Sharpening a Knife with No Sharpener

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

Having a knife available at all times is handy for unforeseen chores and other small emergencies.  That’s why I keep two.  But if the knife is dull, it is not only useless, but can be dangerous.  You have more risk of cutting yourself if your knife is dull.  You can carry a knife sharpener too, but what if you don’t have one available?  Here is a way to sharpen your knife without one.

You need:

dull knife

coffee cup

stable surface


  1. Turn the cup upside down on a stable surface.  I used a chopping board.  (Make sure kids and pets are away from you when you do this.)
  2. Using your right (or left if you are left handed) hand, hold the knife at about a 30 degree angle against the unglazed bottom of the cup.  Make sure the blade is facing away from you.  Hold down the coffee cup by the handle with your opposite hand.
  3. Run the blade back and forth across the bottom of the cup several times.
  4. Test the blade by cutting a piece of paper downward.  The blade should cut right through.  If it is not sharp enough, repeat the process.

Here is a video I made when I tried this.

Your results may vary.  It is best to have a knife sharpener, but this hack does the job if you don’t have one.


© Apartment Prepper 2017


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  1. Thanks this is very helpful and the video was perfect! I am in the process of donating my excess mugs and cups and will be sure to keep one for sharpening my knives specifically! I will remember the tip to keep two knifes with me as well.

  2. Thanks for the hack! I agree that using a whetstone or honing steel is the best way to sharpen knives, but I’ll keep this in my back pocket for when I don’t have one.

  3. I have tried this , it will hone an edge but it wont work if the blade edge is totaly worn. Thanks for sharing the info.

    1. Hi Patty, that is true, this will not work on a knife with a worn edge. Thanks for the comment!

  4. I’ve used this method for years. Another way I have done this for a more portable solution is to use the “tube” from the old ceramic knob and tube wiring insulators. They fit well in a small pack for hunting/foraging knives. Unglazed ceramic tile works as well.

    1. Hey PatrickM, Great idea-ceramic knob tube is a lot more portable. Thanks for bringing this up.

  5. another easy way is to make semi circular movements with the knife flat, across your cement or stone doorstep. Works every time.

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