Step 10: Improvised Sharpening Stones

There you are in your friend's kitchen trying to cut a tomato with a blunt knife.
You're mashing it and smearing the skin around and not feeling sexy at all.
You ransack the utensil drawer and find not an abrasive.
You get the urge to criticize your pal for being the wrong kind of tool-using ape.
Use an improvised stone instead. Here's a short list of what can work:

The underside of the toilet tank lid.
The rough unglazed ring on the bottom of a plate or other ceramic item.
an emery board used for manicures
A brick.
A flowerpot.
Any aluminum item. It's covered with a layer of aluminum oxide, a good abrasive. This method is only good for final sharpening.
StephenC2028 days ago

I really enjoyed reading your sharpening advice, thanks for posting. I've sharpened knives, axes and machetes for maybe fifty years and I've never paid too much attention to the theoretical best cutting angles. As a hunter, fisherman, cook and outdoors enthusiasts I use cutting tools often, and I love them. Best wishes from Nelson, New Zealand... Stephen Coote.

StephenC2028 days ago
cool20005 years ago
 Does tile work?
revcdub5 years ago
Old ceramic-cased ICs are hard and abrasive enough to cut steel, and finely grained enough to leave a smooth edge.  Hone dry.  I'd rate them somewhere between hard white and hard black Arkansas.
xsamusaranx6 years ago
Thanks, never tried it this way I bought one of those three stone kits but I'll see if this works better. I test mine by cutting my arm hairs, I'd hate to destroy my fingernails.
jrsh927 years ago
I saw someone suggest using the rough top of a car window for sharpening in a pinch. It seems like it'd work but you'd have a small (and rounded) surface to work on, unfortunately...
Rishnai7 years ago
I always used the various grits of concrete found around my house. It seemed to work pretty well for my general-purpose knife. My crazy-sharp favorite knife got this treatment here... until my friend lost it. He felt so guilty he bought me a new one and sharpened it back crazy-sharp for me.
This is the kind of information I really like. I am going to print this one. Never thought of aluminum foil for knives but it sure works for sharpening scissors. Just cut through several folds five or six times and it improves the edges of the blades. Thank you for this.
huckuba8 years ago
use another Knife! I always maintained the edges of my knives by "Steeling " the edge with another similar knife. Kind of like using the back side of the blade on one knife as a "steel" for the business side on the other blade.
moon1619 years ago
THu underside of a coffee cup always worked for me- just look for plain instead of glazed ceramic.