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!

 

Secret Uses For Common Household Items

Secret Uses For Common Household Items

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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

The Top 3 Ways To Protect Your Loved Ones From Harm

Protecting your loved ones

Danger can happen to anyone any day which is why it’s important to always be careful whenever we transact with other people and even go out of the safety of our home. We can’t control how people outside the home act, but we can, in our own ways do something to prevent harm from happening. Now that the world is becoming a more and more dangerous place, families put premium in ensuring their safety and protection by any means necessary. So many dreadful things can happen, not just physically, that threatens our quality of life. How do you protect you and your loved ones from a violent attack? A terrorist attack? Or maybe even a cyber-attack? This article will explore 3 ways you can do to protect your loved ones from harm, read on:

 

  1. Equip them

Today, there are a lot of non-lethal and legal self-defense weapons that can be easily concealed. Try looking for the best stun gun to suit your needs. Owning a mini taser or a stun gun is a great way to protect yourself without resorting to using lethal methods. Unlike using a gun, which can potentially cause permanent harm and even kill, stun guns won’t cause any serious harm to your assailant. Also, you don’t need to have perfect aim when using a stun gun, you can put your attacker to a halt just by tazing a part of their skin.

Another small and useful self-defense item is a pepper spray. It’s a handy thing to have especially for women and elderly living in a rough neighborhood. Pepper spray works by instantly inflaming the mucous membranes of the attacker’s eyes and nose, causing them to close their eyes and wince in pain at the sudden onslaught and the pungent smell. This immediate incapacitation allows you to run to safety and seek cover.

One last recommendation in the small and stealthy category that doesn’t require mad martial arts skills is a self-defense keychain, or a personal alarm. It’s small and can be carried anywhere. And in times of danger you can press it to let out a shrieking 130 decibels sound that will surely gather attention and turn your assailants around.

 

  1. Educate them

Aside from equipping your loved ones with all these small and fancy self-defense tools, it’s also important to educate them about violence, its prevalence, and how to react to them. It’s not enough than they can protect themselves, they must also know what to do next should any unfortunate thing happen their way.

Violent attacks can be traumatic for a lot of people, even if they’ve escaped it. Knowing how to deal with such incidents will help them cope better and live well. Surviving an assault, a robbery, or a mugging immediately causes shock to the victim. They can feel dazed and even detached from the environment for a while, some even experience denial. There’s a mix of feelings victims feel after the event, depends on how they react they can feel frightened, angry, and helpless. Yet some feel sad, ashamed, and guilty.

Keeping them safe

  1. Encourage them

It’s one thing to know how to protect yourself and it’s another to know how to react to attacks. But it’s also another to encourage awareness that as much as violence should be prevented, attacks are prevalent and you should be able to protect yourself. Encourage your loved ones to report any instance of violence they encounter, whether or not they’re directly involved. Cases of domestic violence, bullying, and sexual assaults should not be tolerated and should be handled by authorities.

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!

These 5 Items Should Be On Your Survival Kit List

The average human can live up to three weeks sans food, but only three days without water. That said, the items that you include in your emergency survival kit, whether for venturing into the wilderness or for urban readiness, can spell life and death. Fortunately, you don’t have to be in a situation where you are left with no choice. You can increase your chances of surviving in almost any situation, provided that you have the right tools.

Ideally, the more items you have in your tactical survival gear, the easier it will be for you to survive. However, it also means that you add weight or bulk to your pack. While you obviously cannot carry your entire arsenal with you at all times (you’re not The Terminator), you can certainly select specific sets for different scenarios. There are also core tools that should also be present no matter the situation. Here are five of these essentials.

 

  1. Tactical knife

 

In a true survival situation, the chances of you needing to cut something are very high. Thus, you need a reliable knife that’s easy to handle, strong, and razor sharp. You will likely be using it for various purposes, so in place of getting a singular unit, you might want to have a multi-tool that also includes a knife feature.

 

  1. Firestarter

 

Fire in the wilderness or in the evenings is essential to maintaining your core body temperature (or to cook). Remember that it takes only 3 hours for the body to survive outside of its base temp. Having a trusty gadget takes the effort out of rubbing sticks together. Your kit should have three ways to start a fire. One is an automatic Firestarter, two is a regular box of matches, and three is a striker. Don’t forget to pack them in waterproof packs and separately.

 

  1. First aid kit

 

This is a critical kit that should be with you at all times. There are plenty of generic first aid kits at supermarkets, but you can expand them with pressure dressings and probably a compass, too. Study the pocket manual that came with the kit before you even head out, so you know what to do instantly and will not fumble when an actual emergency happens.

 

  1. Water or water filtration

 

No person can survive without water for more than 72 hours. Under non-threatening circumstances, an average human should also be drinking at least 1 gallon of water daily. Having a water bottle or a water filtration system ready ensures that you have access to safe drinking water at all times. It is especially helpful if you’re going on an adventure with a group because water in this setup can easily run out, and you might need to take some from an organic source.

