How To Get The Perfect Edge On Your Survival Knife

Hunters, fisherman and survivalists all need to carry a knife in order to perform simple tasks such as cutting, digging, splitting, and defense. More often than not, they also carry an everyday watch too, like a Casio (I have the F-91W myself). Dull knives are pretty useless and every knife can lose its sharp edge over time as a result of repeated cutting which dulls the cutting edge of the blade. There are three ways to sharpen your survival knife,

Sharpening a knife is not that difficult once you understand the basics and learn a few expert sharpening tips.

pocket survival knife

Knifemakers shape a particular “bevel” or angle to a knife that is based on how the knife is used or what the knife is designed to cut. Skinning and fillet knives have acute angles while knives with heavy blades such as chopping knives have a more acute angle. Anyone experienced at knife sharpening will tell you that the steeper the angle – the sharper the blade will become.

Caring for your knives properly will keep them in top performance for years. We have gathered not only these tips for you but also some cool facts about caring for your hand made knives as well that will help you keep them in good condition too.

knife sharpening on a stone
Image courtesy of WikiMedia

Knife Sharpening Tips

The following knife sharpening tips will help you understand what you are doing and keep your knife sharp for a long time to come.

  1. Start with a clean sharpening stone this is really important for those guys who use an oil lubricant as oil tends to clog the stone. Use a brush and scrub under cold water for up to two minutes
  2. Maintain the correct angle while sharpening
  3. Start with a coarse stone (100-200 grit) then move to a medium stone (400 grit) for the majority of your sharpening work. If you are just looking to touch up your knife, a finer grit (600) should get the job done right
  4. Count strokes and use the same number of strokes on both sides of the blade
  5. If you are using a rock from a stream then use one with a smooth section
knife sharpening
Image courtesy of Didriks

Sharpening Stones

A sharpening stone will always yield the best results and are perfect for those quick touch-ups to keep your blade sharp.

  • It is important to sharpen your knife regularly.
  • Infrequent sharpening will require more work in order to restore the sharp edge you desire.
  • Your knife will last longer and you will see better results using it when you take the time to care properly for the blade.

The following are a few sharpening stones that are some of the best and affordable on the market.

Knife Sharpening Stone – Dual Sided 400/1000 Grit Water Stone – Sharpener, Polishing Tool for Kitchen, Hunting, Pocket Knives or Blades by Whetstone
  • DUAL SIDED WHETSTONE – Made from durable silicon carbide, this two-sided sharpening block comes with both a 400-grit side, used for returning edges to their original shape, and a 1000-grit side used for smoothing and polishing cutting edge
  • WATER STONE – This stone is meant to be used with water, not oil. Simply soak stone for 5-10 minutes before use, and lubricate with additional water as needed when sharpening. No expensive honing oil needed
Chefic Whetstone Premium 2-IN-1 Sharpening Stone 3000/8000 Grit Waterstone Kit - Knife Sharpener Stone Safe Honing Holder Silicone Base Included, Polishing Tool for Kitchen, Hunting and Pocket Knives
  • HIGH-QUALITY DOUBLE-SIDED KNIFE SHARPENING STONE: Coarse side 3000 grit can make edge very sharp, and edge reflects light well; Fine side 8000 grit is ideal for finishing and polishing the edge, and perfect for light touch-ups to an already sharp. Edge is very near perfect.
  • HIGH-GRADE WHETSTONE ENSURE EFFECTIVE SHARPENING RESULTS: BearMoo sharpening stone is made from professional grade white corundum, corrosion-resistant, heat-resistant, edges and corners are clearly demarcated.
Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone 2 Side Grit 1000/6000 Waterstone- Whetstone Knife Sharpener- NonSlip Bamboo Base & Angle Guide
  • ✅ Superior Bundle: Your complete knife sharpening kit comes with double-sided (#1000/ #6000) premium quality whetstone, bamboo base for holding the stone, knife sharpening angle guide, a simple instruction manual & detailed ebook with lots of Tips & Tricks which will appeal at every skill level
  • ✅ Multipurpose Use: Our professional-grade knife sharpener stone is highly durable & long-lasting. This whetstone sharpener can sharp any blade out there, be it any kitchen knife set, chef knife, steak knife, sontoku knife, paring knife, sushi knife, cleaver knife, kitchen knives, Japanese knife, butcher knife, paring knife, BBQ knife, Hunting Knife, Pocket Knife, Scissor, Chisel, Blade, Straight Razor & it can even sharp an axe.


Which Sharpening Angle Should You Use

Many hunters and outdoor enthusiasts have a personal preference when it comes to the angle but you can use this handy guide as a base for deciding what is the best angle for your type of knife:

If you are sharpening hunting knives, pocket knives, survival knives or sport knives keep the angle between 25 and 30 degrees. If you are sharpening fillet knives, or X-Acto knives keep the angle between 12 and 18 degrees. If you are sharpening smaller knives, or boning knives keep the angle between 18 and 25 degrees.

During the process of sharpening your knife steps in the process can be made easier if you know the following tips about the importance of cleaning the sharpening stone, and also best angles for cutting certain materials. Did you know that when cutting softer materials the knife should be under 10-degree angles and that when cutting meat a knife with an angle between 10 and 17 degrees will work quite nicely? A pocketknife or hunting knife has to be durable so the best range of angle is between 22 and 30.

Now that we have shared our sharpening angle guide, our sharpening tips and our tips about caring for your hand made knives what comments would you like to share about your own sharpening tips?

Ron Shinall is the product specialist at He enjoys hiking and camping. In addition to the outdoors, he is a watch enthusiast and owns several military watches.

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