Elk NetworkKeep Your Edge

Gear 101 | October 10, 2017

Get the most out of your blade, no matter how old, cheap or nice it might be. Whether you’re in the field working to break down an elk or in the kitchen cutting backstraps, a sharp blade is every hunter’s friend. A dull blade means more work and more injuries. Here’s how to get an edge and keep it.

1. Start with the proper angle. Most hunting knives have an edge bevel around 20-degrees. Old-school sharpening stones have two sides: coarse and fine. Some sharpeners (like this one) have a 20-degree guide built into them.

2. If your knife isn’t terribly dull, skip the coarse grit and move directly to fine. Whichever grit you choose, push the knife edge away from you with even pressure. Don’t push too hard—you’re sharpening, not grinding. Make 5-10 passes on each side.

3. If your sharpener offers a ceramic honing surface, make another five passes.
4. Finally, pull the knife’s blade toward you on a leather strop or belt to put a final polish on the edge