How to Sharpen a Knife With a File

How to Sharpen a Knife With a File
It is possible to sharpen a knife with a file to obtain a very sharp edge. However, those who may be familiar knife sharpening may recognize the need for care when using a file on a knife edge. A small, fine, flat file should be used to avoid removing larger amounts of material. The pitfall to using a file as opposed to a whet stone is the possibility of altering the edge or even shape of the blade with a file.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Small, flat and fine file
Step 1
Hold the knife in a position which will provide a stable surface on which to work as well as allow room for moving the file across the blade in long strokes.
Step 2
Begin at the hilt, or rear of the blade, and hold the file at a 30 degree angle to the knife blade itself.
Step 3
Use a long, steady, and even stroke with the file from the hilt to the tip of the blade. Use long strokes with steady pressure. Do not saw on or jab at the blade.
Step 4
Turn the blade over and repeat the process on the opposite side of the blade. Continue to alternate sides for eight to ten times each.
Step 5
Check the sharpness of the blade and also that the blade is not curled or bent over on the edge. If the edge is bent over, lightly run the file along the curl over to restore the edge of the knife.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure to move the file evenly across the entire length of the blade.
Be very careful when handling the knife blade and especially when testing the edge of the blade.

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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