How to Sharpen a Knife with a Rod

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife

Summer is just around the corner and your annual camping trip is approaching. Just then you realized you left a dull knife at the bottom of your bag from your last trip. Don’t freight with just a few simple steps. Your knife will be good as new. A pocket knife is considered by many to be the most essential tool when it comes to camping or hacking. It eliminates and helps lessen time-consuming tasks to just a couple of minutes. Pocket knives serve as multi-tool due to their many uses, it can be used for fire starting, food preparation, safety, and more. Below is a guide on how to sharpen a pocket knife.

Materials Needed to Sharpen a Pocket Knife 

Knife laying on green moss

Before the process of sharpening your handy dandy pocket knife, you must have these two important tools. A stone for sharpening and lubricant to enable smooth movement.

 The Stone commonly called whetstone serves as the backbone of the sharpening process. It comes in a variety sizes, weight, stone materials and typically range from $20 up. They have 2 sides that are used with the process: a rough surface and a smooth surface. For beginners, using an average stone is highly recommended. After advancing and becoming comfortable you can try the more expensive or larger in size stones.

Sharpening lubricants (Honing oil) are made in many different forms to perform the same job. Its main importance is to reduce damages done to your knife while sharpening. It protects the knife from the heat caused by friction from sliding the blade across the stone. Now that you’ve grabbed the two important materials let’s get to sharpening!

Step 1: Prepare the Stone 

Identify the rough and smooth side of the stone using the tip of your finger, then apply a small amount of lubricant on the rougher side and smear across the surface. Make sure to give a few minutes for the stone to absorb the oil. Allow more time for a newer stone.

Step 2: Angles 

When it comes to sharpening the magic lies within the angles and sticking to it. To do so make sure the short end of the stone is next to you then lay your knife flat on the stone. Position the knife on to the edge angle of the sharpening stone at about a 10 or 15-degree angle. Keep in mind if the angle is greater, the less effective the process will be. 

Generally, most pocket knives’ angle lies between 10 or 15. We recommend knowing your blade angle for a faster process, however, if you’re not sure use the range above to guide you.

Step 3: Sharpening 

After positioning the blade at the right angle. Slide the blade horizontally along the stone to ensure the blade’s tip also gets sharpened. Slide the blade away from you in a forward motion to prevent injuries. Repeat this step 5 to 10 times. Keep in mind the number of strokes performed as it is vital to repeat the same number on the opposite side. 

Step 4: Switch Sides 

Now that you’re comfortable. Alternate sides and repeat step 3. Remember to use the same angle and repeat the same number of strokes for a fine and sharp blade. Another method of switching sides is to slide the blade across the stone on one side and immediately flip and repeat the same process. Despite your preference, it’s important to perform the same amount of strokes.

Step 5: Using the smooth surface

This process allows the removal of burr- excess material that forms at the edge of the blade and ensures the blade becomes sharpened. 

Flip the sharpening stone over and apply a good amount of oil on the smooth surface. Repeat steps 3 and 4 using the smooth surface also known as the fine grit of the stone. 

Testing of Blade 

Although this step is not a recommendation, It does verify that your knife is sharp enough. There are many different ways to complete this step. One simple way is the Paper test.

Using a piece of paper, hold the paper in by the corner in one hand and the knife in another, Try to cut through the paper in half. Properly sharpened knife glades right through. If your blade tears the paper or requires the paper to be held tightly it’s time to return to step 5.

Different ways to sharpen

Pocket Knife on a stone

Another Knife 

You can easily sharpen your dull pocket knife by using another knife. Use the other knife as your sharpening stone. Place the knife on the back so that the blade is upright, then place the dull knife at a 10 or 15 angle. Sharpen on the back of the blade until it’s good as new.


Out on your hike with a dull knife, simply find a natural stone with a flat and long surface and substitute it for a sharpening stone. Make sure to find a stone with no bumps and repeat steps 1 to 3.

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife: Conclusion

You did it! You’re now a master in the art of sharpening, you hold the knowledge to the essential survival tool. Remember to always keep a 10 or 15-degree angle and repeat the same number of strokes on both sides. 

Written By: Jameune Ndorleh

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