Have you ever gone on a hunting expedition and your knife couldn’t chop your game as you desired?
Was it new or you had been using it for a while?
Do you know how to properly sharpen a hunting knife? Are you aware of the best knife sharpening techniques?
This article entails the various sharpening techniques and the best hunting knife sharpener that you should use.
How to Sharpen a Hunting Knife
Follow these steps when sharpening your hunting knife.
1.Prepare the Knife and Tools
- Thoroughly clean the knife: Accumulated grease or dirt could result to uneven sharpening of your knife’s blade.dip the blade into boiling water for several minutes before you sharpen it.
- Select an appropriate sharpening tool: There are different sharpeners and files in the market such as Japanese stones, diamond encrusted stones and those with varying grit grades.They have almost similar results. You can purchase a two-sided sharpening stone or a knife sharpener from hardware or an online store.
- Lubricate the sharpening stone: You may choose to lubricate your stone or not. Some people use a lubricant since they believe that the friction caused during sharpening may cause the blade to warp or the lubricant floats away tiny metal particles that may clog the sharpening stone’s pores.
Others believe that lubricating slows down the sharpening process and it may dull the knife’s blade by washing filings over it during sharpening.
If you want to lubricate the sharpening stone, you can either use a cutting oil, kerosene, WD-40 natural stones or mineral oil. However, before using a lubricant, you should read the sharpening stone’s user guide as some stones are ruined by oil.
2.Sharpen the Blade
- Place the blade across the sharpening stone: The knife’s blade should meet the sharpening stone at a 200 angle. It will hence have a 300-400 cutting angle. The angle should be constant for you to have a sharp blade.
Alternatively, you can approximate the suitable sharpening angle by placing the back edge of your knife’s blade on stacked pennies. You can also buy a sharpening guide from a nearby retail store.
- Sharpen one side of the hunting knife’s blade: Gently swipe it across the sharpening stone as if you are carving off a thin piece of the stone’s surface.
Repeat this motion severally. If your blade is very dull, begin by first sharpening it on the whetting stone’s rough side.
If you are using a lubricant, add few drops after every stroke to discard metal shavings.
In case the blade is longer than the sharpening stone, swipe it sideways so that the whole edge is evenly and completely sharpened. You should make 6-12 strokes of the knife’s blade across the stone.
When you need to switch sides, you should look out for burr. You can feel it with your thumb on the edge’s side that is opposite the stone.
The formation of a burr shows that the blade is thin enough that it is slightly folding over. The steel should be very thin for it to be sharp.
- Switch the other side: Turn over the blade and repeat the strokes as you sharpen the blunt side.
- Use a fine stone: Switching to a fine grit stone helps in removing burr and making the knife’s edge to be razor-sharp. Alternate the blade’s side that is in contact with the sharpening stone after each stroke. Apply little pressure on the last strokes to avoid forming another burr.
3.Finalize the Sharpening Process
- Dry the knife’s blade: Use a clean rag or towel to remove metal fragments and lubricant remnants.
- Gently strop the blade: Run its edge across a fine leather strap that is covered with green chromium oxide or a stropping paste. It helps in having a smooth polish on the edge. Gently move the blade in an opposite direction to that which you used when sharpening. Run it across the leather strap with the blade’s spine being in front and the sharp edge being behind. Stropping it maintains the blade’s sharpness for long.
- Assess its sharpness level: You can check its sharpness by cutting a piece of paper, shining light on the sharp edge or slightly dragging the edge across your nail. It should smoothly scrape the nail without vibrating or catching.
Best Way to Sharpen a Pocket Knife
Pocket knives are often used for various purposes such as cutting boxes, carving wood, opening food cans or poking insects.
One of the best ways to sharpen a pocket knife is by using a stone. The process involves the following steps.
Select a suitable sharpening stone: The best sharpening stone should be at least 2*6 inches for optimum sharpening results. You can use any of these stones;
- Whetstone. These stones are made from coarse or fine grit stone. It must be soaked in cold water from several minutes before using it to sharpen the blade.
If the whetstone is over used, it develops grooves and valleys where the blade is rubbed.
- Ceramic stones. The stones should be soaked in water for 3-5 minutes before being used. They are more rigid than whetstones and hence have a faster sharpening rate.
They also have a long durability but they are core complex to use.
- Diamond stones. There are different types of diamond stones. Some are hard while as others are fine and superfine. They are hard and more porous than ceramic and whetstones.
Diamond stones are usually metal plates with tiny diamond glued to their surface. They have the fastest knife sharpening speed. However, they are costly compared to other sharpening stones.
Lubricate the sharpening stone: When using a ceramic stone and a whetstone, you should always soak it in water. You can also use a lubricant such as mineral oil which can be bought from a hardware store.
The lubricant prevents grit and blade filings from clogging the sharpening stone’s pores. It also minimizes the heat produced due to friction as it could warp the hunting knife’s blade.
Sharpening oil can be used with ceramic stone or whetstone while thin dish washing detergent is ideal for diamond stone.
Identify the blade’s bevel angle: It is also referred to as the coarse grind angle. Every knife’s blade is hone at a certain angle to fit its purpose.
