When you are using a knife, it needs to be sharp enough to cut through an object. When it loses the edginess or becomes blunt, usually a sharpening stone is used to hone knives. But not everyone has a stone handy in urgent situations. So, how to sharpen a knife without a stone? Or is there a homemade way to sharpen a knife? Well, of course, there is!
Knives are one of the most important tools in our everyday life. Everyone has used a knife at least once in his or her lifetime. I mean, it’s not something you only use for culinary, it has several other uses in many aspects like sports, weapons, tools, etc. And for these, you need a sharp-edged knife, to begin with.
Using a dull knife for work not only wastes your time but also increases the risk of injuries. You may think it is not possible with a blunt knife, but accidents can happen anytime if you are not being careful enough. So instead of wasting your time on a dull knife, or before buying a new knife, you can always hone your old knife to work longer with some simple yet effective ideas.
How to Sharpen a Knife at Home: 10 Useful Methods
The fastest way to sharpen the cutting edge of a knife is by using the sharpening stone obviously. They are coarse, hence help to refine the knife-edges quickly. But sharpening stones are not always available in your home. Or you may not find it in case of emergencies, which is not unusual. Regardless you can’t stop your work in the middle of it, can you?
Don’t worry if you do not have a sharpening stone in your tool kit. We are going to show you some useful techniques about how to sharpen a knife without a sharpener. That too with some everyday products within your reach! So you won’t ever have to be in stress if you need a razor-sharp knife.
1. The Coffee Mug Technique:
This method is quite common in sharpening knives, as coffee mugs are very common in most households. Many people use this product and are very satisfied with the outcome. Generally, a coffee mug has a polished outer exterior to give out a nice outlook. However, the bottom part on which the mug stands is a rough one.
Not all mugs have this rough surface, but it is very common in coffee mugs. This coarse surface can work as a sharpening tool for depending on the roughness it possesses. You can easily use it to hone your knives at home.
- Just take an old mug that has a rough bottom surface. Remember, a polished mug won’t do the trick.
- Put the mug in an upturned position on a hard floor. The floor should be dry otherwise, you won’t be able to continue the work. Add clothes or a board under the mug if needed.
- Take the knife and place it in an angular position against the rough mug surface.
- Start running the whole length of the knife back and forth. Maintain the angle position between the mug and the knife.
- When you see the edge has turned sharp enough, turn it over and do the same with the other side.
- Keep doing it until both sides are honed equally.
You can also use a ceramic bowl or plate if they have a coarse surface to stroke the knife-edges. Because the roughness is the key part of this method. So choose whichever works for you!
2. Leather Belt Technique:
This may sound a bit odd at first, but you can use your leather belt or any other leather made leash to hone your knives. This stropping technique is used basically after you have sharpened your knife, it will decrease the burr of the honed knife. This is for maintenance purposes. You can use it on the sharp knives and they would never go blunt.
If you have a sharp-edged knife and want to keep it that way, but only have a leather belt, you could use it as the preservation method. Your blades will remain sharp for a long time if you can use this method on a regular basis. Any old leather belt or strap can do this work.
- Lay down the belt on a solid surface to make your work smooth. You can also fix the edge of the belt to a hook and hold the other point during the process.
- Put the knife blade at an angular position against the belt.
- Draw the knife away in one swift motion while maintaining the same angle between the belt and the knife.
- Shift the stroke so the whole length of the blade is covered.
- Pick up the knife and turn it over. Then draw it back in your direction while the blade is in the opposite direction. The same way you have sharpened the other side at first.
- Keep doing it for 10-12 minutes until both sides are equally honed.
3. Nail File:
A nail filer is a tool to shape and polish our nails after we cut it. The surface of a nail filer is an abrasive one that helps to even the nail edges. Sounds quite similar like sharpening stone, right? So if you hear that you can use it to sharpen the knife, don’t be too surprised. Because it is true! This is actually a very common method to use instead of the stone or mug.
This might be the perfect answer to how to sharpen a pocket knife without a stone. It is one of the safest and easiest techniques if you are in dire need of honing your knives. This lightweight tool can be carried anywhere you want, like a sudden trip, camping, and hiking, etc.
- Put the nail filer on a firm surface. The floor should be dry or else you won’t be able to complete the work. Make sure the filing side is on the top.
- Many put the nail filer on their thighs due to the small size. Do not do it or you could seriously injure yourself.
