Sharpening the Tracker Knife looks complicated, and it is at first sight. But read-on for some simple tips on knife sharpening. The UKW Survivor pictured here is not the Tracker Knife. But the similarities are virtually the same when it comes to sharpening either The Tracker or UKW Survivor. I'm using Russon's version as I don't have Top Knives version.
Sharpening the Tracker knife
Back in the day a knife called The Tracker was made by Dave Beck. Read part of the history of the Tracker knife in the comment section of the article.
Wildwood Survival also has photos and history on the Tracker knife.
Interested in even more history of the Tracker knife? You can read this curious story here at Utah Knife Works.
But no doubt about it, the Tracker Knife, is one serious survival knife.
Recently I have received inquiries about sharpening the Tracker Survival Knife. With any knife, sharpening takes patience and developing the correct technique too sharpen and keep up the edge of your blade.
Today TOP Knives manufacture's The Tracker Knife. And according to their website they will sharpen your Tracker knife for free. However for our purpose it's better to learn to sharpen your own knives.
Sharpening the Tracker Knife
Knife Sharpening Systems
A note on sharpening systems that use clamp-on-guides, ceramic V's, or diamond grit stones. I have used these systems and some work better than others. But you're better off learning how to sharpen your knife by hand.
All that is needed to keep your knives sharp are a coarse stone for grinding the relief when needed and the blade edge. You will also need a fine stone for finishing and a strop for polishing the knife edge.
Hones and Strops
A hone, (a fine kitchen honing steel will do), and a leather Strop. A leather belt will work fine for your Strop. Strops will polish the edge and make your tracker knife sharp enough to shave hair.
You can buy a secondhand leather belt from the thrift store for your Strop. But the leather needs to be smooth with no cuts or rough spots to keep your knife edge even.
I recommend Ragweed Forge for Strops and lots of other interesting carving knives. I've been purchasing from this company for years. Great folks! Remember, you just need a clean strip of leather for a strop. 1" to 2" inches in width will do.
Some commercial Strops come with a black abrasive compound grinding paste. These abrasive compounds are not needed to polish your knife edge using a Strop. But I believe they help to keep the leather from drying out.
Coarse and Fine Composite Sharpening Systems
I use both a composite coarse and fine stone for quickly getting a sharp edge. One such system using coarse and fine triangle ceramics that will sharpen knife sharp enough to shave arm hair in good order. This knife sharpening system is called Spyderco. Check out the video the Spydero Knife Sharpening System will sharpen lots of other edge tools beside your knife.
In your research on sharpening stones and hones, you will find a head-spinning variety. Composite, wet, or oil stones, that are coarse on one side and fine on the opposite side. These are a handy system to own. But to heavy to take with you in the field.
Some folks make do with a small diamond grit sharpener light enough to pack in the field. These work fine and will keep your edge in tip top shape.
Wet & Dry Sandpaper to Sharpen your Tracker Knife
Wet and Dry Sandpaper is a nifty sharpening system especially if you want to save money. However, as my own experience will attest, lots patience is needed to master.
Use a Wet & Dry Grit Sandpaper starting at 150, the lower the number the coarser the sandpaper. Use a grit of One Thousand and up for a hone polish. So, start at 150 grit for your coarse, four hundred grit for your medium, 600 to 800 for your fine, one thousand and up grit, for your hone. And a smooth leather belt for your strop.
I like to add a little olive oil on my leather belt strop because the heat caused by stropping dries out the leather. Which can cause the leather belt to crack.
Multiply x's 3 for each stage of Sharpening
Multiply times three, for each stage of sharpening with the sandpaper method. So, if you begin with your coarse sandpaper and sharpen the edge 30-times an each side of the blade. Then multiply times three for your medium stone, which would be 90 times on each side of the blade and so on.
And finish with the Strop. Which you will also multiply x's 3. Yes, lots of patience and elbow grease is required for the wet and dry sharpening system.
Sharpening the Tracker Knife
What angle should I sharpen the tracker knife?
To answer the question, at what angle should I sharpen the Tracker knife? Use the manufacturer's recommended angle. Contact TOP knives if you want the precise angle.
Learning to sharpen your knife is not rocket science, but as with all wood craft skills, there is a learning curve that includes time, persistence, patience, and hard work. So good luck and happy sharpening!
Sign up for one of our camps and bring your Tracker Knife with you. And will teach you sharpen it during class.