How to Sharpen a Knife With a Stone

We all know that a dull knife is practically useless outdoors. You won't be able to cut the rope with it quickly. You might not even find it useful in preparing your dinner. It is, therefore, critical that you an aspiring outdoor adventurer like you learn how to sharpen a knife with stone properly.

Learning how to sharpen a knife with a stone is essential for any outdoor enthusiast, from camping, hiking to hunting, and shooting activities. After all, anything can happen in the wild. Being caught with a dull knife can be disadvantageous, if not downright dangerous, or risky. It can be argued that the ability to sharpen a knife with a stone.

So, how do you sharpen a knife with a stone? Learn more about it in this article.

How to Sharpen a Knife With a Stone

The Ideal Stone for Sharpening a Knife

What's the best stone for sharpening a knife outdoors? Many survivalists agree that river stones are your best bet in sharpening dull knives because of the uniform edge brought about by water wearing their surface down. Speaking of a consistent grain, you can also use sandstone in sharpening a knife in the wild.

The size of the stone is equally essential. You'd want a stone that is easy to hold onto it. Moreover, a stone should lack jagged edges or sharp points for obvious safety reasons.

If you are lucky enough to have numerous stones to choose from, it is suggested that you use two stones- one with a rough grit and another with fine dust. Start with the rough stone first and repeat the same steps with the other stone. 

How to Sharpen a Knife with a Stone

The first thing you must do in sharpening a dull knife with a stone is to wet the latter first. Applying water to the stone will help float away from the waste material or swarf. It also keeps the stone from clogging.

Hold the stone in a way that your fingers and hands won't get in the way. Remember that since you are outdoors, safety is of utmost concern as you won't likely have access to proper first aid.

Then get the blade of the knife and hold it an angle of 30 degrees. The back of the blade should be positioned against the stone in such a way that it is one-third to a straight-up stranding position.

Spontaneously press the knife against the stone, it is evenly forward and on different occasions ours. Continue doing so until you have smoothened the edge of the blade. Another variation is to rub the blade against the stone with small circular strokes.

Aim to have an equal number of strokes for each side of the blade. If you have a four-inch blade, try to do around 30 strokes for each team. Of course, the duller the blade is, the more strokes that you may need to do to sharpen it.

It's also possible that you won't be able to find an excellent stone. If the best stone you can get is very rough, you must work gently and slowly in rubbing the blade against it. This way, you lessen the risk of the blade becoming damaged beyond repair.

As you rub the blade against the stone, rinse the latter often to keep the surface open and capable of cutting steel. It is in this regard that the best place to sharpen a knife with a stone is near a body of water. For one, you will have access to stones naturally smoothed by nature. Second, you will have access to water that you need to rinse the stone.

Another variation of sharpening a knife using stones is to take a couple of round stones that have the same size and hardness. Place them side by side and then run the knife blade back and forth in the space between the stones.

But what if you have two stones you'd like to use for this task? It is recommended that you use the rougher stone first before repeating the process with the other stone.

You should also observe the formation of a burr or a deformation that occurs in the tip of the blade. This product usually happens after you grind one side of the blade. It's difficult to see the burr, but you can feel it by gently running your finger from the spine to the tip of the blade. You may use another stone once you have felt the burr transfer from both sides of the blade. This way, you would know that both parties have been sharpened expertly.

You may not be able to locate any kind of stone in the wild, but this doesn't mean that you have run out of ways to sharpen a knife. You may try other alternative materials like concrete, hardwood, or the base of a ceramic mug. However, you would need to lubricate these materials to get rid of bumps on the blade. 

Checking the Blade

Now, how would you know that the knife is already sharp? One way to do so is to examine it. Hold the knife under the sunlight. If the blade looks shiny, then it is still dull and thus would require more sharpening. But if it seems dark, then it is already sharp.

This product is the best way to test the sharpness of the knife to check it out. Perform a test by cutting a paper or small stick.


Knives are one of the essential pieces of equipment you should bring when you go outdoors. It can serve multiple purposes, such as cutting, food preparation, carving, and chopping. And you can always protect yourself if you have a knife.

In times when you must sharpen a knife in the wild, you can always rely on stones or rocks. Follow the steps discussed above the next time you find yourself in need of a sharp knife in the woods. You'd be surprised at how effective stones are in sharpening any knife.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply