As hunters, we measure ourselves by our skills—and many an otherwise-adept outdoorsman has found humility in a single, inescapable shortcoming. For me, that demoralizing deficiency is an inability to properly sharpen a knife. Or rather, used to be. Thanks to the Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2, I may finally be able to ditch my worthless whetstone once and for all, and no longer hang my head as I pass my knives to another, more capable person for a mid-season makeover.
The Mk.2, like its predecessor the Mk.1, is basically a miniature belt-sander with built-in guides for proper angle and pressure on the blade. Like a whetstone, the different belts have different grit, and swapping them out is quick and easy. For my hunting knives, just a few swipes on medium, and a half-dozen on fine, and the blades were sharper than if I'd spent an entire evening working the whetstone. I even honed up my serrated Spyderco, a notoriously difficult task on a traditional stone.
One important caveat: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. And, if you have time, watch the instructional video. Overeager, I rushed into a solo sharpening soiree, and in my haste rounded off the tip—which is easy to do, especially if you don't read the manual carefully. Luckily, I knew myself well enough to use an inexpensive backup blade first. A few minutes later, all my lessons learned, I tuned up my primary knife to a razor's edge and needle-sharp tip—and in the process, shored up my struggling self-worth, too.
The Mk.2 works just as well for kitchen knives, scissors, hatchets, and any other small-to-medium-sized blade you may own. $100; worksharptools.com.