How Often Should You Sharpen Knives?

How Often Should You Sharpen Knives?

Posted by AutoKnives on 18th Sep 2023

Knives are the powerhouse of any cutting task. Whether you own an automatic knife, OTF automatic, butterfly knife, or any other, keeping the blade sharp is essential to its performance. Knife maintenance is often overlooked, yet it is extremely important. Sharp knives are more efficient, safer, and overall more effective at getting the job done. When you work with a dull blade, the chances of the knife slipping and causing an injury greatly increase. One question is commonly thought about regarding this problem: How often should you sharpen knives?

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the factors that influence the need for knife sharpening, provide guidelines on when to sharpen different types of knives, and discuss the best tools for sharpening your knife. Whether you're a new knife owner or a tactical enthusiast, AutoKnives is here to provide you with knowledge for implementing effective knife maintenance.

Factors Influencing the Frequency of Knife Sharpening

When it comes to quality knife maintenance, not every knife requires the same frequency of care. Several factors determine how often you should sharpen your knives, and understanding these factors will help you maintain a sharp blade and ensure that it lasts a lifetime.

Type of Knife

Different knives have different uses and different sharpening needs. For example, an automatic knife that you use for cutting tough materials will dull quicker than a spring-assisted knife used for lighter cutting tasks. Fixed-blade knives used in outdoor settings may need more frequent sharpening compared to an OTF knife that is used for less rigorous tasks.


Usage plays a significant role in the need for knife sharpening. The more you use your knife, the more you'll need to sharpen it. A folding knife that you use daily for various tasks will require more regular maintenance than a butterfly knife that you occasionally use for leisure.


The material your knife is made from will also determine how often it requires sharpening. Knives built with softer steel may need more attention, while knives made with harder, more durable materials like stainless steel might maintain their sharpness a little bit longer.

Knife Quality

A high-quality knife will not only perform better but also maintain its sharp edge longer than a cheap knife. The type of steel used in your knife's blade can also dictate how often it needs sharpening. Blades made from carbon steel are often more durable than those made from softer steel.

Cutting Surface

Lastly, the surface you're cutting on can have a direct impact on your knife's edge. Hard cutting boards, like those made from glass or marble, can quickly dull your automatic knife blades. On the other hand, softer materials like wood and rubber are gentler on your knife, which reduces the need for frequent sharpening. Regardless of the type of knife, being mindful of the cutting surface can prolong the blade's lifespan and reduce the need for more frequent sharpening.

By considering these factors, you can implement knife maintenance strategies that fit the specific needs of your blades, and with regular maintenance, you can ensure that your knives stay sharp, making your cutting tasks both easier and safer.

Guidelines for Knife Sharpening

How often should you actually sharpen your knives? Different types of knives require different approaches to knife sharpening, so we can offer some general guidelines based on the types of knives that we offer at AutoKnives.

Automatic Knives

These versatile blades tend to dull quicker if used more frequently for heavy-duty tasks. To maintain a consistently sharp blade, we recommend sharpening after every 10 to 20 uses. If you are using this type of knife on a regular basis, weekly sharpening with a sharpening stone may be effective.

OTF Automatics

Used for precision tasks, these sharp knives can usually go two to three weeks between sharpening sessions. Always use a quality knife sharpener to maintain that cutting edge performance.

Butterfly Knives

Primarily used for flipping rather than cutting, butterfly knives require less frequent maintenance. Monthly sharpening with a honing rod can help maintain a sharp edge.

Folding Knives

Due to their diverse functionality, we recommend a bi-weekly sharpening routine using an electric knife sharpener to maintain a consistent angle and sharp edge. Also, remember to regularly check the folding mechanism to maintain functionality.

Fixed Blade Knives

Often used outdoors, these knives benefit from weekly sharpening, especially if cutting through harder materials. Sharpening stones and honing steel are the best sharpening tools for these types.

Spring-Assisted Knives

For everyday tasks like opening boxes, these knives can last up to a month without needing professional sharpening. Utilizing a honing rod for regular maintenance helps in preserving blade quality.

The frequency of knife sharpening is not the same for every knife, but it should be adjusted based on your specific needs, the type of knife, and how often it is used. Maintenance, regular honing, and sharpening will keep your knives in optimal condition, ensuring efficiency and safety in all your cutting endeavors.

Tools for Knife Sharpening

The following are tools and methods that you can utilize to keep your blades in excellent condition:

Honing Rods and Sharpening Steels

Honing rods and sharpening steels are important for temporary maintenance in between the more rigorous maintenance projects. While honing rods realign the microscopic teeth on the knife's edge, sharpening rods actually remove a tiny amount of material to create a brand new edge. You should hone your knife regularly, especially for high-usage knives like OTF automatic knives and folding knives.

Sharpening Stones

These are ideal for the periodic sharpening that your automatic and fixed blade knives require. Sharpening stones come in various grits and materials, and they allow you to maintain a consistent angle, creating a sharp edge. If you have a dull knife blade or even a chipped one, a sharpening stone can transform the knife.

Electric Sharpeners

For a more automated solution, electric sharpeners are convenient and straightforward. With an electric knife sharpener, you pass the blade through the device a few times, and it completes the rest of the work for you. These sharpeners are ideal for butterfly and spring-assisted knives due to their unique blade shapes.

Professional Sharpening Services

Sometimes, your knives may need professional services. This is especially true for a specialized or expensive knife like a Japanese knife. Many knife manufacturers offer professional sharpening services, often tailored to the specific type of knife you own.

Whatever method you choose, remember that the key to effective knife sharpening is maintaining a consistent angle and applying steady pressure. This ensures that your knife will have an even, sharp edge, reducing the likelihood of slippage and accidents. By implementing the appropriate sharpening techniques, you can maintain your blades with precision and ease.

It's Time to Sharpen Your Knife

How do you recognize the signs that your knife needs sharpening? Here are some tests and indicators:

The Paper Test

One of the simplest tests you can perform at home is the paper test. Hold a sheet of paper by one end and try slicing it with your knife. A sharp knife will cut through effortlessly, while a dull blade will struggle to make a cut.

The Tomato Test

If you find yourself squashing tomatoes instead of slicing them neatly, it's a clear sign that your knife needs sharpening. A sharp blade should slice through the skin of a tomato with little to no effort.

Check the Edge

Always inspect your knife edge. Any chipping or flat spots are indicators that it's time for sharpening. Lightly running your thumb across the side of the blade can also give you an indication of whether it needs sharpening or not.

Cutting Performance

If you're applying more force than usual when you are cutting, it's likely that the knife is dulling. A sharp knife should do most of the work for you and require little to no effort.

The Smooth Sensations

A sharp knife will offer very little resistance and make a clean sound as it cuts. A dull knife will make a "thudding" sound and will be very difficult to use.

Being aware of these signs is critical for keeping your knives in excellent condition. Remember that it's always better to sharpen your knives more often than you think is necessary than to let them turn dull. A sharp knife is not just a tool; it's an extension of your skills in any cutting environment.

Why AutoKnives is The Ultimate Choice

From learning the desired frequency of sharpening different types of knives to recognizing when your blade needs maintenance, you're now prepared to keep your knives in their best shape. Expertise alone doesn't make the difference; you need the right tools and cutting edge products to maintain a knife correctly. With AutoKnives, you're not just buying a knife; you're investing in long-lasting quality and exceptional service. We're committed to ensuring that you can cut with confidence and precision every time you're using a sharp blade. Explore AutoKnives today and elevate your knife skills to the next level. Explore AutoKnives today and elevate your knife skills to the next level.