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Sharpening a knife without a whetstone

Q. Hey Gear Guy, which devices (other than a traditional whetstone) can I use to sharpen my knife? How well do they work?
— Dull Tyler, Libertyville, Ill.

A. There are many types of sharpeners. To help you wade through it all, I contacted a friend at Gerber Legendary Blades. They make some of the best knives and know more than a little about sharpening blades. Here are the tree main types of sharpeners:

Diamond-coated rod sharpeners (work with fine or serrated blades). This one is most similar to a whetstone.

Pros: lower cost.

Cons: takes more time, tough to maintain the correct angle while sharpening.

Ceramic pocket sharpeners (work only with fine-edge blades).

Pros: lightweight, easy to carry, low cost, quick and easy to use

Cons: will create just an average edge and cannot sharpen serrated blades

Diamond fingers sharpeners (work with fine or serrated blades).

Pros: quick, easy to use, can sharpen a variety of angles and create sharper edge

Cons: more expensive


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13 Comments on Sharpening a knife without a whetstone

  1. Get the smiths pp1 pocket pal

  2. Some knives, if they are old, will not get sharpened. If you have one like that, ask your scoutmaster or a person who knows about knives if they can sharpen your knife for you. If they can’t, or if they do and it’s still dull, then it is time to get a new knife.

  3. One other thing you might be able to use would be a file you would use to sharpen
    an axe, I wouldn’t recomend it though. The wetstone probably be the best choise, if
    you are going to bring one when you are going on a trip, like canoeing in the boundry waters, you should find a smaller sized wetstone that will much more easily fit imto your
    pocket. There ate a sot of ways to sharpen your knife. The wetstone would be the best.

  4. We just purchased an Ozitech Furi Diamond Fingers Sharpener. Really neat device. Folds up. Worth the price. Easy to use. Thanks Gear Guy!

  5. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // June 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm // Reply

    Smith’s Edge Pro is only $15 and has Ceramic for the fine stone and carbide for the coarse and it can sharpen serrated edges with the Ceramic

  6. Nayr Relleum // June 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm // Reply

    You can flip over a ceramic coffee mug and sharpen your knife on the circular ring of exposed ceramic, it works great but it will take a little longer to sharpen your knife. Also if you roll down a car window or any kind of glass (be carefull) you can sharpen you knife on the edge of the glass.

  7. Is there any specific model? A quick Google shows dozens of types for all three, and I have no idea which are good or bad. Any help?

  8. Sandpaper works just fine. Lower grit to just do a basic sharpening, higher grit to make that blade sharp.

    • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // October 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm // Reply

      ARE YOU CRAZY! sandpaper is a bad choice! sandpaper is basically a sheet of paper with a ton of small rocks glued to it . And rocks my friend, are a knives worst enemy.

      • Sandpaper covers a lot of stuff. I use the same crocus cloth and emery paper I would use to polish a piece of metal. You can glue a few pieces to wood and pack them along. PLUS what do you think a whetstone is if NOT stone? I have sharpened a knife with a picked up piece of sandstone. Works.

  9. Try a small diamond steel, low cost and work great. You can even get a pen size steel that will fit in your shirt pocket. Mine also has a groove in it to sharpen fish hooks. Cost about $10.00.

  10. i have a ceramic sharpener,but i prefer a file!

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