What Grit Sandpaper Should You Use for Knife Sharpening?

To sharpen a blade using sandpaper, you’ll need 600 to 800 grit paper. These will allow you to create a bevel to sharpen into a full edge later. However, there’s still a lot more to do if you want a clean finish for the blade of your knives.

different grit sizes on sandpaper

Here’s when the sharpening technique and the different sandpaper sizes come into play. While the 600-800 grit sandpaper creates a sharpened edge, the higher grit sandpaper sheets will give the blade a mirror-like finish and a polished look.

Want to learn more about what grit sandpaper for knife sharpening to use? Then check this out!

What Grit Sandpaper To Use for Knife Sharpening?

The 600 grit sandpaper is the perfect size for sharpening knives. Nonetheless, you may want to use lower grits to repair the damaged knife before starting the sharpening process.

To fully understand how sandpaper works, here’s the grit system. It includes the different variations of sandpaper and their most common uses.

NameUS Grit RatingUses
Coarse100-400-Remove materials like metal and wood quickly.
-Reshape blades of knives.
-Get rid of large chips and scratches to prepare the knife edge.
-Restore snapped points.
-Create a double bevel.
-Restore a dull edge.
-Flattening stone.
Medium400-700-Remove a decent amount of metal and scratches for fine edges.
-Refine edge created with coarse grits.
-Restore dull blades.
-Establish bevel angle.
-To sharpen blades and create a fine edge.
Fine800-1200-Retouching dull blades.
-Create factory edge with previously created bevel angle.
Extra-Fine2000+-Polishing steel and metal blades.
-Make shiny and sharp edges.
-Create mirror finish & straight razor sharpness.

The Number of Grit in Sandpaper

The sandpaper grit number is the rating that indicates the size of the abrasive material found on the surface of the sandpaper.

A higher number equals finer abrasive, while lower numbers are coarser abrasives.

The condition of the blade’s edge also indicates what grit size you should use. As described in the chart above, coarser sandpaper ranging between 100-400 can remove chips and scratches to reshape the blade.

On the other hand, using high grit sandpaper is a great idea for polishing a sharpened knife. Pick the size depending on what your knives need.

Here’s an easier way to use sandpaper:

Use the lower grits to sharpen a knife and the higher grits to smoothen and peel off impurities from the knife’s blade afterward. Make sure to use both, as low and high grits are necessary for sharpening knives.

Why Do Grit Numbers Matter?

The grit number matters because it indicates what you can do with it. From removing scratches to sharpening, each sandpaper grit size is suitable for specific purposes.

I already included a chart explaining what each grit in sandpaper does, but let’s take a look at a few examples.

  • You can start sharpening a knife with coarse paper and move upwards to 1200 or 1000 sandpaper for polishing the sharpening.

Tip: Keep in mind that using excessively fine grits may burn the blades and damage the edge. Plus, use a block for support.

  • Using 800 grit to sharpen a knife and brief buffing on the buffing wheel will also give the knife a razor edge. This process only takes a few minutes and it works for kitchen knives including chef’s knives and the paring knife.
  • Some recommend going with lower numbers and, for instance, using 600 then strop or 400 grit sandpaper on the slack belt or leather belt to finish the sharpening.
  • Then, quick work on the whetstone to get that final edge for most applications.
  • Another common sandpaper used for sharpening kitchen knives is the 220 grit. This one is the safest for bevels during the first stages of the sharpening. You can also combine this with the buffing wheel or a sharpening stone.
  • Lastly, the 100 grit paper over a plate glass sheet will help you to prevent damage on the blade’s surface, like scratches. This is because glass is an ideal flat surface when compared to old sharpening stones used years ago. So then, you can start moving forward in sandpaper grit sizes to get the sharp edge.

The Required Grit Number in Sandpaper

The required grit in sandpaper for sharpening knives is from 600 and up. You can use the lowest 100 grit to prepare the blade while preventing damage to the steel or metal material.

These can also remove scratches and impurities. Then, go with higher grits to get a sharpened edge and polish it with some hand sanding.

The Minimum Size of a Grit in Sandpaper

The general rule is that high grit sandpaper smoothens the blade while the lower grit sandpapers sharpen the edge.

Realistically, the minimum grit of sandpaper can be 40 to 80. The purpose of these grits is to repair chipped edges or re-establishing initial bevels.

The Texture of the Grit in Sandpaper

The texture of the grit in sandpaper varies depending on the rating. This is the classification:

  • Coarse texture, from 200 to 600.
  • Medium texture, from 600 to 1000.
  • Fine texture, from 1000 to 600.
  • Extra fine texture, from 6000+.

Why Does the Texture Matter?

The texture of sandpaper matters because it affects materials like metal or wood differently.

  • Coarse textures help raise a rough edge, allowing you to shape two sides of a bevel symmetrically.
  • The medium grit sandpaper refines and starts honing the primary bevel shape for the first stage of the blade sharpening process.
  • Fine (2000 grit) and extra-fine (6000 grit and above) textures polish and mirror finish the sharpness of the steel blade of the knife.

