A pocket knife works best when it is sharp. No matter if you are using a swiss army knife or a general folding knife, a sharp one is safer than a dull one. A dull knife requires additional force to finish a cut, increasing the possibility of serious injury. So, how to sharpen a pocket knife? 

You can use a sharpening stone, honing rod, brick, flat rock, etc., for sharpening the pocket knife. The methods are straightforward and take only a couple of minutes. 

Whether you have a pocket knife, serrated knives or kitchen knives, try these techniques and avoid using a dull blade again.

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife with a Sharpening Stone

Different stones, such as whetstone, ceramic stone, Arkansas stone etc., are available on the market to get the sharpening job done. Whetstone is popular for sharpening the cutting edge and other steel tools.

I will be using a whetstone. Find the step-by-step sharpening process below.

Step 01: Clean the Pocket Knife

Before proceeding:

  1. Make sure your knife is well-cleaned.
  2. Wipe the grease, dirt, or other residues using mild soap and warm water.
  3. Dry the knife thoroughly.
  4. Check for nicks in the edges, as they require additional sharpening care.

Step 02: Prepare the Stone

Soak the whetstone for at least 3 hours. Also, lubricating the stone is important. Mineral oil will be an ideal choice. Lubricant prevents clogging up the stone pores with the finer grit, filling, and swarf. Moreover, it minimizes heat buildup when you rub the knife on the whetstone. 

Step 03: Identifying the Correct Bevel Angle is the Key

Learning what angle to sharpen the pocket knife is crucial. 

Manufacturers hone every knife at a specific angle, helping it to meet its purpose. Generally, pocket knives’ bevel angle is 25° – 30°. Remember to keep the angle constant when sharpening.

Step 04: Start Sharpening

Correct positioning of the knife against the whetstone is vital when sharpening. The position of the knife should be the blade facing and away from your body following the specified beveled angle. 

Avoid shaking your hand and maintain a steady angle. If you are unsure about keeping your hand stable throughout the process, consider buying a sharpening guide. Attach the knife to the guide, which will guarantee a consistent angle.

Glide the knife over the top and bottom of the whetstone. Continue gliding as long as you need. After finishing with one side, follow the same process to the other side. 

Step 05: Make Alternative Strokes

Once each side of the knife is sharpened according to your preference, make multiple alternating strokes. Sharp one side, then continue the other side successively. 

Step 06: Run the Blade Over the Flipped Side of the Whetstone

As there are two sides of a whetstone, Which side of a whetstone to use? Flip over the whetstone and run the blade edge over it. Keep in mind to maintain the sharpening angle. A knife blade will never provide the expected performance if sharpening is done with improper angle. 

Step 07: Check the Sharpness of the Pocket Knife

After following the above instructions, you might be asking how do I know my knife is sharp or still dull?

Test the knife’s sharpness by slicing a piece of paper. A sharp pocket knife glides through a paper easily. 

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife without a Sharpening Stone

Don’t have a whetstone to sharpen the pocket knife? No worries, as alternatives are there. Honing rods, brick, and flat rock are good choices for completing the task.

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife with Honing Rod

A honing rod is an excellent sharpening tool to sharpen a pocket knife or kitchen knife . It is also known as sharpening steel, or honing steel. Along with pocket knives, you can also use it sharpen any Japanese knives.

Step 01: Hold the Rod Vertically on a Solid Surface

Hold the rod on its handle and position the tip on a solid surface like a cutting board or chopping block. Remember that the honing rod must be held straight up and down vertically. Such handling helps maintain a true sharp edge.

Step 02: Locate the Bevel Angle

The correct bevel angle defines a sharp knife’s sharpness, durability and use. Usually, pocket knives’ bevel angle is between 25° – 30°.  Tune your knife’s cutting performance by ensuring the bevel angle perfectly.

Step 03: Run the Knife Along the Rod

Gently and slowly swipe one side of the knife along the rod. Move the knife from the rod’s top to the toe. Maintain the same bevel angle in every stroke.

The number of strokes for sharpening depends on the dullness of the knife. 

Step 04: Switch Sides, Finish Sharpening & Test the Sharpness

After sharpening one side, switch to the other side. It guarantees even sharpening. 

Let’s test the sharpness now. The easiest way to test is to use the knife. A sharp blade will be able to cut an onion with no pressure. Onion’s skin is slippery and thin. If the blade bits into the skin easily, your pocket knife is well-sharpened.

