How to Sharpen Combat Knives

by Kristin McFarland
Maintaining a blade's edge is one of the most difficult parts of knife care.

Maintaining a blade's edge is one of the most difficult parts of knife care.

Knowing how to properly sharpen your combat knife is key to its longevity. The angle at which you hold the knife to the sharpening rod -- or stone -- determines the sharpness of the blade. Experts recommend sharpening a large blade by using a 22-degree angle. If desired, use a smaller angle for a sharper blade. A sharper blade will lose its edge faster.

Remove the knife's dull edge by sharpening first with a coarse stone. Apply lubricant to the coarse stone. Hold the knife blade at a 22-degree angle with the stone. Sharpen the knife by drawing it down the stone and away from your body; this ensures that all of the blade comes in contact with the stone. Curve your sharpening stroke if the knife has a curve. Repeat approximately 20 times for both sides of the blade.

Remove any scratches created by the coarse blade by using a medium-coarse sharpening stone. Apply lubricant to the medium stone. Sharpen the blade along the sharpening stone. Repeat approximately 15 times for each side,or until scratches raised by the coarse stone become less obvious.

Hone the edge of the knife by sharpening it with a fine stone. Lubricate the stone. Draw the knife down the stone. Use only a few strokes, and alternate sides with each stroke.

Test the blade's sharpness by shaving the edge of a sheet of paper or few hairs from your arm. Repeat the sharpening process with the medium and fine stones until you are satisfied with the blade's edge.

Items you will need

  • Large, coarse sharpening stone
  • Large, medium-coarse sharpening stone
  • Large, fine-coarse sharpening stone
  • Sharpening-stone lubrication or water

Tip

  • Test the knife often. Oversharpening can damage the blade.

Warning

  • Always move the sharp edge of a knife away from your body.

About the Author

Based in southern Indiana, Kristin McFarland has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in the "Indiana Daily Student," "Indianapolis Business Journal," "River Falls Journal," "The Berkeley Daily Planet" and "Rio Grande Sun." McFarland earned a Master of Arts in journalism from Indiana University.

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