5 Tricks For Better Knife Sharpening
A knife is only as good as it is sharp so learn how to sharpen a knife and use it to its full potential with these knife sharpening tips!
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In this article:
- Survival Skills: 5 Tricks for Better Knife Sharpening
A Knife Sharpening Guide for Practical Survivalists
Survival Skills: 5 Tricks for Better Knife Sharpening
With a survival knife, a trusty new tool in your hand, you probably felt like you could take on the world. Until you dulled down that new pocket knife blade, that is.
But you just needed good sharpening equipment and a solid sharpening technique (of the two, the technique seems harder to come by). Whether you are sharpening with rods, a whetstone, or an actual stone from the creek, these five tricks can help you turn your dull tool into a sharp blade again, at home or in the field.
1. Stabilize Your Stone
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If you are using a slab-shaped whetstone, it will serve you best if it is locked down and unable to wiggle. A wobbling sharpening stone grinds metal from your knife edge in an uneven pattern.
Rather than holding the stone by hand, secure it to a log or some other stationary object. Then, you can better maintain the same edge angle as you sharpen.
2. Count Your Strokes as You Sharpen
It’s very important for the number of strokes to match on each side of the edge. Over-sharpening on one side can lead to an odd edge bevel, which is not as sharp.
RELATED: How To Sharpen A Knife At Camp [Video]
3. Pick the Right Angle
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Select the right angle for the particular knife you would like to sharpen and stay at that angle while sharpening.
It doesn’t have to be exact but it should be close. Most knives have a bevel angle of roughly 20° to 23°.
4. Sharpen Often, Before the Edge Gets Too Dull
This keeps your knife effective and can save you from a major sharpening job down the road. I learned this trick on my first blade.
It was a nice little Wenger Swiss Army knife with black handle scales. And like most Swiss Army blades, it was almost impossible to create a very sharp edge on it but frequent sharpening kept it serviceable, until the fateful day when I lost my first.
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Your knife is a useful tool which you should always take care of and sharpen to experience its best performance. It’s an essential tool you can rely on during an emergency, while camping outdoors, or when SHTF.
Keep in mind that knives are useful but they are also dangerous. Make sure not to hurt yourself when sharpening your pocket knife. Maintain your focus on the task at hand — eyes, hands, and mind — to avoid accidents.
Do you have your own trick in sharpening your knife? Share it with us in the comments section below!
- 10 Top Reasons To Keep A Pocket Knife In Your EDC
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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 29, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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October 14, 2016 at 5:19 AM
Hi, LesLie. These tricks are really good for keeping our knives new as well as sharp.
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July 4, 2018 at 8:35 AM
Good tutorial. I always wonder which direction to sharpen.
Art Northrup, Jr.
July 6, 2018 at 10:47 AM
I’ve always done the opposite of the work backwards method. Holding the knife so the blade is @ a 22.5 degree angle to the sharpening stone, I move the blade away from me, across the stone, as if I was cutting a thin slice from a block of cheese. If a knife is particularly dull I’ll start with like 5 strokes on one side, then the other, then 4 strokes on each side, then 3, 2 & 1. If the knife already has a fairly good edge I’ll just alternate one stroke on each side a few times until I get the razor’s edge I want.
Sharpening backwards, such as pushing the blade across the stone away from you, with the edge facing you, can move metal down to the edge & you can end up with burrs. Moving the blade across the stone away from you with the edge facing away from you eliminates burrs & you get a sharper edge.
I have a good 2-sided sharpening stone (coarse on one side, fine on the other) which I use for knives that are really dull, but to finish up with, or for a knife that already got a decent edge, I use diamond hones I bought in the sporting goods dept. of a Walmart 20 years ago. One type is a plastic stick, 6″ long & 3/4″ wide, with tiny industrial diamonds embedded on the last 2 inches of one side — you can use it like a small file. The other type is a small steel bar with industrial diamonds embedded on one side that I use just like a regular sharpening stone. The fact that I’m still using them after 20 years shows how durable they are & you can get a sharper edge with those than with any stone.
May 19, 2019 at 7:26 AM
This is also the way we sharpened our knives in Histology. I haven’t worked there for years, but I bet it hasn’t changed the technique.
July 4, 2018 at 11:53 PM
I found out that if you start at like a 17 degree angle with a high Grit 200 Stone go up to 20 22 and I like mine at 25 pocket knives hunting knives kitchen knives I like it at 22 degrees then go to 400 Grit starting at 17 going up to your 25 degree angle and keep going up to as much as 10, 000 Grit Stone and using a still as well and checking to make sure you do not have any birds on either side and sometimes you may need to go up to as much as a 40 degree angle or just a few Strokes to help get rid of the Brewers and sometimes as much as going down to a 17-degree angle to help get rid of these but finalized with a leather strop or just a piece of leather and sometimes I use a bottle like a beer bottle and or something very very smooth your best bet is to use a piece of leather or your final
July 10, 2018 at 7:26 AM
I have never, ever seen anyone push a knife blade backwards on a stone, or strop. I see no purpose.
July 10, 2018 at 10:53 AM
What about this fix two rod. Two different grades were the knife passes for sharping?
Durwood M. Dugger
July 12, 2018 at 10:05 AM
A couple of comments:
1. The optimum sharpening angle depends on the knifes metal and its hardness. 22 degrees is a general “one size fits all” number. However, the optimum sharpening angle also depends on the intended use of the blade, the harder the things being cut, the blunter the angle.
2. If you find your self without a sharpening stone, the un-glazed bottom of ceramic mug, dish, or tile will work well to put an edge on a knife or other tool. The metal that collects in ceramic pores can be removed with soap and water.
May 27, 2019 at 12:37 PM
i finish up with a circle of wood with a leather belt glued on 3/4 in . mounted on a electric motor 1700 rpm
using various grades honing compound razor perfection
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