how to sharpen a pocket knife

how to sharpen a pocket knife

What good is a pocket knife if it doesn’t cut anything? Pocket knives are useful, but due to their accessibility, they are used for all sorts of purposes. It is common to see people using pocket knives to cut wood, boxes, open food packages and even to poke an unidentified insect and then clean it in their pants and put it back in their pocket. Absurdly, some people carry a blunt knife with them, even though it implies greater force. Sharpening a knife only takes a couple of minutes. Try these two methods to sharpen your beloved knife.

Sharpening your knife with a stone

Choose the type of stone you want to use to sharpen your pocket knife. It doesn’t matter what type of stone you select as long as you use one that is at least 2″ x 6″ to make the sharpening job easier. The various options available to purchase include diamond stones, ceramic stones, and sharpening stone. [1]

  • Sharpening Stones – These stones are generally considered the easiest to use and are made from fine to coarse grits. To use it, you must soak your whetstone in clean, cold water for ten minutes before sharpening your knife. Keep in mind that when a sharpening stone is used a lot, it often develops valleys or grooves where the knife rubs.
  • Ceramic stones: These stones should also be soaked before use, but only for three to five minutes. Ceramic stones are harder than whetstones (which means they will sharpen your knife faster) and generally last longer, but they are a bit more difficult to use.
  • Diamond stones: These stones come in different varieties, including harder, fine, and extra fine. Diamond stones are very hard and very porous. [2] In many cases, they are actually metal plates with small diamonds attached to their surfaces. These are the hardest sharpening stones and will sharpen your knife much faster. Keep in mind that diamond stones are also the most expensive sharpening stones.

Lubricate your sharpening stone

Lubricate your sharpening stone. If you are using a whetstone or ceramic stone, you must soak the stone in water for the correct amount of time. Knife sharpening experts also recommend a lubricant such as mineral oil. You can buy this oil at your local hardware store. The purpose of the lubricant is to prevent the pores in the stone from becoming clogged with debris or sand. It also reduces the heat caused by the friction that is created when the knife rubs against the stone. Keep in mind that too much heat can warp your knife. [3]

    • You can use honing or machine oil on a whetstone or ceramic. If you are going to use a diamond stone, diluted dishwashing detergent is very helpful.

Identifies the bevel angle of the blade (also known as the rough grind angle). The blade of each knife is sharpened at a particular angle to suit the knife’s purposes. Most knives have a 25 to 30 degree bevel. [4]

  • If you are reluctant to sharpen your knife without knowing the exact angle, you can go to your local knife shop for help or you can call the knife manufacturer. You may also be able to find the specific bevel angle for your knife online.

Place the knife at the proper angle on the stone. When sharpening, hold the knife position with the blade facing away from you at the set bevel angle against the whetstone.

  • Holding your knife in the same position for a long period of time can be challenging. If this isn’t your first time sharpening a knife or you feel like your hands can’t hold one position long enough, you should consider purchasing a sharpening guide. Sharpening guides are attached to the blade and hold it at a constant angle. Keep in mind that the guides don’t do much good with a curved blade. [5]

Slide the knife along the stone. Slide the knife down and off the end of the whetstone. Repeat as many times as necessary to produce a sharp edge, usually about twelve times. As you hone your sharpening skills, this will become more of a circular motion.

  • If you have knives with curved blades or blades larger than your sharpening stone, you’ll need to slide them down and along the stone for a completely even sharpening.

Sharpen the other side of the blade. Flip your knife over and slide the blade along and off the sharpening stone, ensuring the angle. Do this six to eight times, or until you get a sharp edge.

Flip the stone over so the thinner side is facing up. Test your knife with the proper bevel angle along the finer side of the stone. By doing this, you will remove any bumps or prickly crusts that may have formed along the edge of the blade during the sharpening process. [6]

  • Instead of using the finer side of the stone, you can also try each side of the blade on a sharpening rod at a more open angle than the one you used to sharpen it. This removes the spiny bark and hones the blade’s sharpness. The sharpening rod is also a quick way to revitalize the edge.

Test your pocket knife for sharpening. Hold a piece of paper and try to cut the paper with your knife. A sharp blade will easily slide through paper.

  • You can also test it by using any rounded parts of the blade or blemishes by holding your knife up to the light (you can also use the sun) and looking for a bright reflection of light. Reflections only exist when there is a rounded edge somewhere on your knife or a section of the knife that is no longer sharp.

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