 

  1. Flashlight or torch

 

Let there be light! Whether for venturing into an unfamiliar territory or walking at night, you will need light to navigate. Fortunately, there are many models that offer powerful illumination even with very small and lightweight bodies.

 

Of course, the most important tool you should have no matter where you are going is knowledge. Without knowing how to use any of these items, your chances of surviving are slim. Equip yourself with the ability to read weather signs, where to go and what to do in case of a natural disaster, what areas to avoid to secure your safety, and more.

 

There are plenty of online resources and books that will teach you different tactics on how to protect yourself, whether in the wild, when out in the city, or even when you’re just at home. The monthly gear from TacPack also offers the latest gadgets and innovations that can help make you feel safer everywhere you go, without being heavy on the back and on the budget.

Here’s A Checklist To Check Against Your Emergency Plan

 

Just how prepared are you when it comes to disaster management? You may never experience a disaster, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. If not well equipped, disasters may strike, and you will be left without a contingency plan to curb them. It is highly essential that you come up with an emergency plan for your family.

One of the deadliest hurricanes in history is Hurricane Katrina which left over 1,200 people dead in August 2005. Such occurrences are quite scary. However, as rare and horrific as they might be to ponder, you need to be prepared when they occur. What you need is a disaster preparedness plan to help you get through such periods.

Before coming up with a plan, have a sit-down with your family and discuss some of the ways you can become prepare for this type of situation. Take a critical look at the possible threats to devise a comprehensive plan. Preplanning helps to bring to light some of the resources you may not have on hand. This ensures that you purchase them before anything happens.

Why should people take emergency plans seriously? They prevent possible injuries, damages and help in increasing the chances of survival after an occurrence.  Some of the things that should be in your family emergency plan are as follows.

 

  1. Create a Communication Plan

Contacts are an essential requirement. Analyze all of your relatives and decide on one your family can all share as a common emergency contact. As you choose, ensure that the relative is not likely to be affected by some of the occurrences in your area. Once completed, confirm that each of your family members has the relative’s contact information.

Ensure that your kids have the contact information as well and if possible, leave the contacts with school management. Also, ensure that there is an email attached to the contacts, so they have alternative ways to get ahold of the family member.  Also, keep your documents safe for disaster times.

 

  1. Have a Common Meeting Point

As a family, being in one place after disaster strikes will reduce stress levels and ensure that everyone is out of harm’s way. Determine a drill where you identify one common location scheduled as a meeting point when any disaster happens. Practice emergency situations and have a defined route available, especially for children.

A meeting point will help in reconnecting so that you can plan the next action as a family without the disorientation of looking for other members.  A useful tip would be for every family to note down the specific location for easier tracing.

 

  1. Have an Emergency Supply Kit

When disasters happen, it’s normal to have accidents. It could be just a regular power outage that if not well prepared for, could cause significant hiccups. In such a case, have rechargeable batteries that will provide a temporary lighting solution.  Create an emergency kit that contains a series of first aid supplies as well as other preventive measures. The FAST-ACT Chemical Decontamination products can keep you safe and prepared in the event that a chemical attack was to occur.

There should be a substantial amount of water and food in your kit for survival. Have food supplies that can last you for about a week or even more. The kit should also have enough necessary medical supplies for every member of your family.

 

  1. Include Photos of Your Family Members

Sometimes, during floods or occurrences of seismic forces, a family member may not have reached home and may be in danger. What comes to mind first? Calling them is the first option but what happens when their phone has been turned off? Have a photo of them so that you can ask nearby civilians or emergency crew for increased chances of tracing them.

 

  1. A Power Bank as a Lifesaver

In this modern age, everybody deserves to have a power bank. It does not matter if you have a 10,000 mAh; it will still go off at some point. To make sure that does not happen, always ensure that you have a power bank on hand; it will definitely come in handy to recharge a dead phone.  It will even help in contacting 911 or an emergency response team.

 

  1. Vulnerability Assessment

As much as emergencies are rapid, some events can never be predicted. Research more on the possible hazards around your region so that you have a contingency plan when they occur. This does not necessarily mean you prepare for the specific risk alone. If preferred, consult engineering experts or fire departments for a more precise picture of potential environmental hazards.

A vulnerability assessment will help you feel a level of certainty in preparation. With such an evaluation, your plan is complete as you will have tackled significant possibilities.

 

  1. Communication with Neighbors

It’s possible that due to work and family obligations, you may not often talk with your neighbors. However, it’s important to keep in touch because when a disaster strikes, you will need their help. You may introduce walkie-talkies so that you can communicate in case your phone goes off. Neighbors are an asset in the emergency plan as they are close by and if you get stranded, they may just be the most immediate help available. Contacting neighbors comes in handy when you desperately need help that can’t wait.

Communication is one of the critical essentials of an emergency plan. Keeping everyone informed is necessary so that you all are on the same page. The program devised may involve planning for evacuation in extreme situations. Put that in mind as you come up with the plan. It’s important to keep your verification documents in a waterproof safety box and if possible, make copies too.



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