When I sharpen my knives at home I can keep their edges in the best possible condition using a series of full-size quality bench stones (whetstones). I have a beautiful set of Japanese water stones in three different grits; course 800, medium 1200, and extra fine 6000.
It's not feasible to carry large bench stones with me on a multi-day hike, or any hike for that matter, so whatever I decide to carry is going to be a compromise. The next best thing to quality whetstones, in my opinion, is a small double-sided pocket stone such as the Fallkniven DC4.
The DC4 has one side that has a course diamond abrasive coating (25 microns thick) and the other that is a finer ceramic made from synthetic sapphire. Inside the leather pouch I usually carry three small nails that I hammer into a flat piece of wood like a fallen tree or log, to hold the stone steady while I sharpen my knife - not my idea, but one I saw Ray Mears use.
- Size: 1.25" x 4"
- Stone: 2.875oz
- Leather sheath: 0.75oz
- Total Weight: 3.625oz
I've used this combination stone with amazing results for the past year and have always carried it safely inside the leather pouch it came with. On occasion I've cleaned it off with soapy water as per the instructions, but probably no more than a few times.
I mention that I've washed the stone because recently it has developed a problem on the diamond abrasive side. If you look closely at the photograph below you will see what looks to be a blister in the thin diamond coating surface. The last time I used this stone I noticed the blister was moving as I drew the blade along the surface, so much so that I was concerned that I was going to crack open the blister and make the coating start peeling off.
Based on my experience using this stone for quite some time and from all of the exceptional reviews I've read from others than have used it, I'm beginning to think that this is a quality control problem. There's no way that the few times I've cleaned the stone would have been enough to cause the blistering - in my opinion.
I honestly don't remember where I purchased the stone from and it's more than likely beyond the warrantee period anyway, so I guess I'll just mark it down as bum luck. It's a very popular little sharpening stone especially among bushcrafters, so it made me wonder whether anyone else has experienced the same issue with a DC4?
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Disclosure: The author purchased the Fallkniven DC4 sharpening stone with his own funds.