Knives are essential tools in the kitchen. They allow us to perform various tasks, such as slicing and chopping meat and vegetables. A sharp knife is necessary for getting the most out of your ingredients. That’s why they need sharpening every once in a while to ensure that they can do their job well. But, do you know how to sharpen a knife with sandpaper?
Yes. One way to sharpen knives is to use sandpaper. It is a quick and easy way to get your knives sharp again. Sharpening a knife is all about the technique. Read more to know how to do it.
Pick The Right Sandpaper for Sharpening Knives
Sandpapers contain several sharp edges used to sharpen knives and other materials. The coarseness of the sandpaper will determine how sharp the knife becomes. Additionally, you can measure sandpaper by the grit size. It is the number of sharp edges per square inch. The higher the grit size number, the finer the sandpaper is.
You need to select the right sandpaper depending on the type of knife you are sharpening. If you’re not sure what sandpaper to use, here are various types of sandpaper that you can use for sharpening knives:
📌Coarse grit sandpaper
Coarse grit sandpapers are usually around 220 to 320 grit. It is suitable for grinding down burrs and removing a lot of material. Also, this grit sandpaper is typically used to remove a layer of finish or debris with minimal effort. The coarse grit’s strong suit is its ability to take down the blade’s edge quickly.
📌Medium grit sandpaper
Medium grit sandpapers are usually 600 grit. It is the perfect grit for removing scratches from coarse grit sandpaper. Typically, others use this sandpaper to sand bare wood to get rid of varnish and final finishing and prepare it for staining or painting. Additionally, you can use it to remove light burrs and smooth the knife blade’s edge.
📌Fine grit sandpaper
Fine grit sandpapers are usually around 1000 to 1500 grit. It is the finest grit sandpaper that you can use for knife sharpening. Typically, people use fine grit to remove water stains on wood and prepare the surface for a sealant. It can also be used to polish the knife blade’s edge and remove any minor scratches.
📌Extra fine-grit sandpaper
Very fine grit sandpapers are usually around 2000 to 2500 grit. This type of sandpaper is ideal for polishing the knife blade’s edge. It helps remove any blemishes on the blade and make it shiny again.
What is the Most Suitable Grit Sandpaper to Sharpen a Knife?
Now that you know about the different types of sandpaper, it’s time to learn which grit sandpaper is the most suitable for sharpening knives.
If your knife is severely dull and you need to take off a lot of material, you should use coarse grit sandpaper. A good starting point is 220-400 grit. If your knife has a few nicks and is starting to lose its sharpness, use medium-grit sandpaper. It should be around 600-800 grit. If you want to polish the blade and get rid of any light scratches, you can use fine-grit sandpaper, which is 1000-1500 grit. Lastly, if your knife is already sharp but wants to maintain its edge, you can use extra-fine grit sandpaper, which is around 2000-2500 grit.
How to Sharpen Knife With Sandpaper
Photo Credit: Homesteading
Now that you know what type of sandpaper to use and the suitable grit size, it’s time to learn how to sharpen knives with sandpaper.
You will need the following materials to sharpen knives with sandpaper:
- Dull knife: Pick the knife that needs sharpening.
- Sandpaper: Select the right type and grit size of sandpaper, depending on the condition of your knife blade. It would be best to start with coarse-grit sandpaper.
- Flat surface: You will need a flat surface to place the sandpaper on. A wooden workbench, a chopping block, or a kitchen countertop works best.
- Water: Wet the knife blade before sharpening to prevent the edge from overheating.
- Honing steel: You can use honing steel to keep the knife blade sharp.
🔪Lay the sandpaper with grit side up on the flat surface.
Clean your flat surface and lay the sandpaper with the grit side up. This will be the side that you will use to sharpen your knife. You can tape the sandpaper down to the surface to keep it in place and come all the way to the edge.
🔪Wet the blade of the dull knife with water.
Take some water and wet the blade of the dull knife. You can also spray some water on the edge to make it wet.
🔪Place the knife on sandpaper.
Place the dull side of the knife blade on the sandpaper. Hold the knife at a 22-degree angle against sandpaper. Don’t worry about achieving that angle. If you hold the knife at a 90-degree angle, tilt the knife halfway to get the 45 degrees. Tilt it again halfway to get the 22-degree angle.
