Must-Know Techniques for Knife Sharpening

Maintaining the sharpness of your knives is essential for effortless cutting and safe handling. One of the most effective methods for achieving razor-sharp edges is using a whetstone. In this guide, we'll delve into the best techniques for sharpening a knife with a whetstone, ensuring your blades are always ready for action.


Before diving into sharpening, it's crucial to prepare your whetstone and knife properly. Submerge your whetstone(s) in water for at least an hour to ensure they are fully saturated. Meanwhile, place a towel over a stable surface to create a comfortable sharpening station. Remember to dedicate this towel solely to sharpening as the process can leave marks.

Angle and Grip:

Understanding the angle at which to sharpen your knife is paramount. For folding knives and automatic pocket knives, a consistent angle between 15-20° is ideal for achieving a balance between sharpness and durability. Hold the knife firmly with the handle in your dominant hand, ensuring a secure grip throughout the sharpening process.

Sharpening Technique:

Start with the coarse side of the whetstone, or the stone with the lower grit if using multiple stones. Place the heel of the knife blade at the far edge of the stone, holding the blade at the desired angle. Apply even pressure as you slowly draw the blade towards you, ensuring smooth and consistent movements. Repeat this process, counting each stroke to maintain even sharpening on both sides of the blade.

Creating a Burr:

As you sharpen, a burr, or a lip of metal, will form along the edge of the blade. This indicates that the blade is properly sharpened on one side. Flip the knife over and repeat the sharpening process on the opposite side until a burr forms again. This ensures uniform sharpness across the entire blade.


Once both sides of the blade have been sharpened and a burr has formed, it's time to hone the edge for a razor-sharp finish. Transition to a higher grit whetstone, typically 6000 grit for finishing. Repeat the sharpening process with finer grit, ensuring to maintain the same angle and pressure. Honing removes any remaining burr and polishes the blade for optimal sharpness.

Cleanup and Maintenance:

After sharpening, rinse the whetstone with clean water to remove any residue. Pat it dry with a towel and allow it to air dry completely before storing. Proper maintenance of your whetstones, including rotation and flattening when necessary, ensures longevity and consistent performance.

Mastering the art of knife sharpening with a whetstone is a skill that guarantees your blades are always ready for any task. By following these techniques and practicing regularly, you can maintain the sharpness of your folding knives, automatic pocket knives, and other bladed tools with ease. Embrace the satisfaction of effortlessly slicing through any material with precision and confidence.