Around The House

How to sharpen a knife with a stone

As a hobby, I like to stab clocks with my knives.
It’s a fun way to kill time.


Have you ever heard the phrase “A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife”? This saying is based on the fact that a person has to work harder and use more pressure to make a cut with a dull knife. Using more pressure when making a cut leads a person to being more prone to slipping and having an accident. As someone with countless tiny scars on their body, I can say that I would much rather have a razor sharp knife to cut with than a dull knife that I have to fight with.

sharpening a knife with a stone

Sharpening a knife is an age old skill. Ever since blades were first made, man has been attempting to keep them sharp. One of the most common tools used for this purpose is a simple sharpening stone. There are many kinds of sharpening stones out there. Some require you to use water when using them, others oil, and some nothing. Be sure to read the directions included with your stone to achieve the best results.

After doing a little research, I learned that the majority of knives are sharpened to an angle of between 15 and 22 degrees. To keep the edge n your blade when sharpening, you will need to keep your knife at that same angle, or you will change the angle of the edge. If you sharpen your knife with a 45 degree edge on it, it most certainly will not feel very sharp, so you need to be careful when sharpening a knife so as not to damage the blade. One trick I learned was to fold a piece of paper twice. This will give you a 22.5 degree angle to base your knife angle on.

Fold a piece of paper once to create a 45 degree angle.

fold a piece of paper once to make a 45 degree angle

Fold the paper again to create a 22.5 degree angle.

fold the paper again to form a 22.5 degree angle

You can then use this paper to align your knife with the stone to achieve the proper angle for sharpening. After preparing your stone (if needed with water or oil), you can begin to sharpen your blade. If your stone is like mine and has a rough side and a smooth side, the rough side is used only for removing nicks or flat spots in the blade and the smooth side is for sharpening.

sharpen a knife with a stone

Slide the blade along the stone ensuring all areas of the blade are ground away evenly. Count the number of swipes you take on one side, so that you can do the same on the other side of the blade as well. I usually do about 10 passes, then switch over to the other side. After only a couple of cycles, your blade should start to look and feel much sharper.

After sharpening, your blade may feel much sharper, but may still feel slightly jagged for lack of a better term. It won’t feel sharp like a razor. That is because the sharpening process has created many micro abrasions in your blade. For a utility knife or something that will take a lot of abuse, this is not a problem if left like this. If you would like a more polished, clean edge, your best option is a simple piece of leather.

use leather to polish a knife edge

Using the same edge you used to sharpen your blade, hold your knife against a piece of leather. Drag the knife backwards across the leather to polish the edge of the blade to remove the micro-abrasions. Flip and repeat for the other side. This should leave you with a nice, clean, sharp, and SAFE, edge to a knife.

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