Here we are with even yet another review of an item included in my deer hunting load out. In this review, I’m going to look at the Kershaw Ultra-Tek Blade Sharpener. I find working with a knife that’s lost its edge to be one of the most frustrating things in the field. As such, I think carrying a small lightweight blade sharpener to be a prudent idea.
There isn’t anything fancy about the Kershaw Ultra-Tek blade sharpener. It’s a simple, inexpensive, lightweight and compact aluminum tool with a 600 grit diamond coated shaft. These qualities make this sharpener an excellent choice to throw in a hiking or hunting pack. Now, this sharpener isn’t going to give a blade a professional quality and finished edge. Nor will it be sufficient to fix or reshape a damaged edge. I’d wager those aren’t the use cases it was designed for. What this sharpener will do is quickly hone a dull edge so that it is sufficiently sharp to keep working, which happens to be exactly what I have used it for.
When it comes to sharpening blades there are a couple of options. The first option is using sharpening stones. The other is sharpening steels. Technically, ceramic sharpeners are a third option, but I’m going to lump ceramic sharpeners with sharpening steels. We can also get into electric belt sharpeners and other power tools, but I’m not going to cover them as they aren’t something I would consider to throw in a hiking or hunting pack.
With the sharpening tool options in mind, stones tend to be large and can take up a lot of space. I could discuss small sharpening stones, but I tend to find them to be too small to use efficiently or effectively in any setting. Stones generally require a flat stable surface and may require a significant amount of water to sharpen blades correctly. In my opinion, these qualities make stones less than ideal for field use especially when space is limited, flat surfaces are unlikely, and water is scarce.
On the other hand, sharpening steels tend to be quite heavier than stones while they also tend to require less space than stones. Some field sharpeners also include steels with different grits which can help repair and reshape damaged blades. Field sharpeners may also include some ceramic surfaces to home and finish edges, and may even have a stropping leather. This makes combination field sharpeners a very attractive option and a reason I also include one in my hunting load out. While this type of field sharpener has a lot of utility, I tend to keep it in the truck or at camp as it’s noticeably heavier than the Kershaw Ultra-Tek that actually goes with me to the field.
Like small sharpening stones, I also find small sharpening steels to be nearly unusable. They just simply make sharpening a blade in the field a difficult and time consuming chore that can result in additional unwanted blade damage. This brings me back to why I like the Kershaw Ultra-Tek so much, while it is a very compact tool to store it’s actually large enough to use properly and with relative ease when it is reconfigured for use.
The sharpening oval shaped rod is stored in the aluminum handle. To use it, one unscrews the end from the handle, removes the rod from the handle, and screws the other end of the rod back on the handle. This configuration yields a sharpener with an approximately 6″ long sharpening surface that is long enough to use properly and an approximately 6″ long handle that is large enough to make sharpening relatively easy.
Overall, the ultralight and compact qualities of the Kershaw Ultra-Tek blade sharpener make it an ideal field sharpener for situations where keeping weight to a minimum is important and space is limited. When configured for use, the sharpener is just about the right size to get the sharpening task done quickly. In my opinion, this sharpener ticks all the right boxes for me especially given a price point under $20.