While indulging in a little Christmas shopping, I called into H&S Firearms in Sale Victoria to see what Santa might bring me on Christmas morning.

An Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite seemed like a ‘must have’ at a recommended price of $65, even though I already have any number of fixed and folding blade knives with which to gut a trout or dismember a deer. A new knife though is always a lot more exciting that a pack of jocks or another shirt!

It was about then that I noticed a tub of nifty-looking compact knife sharpeners by Smith’s Consumer Products of Hot Springs, Arkansas in the United States. Jeff quoted a cost of $10 and asked that I let him know what I thought of it after giving it a test run. Needless to say, it went into my pocket too.

The sharpener is made of dense yellow plastic with carbide blades for quick edge preparation and then fine ceramic posts for finishing the edge. Both sets of cutters give an edge of around 30 degrees.

Pulling out my usual go-to knife, a Gerber C425, that had been blunted when taking the back legs and straps off a sambar stag, I gave the sharpener its test run. After a minute the knife edge certainly felt sharper but not sharp enough to shave forearm hair. At this point I decided to see what I could achieve with a more conventional oil stone, steel and leather strop but after ten minutes I really hadn’t made any gain at all — the Gerber still wouldn’t shave arm hair.

My conclusion is that for $10, the Smith’s knife sharpener is a reasonable bit of kit — it is around six centimetres square and weighs about 30 grams (so it won’t load up your day pack) and is robustly constructed, easy to use in the field and will quickly put a serviceable edge back on a sheath or folding-blade knife. Whether it will be long-lasting won’t be known for some time but at $10 you can’t go far wrong!

Made in China like most things these days, this sharpener is distributed in Australia by Zen Imports of Sydney.