For the bowhunters hunting with any kind of bows whether compound bows or crossbows who use broadheads, we know the feeling when you take a look at your broadhead and realize it isn’t sharp enough to cut butter, never mind punch two fat holes in a deer. Sharpening broadheads can be a pain especially if it needs to be done mid-hunt, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way that make sharpening your arrow heads quick and easy, and gives them a crazy sharp edge good enough to shave hairs off a spiders back! (Not quite, but you get what I mean)
Why Sharpen Your Broadheads?
Some may be wondering why you need to sharpen broadhead blades. At first inspection they almost always already look razor sharp right? Well they’re not. A millimetre difference in sharpness can seriously affect the proficiency of the arrow with regards to penetration and adequate cutting. Some may be wondering why not just replace the blades if they’re removable. You could, and at some point should, but why not get the absolute full use out of each blade before you do? You’ll save yourself some money, hone your sharpening skills, and perhaps even grow to find the process cathartic. (I know I do)
How to Go About Sharpening the Broadhead?
1. Find your angle
First you need to find the angle you’re going to file/grind the blade at. For a super sharp edge, 20 degrees should cut it. While running your blade along its sharpener or sharpener along your blade edge, make sure you maintain a consistent angle throughout. Draw a marked line if you need to as a guide so the edge ends up even.
2. Initial sharpening
When you find that angle that’s going to cut the hair off a spider’s back, rub your blade along the file or stone (or vice versa), Applying pressure at first and slowly letting up to a lighter touch. You don’t want to remove too much material and change the size of your arrowhead. You will see the edges will be quite rough once you’ve done this.
3. Polish the rough edges
Use a very fine file or a strip of leather to polish the rough edges, running the blade along the length of it the same way you did when initially sharpening. Once you see it smooth out and shine up, you know you’re on track.
4. Stropping for a scary sharp edge
Now run the blade with just a touch of pressure repeatedly and evenly for some time back and forth across the leathers soft side. The more you do this, the finer your edge becomes. Test the sharpness on something invaluable and sensible as you go until you have that scary sharp edge that will see your arrow through both sides of a big deer.
5. Using specialised tools
For those who prefer specificity and don’t want to improvise when sharpening their broadhead blades, there are a number of useful tools out there designed and made especially for sharpening broadheads of all types, shapes, and sizes.
6. Bloody buddy sharpener
This is a specially designed sharper for pretty much all broadhead types, even awkward mechanical broadheads! It features two stone benches in a vice setup that can be adjusted at the millimeter level. The shape and design make it perfect for sharpening difficult and awkward broadheads such as the four-blade Chisel point. You don’t even have to separate the broadhead from the arrow!
7. Broadhead sharpener with broadhead wrench
This ingenious little handheld tool is truly your stay sharp broadhead sharpener. It’s easy to use and super compact so you can take it with you on a hunt and use it on the fly if need be. Simply grip and pull the blade through at your desired angle. It comes with a broadhead wrench that matches most common sizes out there too, making it a uniquely useful addition to the hunting bag.
- DESIGNED TO THE MAX - Designed for Max Speed, Max Strength, and Max Cut. 100 grain 3 blade broadhead - 3 Pack
- DEEP PENETRATION - The MX-3 has a shorter profile, 1-1/4" cutting diameter and .025" thick stainless steel blades allowing it to fly truer and faster to deliver more killing power at the point of impact
- BONE SHATTERING TIP - The Trocar Tip provides superior penetration
- RAZOR SHARP, DEPENDABLE, and DURABLE - High-grade aircraft aluminum ferrule with interlocking blades for extra strength
- Sport type: Archery
8. The bastard file
This simple file ranges from an 8 to a 12 depending on what grain you’re looking for and is particularly good for precision work when you want those extra sharper edges that prefab sharpeners simply can’t get. It gives you total control over the thickness of your edge and is of course extremely straightforward to use.
9. Sharpening stones
Sharpening stones are some of the oldest methods used to sharpen an edge. Nowadays they’re slightly more advanced though if you want them to be. You can get a diamond coated sharpening stone for a surprisingly reasonable price and they cut an edge like you’ve never seen. Sharpening stones are also among the most comfortable methods in my opinion.
10. Bench stones
Much like sharpening stones, these come set in a bench fix that holds them nicely in place so you have freedom to run your blade as you wish. You can use two of these in conjunction to sharpen two edges of a four-bladed broadhead at the same time, cutting your work in half.
Other Tips for Sharpening Your Broadheads
Always remember to know the type of your broadhead and keep your pressure stronger at first and then ease off a bit so you are not constantly removing chunks of material off the edge of your blade.
Make absolutely certain you are filing or running evenly. The whole edge needs to boast the same grain for the sharpening to be effective and clean. If you’ve failed to do so, file off, and start again. Draw up a marker to help guide you if need be. When your mark disappears, you know you’ve removed the right amount of metal.
Try to sharpen your arrows as often as possible. Before every hunt at least. Before shooting an arrow, check to see if it is as sharp as it can be.
Consider using a light coat of archery wax on your broadheads to ensure they don’t become victims of unwanted rust.
Like I said, sharpening your broadheads doesn’t need to be a headache. All the tips I laid out about are 5 to 10 minute jobs, only taking longer in the beginning while you get acquainted with the practice. I hope this has been helpful. Stay sharp and happy hunting!