🔪Apply minimal pressure.
Hold the knife with one hand and slightly press it on the center to keep it flat on the sandpaper. You don’t need to apply a lot of pressure as the sandpaper will do the sharpening for you.
🔪Move the knife back and forth.
Drag the knife edge down, and pull it away from you. Then drag it towards you. Move the knife back and forth while applying only minimal pressure. Make sure you’re moving in that direction. Avoid sliding it in circles or backward. Do this for about 10-15 strokes.
🔪Check the blade’s edge.
Stop after every few strokes to check the blade’s edge. If it’s already sharp, then you can stop there. If it needs more sharpening, then continue to the next step.
🔪Sharpen the other side of the knife.
Turn the knife over and place the dull side on the sandpaper. Hold it at a 22-degree angle and do the same steps as you did with the first side. Do this for 10-15 strokes.
🔪Hone the blade with honing steel.
After sharpening the knife with sandpaper, it’s best to use a honing steel to maintain its sharpness. Hold the honing steel against the blade at a 22-degree angle and slide it down the edge. Do this for 10-15 strokes.
🔪Rinse and dry the knife.
Rinse the knife under running water and dry it with a towel. You can also wipe it off with a clean cloth.
What is The “Mouse Pad” Trick in Sharpening Knives?
Some people also use sandpaper and mouse pad to sharpen knives. They place the mouse pad on the flat surface and put the knife on it. Attach the sandpaper to the mouse pad and cut the edges.
This method is said to give better results than using sandpaper alone. To use this DIY knife sharpening kit, you should make a stropping movement with the knife. You can follow the steps above to do this.
Things to Consider Before Removing Sanding Particles
It’s important to remember that you’re removing some of the blade material when sharpening a knife with sandpaper. So before you start, think about whether or not you need to do it.
If your knife is still functional and doesn’t have any nicks on the blade, then there’s no real need to sharpen it with sandpaper. You can use honing steel to keep the edge sharp.
On the other hand, if your knife is dull and has some nicks on the blade, then sharpening it with sandpaper will be the best way to go. Just make sure that you’re careful in removing the sanding particles, as it can affect the blade’s performance.
Sandpaper vs. Whetstone
Photo Credit: Compogear
When it comes to sharpening knives, there are two main methods: sandpaper and whetstone. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
❓What is a Whetstone?
A whetstone is a stone used to sharpen knives. If you want an excellent edge on your knives, whetstones are the ultimate sharpening tool for knives. It comes in different shapes and sizes, but the most common type is the rectangular whetstone.
Whetstones contain a rough material designed in a block format. The abrasive material is usually ceramic, natural stone, aluminum oxide, and silicon carbide.
Similar to sandpaper, whetstones have different grit numbers. Whetstone with low grit somewhat eliminates large amounts of material from the steel blade. In contrast, whetstones with a high grit produce a more delicate edge.
❓Advantages of using whetstones
There are several advantages to using whetstones for sharpening a knife, including:
- Versatile: You can use whetstones to sharpen a wide variety of blades, including knives, scissors, and axes.
- Efficient: Whetstones can help restore a dull blade to its original sharpness.
- Long-lasting: Whetstones can last for many years with proper care.
- Easy to use: Whetstones are simple and don’t require any special skills.
❓How to sharpen a knife with a whetstone
If you’re using a whetstone to sharpen your knife, the most important thing to remember is the sharpening angle. The standard sharpening angle for knives is 20 degrees. However, you can adjust it depending on the type of blade and the amount of wear and tear it has sustained.
To find the correct sharpening angle, hold the whetstone at the desired angle and start sharpening. You can use a marker to make a line on the stone to help you keep track of the angle.
Once you’ve found the right angle, start sharpening your knife by making gentle back-and-forth motions. Apply a little pressure and make sure that the entire blade is in contact with the whetstone.
Sharpen one side of the blade for a few minutes, then turn the knife over and sharpen the other side. Rinse and dry the knife after sharpening.
❓Differences between sandpaper and whetstone
Sandpaper can provide a similar edge on knives as a whetstone can do, but these two have a huge difference.
