How To Sharpen Utility Knife Blades

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Why do I need to learn How To Sharpen Utility Knife Blades?

Utility blades are often the go-to choice for cutting things, especially woods or plastics that can be difficult and time-consuming to cut with a hacksaw blade.

The problem is that these blades dull quickly when used to cut harder material, like metal or rocks.

This will happen because the knife blade is not designed for the activity you are trying to do and because it is made of metal wearing away at its own edge in order to make contact with your substrate (the material you’re trying to cut).

This creates frictional heat which causes rapid dulling.

Rather than replace their utility knives often, many people will simply sharpen them periodically using different methods like anoil stones or diamond hones…

That’s why in this guide you will learn How To Sharpen Utility Knife Blades with ease and the practical steps to do it.

Should I Sharpen Utility Blades?

Yes, you should sharpen utility knife blades.

The reason is that it’s important to keep the blade sharp.

A dull utility knife blade will make it more difficult and dangerous to cut wood, plastic, metal and many other materials.

By maintaining your blade sharp you’ll get better results cutting wood, plastic, metal and many other materials.

When should I not sharpen utility knife blades?

When you buy a low quality or cheap utility knife.

Their blades most often are not carbide tipped and will erode fast that sharpening will result in making the blade more brittle.

It will do more harm than good.

Low quality knives are also not as durable as high end models so if you need to replace them sooner rather than later you need to choose quality for your money’s worth.

What Is The Correct Way Of Sharpening A Utility Knife?

The correct way of sharpening a utility knife blade is by using a whetstone.

A whetstone will take away very little metal to reshape the blade to its original shape and make a new cutting edge.

This is done by moving the blade in a straight up and down motion with equal pressure on each pass while applying lubricant (oil, water, etc) to the blade.

After each pass you should check if you’ve removed any nicks or burrs in the blade edge by running your finger along it.

By far the whetstone will be the best friend of your knife set.

Step By Step – How To Sharpen Utility Knife Blades


  • Whetstone
  • Utility Knife Blade
  • Towel
  • Flat Surface or Flat Board

Budget: $20-$50

Duration: 10 – 30 Minutes

Step One:

Place the blade on the whetstone and move it in an up and down motion. MAKE SURE you align it in a 20-30 degree angle.

Step Two:

In a slow continuous motion bring the blade to a higher sharpening angle by moving the blade to a lower “slant” setting on the stone. Sharpen until you feel that you have at least 3-4 times more cutting power than your old sharpener (if you sharpen to a lower “slant” position)

Step Three:

Remove any remnants of burrs, nicks or scratches from the blade edge using your fingers or something flat like plywood so that they do not raise on further contact with your next use. Then apply oil, water or another lube to maintain the cut edge.

Step Four:

Continue sharpening the blade until you reach your desired level of sharpness.

Step Five:

You’re done! You should now have a nice utility knife blade that’s as good as new!

Using a whetstone will guarantee that you’ll never have to buy another disposable utility knife again. Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you use it, the better it will work for you in the end.

Below is one of the best instructional videos that teaches How To Sharpen Utility Knife Blades:

What Can I Do With A Utility Knife?

Here are some practical and often overlooked uses of a utility knife:

  • Great for cutting plastic packaging. This is really useful in customizing your own accessories or equipment to perform the task you need it to accomplish.
  • Can slice easily through Styrofoam, clamped cardboard, and other soft materials like plastic or wood.
  • Can be used to trim duct tape (to make a custom length without applying significant force).
  • Can cut rope or fabric alike if you have the skill.
  • Can be used as a flathead screwdriver if you’re low on tools.
  • Can be used to peel or remove tape.
  • Can be used to cut the bottom of the package on a poly bag or plastic jug.
  • May be useful as an axe, as it is soft enough to destroy wood on contact but still very sharp.

What Can I Use Around The House To Sharpen A Knife?

Coffee Mug

A Coffee Mug’s bottom can help sharpen the knife as well as other rough ceramics you have in the house.

Leather Belt

You can also use a leather belt to sharpen a knife. It works great. You just need to follow the same process and stay at the right angle.

Quick tip: if the leather belt is too thick, you can split it into two thinner ones and sharpen them one after the other.


Sandpaper like any other coarse abrasives can help sharpen the knife if worked under the proper 20 degree angle.

Nail File

The nail file can work the same as sandpaper because it has an identical level of coarseness to it that helps sharpen your utility blades.

Nylon Strap

It’s hard to believe, but Nylon Strap can work as a knife sharpener. This works by putting the nylon strap on a smooth surface like a glass. Then you place the utility knife on top of it and drag it back and forth at a 20 degree angle.


Cardboard also works, although it would take more time as the cardboard is relatively softer material.


Rubber can also help sharpen the knife if you have a sharp blade and good grip.

Quick tip: You can put a piece of rubber on a flat surface. Then you can drag the knife on it as you would normally while sharpening it.

Concrete Floor

Last, if you have no other option, the concrete pavement in or outside the house works wonders. Concrete floors work like a low quality whetstone but it gets the job done. Just pour water over the knife to lubricate the sharpening process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Sharpen Utility Knife Blades?

Yes, you can and should sharpen utility knife blades. This will prolong the durability of the blade and prolong its use. Also it saves you money from buying stacks of blade packs.

What’s The Best Thing To Sharpen A Knife With?

The Whetstone is the best thing to sharpen a knife with. Whetstones in general are great for maintaining and preserving knives as it removes dullness of the blade and preserves the natural sharpness of the blade slowly and in a controlled manner.

Do You Have To Sharpen A Utility Knife All The Time?

No, you don’t have to sharpen a utility knife all the time. The Whetstone should be only used when needed. If your blade is still sharp after repeated use, then no more maintenance is required. This is not applicable to cheap brands as low end products are not designed for longevity and usually have poor quality materials.

Final Thoughts on How To Sharpen Utility Knife Blades

This ends our How To Guide of How To Sharpen Utility Knife Blades.

We hope the knowledge you gained here will help you in the future with your DIY or Professional installation projects. We want you to be sure of that what you get from us are 100% facts, so please don’t hesitate to ask for advice or to advise us in return with accurate facts.

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