Primitively Sharpen a Knife with a Rock

Learn how to primitively sharpen a knife with a rock with this short video.

If you have read the free short story, Jemmey Fletcher; Birth of a Frontiersman, you learned that young Jemmey was given a knife by his uncle Jeb. Uncle Jeb was a frontiersman, and knew how important a knife was to a man’s survival. The knife he gave wasn’t just any knife, it was a knife that signaled the man Jemmey was to become. In the moment, Jemmey also understands what his uncle is passing on.

Although getting the knife was a big moment for Jemmey, it also came with responsibility. Uncle Jeb reminded him to “take care of the knife, and it will take care of you.” Keeping an edge on your knife is very important, and something Jemmey would have been familiar with. But how did he sharpen it without the modern stones that we have today?

it’s likely that Jemmey could have had a grinding stone that turned on a large foot powered wheel. These were common on the frontier. However, being poor, Jemmey may not have had one at the cabin. Rather than use a large grinding stone, Jemmey may have had to use a simple river rock to keep the edge on his knife.

To learn how to primitively sharpen a knife with a rock, check out this brief Youtube video I put together. If you have a knife, you can practice sharpening it like Jemmey would have.

In a world where disposable blade knives, and various sharpening jigs, are becoming more and more common, the art of sharpening a blade by hand is becoming less widespread. In the days of the frontier, knowing how to sharpen a hand tool would have been of the upmost importance. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” While this quote is a good to remember the importance of planning, it also reminds us of the simple truth that hand tools work best when sharp.

If you have read Birth of a Frontiersman, and want to get a better sense of what life was like on the frontier, try sharpening your own knife using a river rock. Although a simple living history exercise like this won’t give you an all-seeing insight into the time, it can help you understand a small part of what life was like in the past.

If you enjoyed this brief blog post and video, feel free to subscribe by clicking the button below. You can also take a minute to like my Facebook page. Also, feel free to check out book one in the Jemmey Fletcher series; Ride to Rendezvous. It is packed with questions, activities, and video extension to help readers learn more about the frontier.