In fact I’ve almost worn one away completely. Should I leave my best knives at home and simply use cheap throwaway jobbies when out deer stalking?

Deer stalking

GEORGE WALLACE

I think you have probably answered your own question. Fancy knives are very beautiful and a joy to own but they are too expensive for most of us to consider for heavy, daily work.

And why risk damaging a thing of art and beauty?

Opinels are brilliant knives but being made of good, old-fashioned carbon steel they do need sharpening regularly.

Their only drawback, common to all folding knives, is that gubbins gets into the machinery and they become very unhygienic if you don’t clean and disinfect them carefully.

An alternative is the excellent Kershaw range which I use myself.

I carry the Black Horse II folder on my belt for field use and have two fixed blade models, a 5in filleter and a more hefty jobbie with a gut hook for use if I can get the Land Rover and all my kit to where the deer is.

Actually, as I get older I no longer shoot deer unless I can get a vehicle to the carcass, or at least close enough for an easy drag. No good getting old if you don’t get crafty with it!

I learned to sharpen knives when I worked in the fish market in Auckland, New Zealand nearly 50 years ago, so I may not be the best source of information for a relative novice to the black art.

However, I’ll try.

My feelings are that while gadgets such as the Bladetech are excellent for cleaning dings and nicks from a knife blade, they are, I think, a bit robust for constant use.

For a finished edge, I use one of those excellent sharpening ‘steels’ impregnated with diamond dust which I got from David Stretton (01332 810757).

Press firmly and it removes the rough, followed by a mere caress, as gentle as a maiden’s kiss, to create the fine edge.

As a last thought, if your knife doesn’t hold its edge maybe you are being too heavy handed with it?

A bit of training might make life easier and I’m pretty sure David Stretton could help with that, too.