It’s not always easy to maintain the perfect edge for optimal performance when you’re camping in remote areas or out of range of your local knife shop. This guide will provide you with simple steps for keeping your hunting knife sharp for any outdoor activity.
Basic methods include sharpening by hand with a stone, using premade sharpeners, and honing on pulling strokes. Once you get comfortable with these methods, they can be employed quickly if your blade ever becomes dull while out on the trail.
Types of Hunting Knives
Whether you’re a first-time hunter or an experienced outdoorsman, having the right tools for the job is critical. The hunting knife is an essential piece of equipment, and there are many knives for sale online to choose from. Each type offers its own particular strengths and weaknesses. Before you invest in a hunting knife, it’s important to understand the different types and their uses:
Fixed-blade knives – their blade is built into the handle and is not foldable. This type of knife is typically made from higher-quality materials like stainless steel or carbon steel. It is often used for tasks requiring more strength such as skinning animals since it won’t flex like a folding blade might.
Folding blades – This type of hunting knife consists of two parts — the blade and handle — which fold together so that they can be easily stowed when not in use. Folding blades can be great for detailed work such as cleaning fish or cutting bait since they are generally lightweight and store easily. However, due to their weaker construction, these blades may flex under stronger pressure which can be an issue when field dressing larger game animals.
Clip point – A clip point shape has a slightly curved edge that “clips” off part of the blade near the tip creating an area with less thickness than other parts of the blade which makes it good for precision slicing tasks.
Drop point – The drop point shape places its curve much closer to the handle than a clip point does making this a good choice for heavier tasks like cutting rope, leather, or even bones since it will provide more strength without sacrificing control over precision cuts.
Trailing point – This shape features a long curved edge near the tip which is useful as well as aesthetically pleasing but tends to make slicing softer material difficult due to lack of leverage near its origin at the handle. It may also be more likely to puncture materials if not handled correctly making it better suited for light work such as slicing fruit rather than heavy outdoor use.
First, you will need a whetstone or other sharpening device. To sharpen your blade on a whetstone, run the length of the blade at a 20-degree angle across the stone. Make sure to apply an even amount of pressure as you go and use both sides of the stone so that it wears evenly.
Continue this process until both sides of the blade are equally sharp. Test for readiness between each pass by running your thumb along the edge—if it feels smooth, then it’s ready for another pass!
Honing involves small strokes that are used to realign any small nicks and grooves you may have picked up on your blade, resulting in a much sharper cutting edge. The process is relatively easy, although it will require some patience and the right materials.
You will need a honing stone, which should be suited to the type of steel on your knife, as well as some oil for lubrication and protection against corrosion. Begin by coating the blade side of your stone with a few drops of oil and then drag it along the length of your blade from one end to the other in a saw-like motion.
Keep consistent pressure while pulling the blade away from you at an angle between 10-20 degrees. Make sure you hone both sides symmetrically before flipping your knife over and repeating the stroke on both sides; this helps maintains balanced sharpness across each side of your blade.
Honing should become part of your regular maintenance routine for all hunting knives; this simple process can extend their life significantly by removing burrs caused by everyday contact with tough elements found in nature—so get yourself a good hone stone set today!
It’s important to properly store a hunting knife in order to ensure its longevity. Storing your knife with care will keep it clean, free of rust, and in good working order. Here are some tips for storing your hunting knife:
- When not in use, store your knife in a sheath that fits snugly over the blade and contains a moisture barrier. It is best to store your knife away from direct light and moisture if possible.
- Don’t let the edge contact other metal objects while it is being stored, as this can cause damage to both your hunting knife and the object it contacts.
- Make sure you clean the blade after each use with a light oil or petroleum jelly on both sides of the blade metal. If possible, dry with an absorbent cloth or paper towel. This helps prevent rust from forming on the blade surface during storage.
- Clean off any dirt or debris inside and outside of the handle as well as around parts that are susceptible to wear or loosening that might require adjusting when used again (i.e screws). Store handle components intact for future use if needed.
- Some types of knives may contain wood or leather handles that require occasional conditioning with specialized products like linseed oil. Store knives upright whenever possible to keep them safe from accidental contact or falls while they’re not being used.
Your hunting knife is an essential tool when you’re out in the field, so it’s important to understand how to care for it properly. With a few simple steps, you can keep your knife in top condition and make sure that it provides reliable performance when you need it most.
Choose the right sharpening stone and use light pressure while keeping the angle consistent as you sharpen. Clean and lubricate your blade regularly, and make sure that your sharpening stone runs along both sides of the blade evenly. And finally, store your knife safely to prevent dulling or damage.
With a little practice and effort, you’ll be able to keep your hunting knife in great shape for years to come!