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Knife Sharpening

Okay, so it's not like sharpening a straight razor, but I like to put as keen an edge on it as I can. Usually I work my way up through grits, depending on blade condition. Yesterday I discovered the clip blade on my stockman knife was dull, and did the following:

A quick edge with an E-Z Lap diamond coated hone.

Moved up to a finer grade Smith synthetic stone. This is about the grit of the "fine" knife hones common in the mid through late 20th Century. In other words, it's not course, but it's not fine, either.

Next I went to an Arkansas soft stone.

Finally, I went to an Arkansas hard stone.

Used 3-in-1 (tm) machine oil for the stones.

The spay and sheepsfoot blade were slightly off, so I just touched up the edge on the hard Arkansas stone.

In my teens I used to take it further. My father had my grandfather's razor hone and strop, and that's how I used to finish. Wondering about going back to that.

So, how do you sharpen your knives?
Pocket knives get sharpened on my grandfather's stones from when he was a butcher, then further hones on 2000 grit sandpaper. That's plenty sharp enough for my needs. Wood planes will get further honed using the "scary sharp" method, which is increasingly finer sandpaper.

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Depends on the knife, the day and where I am. At home I choose between Arkansas stones, diamond stones, a Work Sharp, and a Viper Sharp. Most often it is a combination of those available. Finished off on a leather strop. When out working or camping I usually take a travel set or pocket sharpener.
I went back to what Grandpa did for pocket knives and fixed blade. Only difference is I don't use snoose anymore so I use oil, and strop with newspaper and HF green polishing compound.


Self Ignored by Vista
Dad showed me how to sharpen a pocketknife on a brick. Then went to progressive stones like you do. Then worked in meat packing plants for awhile and used a double sided stone and a steel. We used to use a belt sander to put the initial bevel on the new carbon steel knives we used. Worked for me.

For my short bladed pocket knives I used my Gatco system, which is about like the Lansky system thing.

For my Japanese chef's knife I use a water stone...double sided...1000, 6000 grit.

I got one of these for SWMBO last year and have done my Old Hickory paring knife on it, then yesterday did an old carbon steel little knife from the '40s or so that wouldn't cut butter, a Tojiro paring knife, two hatchets, and something else. Getting ready to do three Forgecraft carbon steel ones...a long carving knife, a big butcher knife, and a smaller, about 8 inch long, Forgecraft knife on it.

I love it!

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depends on the blade. i carry around a small hard ark for on the spot touch ups, but i have a full progression of full size arks. ive had mixed results from water stones, guess i need to work on my technique a bit.


The Fur Burglar!
Depends on what I'm sharpening. Chisels and plane irons I usually go with a Washita. For Japanese chef knives, I'll almost always use a fast Suita, sometimes followed by a Kiita. For my pocket knives I play around with different oilstones, coticules, and jnats. Unless I'm setting a bevel or removing a chip, I use naturals. I've never been a fan of steels.
At first I used a Spyderco set, then got a Work Sharp, and now have a 400 and 1200 diamond stone set.

The Spyderco I use for knives with a nice clean bevel already on.
The Work Sharp for no bevel, or machetes or axes.
The Atomas, for practicing free hand, I can get a burr and take it off, just need more practice.
As silly as it looks, these are cheap and will put a great edge on a knife fast. Once the bevel is set, I use these on my working knives regularly. You can go for years never needing to break out the big stones. Literally one of two pulls and it's ready to go as long as you haven't neglected it terribly.
I've used various stones, steels and hones over the years, but now prefer a Chef's Choice 320 Diamond Knife Hone for my outdoors and kitchen knives. I won't pretend it puts as keen an edge on a blade as you can get using traditional methods, but it's quick, requires no skill and does a very decent job.
I use a Work Sharp. I've never had the patience to do it by hand, and the Work Sharp gets my knives plenty sharp enough for my purposes.
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