How to Sharpen Knife Edge Angles

How to Sharpen Knife Edge Angles
A properly sharpened and honed knife edge is perhaps one of the greatest assets to carry when participating in a wide range of outdoor activities. From cutting food for lunch to vines for tying a survival shelter, a sharp knife is a necessary tool which should always be carried. With some basic knowledge and practice most people can successfully learn to sharpen knives.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Knife Coarse whetstone Smooth whetstone
  • Knife
  • Coarse whetstone
  • Smooth whetstone
Step 1
Place the edge of the knife with the blade resting gently on the surface of the coarse whetstone. Tilt the blade so that it rests at about a 20-degree angle. This will result in a proper sharpening angle, which will minimize the possibility of damaging the edge of the blade by folding over during sharpening.
Step 2
Using smooth and even motions, pull the edge of the knife across the coarse stone opposite the direction used for normal cutting. This will allow for the removal of old and dull metal and aid in forming a burr. A burr can be detected by lightly dragging your thumb pad across the edge of the blade and will feel like a small rough bead of metal. This is actually a slight bending, or rolling, over of the metal.
Step 3
Turn the knife over and repeat the process on the other side of the blade. Once again, test for the burr being formed by gently feeling the edge with the pad of your thumb. This is important to the final sharpening step and helps to ensure the longevity of the stone.
Step 4
Move the knife to a smooth stone. Maintaining the same 20-degree angle, this time move the blade across the stone with a normal cutting motion with the blade moving forward. Apply five or six strokes on both sides of the knife.
Step 5
Finish honing the blade by smoothly pushing the blade directly across the smoother stone. It may take several motions to move completely across the surface of the blade. Flip the blade over and repeat.

Tips & Warnings

There is much debate as to whether stones should be wet or dry. Beyond this there is debate on using honing oil or water. Many times this is personal preference which will be determined by sharpening several knives.
Use extreme caution when sharpening knives. Make sure the stone is secure by using a non slip pad or other material under the stone. Keep the free hand clear of the knifes motion.

Article Written By Tara Dooley

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.

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