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How to Sharpen a Pocketknife

Q: How do I keep my pocketknife sharp?
— Andrew, Minneapolis, Minnesota

A: Over time, a knife will start to get dull. That can be dangerous. When a blade is not sharp, you can lose control while cutting and your knife could slip. Use a sharpening tool to maintain your knife’s edge.

The most popular tool is a whetstone, like the Smith’s Knife Sharpening Stone ($8,, available at the Scout Shop. First, clean your knife and apply a thin layer of oil or water (depending on the type of whetstone) to the stone. Place your blade at an angle — about 25 degrees — against the stone and run the blade along it several times. Do the same to the other side.

You can also use a sharpener. The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener ($40, features two sharpening plates set against angled guides to help you find the right angle. It also has a rod for sharpening serrated blades. The Work Sharp Micro Sharpener and Knife Tool ($15, worksharptools) has a couple of sharpening rods as well as bits you can use to tighten your knife’s pivot hinges.

Remember to follow pocketknife safety rules. Get properly trained before you carry one.

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