Knowing how to sharpen your bushcraft knife is very important. Without a sharpened knife, you’ll struggle to get the most out of your knife when you need it most. To sharpen your knife, you will require a set of abrasive set of stones ranging from coarse to fine. When you are at home, you can use a set of large bench stones, while in the field you will need a small, lightweight alternative.
Abrasive stones are manufactured from a wide range of materials, with many outdoor specialists preferring to use Ice Bear Japanese water stones – which work fast, easily and conveniently to give a razor edge. You should use three grits – 800 for coarse, 1200 for medium and 600 for fine. In the field, carry around a combination of 1200/6000 stone sawn in half
To use these types of stones, you must soak them in water before use. The coarse stone should only be used when you have a seriously blunted knife, or if it has become damaged. You should lay out your knife on the stone and raise the back until the bevel of the blade lies flat on the stone and then push your blade away from you, as if you are trying to cut a thin layer from the top of the stone. If you do this properly, you should complete this movement 8 times, before turning the blade over and sharpening the opposite side.
As you make the movement, a paste should form onto the stone. It is not recommended that you wipe this paste away, as it will help to speed up your bushcraft knife sharpening process. You should keep the stone wet by splashing the stone with water throughout the process. Move on to a finer stone and repeat the process – and the 6000 grit stone does not need to be soaked – just made wet. Try and create slurry on the stone prior to use with a small nagura stone, which are specially made for the purpose and can be purchased with your stone.
After using the 6000 stone, you should clean the blade; strop it on the inside of a leather belt around 50 times, alternating the blade face on each stroke. This will ensure that you are creating a sharp and durable edge. To complete the process, run the blade very lightly down the finest ceramic sharpening rod to give the edge more bite. If you do not have a ceramic rod, use the edge of a car window.
In the field, you can take a simpler approach, whereby you must wet the small field stone and sharpen each side with a slicing action with pressure on the slicing stroke only. Do this to one face, then the other, then continue alternating. If possible you should strop the blade, where a smooth piece of wood can be used if there is not leather belt available.
Should you follow these guidelines, you should have effectively sharpened your bush craft knife and also allow you to start the process of protecting your knife, which can be achieved easily through the application of Camellia Oil, which will protect the blade from rust and corrosion.
Carissa Parnell is an experienced writer and guest poster from North Wales who has written unique content for many satisfied bloggers. I write on a wide range of topics that interest me covering everything from Bushcraft and travel to industrial technology and fashion. Writing is my passion and I hope you enjoy reading my articles.