In the kitchen, at a campsite, or on a hunting trip, having well-sharpened knives at your disposal can make your project a triumph–and lacking them can mean disaster. Unless you are wealthy, however, money for knife sharpening equipment is scarce. Your best option in terms of overall value is still Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener, which first came on the market in September 2006.
To begin with, consider what you get when you buy a Smith’s PP1. This gadget combines three materials in one stone: diamond, carbide, and ceramic. A dull or damaged blade regains an edge quickly by using the carbide. Fine sharpening is achieved by using the ceramic. Last, but not least, the diamond-coated rod is suited to sharpening both serrated and standard edges. It’s supremely easy to use any of these three functions: insert the knife blade into the desired material’s v-shaped slot at a 90-degree angle, applying light pressure pull the knife blade straight back towards you, and repeat until the blade is sharp. Maintenance is likewise simple: just wipe clean with a damp cloth and towel dry.
All that practicality is packed into a remarkably tiny package. The Smith’s PP1 weighs only 0.3 ounces, and it measures 3.5 X 1 inches. It fits easily in a pocket. Moreover, it has a lanyard hole for carrying on anything from a key chain to a utility belt.
Smith’s PP1 receives rave reviews for several reasons, but foremost among them is the near-foolproof design. Using the Smith’s PP1, novices will find it easy to hone their knife sharpening skills (pun intended). Hunting enthusiasts praise the Smith’s PP1 for its reliability even under adverse conditions, such as field dressing a deer in heavy rain. The v-shaped slots make holding the knife blade at the correct 90-degree angle come naturally to the user, while holding the knife blade at any other angle feels awkward.
Coming in a close second to dependability, those who have bought a Smith’s PP1 agree that its price is one of the lowest on the market. Whether purchased from the manufacturer or from another vendor, the Smith’s PP1 can typically be had for less than $10.
Predictably, the third-most appreciated feature of the Smith’s PP1 is its petite size and negligible weight. This is the third-most popular feature overall, but arguably it trumps all other considerations for hunting enthusiasts. If you anticipate trekking several miles per day, any tool that basically takes up no space and weighs nothing is a priceless asset!
Where users disagree about the value of the Smith’s PP1 is in the range of blades it is suited to sharpen. There seems to be universal agreement that if a blade has been damaged or has grown dull, the Smith’s PP1 carbide will repair the edge quickly and cleanly. However, there is substantial debate about how well the stone sharpens an edge that is already usable but not as keen as desired. A majority of campers and hunters feel that the stone does an adequate job of refining an edge’s sharpness, but for an edge with razor sharpness there are other tools that do superior work. There is a vocal minority who prefer the Smith’s only serious competition–DMT, especially the line’s credit card size stones. Yet, even these detractors have to admit that it takes three of DMT’s stones to duplicate the same functions that can be performed by the Smith’s PP1. Moreover, although some buyers have used the Smith’s PP1 to sharpen their fine chef’s knives and have been delighted by the results, it must be remembered that’s not a use intended by the manufacturer. For its intended purpose–restoring an adequate edge to an ordinary kitchen or hunting knife–nobody claims that the Smith’s PP1 fails to get the job done satisfactorily.
In conclusion, the Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener is indisputably the champion for its ease of use, its convenience for carrying, the number of functions that it can perform, and its easy affordability. You may or may not find it ideal for sharpening the knives of your favorite gourmet cook, but for any lesser goal buy a Smith’s PP1 and you simply can’t go wrong.