If you ask a hunter what tools are the most important for hunting, you would be surprised to hear almost all the hunters talking about hunting knives. Though there are many other modern and advanced equipment, you cannot leave the traditional hunting knife behind.
However, you cannot expect your knife to work efficiently if it is not sharp enough. So as a hunter, it becomes necessary for you to sharpen this tool whenever it is needed. Regardless of the fact that you are an expert hunter or an absolute beginner, you need to follow a proper guide to do this task.
However, before diving into the guide of sharpening it, you must understand why it created the need.
What Is The Need Of Sharpen Hunting Knife
Can you expect your kitchen knife to cut down a vegetable if it is not sharp enough? A simple answer would be no. How can you expect your hunting knife to be used on wild animals with the sharpest knife possible?
Before any beginner gets the wrong idea of the knife’s working, the knife is not actually used for hunting the wild ones. However, it still has some of the most important tasks to perform. Hunting is not only about killing an animal to let it fall on the ground.
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There are other activities that have equal (or sometimes even more importance); thus, creating the need for a sharpened knife. With constant usage, the knife starts losing its sharpness. Here are listed the tasks which demand the sharpness of your hunting knife.
- Field Dressing – to ensure that the meat of the hunted animal stays in good quality, field dressing is performed. It has to be done instantly when the animal is laying low on the ground. The hunter needs to sharpen the knife to complete the task as fast as possible.
- Skinning – once the hunted animal is brought back to the camp, it is time to take the skin out. Such a task requires you to have extreme patience and a knife that will make things easier for you. So this also creates the need to sharpen your hunting too.
- Deboning – It won’t take time to understand what needs to be done here. If the hunter is covering a long distance, it is only justified that he removes the bones to lighter the dead. A knife that is sharp enough to slice through can make the teas really easy for the hunter.
Besides these major tasks, there is more you can do with your hunting life on the condition that it is sharp enough. So if you want to have the best hunting of your life, it is time to take your knife out to sharpen it.
Tools Required To Sharpen Hunting Knife
Now that you have realized the value of a sharp knife, it is time to dive into the actual sharpening process. The first thing you need to do is assemble the essential tools to assist you in this task. Besides the knife you are sharpening, you a sharpening stone.
Nobody is unaware of the traditional way of sharpening any knife. Since the invention of the blade, the stone has been in use to make it sharp. There is a huge variety of stones for you to pick. However, if you are just stepping into this sharpening business, it is good for you to pick whetstone.
It will provide an easy experience to make things as simple as possible. If you are more professional, you can go for the diamond or the ceramic stones. However, even more, stones can be used to perform the same work, which is discussed later on.
Steps To Sharpen Hunting Knife Using Whetstone
For initiating the process using such a stone, you must get the right one. If you have been using the knife for too long, the chances of the blade being damaged are huge. For such severe damage, you need to have a coarse stone. For extreme damage, you can use 220 grit whetstone.
Arkansas stone with 600 grit will do the job for medium or average damage. However, if the goal is just to polish the tool, take the soft stone with 1000 or more grit. Then, depending upon the need, you can get your hands on the right stone.
If you have your whetstone ready along with the knife, it is time to learn how to do it.
Step 1– Spread a little water (or light oil) across the polishing stone. Let the lubricant sit still on top of the stone to let it seep through the porous surface. Such lubrication helps the stone enhance its sharpening tendency. It will also protect the blade from frictional damage.
Step 2- Since the stone is ready, it is time you know the blade’s angle. Not all the blades have the same angles. For hunting, survival, and pocket knives, the angle is between 25 to 30 degrees. The angle is much lower for razors, ranging from 12 to 18 degrees. Kitchen knives are set around the 18 to 25 range of degrees.
So to find the right angle, lay down the blade on the stone. Then, it would be best if you raised it gradually to get the natural angle. If you still have some doubt, check if the angle falls on the range aforementioned.
Step 3- Now it is time to begin sharpening as you know the angle and have the stone. Put the bade at one end of the stone, aligning it on the perfect angle. Start by pushing the blade away from you. After pushing it to the other end, it is time to pull it back. You can apply some pressure if the goal is to remove a piece off of the stone.
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There are higher chances that your blade will be curved. So by maintaining the right angle, you need to sharpen the complete edge of the tool. Repeat this step at least 4 to 5 times.
Step 4- As one side of the blade is done, it is time to flip it. You have to repeat the third step with this side to ensure that the knife is in good shape and can work efficiently.
Step 5- Now, all left to do is repeat until you reach the desired results. You can even change the stone to go for the finer one once the condition of the blade is good enough.
This is how you can sharpen the hunting blade with ease.
Things You Need To Prepare First
- Use a clean stone every time. Having any residue from the previous sharpening can cause lots of damage to your blade. You can take off the residue using a brush.
- Ensure that the stone is stable enough to do the task. For example, a stone that is moving too much can cause trouble while performing the activity.
- Pour some oil on the stone to reduce the heat damage because of the stone. However, do not go overboard with the oil. Use only a teaspoon of it, which will be enough for you.
Other Ways To Sharpen Knife
There are some other ways of sharpen hunting knife. You use the one that seems perfect for you and the one you find easier to follow.
- Quick Sharpeners
Here is how to save your hunting experience even if you forget to sharpen the knife prior to hunting. As the name suggests, it will provide you with a quick solution to the unsharpened life. You can have such gadgets in the backpack you have prepared for hunting.
If you are hunting for too long or in the middle, you find out that the knife is not working fine. Here is the solution. These are very easy to use, you have a fine grit opening on the device, and all there is left to do is slide the blade through it.
Do this process a couple of times, and you get a knife ready to slice the animal’s skin. It has become a must for all the hunters as it allows them to proceed with the hunting process.
Importance Of Getting The Right Grit
As mentioned earlier, the nature of the stone depends upon the condition of your blade. There are majorly two types of grit you can get your hands on, fine and coarse. There is even an option of medium grit as many knives are neither in good condition nor too bad.
If the knife’s material is very light, you should take the coarse grit. The finer one is best if the material is more tough and rigid. With the lighter material, you can move on to the finer grits.
Hunting knives are really crucial for your hunting experience. Having the right knife that can perform the necessary task is essential. However, it becomes more necessary to keep it sharp to keep it working efficiently.
You need to pay attention to some things, like the stone for sharpening and the grit it has. If you follow the steps carefully, your hunting knife will be sharpened shortly.