Kitchen Tips

How To Sharpen A Pocket Knife? With 5 Simple Steps

Tim Parry


Pocket knives are important tools in daily life. Although they come in a variety of shapes and sizes,  it is very important to keep the blade sharp. Now we will guide you on the topic of how to sharpen a pocket knife.

What Is A Pocket Knife?

The pocket knife is one of the most compact and convenient knives. You can carry your pocket knife anywhere, for many different purposes in everyday life. For example, opening envelopes, cutting strings, or even as a way of self-defense.

In terms of appearance, pocket knives (also known as jackknife or penknife), are designed with a single handle, attached to one or more blades, made of steel alloy. Knives range in length from 5 to 15 cm.

Some Types of Pocket Knives

Ordinary Pocket Knife

Most pocket knives fall into this category, as most buyers want to carry it with them. The knife thus becomes a part of your life. You will find more and more uses for the knife. If you don’t already have this habit, it can be very easy to forget it at first, but soon there will come a time when you can’t leave the knife-like your phone. You will gradually get used to its compact design and perfect construction. Because in any case, you want something compact and full of features. If you’re a little sloppy, buy a cheap one so you won’t regret losing it.

Pocket Knife for Picnics

If you plan to use a knife on an expedition, weight and size are of the utmost importance. Of course, if you already carry a knife with you, its size shouldn’t matter. However, that is quite a problem if you are going on a picnic in a remote place. Your knife needs to be both functional and sturdy for everyday use but also fit and lightweight to take you anywhere.

Pocket Hunting/Fishing Knife

If you want to go hunting or catch a big catch, owning a specialist knife is just the beginning. Fixed blades for hunting and long, thin blades for slicing fish are both intended for a specific purpose.

However, if you need a backup or a combination of the two, a regular folding knife will do just fine. An important point that you should consider is that the structure is as simple and easy to clean as possible. It is not good to use a multi-purpose knife for hunting or fishing. The extra functions and open spring construction will soon become useless as well. And you now just need a small, sharp and solid blade.

Pocket Knife for Home Repair

In the end, you might choose to carry a multi-purpose knife but live in a fully furnished home; Or you work on the farm and sometimes need to fix something. Or you are simply a crafty person who always wants to fix everything in the house. If you’re dexterous enough, you can use a simple blade for a lot of things. However, sometimes you will need more tools.

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife

Before sharpening the knife, let’s test the bluntness

A sharp knife is much safer than a dull knife. Try slicing a ripe tomato with a blunt blade and you’ll see why.

There are many ways to determine the bluntness of a knife. The simplest is when you feel the sharpness is no longer the same as before, feel more difficult to cut. Or you can shine a light on the blade (using a headlamp or in strong sunlight): the dull blade will reflect the light.

Another commonly used method is to use the thumb. When you press your nail against the blade, the dull blade will slip away while the sharp blade will cut through the nail and stay there.

Knife sharpener includes


You can pick up a whetstone at any home appliance store. Grinding stones usually have 2 sides: smooth side and rough side for grinding. You can also choose 2 different types of grinding wheels for more options when grinding. Usually you will start the sharpening process with the rough side, then move on to the smooth side to sharpen the blade.

What if you, unfortunately, forgot the sharpening stone at home? You can temporarily use a brick, a flowerpot, an unglazed piece of porcelain such as the inside of a toilet tank or the rough part of the bottom of a dish or cup. Nail files can also be used to sharpen knives; or aluminum articles coated with aluminum oxide, but should only be used on final re-sharpening. Or you can use a natural grindstone, such as sandstones or even any smooth ledge by the riverside.


There are a number of reasons why sharpening knives requires an anti-friction agent. When you sharpen the blade, you are actually scraping away very thin layers of the whetstone. Lubricants help you keep the grinding wheel surface clean for good knife sharpening. In addition, the heat generated when you sharpen the blade on the stone if too high can damage the blade. Lubricants reduce heat generation and protect the blade.

Which lubricant to use: Most experts recommend mineral oil, but you can use water or even saliva.

