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 and were sold at the Tracker School. Read part of the history of the Tracker knife.
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 to 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 dust 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 the coarse edge.
A hone, (a fine kitchen honing steel will work), and last a leather Strop, belt, for polishing the edge to make it extremely sharp. You can buy a secondhand leather belt from the thrift store for your Strop.
I use both a composite coarse and fine stone but most often I use a sandpaper system with wet and dry sandpaper. I attach the wet and dry sandpaper with carpet tape to a smooth wooden 2 x 4, about 12" long.
This is the same wet and dry sandpaper sharpening system I teach during my survival courses.
Through research on sharpening stones and hones, you will find a head-spinning variety. Some excellent sharpening stones are expensive. Composite, wet, or oil stones that are coarse on one side and fine on the opposite side are a handy system to own. But to heavy to take with you in the field.
Use a Wet & Dry Grit Sandpaper starting at 150, the lower the number the course the sandpaper, to one thousand and up for a hone polish. So, you might start at 150 grit for your coarse, four hundred for your medium, 600 to 800 for your fine, one thousand and up grit, for your hone. And a leather belt for your strop.
I add a little olive oil on the leather strop. Because the heat caused by stropping dries out the leather causing the leather belt to crack.
Multiply times three, for each stage of sharpening. So, if you begin with your coarse stone and sharpen the edge 30 times and 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.
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!
Or, if you're coming to Lifesong Wilderness Adventures, bring your Tracker Knife with you and learn to sharpen it during camp.