- Take the knife and place it in an angular position against the rough nail filer side. The blade should be pointed on your opposite side.
- Start stroking the whole length of the knife into the file. Maintain the angle position between the filer and the knife.
- Keep stroking until the blade side becomes sharp.
- When you see the blade has turned sharp enough, lift and turn it over to hone the other side.
- Keep doing it until both sides are sharp enough.
4. Car Window Technique:
I know you are thinking if you are reading the wrong article! Nevertheless, you are reading about ‘How to Sharpen a Knife without a Stone?’ and we definitely think, using a car window to sharpen your knife is a good idea. Not very common, yes, but it does the trick and that’s what matters.
It can be quite efficient if you have nothing else to hone your knife for an urgent task. You can use your car window edge as a honing rod. Because the sideline of a car window is not as smooth as the rest part of the window. In fact, it has a rough texture on it. Therefore, it will act as a honing rod if you put a blade against it.
This is not an easily carried tool as you can’t just put a car window in your bag and go on a hiking trip. However, you can sharpen your knife midway if you are traveling in your car.
- At first, open the car window in-between to make sure the window side is rough enough.
- Put the knife on the edge line at an angular position with the window.
- Start running the blade into the edge with one swift motion.
- Keep stroking the full blade length back and forth for a few minutes.
- Flip the knife and do the earlier step again.
- Keep doing it until you get the sharp edge you want for your knife.
5. Flat Rock Technique:
Sharpening stones are usually the best way to sharpen your blade. It takes a short time and the honing is done pretty effortlessly. However, you can also use a flat rock or smooth stone instead of a sharpening stone. It definitely is a handy option in an emergency.
This process is easy to conduct, as there is no extra baggage you have to carry with you. You just need to find a smooth and flat-surfaced rock for this job. Then you can do it easily like any other method.
- Select a flat-surfaced rock and wash it with water. Lubricating it will make the honing process much smoother. So, even if the rock is clean, wash it with water.
- Hold the blade at an angular position against the rock surface, the pointy end should be directed opposite you.
- Start moving the knife along the surface while maintaining the angle in between. Make sure to cover the whole length of the blade in doing so.
- Once the edge is sharp enough, turn that knife over and start stroking the other side in a similar way. Maintain the angle while pulling and pushing the blade.
- When both sides are sharpened enough per your need, stop stroking the knife.
6. Sandpaper Technique:
Sandpapers are used for removing materials like paint, to smoothen a rough surface or roughening up a smooth surface. It has an uneven texture like a sharpening coarse stone. Thus, it can be used as a substitute for a honing tone if you don’t happen to have one.
You can set the sandpaper on a wooden block with an even surface. This will make your honing task much easier and quicker.
- Take a sandpaper piece. Fold it or put it over a woodblock to create a rectangular outline.
- Then put the sandpaper or the block on a solid floor instead of your knee. You can seriously injure yourself that way.
- Put the knife on the sandpaper surface at an angular position, make sure the blade is facing away from you.
- Start running the blade into the sandpaper with one swift motion, and hold the sandpaper securely with your other hand.
- Keep stroking the full blade length back and forth against the sandpaper, while maintaining the angle in between the sandpaper and the blade.
- Turn over the knife and do the earlier step again.
- Keep doing it until you get the equal sharp edge you wanted for your knife.
7. Nylon Strap Technique:
We have already talked about how a pocketknife can be sharpened without a stone. After using the nail file to hone your knife, you can use the nylon strap to strop the knife for longer life. We already know leather belts can be used to strop a blade, and the same can be said about nylon straps. The rough edges of nylon straps work as a short term coarse honing stone.
Think about it, you are on a trekking or went on a sudden trip. These types of adventures need a knife as one of the most vital tools. Even if you forget about taking a sharp knife with you, you can always hone your blunt pocket knife into a sharp-edged one.
- Lay down the nylon strap on a solid surface to work smoothly. You can also attach the edge of the strap to a hook and hold the other point during the sharpening process.
- Put the knife blade at an angular position against the nylon strap.
- Draw the knife away in one swift motion while keeping the same angle between the strap and the knife.
- Keep stroking the blade back and forth so the whole length of the blade is covered.
- Pick up the knife and flip it over. Then drag it back in your direction while the blade is in the opposite direction. Follow the same way as you did earlier.
- Keep doing it for a few minutes until both sides are equally honed.