Want to know how to sharpen a serrated knife? Happily, a sharpening rod is the best choice. You can sharpen a serrated blade with the above-mentioned steps.

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife with Brick

Wondering how to use a brick as a knife sharpener? 

A brick is the closest thing you will find for knife sharpening. Also, you can find them on the go, but carrying them is unnecessary.

Step 01: Choosing the Brick

Look for a brick that is neither too smooth nor too coarse. The blade can get damaged due to the too-coarse brick. On the other hand, a smooth brick will fail to give you the required sharpness. 

Step 02: Wet the Brick

Use water to wet the brick completely. Water works as a lubricant, eliminating any extraneous friction. Then, place the knife’s blade at 25° – 30°(specified bevel angle of pocket knife). Also, the face of the blade should be kept away from you. 

Step 03: Move the Blade Slowly on the Brick

Swipe the edges of the knife slowly on the rough grit side. Cover the full length of the blade. Check the sharpness between the strokes visually.Provide several strokes based on your requirement.  

Step 04: Follow the Same Process to Opposite Side & Check Sharpness

Flip the pocket knife over and start sharpening the opposite side following the same method. Don’t stop until you are sure that the pocket knife is well-sharpened. 

Finally, check the sharpness. A sharp knife glides through a thin paper with minimal effort. 

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife with a Flat Rock

This is another convenient method to sharpen a pocket knife. You can pick a flat rock when hiking or camping quite easily. 

Although a tool sharpener is a better choice, a flat rock does the job efficiently. In fact, any rough grit surface will let you sharpen a pocket knife without trouble.

Find out a smooth and slightly rough textured flat rock. Then wet it with water.

The sharpening method is exactly similar to the Brick method. All you need to do is maintain the right bevel angle and place the flat rock on a solid surface. 

In the end, test the knife sharpness. If the knife failed to pass the test, undoubtedly, you will think why is my knife not getting sharp? Sharpening at the wrong angle, maintaining an inconsistent angle and not sharpening all the way to the knife edges are the prime culprits. 

That is why, ensuring the right bevel angle is a must. 

If you are unsure about the bevel angle, visit your nearest knife shop for help.

Warning: Utmost caution is mandatory as knife sharpening is dangerous regardless of the methods. 

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife [Video]

Assume that you’re now aware of sharping a pocket knife. However, if you want to see the entire process to sharpen a pocket knife, watch the following video:

How to sharpen a pocket knife – The Weavers of Eternity Paracord

FAQs on How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife

Why is it important to sharpen a pocket knife?

Sharpening a pocket knife is essential for maintaining its cutting performance. Over time, the blade can become dull from regular use, which affects its ability to cut efficiently and safely. Sharpening the knife helps restore its sharpness, making it more effective for various tasks.

What tools do I need to sharpen a pocket knife?

You will need a sharpening stone or whetstone, lubricant or water for lubrication, and a cloth or towel for cleaning. Additionally, you may use a sharpening guide or angle guide to maintain a consistent angle while sharpening.

How often should I sharpen my pocket knife?

The frequency of sharpening depends on how often you use the knife and the tasks you perform with it. As a general guideline, you should sharpen your pocket knife whenever you notice a decrease in its cutting performance. Regular maintenance and periodic touch-ups will help keep the blade sharp.

How do I determine the correct sharpening angle for my pocket knife?

The sharpening angle depends on the type of knife and its intended use. As a starting point, most pocket knives have a sharpening angle between 15 to 20 degrees. If you’re unsure, you can consult the manufacturer’s recommendations or try different angles to find what works best for you.

Final Words

Reading this comprehensive guide, you have acquired multiple methods on how to sharpen a pocket knife. These techniques are also suitable for sharpening japanese knives or serrated knives

A sharp pocket knife is a safe knife and it requires regular sharpening.

So, how often should I sharpen a pocket knife?

It completely depends on the frequency of the knife’s usability. Frequent sharpening is not required if you don’t use the pocket knife frequently. But if the edges feel rough or dull, the pocket knife requires sharpening. 


Oliver aka Arannyk Monon is a versatile content writer, editor, and content strategist. He has been writing for the last 10 years to help people get the actual information that they are searching for on Search Engines. He has proven expertise in Kitchen, automotive, camera, hosting, and other technical topics.

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