How To Sharpen A Pocket Knife Without A Stone

Carrying a pocket knife has a lot of benefits. I'm not talking about concealed weapons in the middle of town of in the night club, but for anyone who camps, lives in the country, hunts or fishes, then a sharp knife is an essential tool.

A dull or blunt knife is a pain the proverbial a**. It doesn't do the job, there's ore chance of slipping and cutting yourself, and it makes for a lousy experience.

Luckily, there are plenty of options if you end up in this predicament. I'm going to show you some methods of how to sharpen a pocket knife without a stone. All these techniques could be used to sharpen kitchen knives too, probably not at home, but perfect for on a camping foray.

You might be surprised at what you can use to sharpen a knife!

A pocket knife alongside a stone. There are methods for how to sharpen a pocket knife without a stone.

Ideally, one should be using a specially designed knife sharpener to sharpen your pocket knife, something like the Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener or the Smith's DCS4 4-Inch FINE & COARSE Diamond Combo Sharpening Stone (both available on Amazon).

But what if you haven't got one, or you left it in your jacket at home? You're in the middle of nowhere  and you come to the stark realisation that you screwed up but you still need to cut rope or fishing line, slice some vegetables for the cooking pot, or trim a branch to make a walking stick for your twisted ankle.

There are plenty of imaginative ideas on how to sharpen a knife without a sharpener. Let's dive in and explore how it can be done. I'm going to show you FIVE common items that you can use to sharpen that tactical or pocket knife and put a useable edge back on your blade.

5 Cool Tips On How To Sharpen A Pocket Knife With Household Items

Blade Sharpening Tip #1 - Sharpening A Knife On A Car Window

Seems crazy right? But if you have access to a vehicle, the top edge of a rolled down window can be an awesome way to sharpen your knife. The top of a car window is rougher than the actual window part you look through. By honing your blade on this rough surface you'll remove the rough edges on the blade that are keeping your blade from cutting effectively.

Check out this video from the Deer Meat For Dinner guy, where he shows you exactly how sharpen a knife in the wild.

Blade Sharpening Tip #2 - Sharpening A Knife With A Coffee Mug

If you are camping, you likely have a mug that you can use. Simply flip it upside down and place it on the ground or on a stable surface where it's not going to slip around. I like to use a towel or cloth.

You'll notice on the underside of mugs that there is a rough edge around the rim, I guess that's from where they place it in the over for glazing. This unglazed portion exposes that nice, rough, super hard ceramic surface.

Using the same technique that is employed when using a sharpening stone, run that blade across the ceramic edge of the mug. You'll end up with a nice sharp edge on your knife, certainly good enough until you get home and get your real sharpener out of the coat pocket in the cloakroom!

If you don't have a car or a coffee cup at hand, all is not lost...

Blade Sharpening Tip #3 - How To Sharpen A Knife With Sandpaper Or An Emery Board

Sandpaper and emery boards make an incredible knife sharpener, and many a first aid kit or personal hygiene kit will have one (especially if you have a lady with you who likes to manicure her nails while camping 🙂 )

They make an excellent improvised knife sharpener. Simply lay the paper or board on a nice flat surface and run the knife blade along the rough board. For sandpaper, wetting the surface with water makes for a much smoother job while allowing the swarf to be removed effectively.

Emery Board For Filing Nails

Blade Sharpening Tip #4 - Sharpening A Knife With Another Knife

Now this is a super cool way of sharpening a knife. If you're out with buddies, there is a good chance that there will be more than one knife among you.

You don't sharpen blade against blade though. Take the duller of the two knives and run the blade along the spine of the other knife.

Two tactical knives side by side

Blade Sharpening Tip #5 - Sharpening A Knife With A Rock

If you are near a water source, a river rock can be an excellent knife sharpening tool. Simply find the smoothest rock you can that will fit in the palm of your hand, and that has the flattest surface possible.

Use your basic sharpening techniques to run the blade across the flat edge of the stone, use that river rock in the exactly the same way you would use your sharpening stone or diamond sharpener at home. Nice slow strokes win the day.

Keep at it until you get a nice sharp blade.

How To Hone A Knife With A Belt Or Nylon Strap

We can really improve the sharpness of our blade with a little stopping. An improvised strop could be a leather belt, but the nylon straps on a rucksack or backpack work well too.

Hold the strap taught and make a few passes with your blade. This removes all the burrs from the sharpening process and results in an ultra sharp edge.

Summing Up

Well, that's it folks. Whether you are in the wilds or on your homestead, keeping a sharp blade is going to always make life easier. I hope those tips have come in handy for you if the need ever arises.

If you want to really be prepared, practice some of these techniques at home BEFORE you need to put them to use for real.

And make sure your off the shelf knife sharpener is on your equipment list and doesn't get left at home 🙂

If you have any other cool ways to sharpen a knife without a sharpening stone I'd love to hear them. I'll even add them to this article and give you credit.

Until next time

Happy Sharpening!

4 thoughts on “How To Sharpen A Pocket Knife Without A Stone”

  1. Hi Steve,
    Wow ! These are really awesome tricks for sharpen a pocket knife. I really don’t know about anything about to sharpen knife without Stone. But I’m very much pleased saw this things. I am learn about more tricks to sharpen a knife.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Nice work Chris!! Any abrasive surface works. Until I really got into researching this, and trying out the methods, I had no idea about the bottom of a mug, but it works great.

      Happy sharpening 🙂



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