For more information on the woodworker's knife, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

Here is another free video on YT for you to catch up on sharpening your own knives quickly and simply. You can use what’s suggested in the video or you can use fingernail files (the longer ones) that work just as well. Often these use diamonds too!!! You can use this method for any knife type which includes pocket knives to carving knives.



  1. Scott Chensoda on 11 December 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Oh Lordy, yet another job to go onto that never shortening Wive’s List of Things To Do, that in my case started 45 years ago! Very apt though at this time of year. Thanks Paul, you’re a real pal!

  2. Michael Ballinger on 11 December 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Ah yeah the same method as the wooden spokeshave irons. Since a young boy I’ve always just freehanded all my kitchen and pocket knifes on a sharpening stone in a circular motion – the same way my Dad taught me. This is definitely a safer option though and I’d say I would probably get a better result with it too.

  3. Alexander on 12 December 2015 at 12:39 am

    I would have expected you to have made a rabbet in the wood to fix the top part of the knife to.

    If you put a bit of rubber sheeting material or even a damp kitchen cloth, the block will not slide. Or simply use a fixed stop.

    • Paul Sellers on 12 December 2015 at 12:59 am

      I suppose you would.

      • Christopher Mitchell on 12 December 2015 at 3:28 am

        Hello Paul, Here I am jumping in again on a different subject, But I went to go by some files so I can learn how to sharpen my handsaws using your videos In and I cant find any to purchase. Everyone said they had to stop carrying the Grobet files, And now I cant find any other files anywhere. Here’s whats so funny, I can buy a saw, a saw vise and a saw set but I cant buy a file to sharpen them with. Whats wrong with that picture.? Thanks Chris

        • kfreyermuth2014 on 12 December 2015 at 9:01 pm

          Christopher, I don’t know which side of the pond you live in, but if it’s the left side 😉 you can find Bahco and Glardon (formerly Grobet) taper files online at Blackburn Tools and Tome Feteira taper files at Anglo American Tools. You could also search eBay using the keywords “vintage taper file”. Good luck!

          • Paul Sellers on 13 December 2015 at 4:27 am

            I have come to the conclusion so far that the two most consistent file making companies supplying worldwide outlets at this stage in a fast changing world where nothing is consistent are Bahco and Tome Fetiera, both of which are made in Portugal.

  4. Liam on 12 December 2015 at 2:13 am

    Fantastic video, I found it extremely useful. I just wonder what those three coloured tools you were using to sharpen the blade were called? Thanks!

  5. rodtermaat on 12 December 2015 at 4:07 am

    You never cease to amaze. In a world of such over complicated solutions you bring back a touch of reality. rod

  6. Scott Chensoda on 12 December 2015 at 11:02 am

    I’m not going to watch your videos anymore Paul, I’m going to watch Alexander’s as quite clearly he knows more than you. Not sure about rabbits in the wood though as they normally stick to open fields so they get an early warning of advancing predators. None too sure what “the top part of the knife” is either, especially when you are using it horizontally and turning it over from time to time.

    Talking of handles and rebates, of which we weren’t, how many differing widths of knife handles do you think there are Paul? Twenty perhaps if you use 1mm increments? More maybe? That’s a lot of rebates to cut to suit individual knife handles and that’s assuming none are tangential to their respective blades of course. Which clearly your butter knife was.

    Btw Paul, if you were to leave your butter out of the fridge for an hour or more, you wouldn’t need such a sharp butter knife. Just thought I’d mention that before Alexander did!

  7. Alexander on 13 December 2015 at 12:39 am

    First of all I am aware that rabbet can be written in multiple ways.

    If the term “top” does really confuse the reader, I am happy to suggest replacing the word for “spine” or “back”.

    The site of Paul Sellers is about woodworking. Paul Sellers has demonstrated on more than occasion how to make a rabbet or rebate in wood.
    My contribution was meant to be constructive, for I observed that even in the trained hands of the demonstrator, the knife was not stable in its position. It moved around a lot. This went with multiple warnings to avoid injury.
    I know for a fact that this is not a real danger for the knives in question. They are not as sharp as some other knives.

    However, the video has value for other knives that can be made sharper as well. And when hands, the block, the stone and the knife all can move, they can move in uncontrollable ways.

    For that reason, I suggested fixing the block and the modification of the wood.

    It is simply a suggestion to limit the chance of injury. You can ridicule me for this, but I think it makes sense to come up with simple modifications to avoid trauma.

    As far as dimensions are concerned. The block used has 8 surfaces. A knife is stable if more than 50% is supported over the length of the knife. I am talking about the direction of the tip to the opposite of the tip.
    As long as the the edge of the knife is accessible for sharpening, this will benefit the safety.
    8 surfaces deem enough to be able to sharpen a variety of knives.

    My suggestions can be put aside. Sure. The reasons to contribute is to be constructive. It is the reader free to follow their own chosen technique and to ignore my suggestions to make the dealing with sharps safer.

    It is my final observation that a courteous response to a discussion elevates the level of ideas.

    • Paul Sellers on 13 December 2015 at 4:38 am

      My goal was to keep the whole process simple and safe and I think that we achieved that. Of course the knife is not sharp until the last few strokes with most knives so there is little danger at the early stage but of course it is necessary to tell people that we are moving ever nearer to a danger point ie when the knife edge bevels reach the critical edge. As the video was not particularly meant for woodworkers (and I understand the argument that I am a woodworker presenting on a woodworking channel) it was far from necessary to include rabbets (even for woodworkers) and complicate what is a simple, safe and practical approach inclusive to all. It is also a reality that as soon as you magnify a process into a lens of a video camera, you also magnify movement. What moves 1/4″ in reality moves three inches on a screen. Often what looks like a lack of control and excessive movement in the video is not really the case at all at the workbench. At the end of the day I wanted someone in the kitchen, office or workshop to take out a emery board nail card or diamond hone and a cutting board or book and place the knife up to the edge and hone it. Most people now live with dull knives and this presents the best answer over other very awkward methods for those who didn’t know what to do. I do value input from you and the input of others all the way through. Any contribution seems valid to me and if nothing else it does stop you to make you think through things even after the event.

  8. Frank Manello on 13 December 2015 at 10:47 am

    If you are worried about the knife slipping, simply drive a couple of small nails into the block to register the back of the knife against. I saw a lady using this method when she was carving spoons using a stump for a bench,

  9. Scott Chensoda on 13 December 2015 at 6:33 pm

    8 surfaces? Think I’ll be off to the foot of our stairs. Sugar! forgot we live in a bungalow.

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