Sharpening knives with sandpaper works, is fun and it’s cheap. Oh cups work too
This website is about how to sharpen a knife. And there’s many ways to achieve that, most of them commercial. In other words you will need to be buying some form of commercial knife sharpener.
However if you’re willing to put in a few moments of your time it’s perfectly possible to make your own knife sharpening tool at virtually no cost, and you can even hone your knife for free. Let’s look at how you do both of these things.
Sharpening a knife is really just about running the blade across an abrasive surface to remove metal from the blade to restore the edge. Any form of knife sharpener will perform this simple task, and commercial knife sharpeners are really just variations on this theme.
Not that there’s anything wrong with commercial knife sharpeners, most of them are effective. It’s just that you can produce a similar result with very cheap materials at home with a little work.
Consider sharpening stones for instance. A sharpening stone is simply an abrasive surface. You would normally buy at least two sharpening stones so that you have a coarser and finer grit, for initial abrasion and then finishing off the edge. Alternatively you could buy a combination stone with a coarse grit on one side and a fine grit on the other.
Sandpaper can produce a similar result. Sandpaper is simply an abrasive, and it comes in a wide variety of grits.
And there’s no reason why you can’t make your own knife sharpener from sandpaper if you feel like a little DIY or you’re a little strapped for cash.
All you need is a coarse sandpaper and a finer sandpaper. (As sandpaper grading varies from place to place a little trial and error will determine which ones work best for you. Just buy a few different grits and give it a go. For a detailed discussion of various types of sandpaper, and grit, if you’re interested click here.)
What you need do is use a block of wood, glue a thin layer of material to it such as felt or foam, to provide a little softness, and then fix your sandpaper to this. What you have produced, in effect, is a form of whetstone.
Rather than trying to describe it it’s much easier to you if you watch it done in a video. So here’s a video explaining exactly how you produce your own sandpaper knife sharpener, just for the cost of a few sheets of sandpaper.
Alternatively it’s quite possible to use a mouse pad. Place your sandpaper on a mouse pad, preferably a thinner one rather than a thicker one, and you’re good to go. Use some clips if necessary to fix the sandpaper in place.
Remember, with either method, mouse pad or wooden block, it’s important that you draw the knife away from the blade rather than push it blade first.
And remember as well one of the most important things about hand sharpening a knife, and this applies to commercial hand sharpeners as well, is that holding the angle of the knife correctly in relation to the abrasive is very important. The same applies with sandpaper.
A good tip is to run a marker pen along the blade before you start sharpening. Then, after a few strokes, examine the blade and see where the market pen has been removed. If it has not been removed along the very edge then your angle is too fine. You need to see marker pen removed over most of the edge including the very edge itself.
Sharpening knives with sandpaper is quite effective, and will produce as good a result as you’ll get from many commercial knife sharpeners. It’s fun, it works and it saves you some money.
Now lets look at honing your knife. If you’re not clear on the difference between sharpening a knife and honing a knife then read this page about honing a knife.
A very simple way to hone your knife, if you don’t have a dedicated honing steel, is simply to use the bottom of a ceramic cup. A ceramic cup is extremely hard, and if you use the bottom of a cup to hone your knife it will work quite effectively.
You’re obviously not going to damage your cup as you’re using the bottom, and therefore it’s a no cost, simple and effective way of honing a knife without going to the expense of buying a commercial knife sharpening steel.
Of course if you’re going to be sharpening a high quality knife regularly over many years it’s worth investing in a quality honing steel. But if you’re a little stuck then open up the cups cupboard and find a suitable cup. It’s a great place to start with learning how to hone a knife.
And if you’ve taken the trouble to make your own knife sharpening tool then you may well find that sharpening knives with sandpaper can be just as effective as sharpening knives with commercial knife sharpening tools, so you may be perfectly happy with your sandpaper knife sharpener. If so you’re done, no need to buy anything else.
Because sandpaper is the best knife sharpener for you. So You can follow Knife Sharpening guide