Never allow your knife to become blunt, the editor warns
It is so important to keep your knives sharp, the editor says
As you’ll have seen on page 18, I have a deep interest in keeping my knives as sharp as I can. I always put the work in to keep them in first-class condition, for reasons I’ll explain. The most important one is that a sharp knife makes each cut, be it through a piece of string or the skin of a rabbit, with the least possible effort. This not only reduces fatigue, but is also safer. Really? A sharp knife is safer than a blunt one? Yes it is.
The reason for this is, if you’re struggling to cut through a rabbit’s skin you’ll apply more and more pressure until the blade finally bursts through. This is where control can be lost, perhaps cutting your other hand or fingers. A keen edge that slips through with little pressure is easily controlled as the cut is complete. We should aim to use minimal pressure at
all times, letting the edge do the work.
Just a little work
An edge that’s in good condition, but just slightly dulled, only needs a few seconds’ work to recover its sharpness, whereas a blade that’s been allowed to become completely blunt is a big problem. You’ll need to remove a lot of precious steel to regain the correct angle, and knives that have this done too often can become misshapen.
The quality of the blade steel has a big effect on the kind of edge it will give, and also the durability of the sharpness. The toughest and hardest steels can give incredible performance, but are much too expensive for most people, so the reality is that most of us will have knives that benefit from regular maintenance to get the best performance.
Just how sharp your knife ends up will depend on how much effort you’re prepared to invest in getting there. Most people will get a perfectly good edge with a pull-through sharpener, such as the Blade Tech device. This has a pair of tungsten carbide blocks set at the correct angle, and you simply draw the knife through with very light pressure. Like every sharpener, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use it. Don’t press hard as you pull the knife through. Several light strokes will do a better job. This excellent little sharpener is small enough to keep in your shooting bag or gun slip pocket to keep your knife in tip-top condition, even in the field. The old adage of little and often really is the right way to look after your knives.
“The reality is that most of us will have knives that benefit from regular maintenance to get the best performance”