How to Sharpen a Utility Knife Blade

A utility knife.
What You'll Need
Chopping board
Sharpening stone
Sharpening steel
A sheet of paper

Sharpening a utility knife blade can be a tricky job. It requires DIY ability and the appropriate tools. If you don’t get it right, you will eventually end up damaging the knife. However, using some particular tools, with the right technique, and some little effort, sharpening a utility knife blade is a job you can do yourself.

Step 1 - Remove all Food Products

Basically sharpening means changing the blunt edge into a sharp one. Hence, while sharpening, a lot of metal particles are spread all over the area and they can easily come in contact with food products especially if you’re working in a kitchen.

Step 2 - Use the Sharpening Stone

After clearing the area you can start the sharpening process for the utility blade by first using the sharpening stone. These stones are specifically used for sharpening and you can find a different range to choose from including common water stones and diamond-edged sharpening stones. These stones generally have a coarse side and a fine side.

Place the stone on a chopping board to prevent scratching on the surface. When sharpening, a special technique is required to perfectly sharpen the knife’s cutting edge. You have to hold the knife at an angle of about 20 degrees and start sharpening the knife using long, smooth, and unique directions on the stone to sharpen the knife perfectly from top to bottom. This process should be done first on the coarse side and then on the fine side of the stone.

Step 3 - Add Water and Oil

Now that the knife is beginning to sharpen up, pour some water on the stone to increase the friction between the stone’s surface and the knife’s edge and repeat the previous step again. Additionally, add some oil on the stone’s surface and give the knife a last run. The oil will help to give the knife a more smooth cut and will also act as a polish.

Step 4 - Use the Sharpening Steel

Once your blunt utility knife is sharp, you won’t need the stone again. As long as you have a good sharpening steel, use it frequently to keep your blade sharp. The best way to hold the steel is vertical, away from you body with the handle on top and the steel facing downwards. As with the stone, your sharpening angle should be around 20 degrees with the knife moving against the steel in long, smooth strokes to sharpen the whole blade from heel to point.

Step 5 - Test the Knife

Once the sharpening process is finished, wash your utility knife with water in order to remove any metal particles left on the knife’s surface and then test your utility knife’s sharpness on a piece of paper which should cut without effort.

That’s it. Now you should have a properly sharpened utility knife and when cutting remember to always keep your fingertips away from the blade to avoid any unfortunate accidents.