knife sharpening hacks Alternative Ways To Sharpen A Knife
(Last Updated On: March 18, 2018)

If you are into camping and other outdoor activities close to nature you will no doubt need a pocket knife as it is one of the most important tools you need to have on you during these activities. This goes for the kitchen fanatics, anyone who loves to cook and spends most of their time around cooking they surely need a knife as it is one of the most important tools for the people who are around cooking often.

The reason we are highlighting this is because whenever there is sharp knife in use it’s blade is bound to become dull with consecutive use and when the blade becomes dull it is not much of a great use to the user. A sharp knife is always preferred because it’s job is to cut through things easily and without much effort.

To keep a knife sharp you have to have a knife sharpener with you at all times to be prepared for the dull blade.

Now when talking about a knife sharpener a specific gadget or object must come into your mind which is tailor made for just sharpening knife blades but what if we told you that there are a lot of other things that you can use as a contingent to sharpen your knife’s blade.

Now before we reveal these common overlooked objects that you can use to sharpen the dull blade of a knife you should know that in the knife world “sharpen” means you have to remove the extra metal off of the blade to sharp it to the point it can slice or cut through the objects which your knife is designed for. The word sharpen, generally is used to give any object a keen edge. This is not the case here.

Now we have that cleared out of the way let’s get into the alternative ways to sharpen a knife when you don’t have a proper knife sharpener available with you.

Note: Just to be clear, the listed objects below should not be used on a consistent basis are only discussed with you so that you don’t get stranded with a dull knife blade in the wild. We recommend that you still use a dedicated knife sharpener to sharpen your knife’s blade.

Rough Ceramic

The first object we have for you is rough ceramic. Now that’s not an object itself but rather a raw material. You can find ceramic based objects all over your home especially in the washrooms. But we are not looking for finished ceramic products to sharpen the knife blade as it will be too smooth to sharpen a blade.

Since we are discussing both scenarios of knife use at home and in the outdoors we suggest you find a coffee mug or something similar to that. The reason of mentioning a coffee mug here is that the chances of having a coffee mug with you in an outdoor camping scenario and in the kitchen scenario are high.

So once you get access to a ceramic coffee mug you have to turn it upside down and you’ll find a rough base area which is there to give coffee mug a grip on slippery surfaces. Use that rough ceramic surface and stroke your knife blade on it in forward motion you will start to notice some discoloration on the rough ceramic area, this indicates that the excess blade metal is being removed and the blade is sharpening.

Leather Belt

Before we start with the leather belt you have to know the difference between stropping and sharpening. Sharpening the blade is removing excess metal off the blade to get rid of the dull spots off the blade of the knife and stropping is more of a finishing fine touch on the cutting end of the knife to tune or realign the blade for more precision.

Now a leather belt is something everyone wears at all times and you can use that leather belt for stropping your knife. You have to be clear here that leather belt will, in no way sharpen your knife’s blade.

For stropping your knife’s blade you have to make sure that your leather belt doesn’t have stitching on the surface that you are going to use for this purpose. Now run the knife away from the cutting edge to strop the knife’s blade. Many professionals use this method and is tried and tested.


The next object to sharpen the blade of the knife on our list is sandpaper. Sandpaper is not readily available in some homes and you might not take it to your usual camping trips or even keep it in your kitchen. But it is a very compact object and can be kept in your camping backpack and in the kitchen drawer. It is inexpensive and is very easy to handle so if you like an extra hand or an alternative planned for knife sharpening you can keep it with you whenever you think you will use your knife frequently.

To sharpen a knife blade with sandpaper you have to know the grit count you should use on for your sandpaper. Let’s put it this way, if you have a knife blade that is thick it will require finer grit sandpaper of around 1200. If you have a thin knife blade then it’s better to use 600 grit sandpaper to sharpen your knife. Using fine grit sandpaper on a thin blade will overdo the sharpening if you don’t pay close attention. So it’s best to start with coarse grit sandpaper and if you don’t achieve required results you can move up to fine grit count.

Nail File

If you are going out for camping you’d probably have a survival kit with you and nail files come with the survival kit. If you are in the kitchen and if you have a woman living in your home then chances of having a nail file available at your home is pretty high.

Basically the nail file works almost the same way as the sandpaper as both have grits on them and the rough surface can sharpen a knife blade too if done right. You have to stroke the cutting edge of the knife blade against the emery board to see some results.

Nylon Strap

The next object that you can use to sharpen a knife blade is the nylon strap. Now nylon strap is pretty similar in functionality to the leather belt as the sandpaper is to nail file. Sandpaper and nail file both remove the excess metal off the blade to remove the dull spots while the leather belt as we explained above is for the stropping of the blade.

Nylon belt is also for the stropping of the blade which means the nylon belt will only fine tune the already sharpened edge of the knife blade. You don’t have to carry an extra nylon belt with you everywhere. If you are on a camping trip your backpack will have a nylon belt and you can use that for stropping of the knife blade. All you have to do is to run the knife blade against the nylon belt to fine tune it.


The next item on the list that you can use to sharpen the knife’s blade is cardboard. Cardboard is readily available and is most commonly found in homes if you order something online it will in arrive in cardboard packaging. You can take it with you on your camping trip as well.

You have to be clear in the fact that cardboard is only good for stropping the knife blade and is not a good option for sharpening the blade by removing the excess metal off the blade. It will not be effective as leather belt or nylon belt but it will be enough to get through the job.

Car Window Glass

If you are outdoors you will surely find car window glass everywhere but for obvious reasons it will be mostly shut. But if you do find car window that is half open you can use that to sharpen the edge of the blade. This method is useful if you have a thin or soft metal blade on your knife.

The rough round edge of the car’s window is perfect for sharpening the knife all you have to do is to slide the blade’s edge towards the window a few times to sharpen it. If you have a thin or soft blade you be able to fully sharpen it easily.

Spine of Another Knife

Having a second knife with you is always an advantage even if it’s capacity to cut through objects is not that great. The main idea behind this alternative of sharpening a knife blade is that you have another metal that is more or equally strong than the knife blade you already have on you that you are using as a primary cutting tool. This method is best for taking some metal off the blade to properly sharpen it.

To sharpen your knife blade using this method you have to run the blade on the dull end or spine of the other knife consistently. Do one side then the other. This will sharpen your knife nicely.

Smooth Stone

The next item on our list is the smooth stone. The smooth stone is abundantly found in the wild and has many uses inside the kitchen as well for example you can make an oven out of smooth stones using few stones and a good steel ware. So if you don’t have smooth stones in your home you should store some as they provide many uses.

As for the knife sharpening you will be easily able to obtain smooth stone in the wild and you can use a nice flat smooth stone to sharpen the knife. You can hold the knife at an angle and slide the smooth flat surface of the stone over the blade repeatedly and you will be able to sharpen the knife blade easily.


Concrete is the next item on our list and is the last one as well. The good thing about concrete is that it is widely available and when it comes to knife sharpening concrete is a tricky object. To sharpen the knife using concrete you need specific right conditions. If the concrete’s surface is too rough it can damage the blade and we don’t want that to happen. To sharpen the knife blade using concrete you have to make sure that the concrete’s surface is smooth. Once you find that kind of surface you can sharpen one side of the blade first then move onto the other. Once you are done sharpening the blade using concrete it’s a good idea to strop the blade using the objects mentioned above.

We have explained in detail in the other publication that we will mention below, every bit of technical information and the general guideline using a method to sharpen the knife blade. Hope you find this publication useful.


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