Sharpening Knives: 3 Common Mistakes

Sharpening a knife correctly requires time and patience, as it is a skill that must be learned through practice. It’s also an essential habit for maintaining your camping or sporting knives – a sharp knife is a safe knife.

If you own sporting knives, or even just regular kitchen knives, learning how to sharpen them properly can be frustrating, especially if you make one of these common knife sharpening mistakes:

1. Not using a coarse enough stone.

Many sportsmen make the mistake of starting out with a fine whetstone on their dull knives. Yes, you ultimately want to end up with a finely honed edge, but the finer the stone, the longer it will take you. Do most of your sharpening with a coarse ceramic stone or whetstone.

2. Sharpening at the wrong angle.

When sharpening your camping knives, you’re essentially creating a new edge. The angle of this edge will be determined by the angle at which you hold the knife while sharpening. If you use too flat an angle, you’ll scratch up the sides of the knife; too blunt an angle, and you’ll prematurely wear it down. And if you fail to use a consistent angle at all, your sporting knives will end up with uneven edges, which will diminish the quality of your cuts and increase the chances of injuring yourself. Do your best to match the original factory angle for each of your camping knives.

3. Failing to finish the edge.

A newly sharpened knife edge will have teeth, or burrs, which will cause the blade to dull again quickly no matter how sharp you get it. To keep your sporting knives sharp for as long as possible, follow the recommended stropping or finishing procedure for your knives to remove the burr and get that finely honed edge.

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