8 Weird Items That You Can Use to Sharpen Your Knife

8 Weird Items That You Can Use to Sharpen Your Knife

Posted by Clayton on Dec 25th 2014

Sometimes we’re in a position where we don’t have the proper knife-sharpening tools at our disposal. These are the times when we need to know how to improvise and make the most of what we have and, fortunately, there are several everyday items that can sharpen or hone the edge of your knife.

Sharpening a knife involves removing some of the metal from the blade to form a more defined edge. While not every object that we discuss can sharpen your knife to perfection, they all work to hone or strop the knife’s blade, which will sharpen your knife by realigning its edge.

Now that we’ve cleared up our definition of sharpening, let’s discuss the everyday items that you can use to sharpen your blade.

Another Knife’s Spine

Most knife owners have more than one knife in their collection, and the spine of one knife is the perfect way to sharpen the blade of another. This is one reason you should always carry two knives with you, but that’s part of a different conversation. To sharpen the blade of one knife, run the knife along the spine (the unsharpened side) of the other knife.

Smooth Rock

Using a smooth rock to sharpen your knife is ideal when you’re out in the wilderness without any other tools or at home without a better way. Starting at one end of the stone, ensure that the whole knife edge will hit the stone and sweep across the stone in an arcing motion.

Coffee Mug

Ceramic coffee mugs are one item that can sharpen your knife by removing metal from the blade. Obviously, if you’re out in the wilderness and discover that you need to sharpen your knife, it’s unlikely that you’re carrying a spare coffee mug with you. If, on the other hand, you’re at home, you probably have at least one extra coffee mug that you don’t really use.

Start by turning the mug upside down and finding the raw part on the bottom of the cup, which is the circular rough spot that keeps the cup from moving around. After you’ve found this spot, run the knife across it until your blade is as sharp as you need it.

Leather Belt

Many knife-sharpening professionals use leather straps for stropping, so it only makes sense that a leather belt can be used for the same purpose. So, while you can’t technically use your belt to sharpen your knife, you can use it to realign its edge to make the blade more acute. Choose a belt without stitching, and strop away by running the knife away from the cutting edge to realign the blade.

Nylon Strap

Not everyone has access to a leather belt. Whether that’s because you’re more of a suspenders-wearing person or because your pants fit you perfectly without one doesn’t matter. Fortunately, you don’t need a leather belt to strop your blade, as a nylon strap can also be used. Using only the straps on a backpack, you can increase your knife’s sharpness by running it against the nylon strap away from the cutting edge.


Sandpaper is something most of us have on hand and, as a bonus, it’s inexpensive and has many uses. One reason that sandpaper is great for sharpening blades is that you can use different grits, depending on how sharp you want it to be. It’s best to begin with a coarser grit and gradually move toward a grit that’s a little finer, if you need maximum sharpness.

Nail File

If you don’t have any sandpaper at your disposal, a nail file is a more than adequate alternative way to sharpen your knife. Even if you haven’t specifically purchased a nail file, they are commonly found in survival kits. Obviously, due to the similarities between nail files and sandpaper, nail files also sharpen a knife’s edge by running the blade against the emery board.

Car Window

Using a car window to hone your blade is more of a last resort, but this method can be used if you have nothing else to work with. This may seem like a surprising sharpening device, but the rough, rounded edge of a car window is fairly ideal for using on the softer steel that is often used to make knife blades. Simply slide your blade along the top of the window about 10 times on each side, and your knife should be noticeably sharper.


While it’s ideal to have your knife sharpened by a professional or by using tools specifically designed for sharpening, there are times when a little ingenuity is necessary. When you’re in a situation where you need to sharpen your knife but don’t have the proper equipment, it’s good to know that there are some unorthodox ways to get the job done.