How To Sharpen A Pocket Knife

There’s nothing worse than trying to cut or carve using a blunt pocket knife. Chances are that you’re familiar with resharpening your kitchen knives to ensure they can cut properly through meat and vegetables, but what about your pocket knife? Can you even sharpen your pocket knife?

Yes, you can sharpen a pocket knife. In fact, there are two main methods that you can use to sharpen your pocket knife. These involve either using a sharpening stone or a honing rod to get your pocket knife back into its sharp condition. A sharp pocket knife will be much more useful to you than a blunt knife!

Today we’re going to show you how you can sharpen your pocket knife from the comfort of your own home.

How to sharpen your pocket knife with a stone

How to sharpen your pocket knife with a stone

The first step will be to choose a suitable sharpening stone. Any size should do, but if you ensure that it is at least 2 inches x 6 inches, this should give you a sufficient amount of surface to use for sharpening your pocket knife. There are three main types of sharpening stones which you can use: ceramic stones, diamond stones, and whetstones.

Ceramic stones need to be soaked in water first for at least 3 to 5 minutes before you use them. These are harder than whetstones, but are often more challenging to use. Diamond stones come with different degrees of coarseness.

These are the hardest types of stones, and are often the most expensive – but they will sharpen your pocket knife the quickest. Whetstones are typically the easiest sharpening stones to use, and need to be soaked in water for 10 minutes before you use them.

So before you get started, you will need to lubricate your stone with water. If you are using a ceramic stone or whetstone, you will need to soak this in water before you can use them to sharpen your pocket knife.

You can also use a mineral oil to ensure that your sharpening stone is sufficiently lubricated. Thinned dishwashing soap can be used to lubricate a diamond stone.

Next, you will need to know the bevel angle of your pocket knife. This is the optimal angle for your blade, which will differ depending on the purpose of the knife. The majority of pocket knives will have a bevel angle of between 25 to 30 degrees.

You will need to position the knife against your chosen sharpening stone at this correct angle. Make sure that the blade is facing away from you. You will need to keep your hand steady and maintain this bevel angle throughout the whole of your sharpening stroke. 

Move the knife along the stone, gliding it along until it reaches the end of the sharpening stone. You will likely have to repeat this process a couple of times to get the sharp edge that you’re after. This will typically take around 12 strokes.

Curved or longer blades need to be swept down along the stone so that you can evenly sharpen the whole of the knife. Repeat the process on the other side of the blade.

Now you will need to turn the sharpening stone over, and glide your blade along this finer side. This is so that you can remove any ‘burrs’ or bumps which might have formed on the edge of your blade during this sharpening process. You can also use a honing rod to do this.

How to sharpen your pocket knife with a honing rod

Another method for sharpening your pocket knife is to use a honing rod. These are typically made of steel, but can also be made from ceramic and diamond. These are two of the hardest materials in existence, so you can sharpen your knife quickly.

Diamond honing rods have a reputation for creating smoother blades, but both of these materials will sharpen your knives quickly.

Grasp the handle of your honing rod firmly, and hold its tip against your counter. To prevent causing any gauges in the work surface, we’d recommend placing this tip against your chopping block or on an old tea towel. You will need to hold your honing rod vertically so that it is standing straight up.

Next, you will need to find the bevel angle of your blade. As we’ve already mentioned, this is typically around 25 to 30 degrees for pocket knives. If you’re not entirely sure of the correct bevel angle for your blade, you can always take your pocket knife to your local hardware store or knife store to ask for their advice, or contact the manufacturer.

Now you will need to sweep the edge of your blade along the honing rod. This should be done with a light touch, not applying too much pressure. You should also do this slowly. Make sure to keep the same angle for the entirety of the stroke.

Next, you should switch to the other side of the blade so that it can be properly sharpened. Do this on the opposite side of your honing rod. 

You should only need to do this a couple of times if your knife is fairly sharp. If the blade is very blunt, you will need to do this several times.

In summary

So there you have it! There are two super easy methods to help you sharpen your pocket knife: using a sharpening stone or a honing rod. Your pocket knife is just like every other knife, and will need to be sharpened every now and then to maintain a sharp edge. 

The most important thing to remember is that you must find the correct bevel of your blade. If you sharpen your blade at the incorrect angle, you will actually end up making your knife’s edge blunt. You can always check with your local knife store or hardware store if you’re unsure what the bevel angle is of your blade. The majority of pocket knives have a bevel angle of around 25 to 30 degrees.

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