Sharpening a pocket knifeA pocket knife is a tool that is unequalled in terms of its versatility, durability and convenience.

Yet a pocket knife’s performance will only be reliable if it is properly maintained.

While proper use and cleaning of a pocket knife are integral elements to its overall wellbeing, perhaps the most important maintenance element is the proper and regular sharpening of the knife.

This article will present the art of sharpening a pocket knife in 4 easy to follow steps.

Following these steps will ensure that your knife provide top quality performance for the duration of its life.

Step 1: Using a sharpening stone

Of all the tools available for sharpening a pocket knife, perhaps the easiest and most durable is a sharpening stone.

Sharpening stones come in several shapes and sizes, but the best one for the regular sharpening of a pocket knife is a small, two sided stone with a coarse-grit side and a fine-grit side.

This stone will enable you to simply hone your blade, or in the case of a duller, damaged blade, to re-form your blade altogether.

The first step in using a sharpening stone is to lubricate it.

A common, two-sided stone will only require water for lubrication.

Simply submerge the stone in water until it is thoroughly moistened.

This should take no longer than 10-20 seconds, as all you need to do is ensure that the stone has soaked in all the water it will hold.

Step 2: Determine the sharpening required

If your blade is undamaged, and the only reason that you are sharpening it is because you have used it regularly, or that it is not performing up to peak standard, then you only need to hone the blade.

This will require using the fine-grit side alone. Alternatively, if the blade is damaged, or it is extremely dull, then a re-forming of the blade will be necessary.

In this case you will use the coarse-grit side first.

Step 3: Angle the blade to the stone

It is vital to know the angle of your blade, as sharpening at the wrong angle will cause more harm than good.

The average angle of a pocket knife is between 25-30 degrees.

Unless you have a specially made knife, the 25 degree angle will work for sharpening.

Place the blade on the stone at a 90 degree angle.

This will be straight up and down, as though you were about to cut the stone in half.

Next, reduce the angle to just over half.

Next, reduce to just over half again. This will change the angle from 90 degrees to about 50 degrees, then to about 25-30 degrees.

Step 4: Sharpen the blade

Once you have your angle, place the knife at the base of the stone—furthest away from you, with the handle against the stone.

Next, in one smooth motion, glide the knife from the base of the stone to the front of the stone, closest to you, while moving the blade in a reverse cutting motion, so that the handle moves away from the stone, and you wind up with the point at the front of the stone.

Be sure the blade is facing AWAY from you.

Do this about 10 times, before turning the blade over to sharpen the other side in the same manner.

In the case of minor sharpening, or honing, use the fine-grit side only.

In the case of more intensive sharpening, use the coarse-grit side first, performing this process, and then use the fine-grit side in the same manner to remove debris and to hone the blade to a finer sharpness.

Conclusion

After you sharpen your knife, use it to test that it is indeed sharp enough. If you still aren’t satisfied, repeat the process.

Always dry your sharpening stone thoroughly after use, and keep it in a dry place.

Sharpening your knife on a regular basis, using these 4 easy steps, will help ensure that your knife performs to its highest standard at all times.