How To Choose the Best Knife Sharpener for Hunting Knives

Outdoorsmen will tell you that a dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one, making your choice for a hunting knife sharpener extremely important. Dull knives take considerable effort to use and provide less-than-optimal results as you saw and hack away at your game, wood or other materials. You also run the risk of slipping with the blade and injuring yourself. The cure for these hunting problems is Razor Sharp,the best hunting knife sharpener tucked neatly away into your gear.

What Are the Best Hunting Knife Sharpeners?

Finding the right knife sharpener starts with a review of your hunting knives. The hunting knife blade helps determine which sharpener is best, and what you plan on doing with your hunting knife dictates which blade is best. Knife sharpening depends on the size of the blade, the material of the blade and the construction of the knife sharper itself.

What Types of Blades Are Used on Hunting Knives?

A hunting knife can come with a fixed blade angle, which is useful for skinning game, field-dressing, working with twine, whittling or food. You can also find a hunting knife included with pocket knives, though these aren't generally sturdy or large enough to tackle the big demands of hunting. These blades are for basic cutting tasks associated with general pocket knife use.

The option of a folding blade is typically convenient for carrying in a pocket or safely stowing on a belt sheath or in a hunting pack. These blades are good choices when working with skinning squirrels or game birds, but folding knives can collect blood or other materials in the folding channel.

Hunting Knife Blade Design

There are three basic designs with hunting knives: drop point, skinning or clip point. A drop point hunting knife is for big game hunters since the thick, curved blade is much stronger than the other blade designs. It can make it easier to skin big game with less loss of meat and if necessary, split the bones of a pelvis or rib cage.

A clip point blade is thin and flat with a well-defined tip over the drop point. Its use is similar to a drop point, but it functions best as a generic work knife when taken hunting. A skinning knife has a high-sweeping blade that quickly skins medium to large-sized animals.

Hunting Knife Blade Materials

Hunting knives aren't your average kitchen knives designed for cutting raw or cooked meat. Hunting knives require a razor-sharp edge to skillfully manipulate the game, but they must also be strong enough to resist corrosion and wear and tear from tough materials and conditions.

Edge rigidity depends heavily on the knife sharpeners used since the wrong hunting knife sharpener does more harm than good. The following materials provide some of the better choices for a good hunting knife:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is commonly used but only effective when it maintains the 440C industry benchmark. This specific composition for an entire blade resists corrosion, retains a wicked edge and is easily resharpened. Several stainless steel alloy blends increase the performance of knife blades.

Carbon Steel

Though carbon steel doesn't have the same corrosion resistance as stainless steel, knives made from this material hold their wicked edge much longer, increase resistance to common wear and tear and provide better impact absorption. These qualities can make it easier for knife sharpening because, despite being softer than other steels, the razor-sharp edge lasts longer.

What Are the Qualities of the Best Hunting Knife Sharpeners?

The knife sharpening process grinds the rounded edge of the knife in order to create the desired blade angle. A sharp hunting knife has a slight incline on either side of the blade called a bevel. If the slight angle is on both sides of the knife, it is a double-bevel hunting knife.

Sharpening knives requires skill although it is made easier through quality hunting knife sharpeners. Too many people try to sharpen their hunting knife by free handing the process and eyeballing the sharpening angle while restoring the blade. This can ultimately ruin the knife.

If you want a sharp knife that delivers consistent performance, you need a quality knife sharpener such as Razor Sharp. This outstanding knife sharpener accomplishes the following:

  • Delivers a consistent angle when sharpening
  • Ensures beginning outdoorsman or knife enthusiasts can sharpen blades without damaging them in the process
  • Restores optimum working order whether used on damaged or old dull blades
  • Addresses a variety of knife shapes or materials

Sharpening Angle

When a knife is sharpened, the consistency of the angle applied during the process enforces the proper burning of the blade. Once the blade has been renewed, the knife will hold its edge for longer periods of time.

The sharpening angle depends on what the user intends to do with the hunting knife. Sharpening stones that maintain angle guides of 30 degrees or more are good for machetes, hatchets and axes, while between 20 to 30 degrees is suitable for hunting knives needed to cut through sinew or animal parts. Kitchen knives and scalpels tend to have sharpening angles between 15 to 20 degrees.

