How to Sharpen a Knife with Another Knife?

To sharpen a knife with another knife, you have to place the dull blade against the spine of the other knife and slide it upward. Hold the knife at a 17 or 20-degree angle to create a sharp edge that will last longer. Turn the dull blade around, and repeat the process.

sharpening a knife with another knife

The issue with this sharpening method is that it could render your knives useless. This is because the sharpening material has to be harder than the dull blade to sharpen it. As a result, this method can damage or dull the blade even more than it was.

If you only have two knives, follow this method while keeping in mind that it’d be a temporary solution.

Can You Sharpen a Knife with Another Knife?

You can sharpen a knife using another knife, but this method should be your last resource. As using a knife to sharpen a blade may damage it, Hence I would recommend using other tools instead. Plus, the sharpened edge won’t last as long when compared to stone or other sharpening tools.

How to Sharpen a Knife with Another Knife: Four Easy Steps

You can get a better sharpened edge by using the back or spine of another knife, which should feature a strong material. 

Follow these steps to learn how to sharpen knives with knives.

Step 1 of 4: Pick a Knife with a Harder Blade

To sharpen your knife’s dull blade using another knife, you will need the sharpener knife to feature a hard material. There are a few options you can try, but keep the next facts in mind:

  • Consider the hardness of the knife blade that you use as the sharpener tool. You can check this by learning how high the blade ranks in the Rockwell Scale. 
  • Typically, a traditional chef’s knife with a western-style design ranks around 55-60 HRC on the Rockwell Scale. That is a pretty decent hardness level.
  • If you want something harder, Japanese steel knives may be a good choice. These rank at about 59-62 HRC. However, Japanese knives can be expensive. Using them to sharpen your knife may not be the best idea.
  • An ideal option would be to use ceramic knives. These are a solid 75 HRC on the Rockwell Scale, which is super strong. Hence, this will be an excellent tool to sharpen a steel knife.

Step 2 of 4: Hold the Main Knife in Your Strong Hand 

With both knives ready, grab one knife in one hand and one in the other. Use your dominant hand to hold the knife you want to sharpen and the sharpener knife with the other hand. 

Make sure your fingers are away from the blades while sharpening knives.

Then, hold both knives close in a way that the end of the handle of both blades touches one another.

Step 3 of 4: Form a 20° Angle with the Knife Blade

While holding the knives, position the blades at a 20° angle. That is the traditional sharpening angle to get a knife sharp, regardless of the sharpener tool.

  • If this is not the proper angle for your knife, contact the manufacturer or a knife shop. They should tell you the correct angle to hold the knife.
  • A shallow blade edge angle can create a sharp cutting edge on almost any knife, but it will not last long. On the contrary, a steep angle is often more durable. Therefore, positioning the blade edge at 17 or 20 degrees would be perfect.

Step 4 of 4: Slide Main Knife Upward

Here is how the sharpening process goes:

  • Holding the blade at a 20-degree angle against the back of the other knife, start stroking it across the spine.
  • The purpose here is to smoothen and refine the cutting edge of the blade.
  • Stroke one side of the blade and then turn the chef’s knife to do the same with the other side at the same angle. Repeat the process 10 or 15 times, and it should be enough.
  • A consistent angle is necessary to get the desired sharpness on your knife.
  • If you are not sure how to make the strokes, think of making thin slices.
  • Finally, use a leather belt for stropping the knife. That will polish the cutting edge to finish the process to sharpen your knife.

Potential Risks

Even professionals have to treat knives and the sharpening process with caution. Being safe is even more essential when you use a knife to sharpen another knife.

The danger is real, so you have to do the following to keep your fingers, hands, and blades safe.

How to prevent knife injuries?

  • Wear protective gloves. Not necessary, but still helpful if this is your first time sharpening a knife. Gloves made of rubber or vinyl are excellent for practicing your sharpening skills using two knives.
  • Hold the knives at a considerable distance. Make sure to hold each knife at a safe distance away from your body. While sharpening, make gentle strokes.
  • If you are using sharpening tools instead of a knife, put the sharpening tool at a safe distance.

Damaged Knives  

It is pretty easy to damage the knife if you use it to sharpen another knife. That is why it is imperative to consider using proper tools to fix dull knives. 

Try not to use the knives that you would use regularly. Also, check out these tips to prevent further damage.

  • To get a razor sharp blade, gently drag the knife. Few strokes should be enough to get you used to the technique of holding the knives at a constant angle. If you drag the blade against your sharpening knife too quickly, it may slip and hurt you. This mistake can also make the knife useless.
  • If you sharpen a knife using another knife, chances are you will not get the factory edge once again. Therefore, don’t overdo the sharpening with a lot of unnecessary strokes. Check out this article where I have explained how many times you should sharpen your knife.

Alternative Methods of Sharpening a Knife

If you don’t want to use your knives as sharpening tools, there are other ways to get a sharp edge. Also, these tools can be even more effective. Let’s talk about them briefly.

Sharpening Stone

A sharpening stone is an excellent knife sharpening tool. Besides the basic flat stone, there are four types of sharpening stones you can use to fix a dull blade.

Oil Stones

To use oil stones to sharpen your kitchen knives, you first have to lubricate the stone. With proper lubrication, there will be less friction, and sharpening the knife will feel smoother.

