Tools & Know-How/ Hand Tools/ Other Hardware/ Savers/ Woodworking & Workshop/ Workshop Techniques/

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife Using a WhetStone and Leather Strop

RON HAZELTON: You know, whether you’re making a wooden carving or you simply want to cut a piece of string, having a good sharp edge on your pocket knife will simply make the tool work better.  And who better to show us how to sharpen a pocket knife than world class bird carver, Rich Smoker.  Rich, what’s your technique?

RICH SMOKER: I’d be glad to show you Ron.  I use a tri-stone method with coarse, medium and fine stones.  First thing I do is I take the honing oil, you can use cooking oil at home, it’s for the same thing and this is what we do. 

RON HAZELTON: Beginning with the coarse stone, Rich strokes the blade several times in each direction.  He adds oil every time he changes the stone.  Rich, how much pressure are you using here?

RICH SMOKER: I’m pushing down on this as if to cut a piece of the stone off with each swipe of the knife.

RON HAZELTON: That’s quite a bit of pressure.

RICH SMOKER: Definitely, it’s the only way you can work the steel down.

RON HAZELTON: Now how do you know you’re holding the blade at the right angle?

RICH SMOKER: What I do is I match the bevel, like the pocket knife and on my push stroke, I’m angling with my thumb and on the pull stroke, I’m using my index finger to match the bevel. 

RON HAZELTON: Rich finishes off the process with a leather strap, two pieces of leather glued to a piece of wood.  This removes the burrs and puts a mirror polish on the knife-edge. 

RICH SMOKER: There you go.

RON HAZELTON: Well that ought to make a big difference Rich.


RON HAZELTON: Thank you very much.

RICH SMOKER: You’re welcome.

Ron Hazelton Headshot

Have your project done by a local, qualified professional.


Not everyone is in a position to do a project themselves. That's why I've partnered with to provide you with free quotes from qualified local professionals.


Blog Articles

June 11, 2019

Is Your Central Air Conditioning System Ready for the Cooling Season Ahead?

Simple steps you can take to make sure your central air conditioning system is ready for a trouble-free cooling season.

April 16, 2020

Heartwarming Images of Home by Vermont Artist Fred Swan

Fred Swan Paintings

September 25, 2019

How to Build a Knock-Down Side Table

An easy to make contemporary side table or stool.

Recent Articles