A sharp bushcraft knife means a happy bushcrafter. At least, that is what I tell myself every time I sharpen my knife when I am camping or at home. As someone who has been at both ends of having a sharp knife and a dull (back in my inexperienced days), I vote sharp knife all the time. A sharp knife makes the difference between having a pleasant or an unfortunate camping experience.
I say emphatically that you do not want to camp with a blunt knife. Everything becomes twice as difficult, and I do not kid you when I say this. Working with a blunt knife would make you feel like, well, would make you feel like doing the things you’d rather avoid. That is how tedious it is. Have you ever carved with a blunt knife before? It is terrible, and I do not recommend it. You could hurt yourself as there is an increased likelihood of slipping and cutting yourself.
So, taking care of your knife and keeping it sharp is essential for bushcraft. You will be less of a bushcrafter if you don’t keep your knife sharp. This post will learn all you need to know about keeping your knife sharp.
How to keep your Knife Sharp
To keep your knife sharp, it is a no-brainer that you must care for the said knife. Now, caring for your bushcraft knife requires you to not use it in a way that will weaken on destroy it. For instance, do not dig the soil with your knife. Yeah, don’t be surprised. It happens
You would be shocked at the number of amateur bushcrafters who dig the soil with their knife. Digging makes your knife blunt due to the nature of the soil, and sometimes, you might strike stone which will break your blade.
Also, please don’t use your knife’s edge for kindling a fire. It damages your knife. Now, don’t you go using your knives as nail removers, split wood, etc. You will damage the blade. Honestly, bushcrafters need to do better with their knives.
Now, to care for your knife, you have to look at the nature of the blade. If your blade is a stainless steel blade, rock on mate! You don’t need much in terms of care, but you must sharpen from time to time. However, a carbon steel blade is a different gravy. You have to care for it specially.
You have to oil your carbon steel from time to time and not store it in the sheath for long, especially if it’s a leather sheath. A leather sheath tans and keeping your knife in that sheath for long causes rust.
Get a Knife Sharpener
To sharpen your knife, you need a sharpening stone or a knife sharpener which some knife makers attach to the sheath of your blade. Some bushcrafters don’t even use a sharpening stone. A coarse surface will do the trick for them. The principle is still the same whether you get a sharpening stone, a knife sharpener attached to your sheath, or a coarse surface. You will still need to oil the surface of what you intend to use to sharpen your knife.
Finding your knife’s bevel is crucial to sharpen your knife properly. For your bushcraft knife, your bevel is the area of the blade that slopes down to meet your knife’s blade. Bushcraft knives have a flat bevel, and to get the proper bevel angle, lay your knife flat on your sharpener and slightly bend your knife towards the sharp edge. That way, you would have achieved the proper angle for sharpening.. To sharpen, maintain the bevel angle with your knife flat against the sharpener and slightly bent towards the sharp edge. The cutting edge must face away from you, mind you. So, slowly move the knife over the stone in a forward motion that allows you to cover the knife’s length. Move the knife 8 times away from you, then turn the knife’s edge towards you and make the knife come towards you for another 8 times.