simply travel in the wilderness. However, handheld GPS receivers can be considered as one such exception. The amount of benefits that you can derive from this wonderful modern gadget would outweigh the cons of holding such a device. The other must-have item would be a boot knife to keep yourself safe.

Handheld GPS receivers can be considered to be rather complex, where there is a huge variety for you to choose from. Some important aspects that you can consider include the display quality in   weather conditions, user-friendly interface and the amount of storage it has. Before going too far with the considerations for a good GPS, here are three reasons why you need a GPS in your bug-out bag.

3-reasons-why-you-need-a-GPS-in-your-bug-out-bag

Reason 1: Ensuring your safety outside cellphone coverage

By just having a GPS, you are already significantly increasing your chances of survival outdoors. A GPS with its basic function can provide you information about where you are, by letting you know your position, orientation and which intended direction you should take. Losing one of these positioning factors would be detrimental because it would potentially cause one of the other factors to tumble.

Equipping your handheld GPS receiver with navigational aids would be necessary if you want to send your coordinates to rescuers when you are in a place outside cell-phone coverage. Your GPS would only be radio signal receivers that contains a logic chip which is good for telling your location, but would be incapable of transmitting signals.

Therefore, you may want to get a GPS which contains an attachment to a cell phone or use it together with other transmission methods. The transmitters that you may want to look into are personal locator beacons and satellite messengers.

Note that personal locator beacons are used only when one is in really bad emergency situations. Personal locator beacons utilize the Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS) which are monitored by NASA to track distress signals.

Usually, we would just use satellite messengers which is also a navigational aid which helps tell our rescuers the location we are at, even when there is no cellphone coverage. When you are bugging out and when SHTF, having these functions at your fingertips can do you wonders.

 

Reason 2: Understand your surroundings

Also, to facilitate the process of understanding your surroundings, you may want to employ ‘scouting’. This can be said to be like your ‘homework’ before you travel outdoors or go to the location you want. First, you would start by scouting with your computer, where you can go through topographical or 3D maps so that you have a rough overview of the terrain. After that, mark those places that particularly interest you or the route which you intend to travel.

The next step would be transferring those marked waypoints into your GPS, where these waypoints are really helpful when you scout on foot. This can act as an alternative navigation method where you can just follow the waypoints which you saved which simplifies how you navigate.

Planning your outdoor trips is really important if you want to cover more ground in less time. The act of scouting and saving waypoints could save you a ton of time if you do it right. Remember, you would want to look for a GPS that can insert an external SD card as well so that you do not need to worry about memory.

 

Reason 3: Navigate with ease

By having topographical maps saved in your GPS, you do not need to weigh yourself down with loads of maps when you are outdoors. With a GPS with sufficient storage capacity, you can save many maps and waypoints that are necessary for your outdoor adventure. This would be important when you bug-out because you would not know how long more you would need to travel!

Handheld GPS receivers are also equipped with different navigation methods, and I would encourage you to experiment with them to determine the most convenient way to navigate. For example, you can choose to navigate by touching on the place of the screen or simply following waypoints.

Usually, I would prefer to navigate by touching on the screen only to find out new places. While I am on foot, travelling would be much easier when I just follow waypoints. An external antenna would be a useful feature to look out for so that you can be sure that you have good signal even when you are in canyons or thick foliage.

 

Conclusion

Ideally, your bug out bag should have predetermined emergency essentials, so you can be ready for any eventualities at any time. One important aspect is that the gears you carry must be light enough especially when your bug-out location is far from your current location. Another thing to note is the durability of the items you are holding. If you foresee yourself going through rough terrains, you may want to choose a waterproof GPS.

Other options would be considering a GPS that you can primarily navigate through the software using external buttons rather than using touch screen. This is because touch screen GPS would usually be more prone to spoil. If you have any other tips to share, please comment below!

Author Bio:

I am John Lewis, a blogger, survivalist and outdoor enthusiast. You can follow me over at Epic Wilderness. Please click here!



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