How To Sharpen A Pocket Knife

There’s nothing worse than reaching for your trusty pocket knife just when you need it most, only to find that it’s gone blunt over time! A blunt pocket knife isn’t going to be much use to anyone.

You will need to hack away at the rope or whatever you are trying to cut or carve in order to try and get the same results. But you still won’t get the same clean results as you would if the blade was nice and sharp.

How To Sharpen A Pocket Knife

So you will need to ensure that you keep your pocket knife sharpened regularly so that it can stay sharp and ready to use in a pinch.

But if you’ve never had to do this before, you may be wondering how do you sharpen a knife? There’s no need to panic – we’re going to tell you everything you need to know in our comprehensive guide on how to sharpen a pocket knife.

What Can You Sharpen A Pocket Knife With?

The good news is that there are actually two different ways that you can use to sharpen a pocket knife.

These are making use of a sharpening stone such as a whetstone, ceramic stone, or diamond stone, or you can use a steel rod or honing rod. 

No matter which method you choose, making sure you’re sharpening the blade at the right angle – or the right bevel – will be essential. Otherwise, you could be making the pocket knife blunter rather than sharper.

Let’s take a look at these two methods in more detail.

A Sharpening Stone

One of the easiest ways to get your pocket knife nice and sharp is by using a sharpening stone. There are several different types to choose from: whetstone, ceramic stone, or diamond stone.

A whetstone is considered to be the easiest of the 3 to use, and will require soaking in water first before you use it.

A ceramic stone will also need to be soaked in water. This type of stone is harder than a whetstone, so can be used for quicker results.

A diamond stone won’t need to be soaked before you use it, and these tend to last longer than both ceramic and whetstone. However, they are a lot more expensive.

For the purpose of simplicity, we will show you how to sharpen your pocket knife using a whetstone.

You will need to soak your whetstone for around 10 minutes before you can use it. It will also be worth using mineral oil as a lubricant, as this can reduce the amount of friction between the whetstone and the blade. 

Once your sharpening stone has been lubricated, you can then start to identify the bevel of your blade. This is the angle of the blade’s edge, and it will be very important to follow this angle of the blade, and to keep a steady hand.

The average bevel angle of a pocket knife is between 30 degrees to 25 degrees. You can check the exact angle of your blade either via the manufacturer’s website or by taking it to your local knife shop.

To sharpen your blade, it will need to face away from you. Make sure to position the blade at the correct angle. If you don’t maintain the angle, you could end up causing a round edge instead.

Gently allow the pocket knife to glide along your whetstone until it sweeps off the end of the stone. Repeat this for a further 11 times before you turn the knife over and sharpen the other side of it.

You will then need to turn over the whetstone so that the finer side is facing upwards. Gently sweep the blade at the correct angle along this side of the whetstone to remove any burrs or bumps that may have formed during the process of sharpening your pocket knife.

You could also make use of a honing rod for this step.

Lastly, you can use a piece of paper to test the sharpness of your pocket knife. Your knife should slide through this easily if you were to try and slice downwards when you hold a piece of paper in one hand.

If it’s not as sharp as you would like, you can repeat the process with your whetstone.

A Honing Rod

The other sharpening method for your pocket knife is making use of a honing rod. This works much the same way as a whetstone, only you won’t need to soak it beforehand.

Take a firm grip of the honing rod handle, and place the tip of the rod so that it’s on your kitchen counter. You may wish to put an old tea towel underneath to prevent scratching the surface.

Again, identify the bevel angle of your pocket knife. You will then need to swipe down along the honing rod to sharpen the blade. Make sure to do this lightly.

You can then swap the side of the blade that you are sharpening, much like you would do using the whetstone method.

How Often Do You Need To Sharpen A Pocket Knife?

The answer will generally depend on how much you use your pocket knife. If you use it a lot, you will need to sharpen it more. If you don’t use it all that regularly, you won’t need to sharpen it as often.

The general rule of thumb is that your pocket knife will need to be sharpened every 1 to 2 months for the best results.

In Summary

You now know everything there is to know about sharpening your pocket knife. If you want to get the best results from your pocket knife when you’re out camping or hiking, you will need to ensure that it is sharpened regularly.

Without regular sharpening, your pocket knife will become blunt, and won’t be able to cut through anything.

You can use 2 different methods to keep your pocket knife sharp. You can either opt for a honing rod or sharpening stone.

No matter which method you opt for, you will need to ensure that you do so using the correct bevel angle of the blade. This is to make sure that you are able to achieve the sharp edge that you are after.

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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