How to Sharpen a Knife with a Rock?

Do you know how to sharpen a knife using a rock?

It is an important skill that can come in handy on many occasions, especially when you are taking the knife for a camping trip.

If you are a fan of hunting or camping, you will find this a vital skill to possess.

There are many cases you will find it difficult to access any other tool for sharpening a knife other than a rock. You do not have to be camping or hunting.

Do not worry.

In this guide, you will find quick steps that will enable you to master this skill.

Safety Precautions Before Using a Rock to Sharpen the Knife

Before getting into the whole procedure, you have to know the safety precautions to take when learning or sharpening a knife with a rock.

The following are some safety precautions you should take seriously.

  • Testing your blade on your finger is such a bad idea. In almost all cases, you would like to check your blade to know how sharp or blunt it is when sharpening. Many people think their fingers are the closest thing there is to test their blade on. Do not do that. There are high chances you will keep on pushing and end up cutting yourself.
  • Take everything slow and steady. There is no need for any hurry if you want to get your blade sharp. Speed can increase the chances of you slicing yourself. Take your time and do it slowly, but as required.
  • Do not hold the rock in your hand and move the blade at the same time. It is an act that can lead to a terrible accident. Or move the rock up and down against the knife. There are high chances that the rock can slide out of your hands, and you end up cutting yourself.

How to Sharpen a Knife with a Rock – Step by Step Process

Step 1: Check the Knife Sharpness

You have to know the exact condition of your blade to understand how to sharpen it. By checking your knife sharpness, you will find it easy to determine the precise grit size of the rock you are choosing.

To do this, use the knife to slice a fruit such as a tomato. Based on the resistance you experience when slicing, you will know how much blunt your blade is.

Also, look at the size of your knife, and you can tell the size of the rock you need to get that will match the process.

Step 2: Get the Right Stone for the Job

One thing you should know is that stones used to sharpen knives are referred to as whetstones. It is a type of stone containing synthetic or other natural materials. They are good enough to be used when dry, with oil or water.

You need to get the right rock for sharpening before starting.

You can decide to use a dry, wet, or oily stone. There are also synthetic and natural stones, and you can use any.

In this category, you will find that the cheapest ones are oil stones. They have hard material that can last for a long time. There are also diamond stones, although they are expensive, they have a long life.

Once you have decided on the right type of stone to use, then you have to get the correct grit size. Whetstones are available in different grit sizes from fine, medium, and course.

When your knife is very dull, then you should use a coarse rock. For a blade that is not too blunt, you can use a medium grit rock. Then you can finish up with the fine grit rock for better results.

Step 3: Get the Knife Ready for Sharpening


There are a few steps you need to take to get the knife ready for sharpening. All knives are not the same. As a result, they cannot be sharpened the same. They have different sizes and shapes.

There are manufacturer instructions for any knife on how to sharpen it.

Here are a few things you should do to get it ready.

Understand How to Hold the Knife at the Right Angle

For many knives, a 20 degrees angle is ideal.

However, in some cases, the blade may be so thick that you need to adjust the angle. All you have to do is lay the blade on the whetstone. Hold your knife on the edge and lift it until you attain the right angle.

Ensure that the angle is right to avoid sharpening the wrong sides of the blade. You have to maintain a specific angle all through.

Step 4: Stone Preparation

Ensure you soak your rock in the water to prepare for sharpening. This is done if you are not using an oil-soaked rock.

It allows the stone to soften and avoids scratching the blade. You can also pour some water if you do not want to soak it.

For oil rocks, ensure you lubricate them well before sharpening.

Secure the Stone

When you are using a rock to sharpen a knife, you have to make sure that the rock is well secured. Avoid holding it in your hands. Find a ground, floor, or table where you can place the stone.

Once that is done, ensure that it is secured to avoid sliding away when sharpening. When placed on a table, you can set the stone on a rough piece of cloth to secure it.

Step 5: Actual Sharpening Time

  1. Start by holding the knife against the rock at a 20 degrees angle. Make sure that the edge of the blade is facing away from you.
  2. Then move your other hand’s fingertips and place them on the flat part of the blade. The main reason for this is to provide control of pressure exerted on the blade. It also makes it easy to control the direction of the blade when sharpening.
  3. Slide the blade with a controlled amount of pressure down the stone to form an arc. Then draw the blade against the rock from the heel to tip. Ensure that you do this continuously. Keep checking the blade and lubricating it each time it gets too dry. You can use an appropriate lubricant depending on the type of stone you are using.
  4. Once you are done with one side, turn the blade to the other side and proceed to sharpen it. Repeat the same process until the blade is sharp.
  5. You can use your fingertip to touch the blade to ascertain whether it is sharp enough.
  6. The next step involves polishing your knife. In this case, you have to use a stone with fine grit. It is most important when a knife was initially dull, and you used a rock with coarse grit. Polish on both sides.

Step 6: Knife and Stone Cleaning

It is a crucial step when sharpening a knife with a rock. You have to make sure that you thoroughly clean the knife and remove any debris from the stone.

Also, clean the stone and store it well.

The Bottom Line

Using a rock to sharpen a knife is not a difficult task. All you need to do is practice the process several times, and you will get used to it.

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