Can You Shave With A Knife? (Yes, Here’s How)

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At one point or another while shaving, the idea of using something other than a razor to shave has probably crossed your mind. If you’re a manly man, you’ve probably even thought about putting on a leather jacket, riding around on a Harley, and using a bowie knife to trim your spare whiskers.

Don’t worry, wondering about shaving with a knife is normal. Or, at least, I’ve done it (maybe that doesn’t mean it’s normal though).

So if you’re wondering how it feels and how efficient it is, I set out to try it and answer the question. After all, it sounds possible, since razors and knives are just sharpened pieces of metal

But is it? And should you even try it?

Can You Shave With A Knife?

In short, yes you technically can, but you shouldn’t just pick up any old knife you find and try to shave. It all comes down to what type of knife you’re using, how sharp it is, and the way it is sharpened. Furthermore, you would need to know how to handle the knife carefully in order not to cause any injury.

Having said that, shaving with a knife is typically not very safe and efficient. Clippers or a razor do the job much better.

Is Shaving With A Knife Safe?

No, not really.

Using a knife is never going to be safer than using the proper tool for shaving: a razor. And if you ever shaved before, you know that it doesn’t go smoothly most of the time, and not being careful with it will always lead to cuts.

So if this is the risk factor to a tool specifically made for shaving, and changed over time to be safe, imagine how risky it is to shave with a sharp knife, be it a kitchen knife or a pocket knife. It is not recommended for anyone without good knife skills, or steady hands to attempt shaving with a knife. At least not without help or guidance from someone who knows what they’re doing.

What Types Of Knives Can Be Used For Shaving?

Straight razors are usually sharpened to below 10°, so in theory, the closer your knife is to this level of sharpness the better it is at shaving. Having your knife be “razor sharp” is an over exaggeration, as the sharper the knife gets, the more fragile the edge is. Knives that are very fine are prone to chipping, which is in itself a hazardous situation to put on top of the risk of shaving with a knife.

Theoretically, you can use any sharp object to shave if you put aside the huge risk. While under no circumstances do we recommend that, you technically could shave with any type of knife, as long as it’s sharp enough.

This means that anything is fair game, from kitchen knives to pocket knives or even Swiss Army knives. If you take this idea too extreme, then axes, hatchets, or just a piece of leftover steel properly heat-treated and sharpened works too. It depends on how good you are at the fundamental skills required given the tools you want to use.

Oh, and it should go without saying that you should stick with plain blades and leave the serrated blades in the drawer.

How To Shave With A Knife – A Step By Step Guide

First off, get a good knife. A nice knife with quality steel that is easy to sharpen will make this a whole lot easier.

Knives are not made for shaving, and especially not for shaving your facial hair. But it is still possible. You just need to be careful and have steady hands and some knife skills. You can use a few types of knives to shave: kitchen knives, pocket knives, or even bigger knives.

The only way for you to use your kitchen knife for shaving is for you to sharpen the knife to have a sharper edge. This is where learning to sharpen your own knives comes in very handy. You will have complete control over how sharp the knife is going to be and will be able to make a razor-sharp blade.

Once you get yourself an extremely sharp kitchen knife, you are all set to start shaving using the kitchen knife. In order to shave your beard using your kitchen knife, you would need to keep the following in mind.

Your facial hair is definitely tougher than other body hair. This means that you would need a very sharp kitchen knife to be able to shave it.

Even with a sharp kitchen knife, it might be hard to shave your beard. This is why shaving right after a shower might make it easier.

While you can substitute a knife for a blade, it is advised for you to always use shaving cream or foam when you are shaving.

Hold the knife in such a way that it is comfortable and will not fall from your hand. This grip is highly essential in order to avoid any cuts.

Just like a kitchen knife, using a pocket knife for shaving does not feel natural and will certainly take some getting used to. So, be very careful when you are shaving using a knife. While a pocket knife by itself is insufficient for shaving, you can sharpen the thick edges of the knife in order to get a sharper edge. A pocket knife is usually made up of soft steel which makes it easier to sharpen the blade. By sharpening the blade at an angle less than 10 degrees, the sharpness will be somewhat equivalent to that of a razor blade. However, this also makes the blade highly vulnerable to chipping and breaking.

Here are the steps that you would need to follow to shave your beard using just a pocket knife.

A pocket knife is a tool that one would normally have in their pockets at all times. Hence, you can use it for shaving (after sharpening the blade) when you do not have access to any razor blade.

You must first apply some shaving cream or foam to your beard and only then start shaving it. The foam helps give a cleaner shave.

Line up the knife against your beard and simply start shaving like you would when using a razor blade. Then start shaving your beard away.

Facial hair is extremely tough. Shaving right after a hot shower might facilitate the whole process of shaving using a knife. But once you have a proper grip on the knife, you can start shaving like you normally do using a razor blade.

How To Get Your Knife Razor Sharp For Shaving

In order to be able to use a knife for shaving purposes, you would need to sharpen its edge at an angle of around 10 degrees. Doing so will make your knife more prone to damage for normal tasks but shaving your hair with it is hardly a normal task.

Getting your knife sharpened by a professional can be both expensive as well as unsatisfactory. When you sharpen the knife yourself, you will have complete control over its sharpness. Let us now have a look at how you can sharpen knives on your own.

One way of sharpening your knife is using a Wheatstone, you would first need to get a double-sided Wheatstone. One with a coarse side and the other fine side. You can usually find such whetstones at one of the local hardware stores.


In the end, you technically can shave with a knife. Although it is not the smartest or easiest thing to do, it can be an alternative to a razor despite its blade being thicker. You can either learn a certain technique to shave with a blade that thick, or you can modify your knife and sharpen it to be razor sharp. Stay Safe!

When you visit a merchant by clicking a link on this site we may make a commission on anything you buy (at no additional cost to you).   Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to Amazon Associates and the eBay Partner Network.”