How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife: Tips and Techniques for Precision

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife - The Popular Way

Nov 16, 2023
Before we get started, I want to tell you a little bit about my story: finding the best way to sharpen a pocket knife for my brother.

My brother usually carries a knife in his pocket. For my brother, it very useful when he needs to open a box, cut some rope, or sometimes just to peel fruit to have a quick lunch. I think some of you out there often do the same. The problem is, sometimes, his knife turns blunt, making it harder to use. The result is that he spends a lot of money on new knives!

How to sharpen a pocket knife

I began to try some different methods of maintaining the dull knives. I think this was a good plan, because it’s always better to try to fix something rather than replacing it constantly. But sharpening a best pocket knife at home without a sharpener? What an interesting question.

Sometimes, you can find the tools right beside you, such as your car window, a coffee mug, serving dishes or a nail file, a whetstone, and even water-smoothed rocks around rivers. Sometimes, just another knife would do too.

However, after sharpening my pocket knife following many methods recommended by friends and searching on the internet, I found that using sharpening stones (or whetstones) is the best way to sharpen your knife because for me, using the others methods, like my car window or a coffee mug, sometimes leads to the knife getting damaged.

Furthermore, having a sharpening stone at hand in the kitchen every time I need to sharpen my knife is very convenient. Best of all, it surpasses all my expectations each time.

I will tell you how to sharpen a knife with a sharpening stone step-by-step in the next section, but if you have any other good suggestions, please tell me too by commenting bellow. I would love to answer all your questions as well.

Things you will need

All you need for sharpening your pocket knife is one sharpening stone (whetstone) and one lubricant.

➜ A sharpening stone

A sharpening stone

Sharpening stones, or whetstones, can be found at almost any hardware store. How to choose a sharpening for yourself? Answer these questions first: What kind of pocket knife are you going to sharpen? What kind of favorite sharpening stone do you need for the job? How much can you spend?

➜ RELATED: How to Clean a Pocket Knife in 4 Ways

There are lots of different sharpening stones. They can be made from aluminum oxide, ceramics, or diamond. Some of the others, such as natural sharpening stones, consist of granite. Most of them have two sides: a rough grit and fine grit. I think if you are going to get started with a normal knife, I think you should pick a normal stone. It usually costs from $10 to $40.

➜ Lubricant


Why is using a lubricant during sharpening pocket knife necessary? It will help you reduce the heat from the friction that is created from sharpening your knife. If the heat is too high, your knife blade might warp. Besides that, lubricant can also clear out the debris when sharpening a knife on the stone with a strong force. Like sharpening stones, the lubricant might also be made of different materials, like water or oil, but for the normal type, it costs from $4 to $10. However, remember that some stones might not need a lubricant.

How to sharpen a pocket knife with a stone?  Step-by-step Guide

The guide below will give you a clear idea of how to sharpen your pocket knife using a sharpening stone.

Step 1: Check the status of the blade (bluntness level)

As we mentioned, the sharpening stone has two sides: a rough grit and fine grit. These sides will be used based on the status of the blade. Therefore, before starting, we need to know the status of the blade to be sure which side you will need to start sharpening with your stone.

✪✪✪ Pro tips:

≫ If your blade is too dull, you should begin to sharpen it with the rougher grit side of your stone.

≫ The grit can be determined by sight because the stone is usually designed with markings that indicate the grit level. However, if not, you can drag a fingernail on the surface of sharpening stone, and you will know which side is rougher and more porous.

Check the status of the blade

Step 2: Prepare the sharpening stone and lubricate it

After identifying the side to get started on, you now need to apply lubricant to the surface of the stone.

✪✪✪ Pro tips:

≫ The lubricant doesn't need to completely drench the stone. However, make sure that it is enough to keep the pocket knife from scratching and getting damaged on the harsh surface during gliding.

≫ The newer the stone, the more lubricant it will need. If you are not sure about how much lubricant you need for your new sharpening stone, you can wait from 5 minutes to 10 minutes to know because the new stone can absorb more. Keep going if needed.

≫ Some stones need to be soaked in water for a long time (from 8 to 24 hours) to get started, so make sure you understand you sharpening stone and do the right thing.

Prepare the sharpening stone and lubricate it

Step 3: Identify the bevel angle of the blade

Place the knife blade on the surface of the sharpening stone, then raise the blade to create an angle of about 15 degrees.

✪✪✪ Pro tips:

≫ The bevel angle of the blade for each type of pocket knife might differ. It also depends on how sharp you want it to be. Normally, it will be between 10 degrees and 15 degrees. If you are not sure about that, you should search on the internet or ask the manufacturer.

Step 4: Glide the knife along the stone

Glide the knife along the stone

Guide the knife along the stone at the correct angle. Glide slowly and use a light touch; do not use too much force. Remember that you should be using equal pressure at the angle of 15 degrees to make sure that the edge of the knife will not be curved.

✪✪✪ Pro tips:

≫ Take a note about the number of swipes down because you will do the same on the second side.

≫ During sharpening, use the complete surface of the stone to keep it flat and equally worn for the later use.

 Make sure that you swept down the entire blade, from the heel to tip, even if it is longer than your stone.

Step 5: Alternate sides and do the same

Flip the pocket knife and do the same on the alternate side until your blade is sharpened.

✪✪✪ Pro tips:

 Make sure that you do an equal number of glides for each side, as this is very important to get a well-sharpened blade.

Step 6: Flip the stone over and repeat the above steps using fine grip

Now, flip your sharpening stone over, with the finer side facing up, then do the same steps as above.

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✪✪✪ Pro tips:

≫ If you are a beginner for sharpening a pocket knife and not sure about when you will stop to sharpen, feel free to check your blade by cutting a piece of paper or carton box, then keeping doing until you feel satisfied

I hope now you have a pocket knife with a sharpened blade as expected. If not, I have also found some videos that I think will help you see how to sharpen a knife after reading my tutorial.

Flip the stone over and repeat the above steps using fine grip


Have you learned how to sharpen a pocket knife with a stone? Feel free to let me know if you need any further help. I think sharpening a pocket knife should be a regular task for people who use it. I hope all of you found the right way to sharpen your pocket knife and sharpen it efficiently with my guidelines.

However, don't forget to be careful when keeping it in your pocket, as it will always be sharp and like! Sometimes, you only need a towel to wipe it after using it. That’s simple, right? Now, it's your turn to sharpen your favorite knife!


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