As Clay Sharpens Iron: An Intro to Knife Sharpening [TUTORIAL]

I learned at a young age how and why you need a good edge on your knife, sword, and axe. Today, I see all kinds of gadgets to sharpen a knife. Whether or not you the customer need it or not, the knife-sharpening manufacturers claim very easy and simple ways to sharpen a knife.

All my life I wanted to know how to not only sharpen my weapons but to find that connection to the past ….to the very weapon smiths of old! If today our current civilization came crashing down and there was no power, heat, or running water… what would happen? Who would survive?

The native Americans used hard smooth Rocks and even animal bones to sharpen their weapons, but how many would know how to use them today?

This is an actual Native American sharpening stone that I own.

This is an actual Native American sharpening stone that I own.

At a pioneer reenactment, I saw a cooking show where the guest cook asked for a sharp knife. He was told by the speaker that they would need a soldier to sharpen the knives. The soldier did what his character would have known to do, in that time period, to sharpen a knife. Despite his best efforts, he failed by the standards of the chef, who knew an age old trick that I will pass on to you.

The chef knew to use a clay pot or cup like this.

The chef knew to use a clay pot or cup like this.


To sharpen, start by the hand guard.

To sharpen, start by the hand guard.


Slide the knife at a 20 degree angle.

Slide the knife at a 20 degree angle.


Slide all the way to the tip of the knife.

Slide all the way to the tip of the knife.

Then flip over for the other side repeat this as needed.

A simple test to see if the knife is sharp: Try to cut a tomato on the skin side; if truly sharp, the knife should pass easily through the tomato. (You can also hold a piece of paper vertically and try to cut it. If it cuts cleanly, rather than tears, you’ve got a sharp knife.)

A general tip for folding knives: at least once a month apply a little oil to any moving parts and blow clean any dirt with canned air, which you can find at any computer store. Sharpen as needed. 

Author: Kaamos

I am a Ninjustu Instructor, Artist, Blade smith, and Bodybuilder. Want to know anything else? Just ask. You can check out my YouTube Page here.

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