How to keep a knife sharp

A dull knife is a dangerous knife. Find out how to keep it sharp with these basic steps. Great camping tip!

hunter knife isolated

A dull knife is a dangerous knife. Why? Because you need to use more pressure to cut things, making an accident more likely. “Regular honing and edge touch-ups work much better than bringing a completely dull edge up to sharpness,” says Tim Foley from Canadian Outdoor Equipment, a retail store specializing in survival gear. Stay sharp with the following steps:

1. Use a diamond and ceramic sharpening stone. Lubricate it with a bit of water or spit.

2. Most outdoor sport knives have a 15- to 20-degree blade angle, so set the steel against the stone at a similar angle, with the edge facing away from you. Lock your wrist to maintain the angle throughout your stroke.

3. Pull the blade along the stone in one smooth arc, beginning with the butt of the blade and ending with the tip. “Pressing harder does not hasten sharpening,” says Foley. Steady, gentle pressure works best. Do 10 strokes on one side, then the other, until the knife cuts hair or paper with ease.

4. Finish by stropping the blade on a leather belt or piece of cardboard. “This is what takes sharp to screaming sharp,” says Foley. Use the same motion as with the stone.

5. Keep your blade clean and rust-free. In saltwater environments, only use stainless steel knives. Carbon steel blades need to be oiled regularly.