Whether you are using your knife while camping outdoors or practicing survival skills, you probably already know that keeping your knife properly is the answer to a long life (for the knife). That’s why learning to sharpen a knife can be one of the most important survival skills you get. When sharpening and cleaning properly, if it is made of stainless steel (and we recommend you make one of that precise material), your knife can serve you well for years.
For your knife to work at all times, we recommend that you sharpen it as soon as you notice that its performance is not as smooth as it should be. Of course, there are many knife sharpening machines that you can easily use to keep your knife, but today we are going to talk about sharpening your knife with a stone. We have compiled a list of several methods, so you can learn how to do the work, regardless of what you have around you. We will help you decide which method is right for you.
Method # 1: sharpening with sharpening stone
Sharpening stones are fairly easy to use for sharpening, so even if you have never sharpened a blade in your life, you can probably aim sharpening a knife with the sharpening stone.
All you need to know is that the sharpening stone has two sides that you can use: one side, soft and thin, is used to rub the knives, and the other side is intended for the actual sharpening of the blade. You will recognize this side for its coarseness.
Before using the sharpening stone, the stone should be soaked in cold water for about ten minutes. This can be a problem if you are in the desert and need to sharpen your knife urgently, and the only water you have is what you need to drink. However, if there is a stream or a river, or even a lake near you, you can soak the whetstone there for ten minutes and then sharpen your knife.
With frequent use of the sharpening stone, you may notice that the stone begins to corrode, which destroys its functionality over time. Therefore, you should replace it when you notice corrosion in the cutting lines. The positive side is that decomposition due to corrosion will take years, so you can use it for a long time before replacing it.
Use the thick side for the sheet, slide the sheet over the stone, move it up and down and then use the smooth side to rub the edges to finish.
Method # 2: sharpening with diamond stones
If you already have more experience with knife sharpening and are ready to invest more money to buy the best sharpening tool, diamond stone is your best choice. The best thing about a diamond stone is that you get what you pay for, which is the highest quality, the best performance and the highest reliability. So, although it is definitely a bit expensive or at least more expensive than other options such as sharpening stone or ceramic stone, diamond stone is a good choice.
If you have little or no experience with knife sharpening, we do not recommend the use of this type of stone, as you will need to hold your knife at an exact angle for this method to work.
If you decide to do it, you will have three options to choose from: hard, fine and super fine, depending on the type of knife you have. Unlike sharpening stone, it is not necessary to soak the diamond stone before using it, which can be very useful if you are outdoors and do not have the conditions to moisten the stone or do not have the luxury of waiting 10 minutes.
Diamond stone is usually manufactured so that dozens of small diamond-shaped protrusions cover the surface of the stone. This makes sharpening really easy and you can sharpen your knife in just a couple of strokes, since those little diamonds are extremely powerful.
Method # 3: sharpening with ceramic stone
We could say that the ceramic stone is somewhere between the sharpening stone and the diamond stone when it comes to talking about quality. In this case, we have durability, resistance, functionality and price.
Ceramic stones are more expensive than sharpening stones, but they are also cheaper than diamond stones (much cheaper). In addition, it lasts longer than the grindstone but less than the diamond stone.
Although the durability increases compared to the whetstone, if you are a beginner, we recommend the sharpening stone. Why? Sharpening ceramic stone, like sharpening with diamond stone, requires you to choose the perfect angle, that is, the sharpening angle to be able to say that your knife is sharpened correctly.
If you are looking for a sharpening stone that can withstand a lot of work, since you constantly or very often use your knife, then the ceramic stone is the right choice. It will last you a long time and will not corrode on time.
What might annoy you, especially if you need it to sharpen your knife outdoors, somewhere in nature, is that the ceramic stones must also be soaked in water before using them, for at least several minutes. The time required to soak is reduced by half as opposed to the time needed to soak the grindstone, but you must still moisten it for proper use.
