How to Sharpen a Knife With Another Knife?

Knives are an essential part of your arsenal of kitchen tools, but they only work like they should when they are sharp. There is nothing worse than trying to slice vegetables or cut them for a meal with a dull knife that cannot do its job.

If you have ever found yourself in a situation where you need to sharpen a knife but do not have the right tools to do it.

You have probably just used the dull knife because you thought that there was no way to sharpen it. That is actually not true and there are situations where you can actually sharpen your knife with another knife!

Two handmade knives on wooden cutting board.

If you want to learn more about sharpening knives with other knives, read on!

What Do You Need to Sharpen a Knife?

Proper knife sharpening tools are essentially just surfaces that are harder than the material of the knife. They might be shaped in such a way that they make it very ergonomic and efficient to sharpen a knife, but they are not usually made of any special kind of material.

This means that you can sharpen your knife with another knife so long as the back of the other knife is harder than the blade of the knife that you need to sharpen. This is always going to be a temporary fix for your knife sharpening needs, but it can be very effective in a pinch.

Always make sure that you invest in proper knife sharpening tools, or have your knives professionally sharpened.

Sharpening one knife with another is a good way to provide an emergency solution, but then both knives that were used for the process will need to be sharpened again.

Different Kinds of Sharpening Motions

Various sharpening motions need to be used to sharpen knives. You might be able to do all of these motions when you sharpen your knife with another knife.

Step-1: Honing

This is the first step in the sharpening process and you need to do this to realign the edges of your blade.

This motion requires drawing the knife down the edge of the back of the other knife until you can tell that the blade has started to become sharp again.

Step-2: Sharpen

This is the next step and involves increasing the pressure on the back of the other knife to actually strip away a layer or two of the dull knife.

This is usually done with a sharpening rod, but the back of the other knife can take care of this more intense sharpening phase.

Step-3: Stropping

This is the last step of the sharpening process. This is when you smooth out all the edges of the blade. Metal will accumulate at the edge of the knife when you sharpen it, and you want to remove this so that it cuts smoothly.

This is a harder process to do without specialized tools, so you will probably have to compromise somewhat on this stage of the process if you are sharpening with another knife.

If you need to know how the motions work for sharpening your knife against another knife, you will want to copy the motions that you would use with proper sharpening tools. You will just use the back of the knife instead of the sharpening rod that would be the normal solution.

Check out this video for some tips and tricks for knife sharpening.

Most of these motions will work when you are using the back of another knife as your sharpening tool. Just be careful not to lose hold of the sharpening knife as you are working.

What Kind of Sharpening Tools Would We Normally Use to Sharpen a Knife?


This is a rectangular slab of stone that is made of different materials that are harder than the knife. There are many different brands and styles of whetstone and they can all be used to make your knife sharp and useful again.


There are specific knife sharpeners made of ceramic, but many people will also use an old coffee mug in place of a fancy tool.

Sharpening Rod

This is the most common means of sharpening your knives and these handy sharpening rods don’t require much skill to operate and they create great results every time.

How Often Can You Sharpen a Knife?

You should only need to sharpen your knives every two to three years. If you are needing to sharpen them more frequently than this, you need to consider if you are cutting on an inappropriate cutting surface.

Your knives might also not be very high quality if they need to be sharpened more often than that.

Honing is different from sharpening and is done to clean and refresh the edges of the blade. Sharpening actually removes layers of the blade and is best done by a professional sharpener who is skilled in this process.

It is too easy to bend or warp your knife by taking too much material off one side or the other if you do not know how to correctly sharpen a knife.

You will know it is time to have your knife sharpened when honing does not restore the edge to its original quality.

Does it Damage Your Knife to Sharpen it On Another Knife?

It is possible to damage your knife when you sharpen it using the back of another knife. You will have more trouble applying even pressure when you are using another knife as your whetstone and sharpening rod, and you might create divots or dings in the knife blade using this sharpening style.

If you really must sharpen your knife against another knife to get you by in a tight spot, always make sure to sharpen it properly or have a professional do so as soon as you can.

The longer that you use a knife with an incorrectly sharpened blade, the harder it will be to restore it to its usable condition.

Sharpening a knife against another knife can work, but it is not the ideal or recommended way to sharpen knives. 

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