5 Steps To Sharpen A Pocket Knife

1. Prepare the grinding wheel

Prepare the grinding wheel

First, you will begin with preparing the rough surface of the grinding wheel. Most grinding wheels just need to be seen by the eye to be able to distinguish 2 smooth – rough surfaces. However, you can also trace your nails on 2 sides to check.

Another tip is that rough surfaces are usually more porous and absorb water than smooth surfaces.

After finishing the grinding wheel, prepare the lubricant. It’s best to lubricate the entire surface of the whetstone, but not to the point of drenching the entire stone. Brushing the blade about 20 times is enough.

2. Set the knife at the right angle

It is important when sharpening knives to maintain the same sharpening angle while sharpening. With a pocket knife, you should choose an angle of 10-15 degrees. Place the blade on top of the stone, then keep the blade in contact with the stone and raise the spine until the right sharpening angle is reached.

If you find it difficult to keep the angle when sharpening, you can use the sharpening aid, which is attached directly to the blade to make it easier to align. However, it should be remembered that this method does not apply to curved blades.

3. Sharpen each side of the blade

After you have selected the grinding angle, you will grind the stone vertically. There are many opinions surrounding whether you should grind in an outside-in or inside-out direction. Either way works and we encourage you to sharpen the way you find most convenient. You may need to adjust the angle slightly during the sharpening process so that the entire blade can be sharpened.

With one side of the blade, sharpen 5-6 times. You will hear a very sharp grinding sound if you do it right, and if the sharpening sounds like you are rubbing the whole blade on the stone, adjust the sharpening angle.

After sharpening one side, flip the blade over and do the same on the other side but in the opposite direction. Continue to repeat this process 5-6 times before moving on to alternate grinding.

4. Alternating sharpening of both sides of the knife

Grip the blade once on each side and continuously alternate. Alternating sharpening helps your knife to be sharpened at an even angle on both sides. The bevel is the angle between the knife face and the sharp blade, which determines the shape of the blade. Or more simply, the bevel is the part of the blade you will sharpen.

5. Sharpening the knife on the flat surface

To fine-tune the knife’s sharpness, repeat the above sharpening process but use the whetstone. Lubricate the surface and sharpen each side of the knife 5-6 times. Then re-sharpen the version, finally wiping the oscillator clean.


What do you use a pocket knife for?

The pocket knife is by definition a versatile tool, the functions are cleverly combined so you can fit right in your pocket and allow you to take it out quickly, easy to carry, easy to use for many purposes. As for other specialized knives for hunting, fishing, opening boxes, kitchen knives, plaster knives, you must always carry them with you. Therefore, the design of each type is very different.

How to sharpen a pocket knife with a rock?

We do not recommend using jagged rocks for sharpening pocket knives as it can harm your knives, and is not effective at all. The best way to sharpen a pocket knife is with a sharpening stone.

How to sharpen with a diamond stone?

A diamond sharpening stone is the best tool sharpening stone on the market, it gives an even blade surface on the knife surface and maintains a flat stone surface for a very long time compared to oil and water grinding stones.

Diamond sharpening stone can be used in wet or dry conditions, so it is a good choice when water or oil cannot be used to sharpen knives. Despite being the most expensive grinding wheel on the market, diamond grinding wheels have the longest life and long-term cost, diamond grinding wheels can be more cost-effective than traditional oil and water grindstones. The diamond sharpening stone is ideal for sharpening large and small tools, sharpening or finishing cutting edges.

How to sharpen it with a kitchen sharpener?

The kitchen sharpener is not the ideal sharpener for pocket knives, as its design is only suitable for kitchen knives with a bevel of 15 to 20 degrees. The pull angle of the kitchen sharpener is fixed and not flexible, so it’s better to use a sharpening stone or sharpening stick for your pocket knife.


Above is a very simple way about how to sharpen a pocket knife from Jay’s Beef. Hopefully, with this article, you have learned how to sharpen knives quickly and properly.

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Tim Parry

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