In SHTF scenarios, it may happen that you do not have a sharpening stone that you can use to sharpen your knife. In that case, you can use other alternatives that you may find around. If you are somewhere in the desert, you can look for sandstone or if there is a river around, you can sharpen your knife on a rock smoothed by the water. Sharpen your knife by sliding gently on the alternative sharpening surface.
Other alternatives, if you’re not in the desert, are the brick and ceramic mugs. You can use a cup by twisting it and using the bottom to sharpen your knife by sliding it gently. The same goes for the brick: run your knife gently through the edges to make the knife sharper.
What is my grinding angle?
When we talk about different types of sharpening stones, you have probably asked yourself at least once that you were in “what is your grinding angle?”. If so, you are on the right track to learn how to take care of your knife.
Choosing the correct grinding angle is very important and there are two reasons for this: basically, if you choose a different angle from which your knife should sharpen, it will take more time to sharpen your knife so that the opaque edges disappear. . And second, your knife works best when it is sharpened at the right angle, showing the full capacity.
If you are not sure of the angle of grinding of your knife, you can ask the manufacturer, since you should know this type of information. You can also take a look at the box, the package or the papers with which your knife came. There may be some information about the correct grinding angle for your knife. If you’re still not sure, you can take a 20-degree sharpening angle to sharpen your knife and let the sharpening angle go from 20 to 30 degrees for pocket knives. The smaller the angle, the edge will be sharper, but it will also be more brittle and will break faster.
To get the best performance, we still recommend that you do a little research on your knife and be prepared in advance. In case the information is not available in your manufacturer, you can use the Internet to find out which angle is best for your knife precisely instead of guessing and experimenting.
Should I use lubricant instead of soaking?
The use of lubricant is an excellent option, since you can maintain the sharpening stone more effectively, eliminating dirt and dirt from it, also preventing corrosion and causing deterioration. The lubricant can also be used before sharpening the knife, so the stone becomes more resistant to the blades. We recommend that you buy a type of lubricant that you trust the most to make your sharpening stone more resistant and durable.
However, you can not use lubricant to replace the water soaking treatment that sharpening stone and ceramic stones require each time before sharpening.
Sharpening made easy
Although sharpening knives is something that you need to learn for a longer period of time and practice doing it, here is how you can sharpen your knife properly in just a couple of steps.
Step # 1: slip
Sliding the blade through the sharpening stone is the way to start the process. You will have to repeat it for a while, approximately 10 or 12 times, slide on both sides, constantly changing sides until you complete the number of circles needed. The sheet should already be sharper.
Step # 2: Rear Edges
To extend the cutting power, also sharpen the back of your knife. Use the technique described above. Both the back and front must be well sharpened. It will take about 6 to 8 circles to do it well.
Step # 3: Fine Side
As we have already mentioned and as you can see on your sharpening stone, it has two different sides: until now you have been using the rough side to sharpen the knife in the previous steps, and for this step you will have to turn the sides so that the side Fine turns up.
Now that the thin side is in front of you, you will slide the blade at the correct angle you found before the start of the sharpening process and even the blade will ensure that there are no anomalies that could spoil a potentially large blade performance.
Step # 4: Tests
To make sure your knife will not fail you when you need it; You need to try it after having finished sharpening. To make sure your knife is sharp, you can do a little experiment by taking a piece of paper and crossing the center with the knife.
If it is done without problems, then you have done a good job, if you notice that cutting the paper was not so good, then you should definitely repeat the process and sharpen the knife again.
If you want your knife not to fail under any circumstance, you must ensure that the knife is always sharp. Keep your knife more often by checking its sharpness and make sure you have the right stone to do it so that the performance of the knife is impeccable.
However, it is not just about choosing the right stone, so you will also have to find the right grinding angle if you want to get the best out of your knife. The final point of sharpening your knife properly is, of course, practice. Follow the instructions on how to sharpen your knife with a stone (or even without one) until you have perfected the art of sharpening and your knife is ready for any SHTF situation that may occur.
DO IT YOURSELF