Water Stones

You have to soak these stones in water before using them on your knife. In this case, water acts as a lubricant to ensure a smooth sharpening process for your kitchen knife

Diamond Stones

This type of sharpening stone is the fastest steel knife sharpener tool. Plus, diamond stones hold their flat shape to guarantee sharp knives.

Japanese Sharpening Stones

Japanese sharpening stones are the highest quality stones made for sharpening knives. You have to soak them in water before using them to get a sharp knife.

Arkansas Stone

This stone is the most popular for knife sharpening, and it comes in different grades. The coarsest Arkansas stone is the Washita, which is super soft and not used regularly. 

The finer grades Arkansas stones are the Soft and Hard Arkansas. There is also Hard Black Arkansas and the Hard Translucent Arkansas stone. These stones create a polished edge, but they are slower than the other stones.

Sharpening Rods

Use the sharpening rod to remove material from the knife. All you have to do here is move the knife’s edge across the sides of the rod to regain the blade’s v-shape and edge.

Tip: Don’t use the sharpening rod too regularly. You should only use it a couple of times per year. Using a sharpening tool to remove blade material too often will eat the knife’s blade quickly.

Sandpaper

Sandpaper comes in many grit sizes, and each one has a different effect on sharpening your knives. 

  • Start with a 200 coarse grit to make the bevel of the knife’s edge. Then, move to a finer 600-800 grit paper for sharpening. Lastly, 1000 extra-fine sandpaper makes for an excellent finish.

Knife Sharpener 

Some of the most effective sharpening tools are either electric or manual. These tools can create and finish a blade in less than 10 minutes. Here’s what you need to know about them.

Electric

Electric knife sharpeners create a razor sharp edge in minutes, but they have plenty of limitations. 

First, you cannot use them unless you are near a power outlet. Another downside is that there is almost no control during the sharpening process. Therefore, you will have no power over the sharpening angle, which varies depending on the type of knife.

There is no doubt that electric sharpeners work. But if you care about your knives, it would be better to use a manual sharpener instead.

Manual

A manual knife sharpener will give you optimal and better results. This tool will give you amazing control over the angle, allowing you to work on the edge consistently. Plus, you can use the manual sharpener everywhere because no electricity is necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What do professionals use to sharpen knives?

Professionals use a bench stone sharpener to sharpen their knives. This is a convenient tool that you can set up almost anywhere, and it takes about five minutes to get a sharp edge.

But that’s not the only tool used by professional chefs! Here are other options you can also try.

  • Whetstone. Sharpening a knife using a whetstone takes a bit more time than electric or manual sharpeners, but the result is a perfectly shaped blade.

Tip: Soak the whetstone in water for about 10 minutes before use, and continue soaking it periodically.

  • Electric sharpeners. These are convenient sharpening tools because they fit over most countertops without consuming a lot of space. Using electric sharpeners is also easy, as you only have to push a button.
  • Manual sharpeners. One of the best in this category is the Edge Grip Knife Sharpener. This tool is versatile, allowing you to use it for reshape, sharpening, or polishing blades.
  • Sharpening rod. Rods are tools that you can use with ease to sharpen blades quickly.

What household items can you use to sharpen a knife? 

Here is a list of household items that you can use to get a sharp edge for your kitchen knife.

  • Sandpaper. With different grit sizes available, sandpaper sharpens and polishes the blades.
  • Ceramic Mug. Use the bottom of a ceramic mug to remove material and get an edge for the blade. 
  • Glass Jar. Run the edge of the blade across the top rim of a glass jar for sharpening. 
  • Nail File. This item works similarly to sandpaper. To sharpen a chef’s knife, run the blade against the nail file. 

Other household items to sharpen a knife are the following:

  • Car windows.
  • Scissors.
  • Backpack nylon strap.
  • Leather belt.
  • Cardboard.
  • Shovel.

How long does it take to sharpen a dull knife?

You need 10-20 minutes to sharpen a dull knife. However, the sharpening time depends on two things. First, the amount of the edge you want to sharpen. Secondly, the condition of the blade’s edge.

You can test your blade’s dullness via the paper cutting test.

  • Hold a piece of paper out in front of you, and hold the knife at a slight angle. Apply a bit of pressure to glide the blade down the paper, cutting away from you. In case the knife starts to catch the paper and tears it, then the blade is not sharp. Ideally, the blade should move fluidly and make clean cuts.

How to sharpen a pocket knife with another knife?

Grab the knife you will use as a sharpener and turn it over to let the back of the blade face upwards.

Grab your pocket knife with your dominant hand, and drag it across the back spine of the sharpener knife. This is a simple method to get your pocket knives sharpened. But I would recommend you to use these portable knife sharpeners for your pocket knife.

Conclusion

As you can see, learning how to sharpen a knife with another knife is pretty easy. The tricky part is whether this sharpening method is the one you want to try. 

After all, it can mess up the knives, and the edge obtained may not be as good as it would be if you use another sharpening tool.

Nonetheless, sharpening a dull blade with another knife is still a possibility. If you have no other way to do it, follow the steps mentioned here to sharpen different knives, including chef’s knives, pocket knives, and more.

Brian M. Casey

Product reviewer & passionate blogger. Besides writing for this blog, I spend my time crafting research-based content for HuffingtonPost, Lifehacker & Forbes!

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