As the name suggests, a bushcraft knife is a knife mainly used for outdoor functions. When preparing for a camp in the wilderness, a bushcraft knife is a must among other tools to complete your survival kit.
Your bushcraft knife always needs to be sharp to serve you in activities like skinning, cutting, slicing, etc
Frequent sharpening is not a difficult and expensive job. It also needs no expensive or special instruments or materials.
Knives are an important survival tool that you can carry along with you. Since the dawn of time, a bushcraft knife has been used as a survival tool in the wilderness.
Different Types Of Knife Sharpeners
A knife loses validity without sharpening tools. Knife sharpening tools easily bring a dull or blunt knife back to its shape. Below are the types of sharpeners that will smoothen the process for you:
Using sandpaper to sharpen your dull knife is an inexpensive and successful way too. To make the process more convenient, try adding the sandpaper to an old mouse pad.
When using this method, Use medium-grit sandpaper, probably about 800, till you work it up to fine-grit sandpaper. This approach can also be used to put final touches on your blade after you sharpen it with a whetstone.
Whetstone or Sharpening Stone
Perhaps the most common knife sharpening tool used is the whetstone. Whetstones usually come in a rectangular block made from ceramic or natural sharpening stones.
Whetstones work on an incredibly dull knife to efficiently extract unwanted material from the blade. The best part about this knife sharpener is that it fits well with other steel items like razors and scissors as well.
Electric Knife Sharpeners
Electric knife sharpeners usually come in a rectangular box shape, with three slots to position the blade of the knife in. Because of its quick operation, it is easy to use an electric sharpener.
However, the disadvantage of using this knife sharpening tool is that you have less control over the knife, and compared to the other tools, it’s a little bulky. In addition, electric sharpeners work with kitchen knives more accurately than hunting, survival, or tactical knives.
A handheld sharpener quickly and easily sharpens a dull knife back to its original, flawless cutting shape much like an electric sharpener.
Handheld sharpeners, however, have a small slot for sticking the blade of a knife in. The positive thing about the knife sharpening tool is its compact size, which makes it easy to bring everywhere you go.
Serrated Knife Sharpener
This knife sharpening method is designed primarily for the sharpening of knives with serrated edges. For most traditional sharpeners, it will be difficult to sharpen serrated knives, because they can damage the serrated blades.
It’s really different to sharpen a straight blade by sharpening a serrated knife. For optimum effectiveness, each serration needs to be individually sharpened and this is what your serrated knife sharpener will do.
Whereas the name says ‘sharpening steel’, this is simply a misnomer because this tool just hones the knife’s tip.
With that, sharpening steels only have to be used to retain the knife but not to sharpen an already rusty one. The steel is long and narrow.
A knife hone also works for sharpening steels. This knife sharpening method hones the knife’s tip, as the name implies, but it can’t sharpen a dull knife.
Knife hones are made of stone or steel. They work by scraping tiny quantities of material to sharpen it off the blade.
So, How Do you Sharpen Your Knife?
With so many various methods available to get the job done, simplicity conquers all. The aim when sharpening a knife is simply to sharpen the knife.
This is achieved by scraping metal from a dull blade tip. Blades are getting dull due to the metal rolling over at a micro-level. When we sharpen the blade, we strip the rolled metal leaving a good crisp edge behind it.
These step by step tips will equip you with the knowledge and skills that will truly restore your knife’s sharpness in the simplest way possible:
- Look for a flat or even surface that doesn’t get affected by exposure to oil. If you are outside a chopping board is best.
- With the coarse facing up, put the stone on the surface. Apply oil on the stone
- With the coarse side facing up, put the stone on the surface. Apply oil on it (stone)
- To achieve the right bevel angle, eliminate the metal from the bevels of the knife to create a clear edge. A bevel is the part of the blade that points down to the cutting edges.
- For a knife with a flat bevel, lay the knife flat on the surface or stone and turn it slightly to the cutting edge, to get the right bevel angle.
- While applying pressure with your fingertips, push the bushcraft knife away from the sharpening block.
- Push the knife through the sharpening stone as you push the knife forward, to cover the knife’s entire length.
- Boost the handle of the knife towards the knife’s tip to maintain its contact with the sharpening tool.
- Continue to push the bushcraft knife across the sharpening stone while maintaining full bevel contact.
- As the metal is extracted from the bevel, noticeable scratches or polished areas may begin to appear. An appropriate technique will reveal the metal will be extracted from the whole bevel. If you don’t see this, then change the angle as required.
- The metal should be separated from the bevel equally and fully.
- Rotate the cutting edge against your side to sharpen the other side of the bevel
- Now repeat tips 5, 6, 7, and 8 for that side too.
- When the metal is extracted from the bevel a thin metal foil is produced where the bevels meet. This will be moved as the sharpening cycle interchanges from the effect of your effort. This is called a burr. By running your thumb through the bevel, you’ll feel it on the ridges.
- A system to control the amount of sharpening strokes per side of the bushcraft knife is required to ensure you’re pushing the metal evenly from the bevels. This will also mean you’ll get a finer edged knife.
How to Check The Sharpness Of Your Bushcraft Knife
- Gently run your thumb carefully over the bottom. The ridges of your thumbprint should get a rough point.
- Align yourself to a light source and turn the knife to see some reflections from flat spots for visual inspection.
- Strop your knife to smooth out the edge and clear any remaining burr. Simply using a leather belt. Alternate the back and forth stropping strokes. Usually, 50-100 strokes suffice.
- Your knife will now feel as sharp as a diamond blade. Slice a piece of paper or sheet as a final test for sharpness
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Now you can confidently attack whatever nature throws at you while outdoors. With a well-sharpened bushcraft knife.