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How to Sharpen a Hunting Knife? (Complete Guide for Beginners)

Are you wondering How to sharpen a hunting knife? Here is a detailed guide for beginners.

Sharpening a hunting knife is easy if you follow few simple steps. First of all, you need to place your sharpening stone on a flat surface, similar to a countertop or table. 

Now you can hold the knife blade and slide it across the stone at a 20-degree angle. If you experience difficulty, you need to wet the stone.

Now all you have to do is push the knife to the corner of the stone. Do five to ten of these strokes, and afterward change sides to sharpen the other side of the hunting knife. You need to repeat the process a couple of times and you will get a sharped hunting knife.

Let’s discuss the process in detail:

Step 1: Clean The Stone For Residue:

The metal shavings and the oil can make your sharpening stone filthy. First of all, you have to make sure you clean the stone with some hot water. Scour it down with a brush until the surface of your sharpening stone is clean.

Step 2: Wet It Up: 

The name “whetstone” itself presents its meaning. The stone must be wet with water to work. Five minutes of washing with a water hose are going to be sufficient.

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Step 3: Make Sure it’s Stable:

The whetstone can slide around while you are utilizing it. You can either assemble a holder that keeps it locked in a position, or you can simply toss a cloth under to keep it stable.

Step 4: Add Some Oil: 

Pouring water onto the stone is a needed step, but the same goes for oil. You need some oil as it will bring down the heat created by grinding. It will also slide away from the metal shavings far from the work area. You need just a teaspoon of oil and you’re all set.

Step 5: Rough Cut:

In this step, you need to remove irregularities in the blade. This is an important sharpening step that has to be done only if your blade has uneven edges or it is extremely dull. You need to convert the edge of the blade from U to a sharp V shape.

You have to angle the blade somewhere close to 13 and 16 degrees over the stone. We suggest doing around 5 strokes on each side of the blade.

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Step 6: Sharp The Dull Blade: 

Assuming your blade was U-shaped, and now it is V-shaped. In this step, you have to sharp the blade from medium to fine sharpening. You have to make the strokes at a 20-degree angle. Repeat the process on side of the blade 10 times and then change over to the other side.

Step 7: Fine Sharpening: 

The last step is to wet the stone again and use some oil as well. Make the blade a fine sharp V cut. Do this without any pressure as it can damage the blade.

Tools Needed for Sharpening a Hunting Knife

When are sharpen your hunting knife—You need these accessories.

Fine Cloth:

First of all, you need fine cloth for cleaning your hunting knife and stone. You can utilize a warm wet fabric as it can be an easy approach to clean.


This is a typical need for sharpening hunting blades. Using tap water is just fine.

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You need to have oil as it will bring down the heat produced by grinding and it will also clean the metal shavings from the sharpening stone.

Sharpening Stone:

The most important thing to have is a sharpening stone. There are different kinds of sharpening stones and all of them are good.

Different Ways for Sharpening Hunting Knife: 

You can use different ways for sharpening hunting knives. Let’s discuss all of them one by one.

Pocket Hunting Knife Sharpeners 

It is easy to do the technique for sharpening. Good thing is, you can hold this sharpener in your pocket. However, a little folding knife sharpener can not deal with any large hunting knife. 

It is an incredible choice, especially for a small hunting knife. Another good thing is that it is cheap and easy to use. A newbie can easily use it and carry it in their pocket as well.


You can use a natural or synthetic whetstone—One side of the whetstone is for a rough cut and another for the fine sharpening.

Whetstones are suitable for sharpening low-to mid-grade steel as carbon steel. We likewise recommend the use of oil or water for sharpening.

Oil Stones: 

They are named oil stones because users have to apply oil to grease up the stone and remove metal shavings. Most experts accept that oil is extra, but as per my experience, oil is a must. 

They are produced using rough stone and typically come in sets of two: rough coarseness for really dull blades and fine coarseness for finishing a generally sharp one. 

The stones go dull with time, and you have to replace them when you start to see a space in the stone.

Japanese Whetstone:

These stones should be dunked in water for a couple of minutes before the sharpening process. Produced using a combination of clay and silica particles, the water expands the pores and makes the stone tougher.

It’s ideal to add a little water during the sharpening process or oil as well. Similarly, as with the oil stones, they have to be replaced when you see a space in them.

Ceramic Stones:

Ceramic sharpeners are artificial and comprise a clay grid. If you have a knife set in your kitchen, you’re likely to have this knowledge about this kind of sharpener. 

They’re comparable in sharpening capacity to the fine coarseness on the oil and Japanese whetstones. They are best for a fine sharp process, however not the best for bringing a dull one back to life. 

These sharpeners will practically keep going forever, so there’s no reason for not having one in your kitchen.

Know the Angle of Your Blade 

You can’t sharpen a blade accurately without getting the correct angle, and to do that, you need to know the angle of your blade. Here are the essential rules for most hunting knives:

  • Hunting blades, survival blades, folding knives: 25-30 degrees
  • Cleaning blades, kitchen blades, and other little blades: 18-25 degrees

The Sharpie Trick 

This trick is surprisingly basic, but on the other hand, it’s valuable and it will assist you with sharpening your blade instantly.

You should simply define a boundary over the angle of the knife with a marker or a sharpie.

At the angle when that is done, stroke the knife over a few times. On the off chance that you held it at the correct angle, the sharpie you drew on the blade has to be gone. If that it’s still there, you didn’t hold the angle perfectly.

On the off chance that you see the markings on the knife’s base however not on the top side, the angle is excessively level.

Utilize the Right Grit For The Job 

Most knife lovers feel that they need to start with the coarser grit first and progress to the finer grit after, however that is not in every case valid. Here is the thing that you have to do:

If your knife is made out of soft metal, it will wear down quickly. If you have a soft metal knife, you need to begin with coarse grit and go towards finer grits. If you leave the edge rough, it will wear out right away.

Harder blades are tougher, so they wear out slower. On the off chance that you have one of these blades, a fine or medium grit can take care of business.

Check the Strokes 

You need to count the number of strokes you are making while sharpening a knife. Experts say that you need at any rate five strokes on each side. If you need to sharpen a dull hunting knife, you should make up to 15 strokes on each side.

One thing which is essential to follow is to make a similar number of strokes on each side. Else, you may wind up taking an excess of material from one side and insufficient from the other.

Continuously Sharpen Your Knife Before It Gets Dull 

This one is an easy choice. The blunter your hunting knife is – the harder it will be to sharpen it. Not just that, dull blades are a lot harder to work with which makes them unsafe. That is the reason you have to sharpen your hunting knives before you use them.


A sharp knife is considered dangerous but the truth is a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife. If you are using a dull knife you can wind up harming your fingers easily. Also, It’s considered one of the best gifts for hunters.

A sharp hunting knife is a must for a hunter and to do so you have to make sure you follow the simple steps described above to sharpen your hunting knife.  

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