Can You Sharpen a Knife With Sandpaper?

You can sharpen a knife with sandpaper using the right grit size and the proper technique.

Forget about sharpening tiles or a sharpening stone. While those methods work great, now there’s a simpler and more cost effective DIY knife sharpening kit you can make by using sandpaper.

This recommended sharpening method to follow is “The Mousepad Trick.” Here’s how you do it.

  1. Head to the nearest auto supply store and get a mouse pad and 600 grit sandpaper.
  2. Ideally, go with mylar-backed sandpaper, whether it’s wet or dry type, and make sure it’s self-stick. Additionally, pick up higher grit sandpaper sheets, like 1200.
  3. Attach the sandpaper to the mouse pad and proceed to trim the edges. This will be your new DIY knife sharpening kit, so you don’t have to invest in a cheap stone or a sharpening tile.
  4. If you got 600 and 1200 grit sandpaper, attach them to each side of the mouse pad.
  5. To use this new sharpening system, you have to make a stropping motion while sharpening the knife. Therefore, it would be best if you used an edge-trailing stroke for better results. Also, don’t lead the sharpening process with the edge but the spine.
  6. Establishing the angle is easy. Let the knife rest flat over the pad with the edge facing you. Then, pull gently toward you while lifting the spine lightly. Think of it as if you were making a thin slice.
  7. Don’t stop lifting to let the edge bite into the sandpaper. This is the stropping angle.
  8. Start pressing down gently and move the knife away from your body. This movement should be with the spine first, moving it heel to tip.
  9. Stop and lift the blade only after reaching the end. It is important because rolling or lifting the spine would mess up the edge.
  10. Turn the knife to the other side and repeat the stroke motion the other way. For this step, the edge should be away from you as you pull the spine towards you. Again, use the same angle you used before.
  11. To polish the edge, use the other side of the mouse pad with the 1200 sandpaper sheets.

And that’s how you make your own DIY knife sharpening kit without spending a lot of money. Now, let’s talk about some tips you may need for sharpening knives with sandpaper.

Tips on How To Use Sandpaper To Sharpen Knives

  • Using sandpaper sheets instead of stones is a great idea because a sandpaper sheet is more consistent and you only need a few minutes to get sharp knives. In addition, it won’t chip or scratch the blade of knives, unlike a sharpening stone that may damage the blade.
  • The Mousepad Trick is a fantastic sharpening method for knives. You can use it to sharpen a blade at a consistent angle, allowing you to work on both sides of the blade equally.
  • Besides, making your own knife sharpening kit with these tools is less expensive and you can pretty much take it anywhere with you.  It’s lightweight, convenient, and portable.
  • Using sandpaper for sharpening knives is a fast and easy method. However, some may suggest that edges sharpened with diamond stones last longer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use both sharpener methods. In fact, you could use wet and dry sandpaper over a flat surface and then finish the sharpening over a stone or sharpening steel.
  • Another useful trick would be attaching sandpaper to a flat board using glue or spray adhesive over the surface area of the board. This provides terrific support as you sharpen the knives while being faster than using sharpening stones.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Grit Sandpaper To Use To Smooth the Knife Spine?

Use high grit sandpaper to smoothen the knife spine, normally from 600 to 1200 grits sandpaper. This technique works on most knives perfectly.

2. Does Sandpaper Get Dull?

Yes, the sandpaper gets dull as time passes. However, this happens when you use it too regularly to sharpen knives.

Consider changing dull sandpaper when the abrasive side wears down, unable to smoothen or sharpening a flat surface anymore.

3. What Is 7000 Grit Sandpaper Used For?

Use the 7000 grit sandpaper for hand sanding primer, putty, and filler, to name a few. It works either wet or dry to guarantee fantastic flexibility.

4. What Is 120 Grit Sandpaper Used For?

Sandpaper between 120 and 220 are the most used grits for removing material quickly, repairing a chipped edge, or removing scratches.

For kitchen knives, this type of sandpaper can get rid of imperfections. It’s the initial stage before starting to sharpen the steel blade of the knives.

5. Is Higher Grit Finer?

The higher the sandpaper, the finer the abrasive will be. Therefore, high grit sandpapers are ideal for smoothening and polishing surfaces.

On the opposite end, lower grit papers are coarser abrasives and scrape materials faster. Both are necessary to prepare the blade of the knife and to sharpen it.

To Wrap Up

While 600 grit sandpaper is the ideal choice to sharpen a knife, lower and higher grits polish your work, this is why it’s important to use each sandpaper grit size as part of a procedure instead of picking just one.

If you use the sandpaper correctly, your knives will have a brand-new edge without spending a lot of money on tools. Therefore, this method isn’t only effective, but it’ll also save you some money.

Are you wondering what grit sandpaper for knife sharpening to use for your dull knives? Try the method and the tips shared here to see how it works out for you! And if you liked what you saw here, or if I missed anything here please don’t forget to share your opinion in the comments.

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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