From simply opening tin cans in the house to cutting food ingredients when on a camping, a pocket knife is always preferred for use. Pocket Knives are always the most abused handy tool created by men as it is always accessible and flexible to use for almost all types of purposes. This causes the pocket knife to dull very rapidly; however, people often choose to leave it as it is even if the using becomes a little harder. If it’s because sharpening a pocket knife does not sound too appealing or people just tend to be lazy, one lesser known fact about pocket knives is that it only takes a few minutes to make it highly functional again.
Same as there are different choices of pocket knives to use, there are also various ways of sharpening the blade depending on one’s preferences and availability of tools. For beginners, long-time users or those who are new to sharpening knives, there is an easy and expedient way of doing so—requiring only a minimum of two tools including the knife itself.
1. Choose the right sharpening stone
Sharpening stones come in a wide selection of sizes, shapes, grades and compositions. Over the years, sharpening stones have evolved from natural quarried materials to artificial materials to meet the demands and preferences of users. They are shaped and designed for various kinds of blades ranging from simple and straight edges to hard and complex ones. It is important, therefore, to know which type of sharpening stone is appropriate for a particular pocket knife and for the entire sharpening activity. There are four commonly used types of sharpening stones which have their own advantages and disadvantages.
- Oil Stones
Oil Stones are traditionally the most used sharpening stones made from either natural or synthetic materials, making them the most affordable up-to-date. Arkansas stones are the well-known and mostly used type because they provide a selection of stones with different grades and finishing results. Using an oil stone for sharpening guarantees a good over-all performance. Because these stones are made in hard substance, flattening is not much of a problem. The main weakness of the oil stone, however, is that it provides a slow cutting rate and is messier to clean up afterwards due to its oil component.
- Water Stones
Much like the oil stones, water stones are also widely used for a very satisfying end-result producing a neat and sharp blade edge for various types of grits. They are available in natural and artificial forms and are highly recognized for their fast cutting rate and affordability. Another good advantage is that it is easier to clean the stone later on due to its water element. However, this water component makes water stones wear fast and require flattening most of the time. They also need constant caution when handling and storing since it is very fragile.
- Ceramic Stones
It is a popular choice for people who spend more time outside. Ceramic stones are effectively used dry without the need of any lubricants. They are generally made for long-term usage or tool considering its ceramic material which ensures a long-lasting surface. It is a recommended sharpening stone for pocket knives with finer grits; however, ceramic stones are just usually available for finer grits only.
- Diamond Stones
Diamond Stones are composed of small diamonds bonded together in a metal plate. These stones are also used dry like the ceramic stones and are the best tools for all types of blades. They promote fast sharpening and long-lasting quality of the stone. Diamond stones are the best sharpening stones in the market while bidding for an expensive price.
2. Check the pocket knife
Before the actual sharpening, it is very important to check the condition of the knife. When the slicing and cutting seems to grow uncomfortable and one can feel the dullness of the blade either by touch or sight, then it is time to do some knife sharpening.
3. Angle beveling of the blade
Selecting the right angle for a pocket knife edge is an important and vital step in a successful sharpening. A bevel angle of 20 degree is a good starting point since it applies to almost all knives. To change the performance and output for the knife, it’s suitable to experiment bevel angles to meet the desired outcome. For pocket knives, it is best to range the bevel angle from 18 degrees to 25 degrees and start tuning the knife until the preferred end-result is achieved.
After a long careful preparation, the actual sharpening is next. With the chosen type of sharpening stone and the bevel angle, one can start sharpening immediately. Hold the sharpening stone with the non-dominant hand and pocket knife with the dominant hand for convenience, both facing away from the body. Slowly stroke the blade consistently and glide it down the stone with a moderate force. Make sure that the entire edge of the blade is sharpened evenly. The advisable number of strokes is about 12 times and it is best to stroke it in a constant manner. Flip the knife to continue sharpening the other side of the blade. Do this in 12 strokes while making sure that the entire edge is being sharpened. After gaining some confidence, try alternating the strokes. Eventually, sharpening pocket knives will pose as a skill which will be very useful in the future.
5. Test the Sharpness
To check if the desirable sharpness of the blade is reached, use any proxy like a piece of paper or wood for testing. When using a paper, simply slice it down. Pocket knives that would easily cut through the paper are good sharpened ones. For harder objects, try carving a wood to find out if it’s efficient and sharp enough for other blade purposes.
6. Last touches
Of course, there will always be some last-minute finishing touches when sharpening knives. It may arise from having unwanted results or just a few more stroking to do before the desired outcome. In some other cases, sharpening leaves serrated edges on the blade. Just glide the sides of the blade at a more open angle to sharpen and remove the burrs.