The smaller and more acute the angle, the sharper your hunting knife will be. This consistent angle delivers better cutting performance. However, it can also lower the stability and strength of the blade's edge. With a low angle, there is the chance that you may roll or chip the edge of the blade if it collides with hard materials such as bone or bullet fragments when working with game meat. The best hunting knife sharpener has an angle guide to keep a consistent angle along the whole edge of the blade. These hunting knife sharpeners also provide the option to adjust the angle.

Sharpening Bevel

A hunting knife sharpener typically creates one of two types of edges on knife blades — the convex edge and the V-edge. On a V-edge knife, there is a "V" cross-section in the tip of the blade. With the convex edge, there is a slight curve on the bevel that looks like a "V" that has a slight inward curve at the bottom.

A convex edge doesn't have the same feeling of sharpness as a V-edge with a similar angle, but the shape makes it more durable, and it won't chip or roll as readily as a V-edge. However, the right sharpening system can leave either knife sharp enough to whittle through a material as fine as animal hair.

Sharpening System

You will find knife sharpeners of all shapes and sizes. Depending on how much work you want to put into the sharpening process, you can choose from a sharpening stone, including ceramic stones or other sharpeners, or an electric sharpener. So long as you choose the right sharpener for your blade type or intended use, the results of your efforts will leave you with a wicked edge and an incredibly sharp knife.

Sharpening Stone

Correctly sharpening a knife usually makes a progression between different grit sizes when working with a sharpening stone. Sometimes referred to as whetstones or oilstones, benchstones are generally handheld knife sharpening tools that come in a range of grit sizes. These can come in abrasives like aluminum oxide and silicon carbide. The best hunting knife sharpeners are made from materials that can tackle the strength of a quality hunting blade.

Natural sharpening stones are made from silicone quartz, while waterstones are a synthetic option that creates an abrasive slurry from the sharpening process. Diamond stones present the most aggressive and fastest option among sharpening stones. The use of a diamond stone often requires follow-up with a fine-grit from another stone option for a polished look, but these stones deliver a wicked edge in just a few minutes. With low maintenance and portability, sharpening stones make good candidates for the best hunting knife sharpener.

Pocket Knife Sharpener

Convenience and portability are two key concerns for the best hunting knife sharpener, and a pocket knife sharpener can deliver on both. The main benefit is its compact nature but to get the most use from your sharpener, select a brand that has built-in angle guides and the most durable sharpening stone possible. This generally means using a diamond sharpening stone or plate. Your pocket knife sharpener should also have a honing rod included, and ceramic is an excellent choice for precision.

Electric Sharpener

An electric hunting knife sharpener adds efficiency to the sharpening system as it is one of the quickest ways to hone the blade of your hunting knives. This automatic process creates a razor-sharp edge, but some outdoorsmen prefer to control the process of sharpening a knife and the new edge that is created. Electric sharpeners work well if you are in a hurry but come with limitations regarding power source and size. Unless the knife-sharpener is battery-operated, and you always carry extra batteries, you can't use your electric hunting knife sharpener in the woods or on a rugged hunting trip.

Ceramic Rods

While you may find a ceramic rod included in the average set of kitchen knives or other tools, these shouldn't be your first choice for the best hunting knife sharpener. Ceramic rods provide finishing materials that produce a fine edge and straighten the shape you've created. Known as honing the edge, it doesn't actually create a sharper edge. It has the same toughness as diamond stones, but ceramic rods wear out faster when used as knife sharpeners rather than finishing tools. A good hunting knife sharpener generally comes with both the sharpening stone and a ceramic stone for a complete guided sharpening system.

Which Professional Hunting Knife Sharpener Is Right for You?

The options among knife sharpeners might seem complicated, but when you evaluate what you need and the results you expect, choosing a guided system becomes quite simple. At the end of the day, you are choosing quality and durability from many hunting knife sharpeners on the market. The search ends with RazorSharp, a top-performing and highly acclaimed knife sharpener capable of handling more than just hunting knives.

The RazorSharp knife sharpener is adjustable and customizes angles, but it also includes dedicated polishing stones. It handles any edge you bring to it, whether kitchen knives, hunting knives, a straight razor, scissors and more. Order yours today and see the difference the best hunting knife sharpener makes on your dull knives.

Best Knife Sharpener of 2023 - As Featured in WiseGeek

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