A dull knife is risky, more so if you're out on a hunt. Think of all the potential hazards in unfamiliar territory: tough weather conditions, wild animal attacks, and tools that fail to function. Even if you're not in combat, there's no knowing what could happen out there.
It's better to be fully prepared than settle for less. A razor hunting knife is one of the most important tools you shouldn't forget to bring when prepping for a hunt. A knife does more than grab a catch. It can be handy for other emergencies or camping chores as well.
However, a hunting knife is useless when it becomes dull. Therefore, you should sharpen it properly and maintain its sharpness for long periods. This article discusses how to sharpen a hunting knife the right way.
5 Ways to Keep Your Hunting Knife Razor-Sharp
If you think a sharp knife is dangerous, a dull knife is even worse. When hunting, you need razor-sharp edges on your knives that can endure abuse for long periods; otherwise, you're at risk of hazards. So, before you get into a complicated situation, read these five tips for a long-lasting and razor-sharp hunting knife.
Begin With a Sharpening Whetstone
You might wonder why we choose whetstones for beginners. Whetstones have been used for centuries, proving their quality and reliability. Additionally, they're excellent precision training tools for beginners because the greater your skills are, the better results.
There are also different types of whetstones, namely: oil stones, Arkansas stones, water stones, and diamond stones. Among the four, diamond stones are often associated with hunting knives because they are the toughest tools for removing dullness from the blade. It's a great tool for thorough sharpening on knives that need heavy work.
Familiarize Yourself With Outdoor Blade Angles
You need to identify the right angle to sharpen a knife correctly. Usually, an outdoor knife's angle ranges from 18 to 30 degrees, depending on the type. To be more specific, hunting knives, pocket knives, and survival knives need 25 to 30 degrees. On the other hand, smaller knives, boning, and kitchen knives need 18 to 25 degrees.
Once you identify the angle, draw a line over the bevel. That will help you know if you’ve sharpened the knife right. For example, if you stroke the stone over the knife and find that the line you drew is no longer there, that means the angle was correct.
Use a Quick Sharpener During Field Work
All kinds of knife sharpeners will work if you use them for the right purpose. For example, whetstones sharpen your knife before you go hunting. But when you need to sharpen it again during the hunt, there's a quick tool you can use to bring back the razor-sharp blade knife.
This tool is called a quick sharpener. It's lightweight and compact so you can easily carry it around. If skinning gets tougher and your knife loses its edge, you can pull it out and simply slide the knife blade through the grits. Suppose you don't like the idea of bringing a sharpener. In that case, opt for swappable blades instead, like what you get with the Razor Lite Knife, but ensure that they’re reliably sharp.
Apply the Right Grit Order and Stroke Count
There are two basic grits when sharpening a knife: fine grit and coarse grit. Most knife users think there's a fixed rule on order: the coarse grit first and then the fine grit. However, the order depends on what your knife is made of. If your knife is harder, it's more durable and wears down slowly, so a fine grit is good enough to sharpen it.
Meanwhile, if the metal is softer, you should start with the coarse grit to tough it up before the fine grit. For sharpening strokes, experts recommend a minimum of five strokes per side. If you want to increase the strokes, ensure that both sides get an equal count.
Sharpen Your Knife Before it Becomes Dull
You can compare knife sharpening with phone charging: don't wait for the battery to reach 0% as it will only damage your device. Instead, learn to sharpen your knife even before it gets dull. A dull knife is harder and more dangerous to work on, so don't make things more difficult for you.
Hunting requires moderate to tough tasks, so you need a knife to handle the challenges. Before you step into the wild outdoors, ensure that your hunting knife is sharp enough. Careful preparation is key to a safe, productive, and enjoyable adventure.
Whether you bring a fixed-blade knife or a Razorblade pocket knife with a replaceable blade, it needs thorough sharpening to help you ace the field.