How To Sharpen A Knife Without A Sharpener

How To Sharpen A Knife Without A Sharpener: 7 Easy Ways

Knives are one of the most important tools in a kitchen. They can be used to chop, slice and dice food items for cooking or presentation purposes. The quality and sharpness of your knives will affect how easily they cut through fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients. For those who don’t have access to a knife sharpener or want an alternative method, this blog post is for you! We’ll explore how to sharpen a knife without a sharpener, it should using any special equipment from the house or professional kitchen.

1. How to sharpen a knife with sandpaper

How to sharpen a knife with sandpaper

Purchase a sheet of sandpaper if you do not already have some at home (120 – 200 grit is recommended). You can purchase this from hardware stores like Lowes or Walmart, as well as online. The number represents how coarse the sandpaper is; thus, 120 grit will be rougher than 200 grit.

Open the package and lay out two sheets of sand paper together with their matching grain side facing up. There should be a slight overlap along the edges, so that there are no gaps in between them.

Secure one end under something heavy to hold it in place while you work on sharpening your knife on top of it, such as books or bricks. If you want to buy an actual sharpening stone, you can do so at a hardware store.

Lubricate the sandpaper with water and manually sharpen your knife by moving it lengthwise across the sandpaper in a slow, controlled motion. If you use water to facilitate this process, make sure that there is very little or no excess moisture on either of the sheets of sandpaper. This will help prevent slipping and will give you more control over how much force is being used on your blade during this process. Multiple passes may be needed depending on how dull your blade has become; thus, try not to get discouraged if this doesn’t work after one pass on both sides of the knife blade.

2. How to sharpen a knife with a leather belt

Take one leather belt with a width of about ¼ inch. Fold the belt until it is half an inch wide. Ensure that you place the buckle on your side when folding, not at the end, so that you have some leeway in terms of length.

Lay the belt flat on a table or bench and fold one edge over towards you.

Locate the folded edge, where the folds are closest together. Place your knife blade against this part of the belt at an angle of between 20 and 25 degrees. Make sure that both sides of the cutting edge touch the leather at this point. Draw your knife straight down with some pressure on top of the belt without moving it from side to side. Repeat until you have achieved a sharp edge.

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3. How to sharpen a knife with the river stone

How to sharpen a knife with the river stone

Find a river stone. The rock should be relatively smooth with angled sides so that it resembles half of a sphere. This method will not work with completely round rocks because they have no flat surfaces.

Lay the rough side of the rock on a table or bench. You need to ensure that there is some sort of padding underneath the rock in order to prevent it from being damaged by the pressure you are about to apply. Place one edge of your knife blade against one of the flat sides of the rock at an angle, between 20 and 25 degrees, depending on what feels most comfortable for you. Draw the knife straight down across the surface while applying some pressure but without moving it from side to side along its. Repeat this action until you produce a sharp edge.

4. How to sharpen a knife with an electric drill method

Take an electric drill and attach a small buffing wheel with an abrasive surface to it, such as those found on bench grinders or flex shafts. You can use a larger buffing wheel if you choose but this will produce more heat from friction which may damage the knife blade. Ensure that your hands are protected during this step by wearing some tough leather work gloves.

Using light pressure so as not to overheat the edge of your knife, move the blade across the rotating tool at a constant speed in order to create an even slurry along its length. This slurry is caused by minute particles of metal being shaved off along with the removal of any impurities attached to your blade.

To produce a sharp edge, you must remove more metal from one side than the other so that you have a beveled look when viewed from each direction. The more coarse the buffing wheel is, the shorter an angle between these sides will be. You can control this by altering how many times you draw your knife down against it in order to reach your desired level of sharpness.

5. Sharpen a knife with another knife

Find another dull knife. This should be a cheaper model and not one that you necessarily use for cooking, because the blade may become damaged. Ensure that you locate the sharp side of the knife blade before you start this method. The angle does not matter as long as both sides touch at about an equal height to form an upside-down v shape along the length of your knife edge. The angle between them will look like a triangle when viewed from above.

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Press down on top of one end with some pressure but without moving it from side to side. Draw the sharpener straight across in order to produce a clean and even edge on your knife. Repeat until you have achieved a satisfactory level of sharpness. If desired, use water instead of a dry hand to lubricate the process.

6. Sharpen a knife with a car window

Sharpen a knife with a car window

Note that this method may be dangerous, and you should take extra care to avoid cutting your hand or fingers off. Position a car window between your knife blade and the glass so that the sharp edge is touching it from the top surface downwards. Make sure that both sides of the blade meet at equal heights in order to get a symmetrical V-shape along its length when viewed from above.

Press down evenly on both parts of the knife while pulling it towards you across the shiny side of the windshield. Move it straight upwards at a constant speed rather than dragging it sideways in order to prevent scratching and other damage to your vehicle’s window. You can also try this method on mirrors if you do not have access to a car window, but be aware that it may become difficult to see what you are doing if any dirt or impurities get on the mirror’s surface.

Repeat until your blade is sufficiently sharp. Ensure that both sides of the edge meet at an equal height, forming a symmetrical V shape when viewed from above in order to produce an even cutting edge with no weak points.

7. Sharpen a knife with a nail file

Take a metal nail file and hold it in your left hand. Observe the three parts of the file – a handle, a strip that moves back and forth, and a sharpening surface. The coarser side of this tool is used to remove excess metal from knife blades when they are being sharpened. Ensure that you have no dirt on the filing surface before starting this method to protect both yourself and your knife from damage.

Place one edge of your blade against the coarse flat side at an angle between 20 degrees and 25 degrees depending on what feels most natural for you. Draw it down against the filing surface with some pressure but without moving it from side to side along its length. Repeat until you produce a rough edge that resembles a triangle.

Take the fine side of the file and repeat the process with it in order to create a smooth edge that resembles a v shape when viewed from above. To do this, hold your knife at an angle between 10 degrees and 15 degrees so as not to remove too much metal along one edge but not so little that you are unable to sharpen your blade.

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Draw your knife straight down against the surface of the file while applying some pressure but without moving it from side to side. Repeat until you produce an even beveled edge on both sides of the blade that is sharp enough for use depending on how many times you need to repeat these actions.


In this article, we have discussed 5 strategies for sharpening your knife without a sharpener. These methods may be useful in an emergency situation when you need to sharpen your knives right away and don’t have access to a modern sharpener.

However, if you want the best of both worlds, remember that it is always better to use traditional blade steel or stone as they will give you a more consistent edge on all points of the blade whereas these hacks are only going to work well on certain edges which can lead to inconsistency with cutting ability.

If you know how many times I had been frustrated because my blades were not very sharp! It was like living with dull tools every day no matter how much effort I spent trying to get the edge back. It was just not always worth it to do that for some of my tools because they were so dull at times I had more work sharpening them than working with them.

If you are looking for an easier way to have your knives working again, check out the best electric knife sharpener reviews on this site! There are a lot of good inexpensive units on the market which will fix all your blades quickly and easily.

Ellis Cooke
Ellis Cooke

Ellis Cooke is the founder and author of Iron Door Saloon, a blog dedicated to cooking for one. She's also an avid cook who loves new recipes, kitchen gadgets and sharing her love of food on social media.

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