How To Sharpen A Knife Using A Belt Sharpener

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 03/17/21 •  5 min read

To sharpen a knife with a belt sander, start by loading the belt, making sure it’s not too tight. From there, select the spinning direction. If using the tool horizontally, make sure it spins away from you and if using it vertically, make it spin towards you. From there, take the blade and gently move it across the device, applying light pressure. 

The right sharpening technique is critical for maintaining a knife.

And while there are tons of tools out there people use to sharpen their knives, one of the most popular choices is a belt sander.

This is a tool many people already have at home, which eliminates the need to go out and buy a specific tool for knife sharpening.

However, while you can use a belt sander to sharpen a knife, it can be a bit difficult and dangerous if not done right.

So, to make the sharpening process easier, we’ve written a comprehensive guide to use a belt sharpener for knives.

Keep reading to learn more.

How To Use It For Knife Sharpening

Step 1: Preparing Your Tools

First things first, you have to get everything ready.

To start, you will need the belt sander, a medium-grit belt, leather strop, a honing compound, and the blade that’ll be sharpened.

Once you have these materials, all you’ll have to do is prep the grinder and you’ll be ready to start sharpening.

To do this, you’ll need to load the medium-grit belt, then choose which direction you’ll like it to spin.

If you use the sander horizontally, make sure it spins away from you, and if you use it vertically, make sure it spins toward you.

Make sure not to load the belt too tight as you might end up damaging the blade, but you shouldn’t make it too loose either.

Ideally, you’d want the belt to be able to push back a little bit while also holding some tension.

Step 2: Sharpening

To start sharpening, all you have to do is get the blade and glide it across the spinning sander.

Make sure that you tilt the blade a little so that the sander hits the bevel of your blade.

Simply stroke it a couple of times on the sander, then do the other side.

When doing this, make sure to hold the blade really tight.

These tools eat metal very quickly, so it’s best to approach things slowly and carefully.

It’s best to have one hand on the hilt and one on the tip, as this will give you the most control when gliding over the sander.

Also, remember to push into the sander very slowly and softly, if you push it too hard, you might end up destroying the blade.

All you have to do is push it a little bit, and since these tools work very fast, you might even be surprised at how quickly the edge pops out!

Step 3: Cooling

This isn’t exactly a step, but it’s important to remember to cool the blade, as the speed of the tool might heat the metal up.

This is perfectly fine, but you don’t want to overheat it, as that can totally ruin and damage the knife altogether.

So the best fix for this is to dip your knife in cold water every couple of strokes to keep the temperature controlled.

Step 4: Honing

After you get a nice burr on the blade, the next step is to hone it.

Honing will remove the burr on the blade and also give it a nice finish.

To do this, first, remove the medium-grit belt and replace it with a leather strop.

From there, you’ll need to chalk it up with a honing compound and get started!

To do this, you’ll simply have to go through the same motions as you did when sharpening.

This is a very important step, and it’s also very quick.

In fact, after a few strokes, you might notice the burr disappear, which means your blade is as sharp as ever and ready to be used!

Is It A Good Choice?

While this is a great alternative to the whetstone, you should only do this if you know how to use the sander.

This is because it is a tool that works very quickly, and if you do things wrong, you might damage or even destroy the blade.

But if you’re already comfortable using it and know how to properly control it, this could be one of the most useful tools in your arsenal.

It can sharpen blades very quickly, and if you do things right, you’ll get a very sharp edge.


So there you have it.

All the steps needed in using a belt sander to sharpen your knife.

Remember that this is only recommended if you already know how to use the tool, so if you don’t, make sure to practice first before using this to sharpen your blades.

But if you already have the hang of things, this is a very convenient and quick way to get a razor-sharp edge on your blades!

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.