How to Sharpen a Knife Without a Sharpener

Video how to sharpen a knife without a sharpener

Knife On Ceramic Mug


We’ve all been there: you’re out in the wilderness or in a pinch at home, and you need a sharp knife. But there’s no sharpener in sight. Don’t worry! With a little ingenuity and some everyday household items, you can sharpen your knife without a sharpener. In this article, we’ll explore 10 simple and effective methods that will have your knife slicing with precision in no time.

Coffee Mug

Coffee Mug

The humble coffee mug can come to the rescue as a makeshift sharpener. Turn the mug upside down and find the rough part of the bottom, which prevents it from sliding. Run the knife across the rough surface of the mug until you achieve the desired sharpness. You may even notice some discoloration on the mug, indicating that the ceramic is removing steel and sharpening the blade.

Leather Belt

Leather Belt for Sharpening a Knife

While not technically sharpening the blade, stropping can still make your knife sharper by realigning the edge. A leather belt, something you might be wearing right now, can serve as a quick and easy strop. Ensure that the belt has no stitching, then run the knife against the belt, away from the cutting edge, to realign and fine-tune the blade.


Sandpaper for knife sharpening

Though not an everyday item for most people, sandpaper is an inexpensive and versatile tool for knife sharpening. The grit you choose will depend on the knife and the level of sharpness you desire. Start with a coarser grit and gradually work your way up to a finer grit for optimal results.

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Nail File

Nail File

When sandpaper is not readily available, a nail file or emery board can be a suitable alternative. These handy tools are often found in survival kits and can be used in the same way as sandpaper. Simply run the cutting edge of the knife against the emery board to achieve a sharper edge.

Nylon Strap

Nylon Strap

After using a nail file or emery board, take your blade to the next level with stropping. If you don’t have a leather belt, a nylon strap, such as one from a backpack, can also do the job. Run the knife against the nylon strap, moving away from the cutting edge. This will further enhance the sharpness of your knife.



If you don’t have a nylon strap, fear not. Cardboard can also be used for stropping a blade, although it may not be as effective as leather or nylon. If you have leftover cardboard boxes lying around, they can serve as a makeshift stropping surface for your knife.

Car Window

rolled down car window to sharpen a knife

Abandoned cars with partially rolled-down windows can be a boon for knife-wielders. The rough, rounded edge of a car window is surprisingly effective for honing a blade. Slide the knife along the window edge, around 8 to 10 times on each side, and witness the enhanced sharpness of your knife.

Spine of Another Knife

spine of another knife

If you have a second knife with a thick spine, you’re in luck. The unsharpened spine of another knife can be used as a honing device. Run the knife you want to sharpen along the unsharpened spine of the other knife. This method works best when the two knives have different hardness levels.

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Smooth Stone

smooth stone as knife sharpener

When you don’t have a dedicated sharpening stone, a smooth and flat stone can be a suitable substitute. Look for rocks along rivers or grind two rocks together to create a makeshift sharpening stone. Use the stone in the same manner as you would a regular sharpening stone to achieve a sharper edge on your knife.


concrete driveway

In desperate situations, you can even resort to sharpening your knife on concrete. However, exercise caution, as this method can potentially damage your knife. Find a piece of concrete that is extremely smooth, and run the knife along its surface in the same way you would use a sharpening stone. Stropping the blade afterward can help smooth out any rough areas.

With these inventive methods, you can sharpen your knife even without a sharpener at hand. Remember, in case your prized knife is beyond repair, you can always find a replacement from Knife Depot, where they offer over 10,000 knives for sale in their store catalog.

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