How to Sharpen a Knife with a Belt Sander?

If you often work with woods, then you might already have a belt sander in your possession. We all tend to make our equipment work for more than one purpose. Wanting to save money and being creative is nothing offensive. In this case, you can make your belt sander to sharpen a knife.

Even though sharpening stone would be the best option for sharpening knives, I would recommend a belt sander as the second best tool to sharpen any blunt knife.

It’s pretty easy to sharpen knives with a belt sander. All you have to do is to turn on the belt sander and run the knife across it.

If you feel a little bit skeptical about using a belt sander to sharpen your knife, then I would suggest you use some cheap knives on it first as a test.

As for choosing a belt sander, there are lots of well-known brands you might already know. For a sharpening job, you can use any belt sander. Kalamazoo 1SM belt sander can be a great choice for this purpose.

The results are pretty impressive; you will get an instant sharpening effect on the knife. But there are some drawbacks to this method as well. Yet, it’s not a thing to be fret over. Once you read the whole article, you will get a clear answer to lots of questions.

Table of Contents

  • Can You Use a Belt Sander to Sharpen a Knife?
  • What are the Drawbacks of Sharpening a Knife with a Belt Sander?
  • How to Sharpen a Knife with a Belt Sander?
  • Tips and Tricks:

Can You Use a Belt Sander to Sharpen a Knife?

The answer is ‘yes’. Out of all the alternatives to sharpen a knife, using a belt sander is one of the finest choices. But sharpening stone is unarguably best.

You can turn an old knife into a new one with a belt sander, even the bluntest knife to most sharpened form. If you are well acquainted with woodwork, then you already know how to use a belt sander. Just use the charisma of your hand to make it happen.

I mean, if you have already worked with a belt sander, you know it better than putting too much pressure by hand on the product is never a good idea. You need to handle it lightly.

The best thing about this method is that you will get the sharpest knife in the quickest possible time.

  • It’s easy
  • It’s quick
  • It takes less effort
  • It gives the best sharpening effect.

Still, I won’t say it’s the number one option to sharpen a knife out there. You are about to find out why.

What are the Drawbacks of Sharpening a Knife with a Belt Sander?

There are some downsides to using a belt sander as a knife sharpener. If you are using a belt sander for the first time and not skilled enough, then it is better not to make a trial with a knife on it.

People who are unskilled in using a belt sander can grind off a lot of material from the knife. As a result, the knife will appear fragile and chipped. You don’t have any use for a jagged blade, do you?

Even when you are good at using a belt sander, chances are higher to eating up metals. Of course, a belt sander will deliver a sharp blade, but it might take away more material than necessary.

So you have to take risks while choosing belt sanders for knife sharpening. It is not much of a big deal if you do it right; the result will be fast and easy.

How to Sharpen a Knife with a Belt Sander?

Here are some simple 5 steps you can follow to sharpen the knife with a belt sander.

Step-1: Items you need

For this method, you will need: a belt sander, a belt grit (it is better to use medium grit of 220 grit), a horning compound, a leather stop, and the dull blade you are willing to sharpen.

Step-2: Preparing Sander

Start the process using medium grit-belt. Load your sander with the belt. After that, you need to choose the ideal direction for you.

If you are sanding horizontally, then it should spin away from you. Or, if you choose vertically, then the sander would spin towards your side.

While loading the sandpaper, don’t make the belt sit too tight. The tightness might destroy the blade. Also, you can’t make it too loose. Just make sure you can push the belt a little backside yet not too loose.

Step-3: Sharp the knife

Now its time to sharpen the knife. Take the knife and gently glad across the sander. Put not more a little pressure so that the knife hits the spinning sander.

To control the knife well, hold it tightly. Put one hand on the hilt and the other on the tip of the knife. As I have mentioned before that a sander eats up metal, so you need to be careful about holding it.

Pushing the blade too hard on the spinning sander will destroy the blade. That’s why push with slight pressure.

Don’t forget that the sander sharpens fast. So, make sure you check it often. Giving it too much time will cause unnecessary waste of metal.

You will be happy to know that lathe tools can be sharpened with a belt sander. We recommend to read about sharpen lathe tools with a belt sander.

Step-4: Cool down the knife

Cooling your blade is important. As you put the metal on the sander, it tends to get hot. Overheat can dampen your blade.

So after every stroke, cool down your knife in water. You should know that cooling down helps in prolonging the lifespan of the knife.

Step-5: Hone the knife

A nice burr will appear in your blade if you have sharpened it well. Now, you need to hone the knife.

Simply change the medium-grit and load the sander with a leather strop.

To chalk it up, use the honing compound. After that, simply hone the knife.

Honing is similar to sharpening the knife. This step ensures the sharpest knife.

Within a few strokes, the burr should be gone. There you go! You have a razor-sharp blade at your hand.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Do not push the knife into the belt so desperately; let the belt sander do its job.
  • The belt in the belt sander should neither be too loose or too tight.
  • A medium belt is preferable. Neither too gritty nor too soft.
  • Cool down the knife after every stroke
  • Use both hands to sharpen the knife. It will help in preventing accidents.
  • Check the burr after every stroke as belt sander can sharpen the knife too fast.
  • As your knife gets the desired result in terms of sharpness, quickly switch to a leather strop.
  • For the best result, never skip adding the honing compound to the leather strop.


Always wear eye-wear and gloves. As you are working with a belt sander on metal, the chances are that the metal particles will scatter around. So, keep the goggles and gloves close so that the flying metal bits cannot harm you.

Final Words

So the idea comes down to the fact that you can use belt sander as a good alternative to sharpening your dull knives. 

There are reviews in Google where you will see people getting a good result out of this method.  However, there are horrible experiences too. It depends on how you are applying the method.

So the choice is yours. One thing you cannot deny that it gives the quickest result without much physical labor. The risk in this process is worth it! It turns a useless knife into a useful one.

I hope this article was helpful enough in coming to terms with how to sharpen a knife with a belt sander.

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