How To Sharpen Pocket Knives In Just 7 Steps

Alex Clarkson
Alex Clarkson

You might own beautiful pocket knives. And for that, you might want to know how to sharpen them. But sharpening requires a lot of time and effort. With a pocket knife comes the commitment of sharpening them.

So, how to sharpen pocket knives?

The steps are quite simple. You’ll need a sharpening stone for that. After soaking the stone, lubricate the surface to facilitate the sharpening process. The first step is to figure out the bevel angle of your knife. After that, hold your knife at that precise angle. And glide the knife along the length of the stone. Repeat the process until it achieves a sharp edge.

These steps will pretty much assist you to sharpen pocket knives. However, if you’ve got a minute, read along. We’ve described the process of sharpening knives. And answered the most frequent questions. Just for you.

Let the sharpening begin-

Sharpening Pocket Knives: A Guide To Sharpen Your Weapon

A pocket knife has to go through a lot. Because of their accessibility, pocket knives are used in countless things. From opening mail to cutting an apple.

However, even if you get the best knife or an outstanding cleaver; without sharpening it won’t matter.  

You might want your knife to be useful and long-lasting. And for that, you need to sharpen them every once in a while.

Sharpening your pocket knife is easy and requires only a few steps. However, there are certain things you need to be careful about. Such as the angle of the knife. You should focus a lot on the angle of a knife blade. But more on that later.

This process of sharpening would take a couple of minutes. That depends on your skills. Let us now take a look at the steps for sharpening pocket knives-

How To Sharpen Pocket Knives: The Easy Way

It’s time to get that pocket knife out of your kitchen cabinet. Before jumping into the sharpening process, make sure we’ve got the right tools. For sharpening knives, you’ll need-

  • Knife sharpening kit/ sharpening stone
  • Mineral oil
  • Knife honing rod

There are many kinds of sharpening tools available in the market. Some are for travelers and some are a little fancy. 

Some of the sharpening stones are finer grit or coarser grit. So buying the right one is confusing. ​

If you’ve got all that is needed for sharpening, let us proceed to the steps. Are you ready?

Step 1: Choose The Sharpening Stone

pocket knife and stone

The first step for sharpening is to choose the right sharpening stone for your knife. Now there are many options for sharpening stones.

Whichever you choose, make sure the stone is 6×2 inches in length and width. That’ll make the job way easier.

Among the many kinds of sharpening stones, the most popular ones are-

  • Whetstone
  • Ceramic Stone 
  • Diamond Stone
  • A piece of paper


Let us know a bit about these sharpening stones. This will help you choose the right stone for your knife-

If you want an easy option for sharpening your knife, whetstone is the best for you. They are made with coarse grit or fine grit, however you like. 

But using them requires a bit of attention. Because they develop some grooves after using them for a while. As a result, the whetstones don’t last long.

You also need to keep Whetstones under cold water for 10 minutes prior to use.

Ceramic Stone

Ceramic stones are usually harder than whetstones. This means your knives will sharpen faster than on a whetstone. However, it’s also the hardest to sharpen. And just like whetstones, they also need to be soaked in cold water. But only for 5 mins.

Although ceramic stones are hard to use, they last longer than whetstones. Ceramic stones hardly form the grooves after use.

Diamond Stone

These are the most expensive sharpening stones. They have small diamonds attached to their surface. Diamond stones are usually made of metal plates. They are made in several sharpening levels- fine grit, super grit, and coarse grit.

Diamond stones are the hardest to use. But this also means it will sharpen the knife faster. Even faster than whetstones or ceramic stones.

If you’re done choosing the sharpening stone, move on to the next step-

Step 2: Lubricate The Stone

The next step is very interesting. You would need to lubricate the surface of the sharpening stone. Experts recommend using mineral oil for lubrication. 

If you’re using ceramic or whetstone, any mineral oil would do. However, if you’re using diamond stone, it’s ideal to use a liquid dishwasher.

After soaking the stone, take a tablespoon of mineral oil. Then pour it on the surface. After that,  spread the oil gently on the whole surface with your fingers.

You must be wondering how this sharpens a knife?

Well, oils or dishwashing liquid helps to fill all the pores of the stone. So that they don’t get clogged with swarf, filings, and grit. Otherwise, they hamper the sharpening process.

