How to Sharpen a Hunting Knife With a Whetstone

Knives are essential tools for any outdoors enthusiast, and it’s important to keep them in good condition. One way to do this is by sharpening your knife with a whetstone.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of using a whetstone to sharpen your hunting knife, including all the tools you’ll need and the steps involved.

Sharpening With Whetstone: Things You Need

Sharpening knives with a whetstone is a useful skill to have as it allows you to maintain the sharpness of your knives and keep them in good condition. To get started with whetstone sharpening, you’ll need a few key tools and supplies.

First, you will need a 1,000-grit whetstone, which can be purchased online for around $20. You will also need a stone holder to keep the whetstone steady as you work, as well as good lighting and plenty of space to work in.

In addition to these items, you will also need water and a clean cloth to wipe the blade as you sharpen it, and a decent-quality knife to work with. If you’re looking for a new one, check out the best hunting knives under $100.

Item Description Cost
1,000-grit whetstone A stone used to sharpen knives $20
Stone holder A tool to keep the whetstone steady while sharpening Varies
Ample lighting and space Adequate lighting and a spacious area to work in N/A
Water and clean cloth Used to clean the blade as it is sharpened N/A
Decent-quality knife A knife that is in good condition and suitable for sharpening Varies


With these items on hand, you’ll be ready to start sharpening your knife with a whetstone and keeping it in top condition.

7 Steps To Sharpen a Hunting Knife With a Whetstone

Now you’ve got all the tools listed above, it’s time to follow the upcoming 7 steps to sharpen a knife on a whetstone.

Steps To Sharpen a Hunting Knife With a Whetstone

Step 1: Soak the Whetstone

First you need to soak the whetstone in water for about 15 minutes to allow it to absorb moisture. This is important because the water helps to lubricate your knife’s blade as it moves across the stone, which can help to prevent damage to the blade and stone.

Step 2: Level the Whetstone

A whetstone can sometimes have slight imperfections or unevenness on its surface, and it is important to level this out before sharpening to ensure the blade is sharpened evenly across its entire length. To level the whetstone, you can draw a grid on it with a pencil and then use a lower grit stone to smooth out any roughness or unevenness.

Step 3: Begin Sharpening

Now it’s time to start sharpening on the lower grit side of the stone. We suggest holding the knife at a 10° angle and using a back-and-forth motion.

There are several other methods for sharpening a knife on a whetstone, including the Japanese method of moving the blade back and forth at the same angle, the Western method of moving the blade from the back to the front and back again, or your own method of using a 45° angle and a back and forth motion.

Top tip: Whichever method you go for, you should hold the knife at a consistent angle while sharpening to ensure that the blade is being ground evenly.

Step 3: Listen to the Sound

As you sharpen, listen to the sound of the blade moving across the stone. This can be a good indicator of how well the blade is being sharpened; a consistent sound generally means that the blade is being ground evenly. So, you should check to make sure the sound stays relatively the same throughout the sharpening process.

Step 4: Sharpen to Refine

Once you have sharpened the blade of your knife on the lower grit side of the stone, move on to the higher grit side. The higher grit side of the whetstone is used to refine the edge of the blade, rather than to remove material from it. As such, you should use a lighter touch when sharpening on the higher grit side to avoid over-grinding the blade.

Step 5: Test the Sharpness

Now, test the sharpness of the blade by cutting through a piece of paper. If it cuts easily and smoothly, your knife is sharp. If not, continue sharpening until it is sharp.

Step 6: Clean and Store

After sharpening, clean the hunting knife blade and whetstone with a damp cloth to remove any metal shavings or debris. Finally, you should make sure to store the knife in a safe place to prevent it from getting damaged or causing injury.

7 Steps To Sharpen a Hunting Knife With a Whetstone

…And that’s it! Next time you need to sharpen your knife, you can come back to this step-by-step guide and follow it to sharpen your blade effectively with a whetstone.

Whether you’re an experienced outdoors adventurer or you’re new to hunting, sharpening your knife with a whetstone is a skill that will come in handy for years to come.

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