8. Concrete Technique:
Concretes can be another substitute if you have no other option to sharpen your knife. Concrete is a regular household material that you can find anywhere inside or outside your home. You can use the concrete floor as well as a concrete block to finish your work.
But you need to be very careful if you are going to use this technique. The surface of it has to be perfect textured or your knife blade could be damaged permanently. The use of concrete is similar to using a sharpening stone. But after honing, you should stop the blade to make the knife work smoother.
- Just find a concrete block that has a smooth surface. Remember to wet the concrete before starting the process.
- Take the knife and place it in an angular position against the side of the concrete block.
- Start stroking the whole length of the knife backward and forward. Keep the blade away from your direction and maintain the angular position between the concrete and the knife blade.
- Repeat the stroking process for a few minutes.
- When you see the edge has turned sharp enough, flip the knife and do the same with the other side.
- Keep doing it until both sides are equally sharpened.
9. Cardboard Technique
When you sharpen a knife, the edges of the blades get uneven. This is not beneficial if you want a clean and even cut using your knife. Here, stropping can save the knife from damaging further. Stropping is an important part of the knife sharpening process. By using this method, the already honed blade of a knife is polished and gets readjusted.
The cuts made by this stropped knife will be much sharper. If the knife is stropped after being sharpened every time, the efficiency of the blades increases by a long margin. Normally a leather strop or belt is used for stropping the knife. But in the absence of those, you can use cardboard as a substitute.
It might not be as efficient as the leather ones, but for a temporary solution, this will work just fine.
- Take a cardboard and prepare it to use for stropping your knife.
- Lay down the cardboard on a flat and solid surface.
- Put the knife blade at an angular position against the cardboard surface.
- Draw the knife away in one swift motion while keeping the same angle between the cardboard and the knife.
- Keep running the knife blade back and forth so the whole length of the blade is covered.
- Pick up the knife and flip the blade. Then again, start dragging it back in your direction while the blade is in the opposite direction. Follow the same steps as you did earlier.
- Keep doing it for a few minutes until both sides are equally stropped.
10. The Spine of another Knife
While we are going through several modes to sharpen our knives without a sharpener, one thing that most of us forget to use is another knife! You can use another knife to sharpen your blunt knife. Isn’t it amazing? We all have different types of kitchen knives in our households. Using any one of them should be convenient enough to do the job.
Many people say you shouldn’t be using a knife to grind another. According to them, this doesn’t work well. Nevertheless, all things come down to only one point, the strategy you are going to apply. If you know how to do it properly, there is no chance of any mishaps to occur.
In this process, we just need a knife that has a spine. This spine is going to be the sharpening rod in this process. A double-edged knife does not possess a spine, hence you can not use these types of knives as sharpening tools.
- Take two knives. One is the blunt one that you want to sharpen, another knife as a sharpening tool.
- Turn the sharpening knife so the blades are facing downwards.
- Take the blunt knife and position it on the spine of the sharpening knife at an angular position. Make sure the blade is not facing you.
- Start stroking the blunt knife along with the spine of the sharpening knife. Keep moving it back and forth by covering the whole length of the blade.
- Maintain the same angle throughout the process.
- When the edge is honed, flip the knife and start doing the same with the other edge.
- Keep doing it until both sides are equally filed.
Apart from the mentioned ones, several other methods can be used to sharpen a blade like a brick, slate, broken glass bottle, etc. While some of them really work well as a sharpening tool, you have to be careful handling these objects. The procedures are more or less the same for these methods.
You just have to maintain the angles, the positions, and the motions of the knives properly to get the best outcome. But be extra cautious during these unconventional methods, as accidents can happen at any time with anybody. In any case, you wouldn’t want to damage your artery!
It is obvious that you should use a sharpening stone for the best sharpening result. However, knowing some other tricks are definitely useful when you don’t have the sharpening stone or seems to have lost it! In this ‘How to Sharpen a Knife without a Stone?’ article, we have tried to include all different techniques that can be used for sharpening knives.
These techniques are actually effective and very useful when you are in dire need of a sharp knife. You can find these objects in both indoor and outdoor places, depending on where you are at that moment. But remember that these tricks are not always recommended for you to use on a regular basis. Excess use of household objects may damage the blade of your knife.
While you can use some regular objects as a temporary solution in urgent need, these shouldn’t be applied to new knives. It is unnecessary, moreover, it will decrease the efficiency of the blade. It is better to use the apt sharpening tool for these.