Sharpening Your Pocket Knife

by Dani Howell March 15, 2019
ReadSharpening Your Pocket Knife Image courtesy of Jacob Bromwell

Pocket knives are good to keep on hand—well, in pocket. You can use them to open those difficult-to-open boxes, to slice fruit, to sharpen pencils (though, I’ve never had much luck with that), to cut rope, and even to whittle—if that’s a skill you have. One thing all these diverse uses have in common: You want your blade to be sharp.

When your pocket knife is dull, you have to apply greater force whenever you use it. And, that can be dangerous. Plus, sharpening the blade is actually pretty easy. So, save yourself some time and effort in the future and get your blade in shape.

While there are several different ways to sharpen a pocket knife (some of them rather odd), this is one of the more common methods.

What you’ll need:

  • Pocket knife
  • Sharpening stone – You don’t have to get fancy here. Any two-sided one should work.
  • Lubricant – Most sharpening stones work best with some type of lubricant, usually water or mineral oil. This helps cut back the heat and friction between the blade and stone.
  • Clean cloth

The process:

  1. Apply the lubricant to your sharpening stone. Wet down the side of the stone you’re starting with.
  2. If you have a two-sided stone (which I’d recommend), start with the rougher side.
  3. Figure out the angle of the blade for sharpening. Typically, you’ll want to hold the knife at an angle of about 15 degrees. Though, the exact angle depends on the type of knife.
  4. Start by focusing on one side at a time. Maintaining your angle, pull the knife’s blade across the length of the stone. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving the blade toward or away from you. As you swipe the blade, consistent pressure and angle are key.
  5. Do this six to ten times, depending on how dull your blade is. Then, repeat the exact same process on the other side of the knife.
  6. Using the same type of strokes, now repeat the process again—just alternating the side of the blade you’re sharpening. So, a stroke on the first side and then one on the second. Do this a few times.
  7. Assuming you have a two-sided stone, flip it over and wet the finer side.
  8. Repeat the previous process. Sharpen each side of the blade on the finer side six to ten times and then alternate sides for a few strokes.
  9. Wipe the blade on a clean cloth.
  10. Now your pocket knife is sharp and ready for safe and effective use.


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