Step 3: Determine Bevel Angle Of The Knife

pocket knife sharpener

This is one of the most important steps of sharpening a pocket knife. That is to determine the angle of your knife. 

You will need the accurate angle when you’re sharpening your knife. Otherwise, you might be giving your knife a completely different curve. You might not be able to use it for the same purpose.

Whether it’s a manufactured or DIY pocket knife, every knife has a different angle. This angle is curved according to its use and purpose. This angle is known as the rough grind angle.

You can find the angle by contacting the manufacturing company or on the internet. However, most pocket knives are honed at an angle of 25 to 30 degrees.

And as to why you need to determine the angle? You’ll find out in the next step-

Step 4: Position Your Knife

This step needs your utmost attention. You’ll have to place the sharpening stone vertically in front of you. Now, hold the pocket knife firmly. Make sure it’s positioned at the particular bevel angle of your pocket knife. To do that you can use a protractor. And measure the alignment of the stone and knife blade. And keep the position of the blade facing away from you.

This is the most tricky part. Because you’ll need to keep this angle of your knife steady at all times while sharpening. You can also take help from a sharpening guide. In case, you’re having trouble sharpening a pocket knife.

Keeping the hand steady at the required bevel angle is important. It will ensure the curve of your knife is alright. If the angle is wrong, you will possibly give your pocket knife an entirely different edge. Your knife edge will not be intact.

If you’re done positioning your knife, proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Glide The Knife

The sharpening of your pocket knife begins from this step. Positioning your knife at the bevel angle, start gliding it over the stone. 

Sweep the knife from up to the edge of the stone. Repeat this motion keeping your hand and the angle steady. Usually, pocket knives require 12 sweeps on one side of the blade.

Now if you’ve swept on one side, flip the knife to sharpen the other side. Repeat the same process as you’ve done before. Remember you need to keep the angle steady at all times.

Repeat the process 6-8 times until you get an even edge on your knife. You can check the desired angle and edge. Just by holding the knife against the sun or light. You might find tiny reflections on the edge. This means you need to sharpen your knife a bit more.

Step 6: Switch The Stone

In this step, your action depends on the type of stone you are using. If your stone has a finer grit on the other side, flip the stone. You can also use another stone with finer grits for this step. Because finer grits help to make the edge of the knives perfect. 

All you have to do is repeat the process of sharpening a knife. Make sure the surface is lubricated. 

Keeping the angle steady, glide the knife on the stone 6-8 times on both sides. Do it until you think you’ve achieved perfection. Sharpening the knives often will increase your knife sharpening skills.

Step 7: Test Your Knife

The final step of sharpening your knife would be to examine its sharpness. No, you don’t have to stab any of your vegetables for that. There are many other convenient ways to check the sharpness. So you can leave the vegetables alone for a while.

What you’ll need to do is take a piece of paper. Hold it firmly with your left hand. Take the pocket knife on your other hand. And try to slice the paper from the top. 

If the knife slices the paper smoothly without any bumps. It’s perfectly sharpened. However, in case there are bumps. Go back to step 5 and repeat the entire process.

You can also check for tiny reflections. By holding the knife against the sun. This will tell you precisely the place that needs sharpening.


Question: Can you sharpen a pocket knife with a kitchen sharpener?

Answer: Yes you can sharpen a pocket knife with your kitchen sharpener or honing rod. But you need to keep the bevel angle in mind when you do so. However, we prefer using a sharpening stone for getting the best results.

Question: What angle is most pocket knives sharpened at?

Answer: Most pocket knives have a bevel angle of 25 to 30 degrees. And they are sharpened at this angle. This keeps the curve of the knife intact. However, some knives are sharpened at different angles.

Question: How often should you sharpen a pocket knife?

Answer: Sharpening your pocket knife for every one month is good enough. Your pocket knives will get a new sharpness. And thus will last longer than knives which have not been sharpened. Repeat the process we’ve discussed for sharpening your knives.

Signing Off

By now we hope you know how to sharpen pocket knives in the easiest way. Sharpening knives require a bit of attention. However, do not worry. Your skills will get better over time. And you’ll be able to sharpen the knives quicker than before.

If our step by step guide was able to help you sharpen your pocket knives. Let us know in the comment section.

Till then, keep looking sharp!

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