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A Sharp Knife is Safer
Keep your Hunting Knives, Bowie Knives and Survival Knives sharp! Sharp Hunting Knives, Bowie Knives and Survival Knives cut through things quicker making your cutting tasks less tiring. Less force is required to make a cut so the knife is less likely to slip and cut you. As we talk about knife sharpening here we are talking about heavy bladed outdoor knives like hunting Knives, Bowie Knives and Survival Knives.
A key point in sharpening hunting knives is to keep the original angle of the blade. You should be able to get an idea of the original angle by looking down the length of the blade, at the cutting edge from the front. The angle will vary based on what the purpose of the knife is for. Generally Hunting knives have a blade angle of 15 to 20 degrees. Heavier blades like those on Bowie Knives and Survival Knives have blade angles up to 30 degrees. Lansky and Timberline make knife sharpening kits that will help you maintain the proper angle as you sharpen.
There are a few choices on how to sharpen the blades on your hunting knives. If the blade is still in good condition and just needs to have the edge touched up you should use a natural stone like an Arkansas stone. You may need to start with a course stone and then finish with a finer grit stone. People find they get a better edge that stays sharper longer by using a natural stone. You can purchase stones that are to be used dry, or stones that need to be lubricated with oil or water.
If your hunting knives need some serious sharpening help, start with a Diamond sharpening stone. These stones tend to work on the blade faster. Then finish sharpening the blades of your hunting knives with a natural stone.
A word of caution. Some people have used a power-driven grinding wheel to sharpen dull hunting knives. This can cause excess heat and take the temper from your blade, making the blade brittle.
There are two basic styles of sharpening the blades on your hunting knives.
The first style of sharpening is using a circular motion. Start by holding the blade away from you at the proper angle. Run the blade in a clockwise motion on the stone until you have sharpened that side of the blade. Turn the blade over and repeat with a counter clockwise motion. An advantage to this method is the simplicity. The disadvantage is you have to be careful not to grind too much off one side of your blade. This will cause the cutting edge to be uneven and crooked.
The second style for sharpening your hunting knives is to use the entire length of the stone and sharpen the entire length of the blade with each stroke. Start with the knife blade edge facing away from you. Place the handle end of the blade on the end of the sharpening stone nearest to you. Push away from you, using the entire length of the stone and draw the entire blade across the stone so the tip of the blade swings off the stone at the far end. Make sure you keep a uniform pressure on the entire blade and hold the correct angle. Turn the blade over and repeat the process, pulling the blade towards you. Make sure you do an equal number of strokes on each side of the blade. The advantage to this is you sharpen your entire blade at the same time. The disadvantage is some people have trouble holding the proper angle and maintaining a uniform pressure.
How do you tell if your hunting knives are sharp? Some people want their hunting knives sharp enough to shave with. You can VERY CAREFULLY run your knife along your arm to see if it will cut the hair. Watch how much pressure you put on the knife or you could end up going to the hospital. We do not recommend this method. Another method, and the one I use, is to lightly and gently draw your thumb across (NOT ALONG) the blades of your hunting knives. Your thumb is usually sensitive enough that you can feel the sharp edge of the blade. A lot of people disagree with this method but it has worked for me and I have yet to cut my thumb. A third method that has been used for a long time is to see if the blade cuts paper. We do not recommend this method. Paper is basically wood that has been mashed together in a criss-cross pattern using chemicals and we feel this is hard on the blade. If you want to cut paper, use scissors.
Keep your hunting knives, bowie knives and survival knives sharp all the time. That way they will be ready to do the job you bought them for when the time comes. An added plus of spending the time at home getting a quality edge on your hunting knives is that should you find your blade needs a touch up in the field this can normally be accomplished quickly with a small pocket sharpener. Enjoy your time outdoors, Stay Safe, and always return home.
Copyright 2006 North American Enterprises, Inc. Mesquite, Nevada
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