Most pocket knives have a 26-30 degrees bevel angle. If you are uncertain about the precise angle, you can consult a local knife store or contact its manufacturer. Alternatively, you may also research on it online.
Properly position your knife against the sharpening angle: It is recommended that you maintain its position with the blade being away from you at a determined bevel angle against the sharpening stone.
Holding your pocket knife in one position for long could be challenging. You should purchase a sharpening guide if this is your first time to sharpen a knife or if your hands are unsteady.
Sharpening guides are normally attached to the knife and they hold it steadily at an angle. However, they are not efficient in sharpening curved blades.
Gently glide the pocket knife across the stone: Stroke the knife across the whetstone’s edge. Repeat it severally until you attain a sharp edge.
You should move it in a circular motion across the stone. Curved blades or those longer than your sharpening stone should be swept across the stone to evenly sharpen them.
Alternate the blade’s side: Flip the pocket knife and draw its blade across the whetstone to get an appropriate sharpening angle. Repeat it for about eight times until you accomplish a sharp edge.
Flip the sharpening stone over: Flip it such that its fine side faces upwards. Run the blade at an appropriate bevel angle along the stone’s smooth side. It removes burs that could be present along the blade’s edge after sharpening. Alternatively, you could also run each of the blade’s sides across a honing rod at a wider angle than the one used during sharpening. It removes burrs from the blade’s surface and also fine tunes its sharpness. Honing also refreshes an edge in various sharpening sessions
Test your knife’s sharpness: You can try slicing a piece of paper with your pocket knife. A sharp blade should smoothly slide through any paper. Imperfections or rounded parts of your blade can be tested by holding the knife to a bright light and looking for a light reflection. A reflection usually occurs at a rounded or blunt edge of your knife’s blade.
How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife with a Rod
The following tips are useful when using a honing rod to sharpen your pocket knife.
- Use the rod to hone your knife’s edges: Honing rods are commonly known as sharpening steel. They hone the blade the same way that a stone sharpens your pocket knife. There are different types of honing rods. The most common ones are sharpening steels. They are reliable and effective in sharpening knives. Honing rods can also be made of diamond and ceramic. Both materials are reliable as they are hard. Diamonds normally make smooth blades and they sharpen knives quickly.
- Steadily hold the rod’s handle: For safety concerns, place its tip on an old towel above a cutting board or a chopping block. It should be held straight in a perfect vertical position.
- Locate your bevel angle: It is essential to determine the suitable angle in which you should hold the knife’s blade against the honing rod. Pocket knives should be held within 30 degrees. You can visit a knife retail shop and inquire on how to determine the right sharpening angle for your knife.
- Swipe the blade’s edge across the rod: Swipe it slowly and gently while you avoid pushing it against the rod. Move it from its heel to the tip as you swipe it over the rod.
- Switch the blade’s sides: If the pocket knife has already attained the desired sharpness, you only need to swipe it along the rod severally for each side. If it is still dull, you might have to swipe it longer.
The Best Hunting Knife Sharpener
1. Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Sharpening System
The hunting knife sharpening system is suitable for outdoor, kitchen, garden or hobby knives.
It includes coarse, extra-coarse, medium, extra-fine and fine alumina oxide ceramic hones.
- It is a controlled-angle system that has 20-, 17-, 30- 1nd 25- degree angles that one can choose.
- Lansky uses color-coded stones that have specially manufactured honing oil and they have finger-grooved holders.
- It includes a carrying case and a precise knife clamp.
- The system is available at a fair price and it is shipped to clients for free once an order is placed.
- It is complicated to understand.
2. Tri-Angle Sharpmaker
It is made of high quality materials. The system is tested for durability and quality.
- It is sold at an affordable price and it is shipped to clients for free.
- The brand is the most trusted for cutlery needs.
- Spyderco sharpeners help in keeping the sharp blades, toys and tools in a good working condition.
- The system includes several ceramic stone sets that sharpen flat and plain awls, darts, punches, fishhooks and edges.
- It is portable as all the components can fit into its ABS plastic case.
- The base is drilled for bolting it to countertops and tables in order to permanently attach it to kitchens or shops.
- It should be used carefully.
3. KING KW65 1000/6000 Grit Combination Whetstone
It uses a King 01096 1000/6000 Grit Deluxe stone. The brand is famous for its affordability and quality.
- It is sold at a fair price and it is shipped to clients for free.
- There is a stable plastic base.
- One has to follow its user guide to understand how it functions.
4. Messermeister Ceramic Rod Knife Sharpener
The sharpener is a combination of alignment steel and a strength ceramic which makes it the best maintenance tool for pocket knives.
- Ceramic is durable and it also sharpens the knife’s edge.
- It has an ergonomic handle that has a secure grip.
- Clients are assured of 100% quality and free shipment upon placing an order.
- It is not affordable to some customers.
5. Edge Pro Apex 1 Knife Sharpener Kit
It is a renowned product that is sold be Oldawan tools.
- It uses An Edge Pro Apex kit.
- Free deliveries are made to clients.
- It is expensive.
In order to maintain your blade’s sharpness, you should use the best hunting knife sharpener. You should consider factors such as the type of blade your knife has, its shape and your budget. There are different methods that you can use to hone a knife.