Many people are under the impression that the only way to answer the question of how to sharpen a pocket knife properly is to pay a professional to do it or to use a high-end sharpening device on its edge like a Japanese water stone. The truth is that in a pinch you don’t need to use a fancy sharpening device to help the blade on your pocket knife recover from being dull.
As a matter of fact, many common household items that you probably would not think of can be very useful when it comes to recovering the sharpness of the blade on any knife that you own. In this article, we will alert you to some useful ways to answer how to sharpen a pocket knife with household items.
Knowing these sharpening tricks could come in very handy if you are a prepper who gets forced away from your home in an SHTF scenario.
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There Are 2 Ways to Help Your Pocket Knife Recover Its Sharp Edge
Before we get started it must be noted there are two ways to enhance the edge of your pocket knife. One is by honing it and the other is by sharpening it.
Many people think when you hone a knife you are sharpening the edge of it but that’s not true. You are actually taking the irregularities out of the blade that causes it to become dull. Honing gets all the burrs off the edge of a knife and smooths and polishes the cutting edge.
Sharpening the blade actually reshapes the cutting edge of the knife. This is done by aggressively rubbing or grinding a rough surface against a knife-edge. When you sharpen a knife you shape the knife-edge at an angle that is conducive to making it easy to cut things with that knife.
Here is a video that explains the differences between ‘honing’ and ‘sharpening’ a knife a little better:
How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife with Household Items?
Here are a few ways to sharpen your pocket knife using things that are commonly found in your home or elsewhere:
1. Use A Leather Belt
This is a great way to hone a pocket knife to make it sharp again. Over the centuries leather has been successfully used to do what is known as ‘stropping a knife-edge’. As we mentioned before, this helps to erase imperfections from the edge of your pocket knife. It also helps to increase your pocket knife’s cutting power by restoring its smooth cutting edge.
In a pinch, your leather belt will work fine for this purpose. The only catch here is that it must be a leather belt that is perfectly smooth and does not have any pronounced areas of stitching throughout it.
Doing a leather belt ‘stropping’ as a means to hone your knife edge is not very complicated. You simply rub the knife-edge across your belts’ smooth outer surface. The stroke you use should start with the sharp edge of the cutting knife and run away from it to the unsharpened edge.
Here is a video that describes this process in a little more detail:
2. Use The Edge Of A Ceramic Coffee Cup Or Other Cylindrical Ceramic Piece
If you turn over the edge of any ceramic style coffee cup you own you will notice a rough ring that goes around the bottom of it in a circle. This circle is left rough intentionally so your coffee mug or other ceramic piece does not slide all over the place. If you run your hand across it, you may just be surprised how rough it is.
When you rub your pocket knife blade over this rough ceramic circle on the bottom of a coffee cup, you will actually sharpen the blade if you do it right.
How is this done? Start by turning your coffee mug with the open end facing down. Place your non-dominant hand around the coffee mug to hold it and then you use your other hand to hold onto your pocket knife.
Next, turn your pocket knife at an angle that is slightly less than 45 degrees. Move the pocket knife blade across the bottom of the coffee cup in a direction that moves the knife across it going away from you. You do not want to go in multiple directions. The only strokes you use should just be going away from you.
Sharpen the pocket knife blade on both sides too. You can tell if it’s working because you will see some residue starting to build upon the bottom of the coffee mug.
Here is a video that describes how to sharpen a knife with a coffee cup:
3. Nylon Back Pack Strap
Chances are if you have to abandon your home in a disaster scenario one of the things you will have with you is some sort of backpack. It can be a specially prepared survival backpack or even a regular backpack that you acquire in a pinch to carry supplies. There is also a good chance that backpack will have a nylon strap on it that you can use as a honing tool to sharpen your pocket knife.
This may sound strange but it actually works very well. It is important to note that you don’t have to cut the nylon strap off the backpack to do this. After all, you will most likely need to be able to use your backpack over and over again and the straps on it were designed to help you carry weight in it easier.
The procedure for honing your pocket knife’s edge with a nylon strap is almost identical to that used for stropping your pocket knife with a leather strap.
You will once again simply rub the knife edge across the nylon straps’ smooth outer surface. The stroke you use should start with the sharp edge of the cutting knife and run away from you to the unsharpened edge. Make sure you repeat this motion on both sides of your pocket knife.
The following tutorial will show you the procedure for sharpening your pocket knife with a nylon strap and show you some other ways to sharpen your pocket knife too:
The Bottom Line on Pocket Knife Sharpening In a Pinch
We have shown you some great ways here to sharpen your pocket knife when you do not have more conventional knife sharpening tools lying around to do it with. You do not have to limit yourself to these solutions either. Just about any material that you can think of that will reshape the blade or slightly remove some metal from it can be used to successfully hone or sharpen your pocket knife.
So when your pocket knife gets dull take a good look around you. That old piece of sandpaper, smooth flat stone in the garden or smooth metal side of another tool may be just what you need to get the blade on your pocket knife nice and sharp again.
A sharp pocket knife is truly one of the most important things you will possess in a true SHTF scenario.