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How to Sharpen a Pocketknife

A pocketknife is a very useful camp tool. It can cut a rope, open a can and whittle a tent stake. But it’s useful only if you keep it clean and sharp. A dull knife can slip and get stuck, making it more dangerous to use.

Keep your knife sharp by using a whetstone. Some experts prefer a dry whetstone, while others use light mineral oil or water on the stone while they are sharpening. The choice depends on the type of stone and the preference of the sharpener.

Hold the knife blade at about a 30-degree angle and push it along the stone as though you were slicing a layer off the top.

For a sharper but less durable blade, you can try a lower angle, like 20 degrees. But whatever you choose, do your best to keep the blade at a consistent angle.

Then sharpen the other side of the blade the same way.

Check the sharpness by wiping the knife with a clean cloth and examining the edge in the sun or under a bright light. A dull cutting edge reflects the light and looks shiny. A sharp edge is so thin that it has no shine at all.

1 Comment on How to Sharpen a Pocketknife

  1. Anonymous Boy Scout // March 29, 2020 at 7:46 pm // Reply

    According to the 13th edition Boy Scout Handbook, it states that you should “Hold the knife blade against the stone at an angle of about 25 degree” (381). Furthermore, it states that “Higher angles, say 30 degrees, make for edges that are very durable but relatively dull” (381). If this is stated in the BSA handbook, why does your description state to hold the knife blade at about a 30-degree angle?

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