How to Sharpen a Buck Hunting Knife

how to sharpen a buck hunting knife

A buck hunting knife tends to become dull after prolonged use, meaning you will need to sharpen at some point. Here we share our best tips on how to sharpen a buck hunting knife.

Buck hunting knives are arguably the best hunting knives on the market today. They are compact, durable, reliable, and very effective. They also don’t need regular sharpening, as is the case with other types of hunting knives.

The technique that you use to sharpen your buck hunting knife matters a lot. If you use the wrong technique, you may end damaging the blade.

On the other hand, if you sharpen it correctly, it will serve you for a long time.

Importance of Keeping Your Buck Hunting Knife Sharp

Keeping your buck knife sharp not only makes your hunting more fun but also helps to enhance your safety. As the saying goes, a knife is a safe knife.

Keeping your buck knife sharp will help to improve your safety. A dull edge may force you to apply more pressure when using the knife, and in the process, you may end up injuring yourself.

If the knife’s blade unexpectedly releases from what you are cutting, the ongoing momentum may slash your finger, injuring you badly.

When you sharpen your buck hunting knife properly, it will make using it easier when out hunting.

Different Types of Sharpening Devices for Hunting Knives

One of the most confusing aspects of buck hunting knife sharpening is the wide variety of sharpening devices. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with these sharpening devices to know which one is right for your purpose.

Oil Stone

This sharpening device got its name from users who believed that honing oil was necessary to lubricate the stone and remove metal shavings.

Oil stone is made from naturally abrasive stones and comes in two sets: fine grit for polished knives and coarse grit for dull knives.

Oil stone usually becomes dull with time and needs replacement after a certain period of usage.

Ceramic Stones

Ceramic stone sharpener comprises a ceramic grid bonded to a solid rod. The main advantage of a ceramic stone is it lasts forever, meaning you won’t need to replace it over time.

However, the downside is it’s not the best sharpening device to bring a dull hunting knife back to life.

Japanese Whetstone

Japanese whetstone has been used for centuries. First, the stone needs to be submerged in water for a few minutes before the sharpening process.

Japanese whetstone is a composite mixture of silica and clay soil. When submerged in water, the pores of the stone expand, making it more abrasive. Japanese whetstone also requires you to add a little water during the sharpening process.

Like the oil stone, this sharpening device needs replacing with time.

Quick Sharpeners

Quick sharpeners can comfortably fit in your pocket. They are small and ideal for a pocket knife and skinning. They are straightforward to use and affordable.

Anybody, including those who have never used a knife sharpener before, can easily sharpen their hunting knife using a quick sharpener. They are great for carrying in your hunting pack.

Step-by-Step: How to Sharpen a Buck Hunting Knife

Pick the Right Sharpening Device

The first process to sharpening your buck hunting knife is choosing a suitable sharpening device.

Never sharpen your buck hunting knife on a power-driven grinding not designed for this purpose. It will not only burn the temper from your knife’s blade, making it prone to cracks and chips but will also void the warranty.

Know Your Blade Angle

It isn’t easy to sharpen your buck hunting blade correctly if you don’t know your blade’s angle. So, the first thing to do before you start sharpening your buck hunting knife is to know your blade angle.

Generally, hunting knives blade angle range between 25-30 degrees.

Start with a Whetstone

When sharpening your buck hunting knife, we recommended you start with a whetstone, especially if you are a beginner.

Ceramic and diamonds are also good but more suited to hunters with plenty of experience because they are very rough and remove more material from the blade.

Whetstone is suitable for beginners because it gives a lot of room for error.

Before you use a whetstone to sharpen your buck hunting knife, ensure that you do adequate preparation.

First, clean the stone with hot water, scrub it gently with a brush to remove all dirt.

Second, wet the stone. The reason why it is called Wheatstone is that it needs to be soaked in water to work. Soak the stone in water for about five minutes.

Before you start using it, make sure it is stable. The Wheatstone can slip when using it. To prevent this, use a holder to keep it in place.

When using this stone, wet it frequently with water to keep the stone pores open. Also, add touch of oil to reduce friction heat. You don’t need a lot of oil; a teaspoon of oil (or less, depending on the size of your knife) is enough.

Use the Right Grit

When sharpening your buck hunting knife, you need to choose the correct grit that suits your buck hunting knife. Most hunters usually think that they need to start with a coarser grit when sharpening their hunting knives, then progress the finer grit.

However, that is not always the case. The grit to choose depends on the material it is made of and the blade’s general condition. For instance, if the knife is too dull, then you should start with coarse grit.

Similarly, if your knife is made out of softer material, you should start with coarse grit because the material will wear out faster. Buck knife blades are generally made of durable and robust metal that doesn’t wear down quickly. Therefore, you should start with fine or medium grit.

Only start with coarse grit if the blade is too dull. If you begin with a coarser grit, you will take more material from your knife, which is not a good thing.

Count the Stroke

Most hunters find it difficult to determine the exact number of strokes to make when sharpening their buck hunting knives.

We recommend you make at least five strokes on each side of the blade. If your knife is very dull, then you can make up to 15 stokes on each side.

When sharpening your hunting knife, ensure that you make the same number of strokes on each side for even, consistent sharpening.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your buck hunting knife sharp is essential. It not only makes your hunting knife easier to use, but it also protects you from injury. The duller your buck hunting knife is, the harder it will be to sharpen. Duller knives are harder to work with and also dangerous – you should sharpen your buck hunting knife before it gets too worn.