For the bowhunters hunting with any kind of bow, whether compound bows or crossbows, we know the feeling when you look at your broadhead to realize it isn’t sharp enough to cut butter, never mind punch two fat holes in a deer!
But how to sharpen broadheads quickly and efficiently? Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
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 my hunting journey that make the process of sharpening hunting broadheads quick and easy. This guide will provide a simplified overview of the broadhead sharpening process.
We’ll talk about how to sharpen broadheads and what different tools you can use. We’ll also share some Pro tips you can follow. Let’s start grinding!
It also gives them crazy sharp cutting edges, good enough to shave hairs off a spider’s back! (Not quite, but you get what I mean!)
Why Is Sharpening Broadheads Necessary?
You might be wondering why you need to learn how to sharpen your broadhead blades, right? Why don’t we just remove the broadhead blades? After all, you can get your hands on new traditional or compound bow broadheads fairly easily!
Whether you are using a fixed blade or a mechanical broadhead, it’s reasonably easy to get one at your nearest store. At first inspection, they almost always already look razor sharp, right?
Well, they’re not. A millimeter difference in sharpness can seriously affect the proficiency of the arrow concerning penetration and power delivery.
Another misconception is some even think that practicing in a foam target will sharpen their broadhead all by itself! (Disclaimer: It Doesn’t!)
Of course, you can replace the blades, and at some point, you should. But why not get the full use of each blade before you do?
That way, 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 Sharpen Broadheads?
Step 1: Find your angle
First, you need to find the angle at which you’re going to file/grind the blade. For a super sharp edge, a 20° blade angle should cut it.
While running your blade along the sharpener or grinding the sharpener along your blade edge, maintain a consistent angle throughout.
Draw a marked line as a guide to ensure each side of the broadhead blade gets the same treatment.
Step 2: Initial Sharpening
When you find that angle to cut the hair off a spider’s back, rub your blade along the file or stone. Applying a little at first, slowly finishing up by decreasing the pressure.
You don’t want to remove too much material and change the size of your arrowhead. You will see the edges will be pretty rough once you’ve done this.
Step 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.
Step 4: Stropping For A Scary Sharp Edge
Now run the blade with just a touch of light pressure repeatedly and evenly for some time back and forth across the leather’s soft side.
The more numbers of strokes you put in, the finer your edge becomes. Here’s a video guide if you need visual instructions.
Test the sharpness of something invaluable and sensible until you have that scary sharp edge that will surely deliver a lethal shot.
How to Sharpen Broadheads Using Specialized 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.
Here are some of the most common tools that can help you get sharp broadheads quickly and efficiently.
Bloody Buddy Sharpener
This is a specially designed-sharpener for all broadhead types, even awkward mechanical broadheads! If you’re searching to learn how to sharpen mechanical broadheads, this is the one you should get.
A bloody buddy sharpener features two stone benches in a vice setup that can be adjusted at the millimeter level. You don’t even have to separate the broadhead from the arrow!
The shape and design make it perfect for sharpening difficult and awkward broadheads such as the four-blade Chisel point.
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 your hunting missions and use it on the fly.
All you have to do to get fine, razor-sharp, and double bevel edges are grip and pull the blade through at your desired angle.
It also comes with a broadhead wrench that matches the most common sizes, making it a uniquely helpful addition to your hunting bag.
The Bastard File
This simple file is particularly good for precision work when you want those extra sharper edges that prefab sharpeners can’t get.
These files range from an 8 to a 12, depending on what grain you’re looking for. Remember, this grain here doesn’t represent your arrow’s grain weight. Instead, this refers to the level of finish you’re looking for in your blades.
It gives you total control over the thickness of your edge and is extremely straightforward to use.
Although many types of files are available on the market, the most commonly used one is probably the bastard file.
However, you are free to choose the file of your choice. Just check if the file is single bevel or double bevel. Double-bevel files work faster, but single-bevel ones will be more precise.
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 natural Arkansas stone or the nearest one you can find, depending on the level of sharpness you’re looking for.
You’ll get a diamond-coated sharpening stone for a surprisingly reasonable price, and they cut an edge as you’ve never seen.
This is the best way to sharpen broadheads when it comes to comfort.
Much like sharpening stones, these come set in a bench fix that holds them nicely in place, giving you the freedom to run your blade as you wish.
They are mainly used in sharpening jigs, but you can use them as you see fit.
If you’re using a mechanical broadhead with multi-bladed broadheads, this is the best broadhead sharpener for you out there.
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!
How to Sharpen Broadheads: Pro Tips
- Always remember to know the type of your broadhead and apply stronger pressure at first and then ease off a bit. This will spare you the effort of constantly removing chunks of material off the edge of your blade.
- Make absolutely sure you are filing or running evenly. Grinding over flat surfaces will help you maintain the sharpening angle.
- The entire edge must 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. 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. Whether you’re hunting or target practicing, make sure your arrows are as sharp as they can be before you shoot.
- Consider using a light coat of archery wax on your broadheads to ensure they don’t become victims of unwanted rust.
As I said, sharpening broadheads doesn’t need to be a headache!
All the tips I laid out 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. Thanks for reading this far. Stay sharp and happy hunting!
How Sharp Should Broadheads Be?
As sharp as they can get. To ensure a humane kill, broadheads need to be razor-sharp as a sharp edge broadhead will slice through the animal’s tissue without putting heavy strain. Most broadheads need to maintain a near-20° edge to make the killing quick and humane.
How Long Does It Take To Sharpen A Broadhead?
Less than 5 minutes, if you know what you’re doing. If you have a wide range of grit options, choose a 325-grit diamond stone for the sharpening and a finer one for the finish. This way, you’ll be able to sharpen your broadheads within 2-3 minutes.
Can You Sharpen Broadheads With A Knife Sharpener?
Yes. The grinding techniques are the same in a knife and a broadhead sharpener. It all comes down to your personal preference. You can also use a stone, sharpening jig, or stick to sharpen your broadheads.
Should You Sharpen Broadheads?
Yes. Keeping your broadheads sharp is the best way to ensure a humane kill. If you’re reusing your broadheads, don’t forget to sharpen or replace the blades. This will ensure clean and ethical kills.