The Easy Way to Sharpen a Knife Without Spending a Lot of Money

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
The Easy Way to Sharpen a Knife Without Spending a Lot of Money

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Everyone needs a knife sharpener because no matter how careful you are, when you use your knife in the field, it is going to get dull.  I don’t care how expensive, or how high tech your knife is, using a knife will eventually dull the blade.

What does this mean for the prepper?  You have some choices.  You can carry a ceramic stone and sharpen your blade . . .  or you can carry a basic little sharpener that will make the job simple, quick and easy.  I guess you know what I choose.  I choose the easy way to sharpen a knife without spending a lot of money!

I purchased Smith’s Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener a few months ago and have used it quite a bit.  Not that my blades were super dull, mind you, but I wanted to learn how to use it properly and run it through its paces before I had to use it out in the field, while hiking, or in an emergency situation.

The Technical Stuff

This lightweight little knife sharpener weighs only an ounce and features a fold out, tapered round diamond-coated rod for sharpening serrated and standard edges quickly and easily. It measures 3-1/2 inches long and is 1 inch wide – plus, and it only weighs just 1 ounce. smiths pocketpal (6)The Survival Husband Impressions

I recruited my resident knife expert, Survival Husband, to give me his impressions.  (Remember him?  He is the one that swiped my Kershaw OSO Sweet from me . . . ).  Here is what he said:

This sharpener is great.  It is compact and the construction is very durable.  The real plus, however, is that it is small enough and light weight enough to simply drop it in your pack or packet and not worry about it taking up space or being bulky.

The “pocket pal knife sharpener” is easy to use.  In addition to the fixed sharpening blade, it has a small steel which enables you to sharpen a serrated blade no muss no fuss.

In my view this is great for sharpening blades in the field or emergency situation.  I would recommend that you purchase a few to stash in you pack, your pocket and around the house so that you always have a sharp blade – whenever and wherever.

How to Use the Pocket Pal

smiths pocketpal (2)  smiths pocketpal (4)  smiths pocketpal (3)

Sharpening Slots

  1. Insert knife blade into the V-shaped slots at a 90-degree angle to the sharpening blades or stones.
  2. Pull the knife blade straight back towards you while applying light pressure.
  3. Repeat this action until blade is sharp.

Tapered Diamond Rod: Flat Edges

  1. Always hold the unit with the rod facing down. Place heel of the blade on the diamond rod closest to the unit.
  2. Hold blade at a 23-degree angle to the rod.
  3. While applying light pressure, push the knife away from you towards the end of the rod. Draw knife down so that the tip of the blade comes off the end of the rod. Repeat this action until blade is sharp.
  4. For the other side of the blade, you will need to switch hands holding the sharpener and the knife and repeat steps 1 through 3.

Tapered Diamond Rod: Serrated Edges

  1. Only sharpen the side of your knife edge with the serrations.
  2. Hold rod at 23-degree angle to the blade and move it back and forth through each serration until sharp.

The Final Word

Although I own a fancy, smancy Chef’s Choice knife sharpener knife sharpener, it is clumsy, heavy and dare I say expensive?

Sure, there are better sharpeners out there but for $9 or less? Well, this is great choice to keep in your survival kit.  Plus it proves that survival gear does not need to cost a lot to be useful and effective.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Bargain Bin: Everyone needs a portable pocket survival kit. Here are links to the items in my own Portable Pocket Survival Kit.pocket survival kit_2

Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife:  This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.

Streamlight Nano Light Keychain LED Flashlight:  extremely small and light weight yet it will throw off a decent amount of super-bright light. At just .36 ounces and 1.47 inches long, the Streamlight Nano Light Keychain Flashlight will take up a minimum of space in your pocket or bag.

Paracord Survival Bracelet:  Why a Paracord Bracelet? So you always have some of this useful cord on your person!

Windstorm Safety Whistle:  This particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds.

Swedish Firesteel:  Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version. Want something even less expensive?  

Pepper Spray:  It is always good to have some form of defense that will temporarily halt a bad guy that is in your face.

Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets:  These come in compressed packets small enough to fit in a pocket or wallet.  You will be surprised at how warm these will keep you.

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5 Responses to “The Easy Way to Sharpen a Knife Without Spending a Lot of Money”

  1. I have been a woodcarver for quite a few years, my knives have to be razor sharp…a person gets cut by dull knives many, many more times than with a sharp knife…..I use 4 different grits of sandpaper and a final strop with leather….shine like a babies heel! lol easy enough to carry too in a backpack or whatever…

    • Are you saying that I can sharpen knives with 4 different grits of sandpaper and a leather strop? I would love to learn more!!!

  2. I bought one on these a couple of months ago along with a Mora knife. It works dang good. I’ve now sharpened every knife I own with this handy sharpener. Love it. It deserved the great review you gave it.

  3. Dear Gaye,
    Here is a helpful tip when sharpening serrated knife edges. First use a typical magic marker to fill in the little convex edge of each serration. Then methodically, using the tapered diamond rod, file away the blackened area. When all the discoloration is filed away, your knife, serrations will be sharp. It’s pretty fool proof way to eliminate any missed part of the serration and have a perfectly sharp knife every time.

  4. I consider that a great way to “touch-up” a blade or when you are away from your usual sharpening gear. However, there is NO substitute for a good set of stones and a strop. You don’t need to spend a fortune on Japanese “water stones” to get a good set. A good (Norton) dual sides Carborunem stone and “soft” & “hard” Arkansas stones are a great start. Later add a “Black” Arkansas stone and a razor strop (an old leather belt works too) and your set.

    The hard part is learning the PROPER technique, that can take a while, but you will be rewarded with a tool that Is always sharp and easy to use.


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