How To Sharpen A Knife With A Stone

If you’re an avid camper, hunter, or survivalist, a knife is one of your best friends.

They are one of the most versatile tools at your disposal, and can help keep you safe if you need to defend yourself.

How To Sharpen A Knife With A Stone

Like any other tool, you need to make sure your knife is properly maintained.

Over time, your knife will go blunt and needs to be sharpened.

However, if you’re caught in a survival situation, you might not have the proper tools available – if this happens, you need to be prepared to improvise.

In this handy step-by-step guide, we’ll teach you how to sharpen a knife using nothing but a stone and the right technique. So let’s jump right into things and learn this useful skill!

Why Do You Need To Keep Your Knife Sharp?

First things first – why do you need to keep your knife sharp in the first place?

The most obvious reason is that a blunt knife isn’t going to be of much use to you.

If the blade has worn down and become blunt, you aren’t going to be able to cut through most materials.

Rope, wood, animal hide, and other materials you might need to cut through can be very tough, and you need to keep your knife sharp if you want to actually use it!

Another big reason is safety. In a lot of cases, a blunt knife can actually be more dangerous to you than a sharp one.

Blunt knives are more likely to slip or jump while you’re trying to cut something, and just because a knife isn’t sharp enough to cut through tough materials doesn’t mean it can’t slice your skin if it slips.

As a result, keeping your knife in good shape will help you stay safe when you’re using it and prevent the risk of cutting or stabbing yourself by accident.

How To Sharpen A Knife With A Stone: A Step-By-Step Guide

So now that we’ve covered why you need to keep your knife sharp, let’s take a look at how to actually sharpen it using a stone.

This simple step-by-step guide will teach you the whole process so you can get back to using your knife in no time!

The best way to sharpen your knives with a stone is to use a proper whetstone.

However, if you don’t have access to one then you can use a regular rock. We’ve covered both methods here.

Sharpening A Knife With A Whetstone

1) Examine The Knife You Want To Sharpen

Before you start, take a look at the knife you’re planning on sharpening to determine how blunt the blade is.

The duller the blade, the coarser you’ll need your whetstone to be.

If your blade is especially blunt, you’ll need to start with a coarser grit before moving on to a finer one.

many whetstones are two-sided with differing coarseness for this purpose.

Try slicing through a piece of fruit or a vegetable like a tomato to see how much resistance there is.

The more resistance you have, the blunter your knife is.

2) Prepare The Whetstone

Next, you need to prepare your whetstone for sharpening your knife. There are two types of whetstones – water stones and oil stones.

To prepare a water stone, fill a basin or tray with water and let the whetstone soak for 45 minutes.

This helps the knife move more smoothly across the stone and prevents scratches and nicks.

For an oil stone, you should avoid getting it wet as this can damage it.

Instead, spray or rub some honing oil onto it, ensuring that it is coated completely and evenly.

How To Sharpen A Knife With A Stone

3) Sweep The Knife Across The Stone

Here’s where things can get tricky. Hold the knife by the handle in one hand, using the fingers of your other hand to hold the spine of the blade near the tip for extra control.

Position the knife at a 20-degree angle with the heel of the blade against the stone.

Then, using a slow and even movement, draw the blade across the stone to sharpen it.

When you’ve finished sharpening one side, swap sides and repeat, adding more water or oil to the stone as you need.

4) Polish The Edge

Once you’ve sharpened the blade on the coarse side, flip the stone over and use the finer side to refine and hone the edge. Continue until the knife is fully sharpened.

Sharpening A Knife With A Rock

1) Find A Suitable Rock

If you don’t have a whetstone, you can get the job done with a regular rock.

However, the rock you use is important; river stones and sandstone are the best option here.

Find a smooth, porous stone; like with a whetstone, the finer the stone is sharper it will be. 

Making sure the rock you use is smooth and even will give you the best results and avoid issues like chipping or nicking.

2) Wet The Stone

Like with a water stone, you need to soak the rock before sharpening in order to keep the sharpening process smooth and even.

Soak the rock in water for half an hour to 45 minutes; if you’re using a river stone, you can simply soak it in the river or stream!

3) Sharpen The Blade

This step is pretty much the same as if you were using a proper whetstone.

Holding the knife at a 20-degree angle and using an even amount of pressure, draw the knife across the stone from heel to tip.

You aren’t going to see as good a result as you would with a proper whetstone, but a good stone will still be effective at sharpening the blade of your knife in a pinch!

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to sharpen a knife using a whetstone or a rock!

This is a handy skill to have and can be a great help if you’re caught out in a survival situation.

All you have to do is follow this simple step-by-step guide, and you’ll be able to get back to using your sharpened knife in no time!

Tim Roth
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