This simple and inexpensive trick shows you how to keep your knife sharp
Learn how to keep your knife sharp with a small and inexpensive sharpening stone. Never let your knife become dull again, whether you are a beginner or a pro.
From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.
👉 The key facts from this guide
- A knife should never become completely dull, as it is more difficult to sharpen a knife that is already dull.
- A simple and inexpensive sharpening stone is sufficient to keep a knife sharp, especially for beginners.
- The proper technique for sharpening involves holding the knife with the blade facing upwards and placing the sharpening stone against the side of the blade before tilting it gently towards the edge.
- The sharpening stone should be moved against the blade edge, ensuring that the same number of sharpening movements are performed on both sides of the blade.
- A moderate amount of pressure should be applied when sharpening, and the knife blade should be drawn over a honing leather (or leather belt) at the end to improve sharpness.
- The number of sharpening cycles may vary depending on how sharp the knife already is or how sharp it needs to be.
Keeping your knife sharp is probably not your favorite activity.
There are dozens of different techniques and tools to get this job done. However, what I have learned is that simplicity proves to be one of the best practices.
The goal in sharpening your knife is to get it sharp quickly and easily.
You are removing metal from the edge of the blunt blade. Typically, your blade is blunt because the metal has been rolled on a microscopic level.
So, when sharpening, we need to remove the rolled metal and create a clean edge.
Keep your knife sharp, never let it become dull
First, the most important tip when you own a knife and work with it regularly: never let your knife become dull.
Sharpening your knife before it becomes dull is much easier. If your knife is already dull, it is much harder to get it sharp again.
If you discover large cracks in the blade, then your knife is more than dull. You will not be able to repair these cracks through simple sharpening, either.
Perhaps it is time to look for a new knife.
Get a simple sharpening stone
For beginners in bushcraft, survival, or other outdoor hobbies, a small pocket sharpening stone will be sufficient. This is a simple and inexpensive way to sharpen your knife.
Don't be intimidated by expensive and complex sharpening systems. And don't take the best knife sharpeners on YouTube as your role model, as these people have years of experience in sharpening.
A pocket-sized sharpening stone will also do the job for you.
In addition, these sharpening stones are lightweight, small, high-quality, and won't break the bank.
I wholeheartedly recommend the DC4 sharpening stone from Fallkniven. The reviews speak for themselves.
How to sharpen your knife
1. Hold your knife with the blade facing up and the tip away from you.
2. Place your sharpening stone against the side of the knife.
3. Carefully tilt the sharpening stone towards the edge (sharp part) of your knife.
4. When you tilt the sharpening stone towards the blade, you will notice a gap between the edge and the sharpening stone. As you get closer to the edge, a dark shadow will appear in between.
5. Move the sharpening stone further towards the edge to reduce the shadow and close the gap. You should only close the gap and not tilt the sharpening stone any further.
6. When the gap is closed and no shadow is visible, the correct angle for sharpening is set.
7. Now you start sharpening the knife. Move the sharpening stone against the blade (from top to bottom).
8. Repeat these movements on the other side of the blade. Make sure to perform the same number of sharpenings on each side of your knife.
9. Is your knife sharp enough? Test it by using it. If you are satisfied with the sharpness, you're done. If not, continue sharpening your knife.
Tips and Tricks
- Depending on the sharpness of your knife, the sharpening process on each side can take anywhere from 5 to 30 repetitions. Ultimately, you have to decide if the sharpness of your knife is sufficient for you.
- Do not press hard against the blade while moving the sharpening stone along it. Use moderate pressure instead.
- At the end, draw your knife blade over a leather strop (or your leather belt) and you will be amazed at how the sharpness improves. But be careful: draw with the back of the blade first and NOT with the blade itself, as in sharpening.
Great, you're done. Using your knife just got twice as enjoyable!
Don't own a sharpening stone? Then check out my article "9 tricks for sharpening a knife without a sharpening stone".
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