- Durability: Whetstones can last for a long time, while sandpaper will wear down after a few sharpenings. You need to replace a sandpaper sheet after a few uses.
- Flattening: You need to flatten a whetstone as it wears out, while you don’t need to do it on sandpaper since you can switch to a new sheet.
- Grit: Whetstones can have 12000 or more grit which produces a nicely mirror-like finish on the knife, while sandpaper usually has a grit of 2500.
- Cost: Whetstones are more expensive than sandpaper. Sandpaper is much cheaper and more readily available.
- Convenience: Sandpaper is more convenient to use than whetstone, as it doesn’t require any special skills or equipment.
❓Which to choose?
If you’re a beginner, sandpaper is the better option since it is easy to use and requires no special skills. However, if you want more durability and a finer edge, whetstones are the way to go. Sandpaper can also produce a similar edge as a whetstone, but it won’t last as long. Whetstones are great for experienced users who want to maintain a sharp blade.
Tips for Using Sandpaper for Sharpening Knives
Get the best out of your knives by using sandpaper to sharpen them. Here are a few tips:
✅Add a few drops of water to the sandpaper.
Before you start sharpening the knife, add a few drops of water. It helps keep the knife’s edge cool and makes the sandpaper more effective. Also, it will help sharpen the blade and give it an excellent finish.
✅Use the mouse pad trick.
Try using a mouse pad if you’re having trouble keeping the knife still while sharpening. Place the mouse pad on a stable surface and put the sandpaper on top. The mouse pad will help keep the sandpaper still and make sharpening easier.
✅Use a light touch.
Don’t apply too much pressure while sharpening. Use a light touch and make sure that the entire blade is in contact with the sandpaper. It will help prevent the blade from becoming damaged.
✅Start with coarse grit.
If your knife is dull, start by using coarse grit sandpaper. It will help remove the dull edge and restore the blade to its original sharpness.
✅Switch to a finer grit.
Switch to a finer grit once you’ve removed the dull edge with coarse-grit sandpaper. It will help polish the blade and give it a sharper edge.
✅Finish with a polishing compound.
If you want to give the knife an even finer edge, finish using a polishing compound such as WD-40 or mineral oil. It will help remove any scratches and give the blade a nice shine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does sandpaper get dull?
A: Yes, sandpaper does get dull and needs to be replaced after a few uses. But it only gets dull when you use it too often to sharpen knives.
Q: How to sharpen serrated knives with sandpaper?
A: Sharpening serrated knives with sandpaper is tricky since the serrations will prevent the blade from making contact with the sandpaper. However, you can do it with extra care to avoid damage to the knife. It is best to use a sharpening rod or stone to sharpen serrated knives.
Q: What type of knives can I sharpen with sandpaper?
A: You can sharpen various knives with sandpaper, including kitchen knives, pocket knives, and hunting knives. Just make sure that the knife is made from steel and not ceramic.
Q: Which abrasive grains are best for sharpening a knife?
A: The best abrasive grain for sharpening a knife is silicon carbide sandpaper. It is better for eliminating large numbers of metal particles and leaves a smooth surface. Aluminum oxide is a close second and produces good results as well. However, avoid using emery boards or sanding blocks, as they can damage the blade.
Q: What is the difference between coarse and grit?
A: The difference between coarse and grit is the size of the particles. It determines how rough or fine an abrasive will be. Coarse grit contains large particles and is good for removing material. At the same time, fine grit has small particles and is ideal for polishing the blade.
Q: When should I use honing steel?
A: Honing steel helps straighten the blade, and you should use it before and after sharpening. It can also be used to remove minor nicks and scratches on the blade. However, honing steel will not sharpen the knife.
Sandpaper can be used to sharpen knives by removing material from the blade’s edge until it is sharp again. However, sharpening knives with sandpaper can be a bit difficult. Nevertheless, it is a viable option if you don’t have a sharpening stone or rod.
You can sharpen a knife with various grits, depending on how dull the knife is and how fine you want the edge to be. Make sure that you use suitable grits and take your time to avoid any damage to the blade. Always remember to use caution when handling knives.