Matt Lesniewski of ML Knives recently posted a video that shows him using smooth stones from a creek to sharpen knives. The video is tremendous and I can testify that this does work. Apart from showing a couple of basic techniques for sharpening on rocks, this video highlights a couple of things for me. First, a lot of people over think and over spend on sharpening equipment. Second, simple carbon steels really excel for field knife use. You can use this technique on modern stainless steels but it will be more difficult.
Check out MLKnives.com to see more of Matt’s knives. I have had the pleasure of owning several of them over the years and they were all excellent knives.