A dull knife is a disaster waiting to happen. Though knives are some of the most useful tools you can have in a given situation, a knife with a dull edge is practically useless. When a knife’s edge isn’t sharp enough, it’s harder to get a sense of how much force you need to exert. Because of this, what happens is that you end up using too much force which can make the knife slip and cut your hand.
To prevent accidents like that from happening, you’re going to want to keep your pocket knife sharp. If you’ve never sharpened a knife on your own before, don’t worry because sharpening a knife doesn’t take a lot of time or effort.
All you need to sharpen your pocket knife is your knife, a whetstone, water, and this guide.
How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife On a Whetstone
First off, you need to clean your knife. Any regular dish soap will do because all we really need at this step is to make sure your knife is free of dirt and oil. This makes it easier to glide your knife against the whetstone.
After washing your knife, dry it off and check the shape of the edge. Pay attention to the angle at which your knife is currently sharpened. This is the angle you’ll be following as you re-sharpen its edge.
Some of you who have a pocket knife with a serrated blade, like the Cold Steel Lucky twin-blade pocket knife, might be wondering how to do that with your knife’s teeth. The answer is that it doesn’t work. Whetstones are only effective on straight-edge blades. For a serrated pocket knife, you’re going to need a honing steel.
Now, onto your whetstone. If you haven’t noticed yet, it has two sides. One is the rough side and the other is the smooth side. You start with the rough side of the whetstone.
Wet the surface of your whetstone and lay your knife on top of it at an angle that corresponds to the knife’s shape. With your knife-holding hand in position, start moving the knife up and down along the length of the whetstone without raising the blade. Your movements should be smooth and continuous.
Remember not to apply too much pressure on the blade. You aren’t trying to chop up the whetstone.
Once you’ve done that for both sides of the blade, you want to repeat the steps again using the smooth side which has a finer grit. This removes the burr created during the process of sharpening your pocket knife. When you’re finished, your knife should be able to cut through most objects without feeling your blade snag.
Don’t Have A Whetstone Yet?
This premium whetstone from Sharp Pebble will get the job done. It’s a double-sided whetstone with a #1000 and #6000 grit. It comes with its own bamboo stand and angle guide to make sharpening your knife easy. Unlike some whetstones, this one doesn’t need oil. All you need is a little water and you can get started on sharpening your knife.
You can get the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone here.
How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife On a Honing Steel
There isn’t much difference between sharpening a pocket knife with a honing steel versus a whetstone. Aside from not needing water or oil, it’s basically the exact same process. Just find your the edge’s angle, follow it, and move the blade down the length of the honing steel repeatedly.
Don’t Have A Honing Steel Yet?
If you don’t have a honing steel to use for your serrated pocket knife, you might want to try out this honing steel from Noble Home & Chef. It has a magnetized surface that prevents metal particles, which are shaved off your knife during honing, from being inhaled or sticking to food.
The honing rod has a slip-resistant handle and is dishwasher safe.
You can get the Noble Home & Chef Honing Rod here.
The AccuSharp Knife & Tool Sharpener: An Idiot-Proof Knife Sharpener
Whetstones are ancient sharpening tools and while the honing steel is a great improvement, both of them still rely on you doing a bit of guesswork with your knife’s angle.
If the number of forum threads looking for “idiot-proof” knife sharpeners is to go by, sharpening a knife with a whetstone or a honing steel is harder than it seems.
They’re also probably why the AccuSharp Knife & Tool Sharpener exists. This tungsten carbide sharpener has two whetstone-like surfaces on the inside of the groove you see above. It may look a little strange, but it allows you to sharpen your knife with this tool regardless of whether it has a serrated or straight edge.
You can get the AccuSharp Knife & Tool Sharpener here.