Sharpening broadheads can be a pain. I’ve had to do this mid-hunt and, trust me, you do not want to be in this position. But there’s a lot of things that you can do to make sharpening your broadheads a more pleasant experience. Plus, there’s a ton of benefits to sharpening your blades and replacements just don’t compare.
Here are 5 quick and easy steps for sharpening your broadheads.
- Find the right angle to sharpen at
- Sharpen your blade on both sides
- Polish the edges with a file
- Using tooling leather for maximum sharpness
- Wax for maximum protection
So now you might be wondering if sharpening your broadheads is truly worth it. There are a few different things to consider and I’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Why is it important to sharpen broadheads?
Now, I’m sure some people may wonder why not just replace the blades. But why buy another blade when you haven’t even used the first one to its full potential? Naturally, you’ll have to replace the blades eventually, but you’ve got a lot to save. Sharpening your broadheads should take 5 minutes tops. Going to the store to buy new ones takes way more than that. By sharpening your broadheads, you’ll not only save time, but you’ll also save money. Plus, who wouldn’t want to learn some cool sharpening skills?
Sharpening your broadheads is incredibly important because it increases the efficiency of your shots. Cleaner cuts result in better hits. In addition, it also lengthens the amount of time that you can use your broadheads for, saving you time and money.
When do broadheads have to be sharpened?
Well-designed, quality broadheads will always be fairly easy to sharpen. But naturally, even the best blades need regular maintenance. From experience, I have found that my broadheads work best with quick touch-ups before or after practice. Broadheads tend to get dull after you practice or shoot with them a few times, so I try to sharpen mine as often as possible. At the very least, before every hunt.
Telling whether or not a broadhead needs to be sharpened is very easy. A common test taught in many bowhunter education courses is the rubber band test. You will need:
- a pack of rubber bands (small to medium-sized)
- 4 sturdy sticks (around 4-5 inches in length)
- a broadhead (to test its sharpness)
In order to test your blades, grab your rubber bands. You will need around 25 of them. Then, grab your four sturdy sticks. They should be sturdy enough so that they do not break under the pressure if you were to tie a few rubber bands around it. Next, arrange two sticks at a 90-degree angle and overlap the corners. Tie the corner with rubber bands to hold it together. Next, add another stick. Your goal is to form a “picture frame” with the sticks. Keep doing this until the four sticks form a square. Next, grab about 10 rubber bands and stretch them around the outside of the frame going horizontally. Make sure they are spaced evenly. Repeat this process, but going vertically. The center of the frame should be covered by enough rubber bands so that your finger does not easily go through.
Once you’ve got this done, testing your broadheads is fairly simple. Simply take your broadhead and push it through the middle of the “frame”. If it cuts the rubber bands easily, then the broadheads are sharp. Eventually, as you practice more and more, you’ll be able to tell whether the broadhead is sharp enough just by feel.
What do you need to sharpen broadheads?
Luckily, everything you need to sharpen your broadheads is fairly inexpensive and easy to find. Click below to find everything you need on Amazon.
The first thing that you’re going to need is a sharpie marker. This can be in any color. Next, you’ll need a sharpening stone to file down your blade. After this, you’ll need a file and a leather strop to maximize the sharpness of your blade. Lastly, you will need a small amount of archery wax to protect your broadhead against rust.
What’s the best broadhead sharpener?
Granted, this is only a personal opinion, but the Work Sharp Field Sharpener is by far the best broadhead sharpener on the market. I’ve tried many sharpening stones and strops, but nothing beats the compact form of the Work Sharp Field Sharpener. It’s practical and lightweight, making it perfect for when I have to sharpen my blades out in the field. Not only that, but it also functions as a three-in-one. It has a sharpening stone, a file, and a leather strop.
How to sharpen a broadhead
Sharpening a broadhead is very similar to sharpening a knife. Your goal is to remove material on each side of the blade in order to create a clean, razor-sharp edge. You can use a sharpening stick, broadhead sharpener, or stone.
1. Find the right angle to sharpen at
First, you’ll need to find the right angle for sharpening your broadhead. To do this, grab a sharpie marker and color over the angled edge of the blade. Next, take your sharpening stone and run your blade over it. Do this lightly. Make sure you maintain a consistent angle throughout. If the color is removed evenly, then you’ve found the perfect angle. If only the edge of the color is removed, this means that your angle is too high. Instead, try flattening it out a bit.
2. Sharpen your blade on both sides
Once you’ve found your angle, the next step is to sharpen your blade. Rub your blade along the file, or vice versa, depending on your file. Push firmly, but don’t press too hard. Apply pressure at first and then slowly let up to a lighter touch. Your goal is to file away only a thin layer. I always file from the back of the broadhead and go towards the tip. You should be able to feel as the steel is filed away. While you’re doing this, count the number of strokes that you make on each side. This will prevent oversharpening. If you remove too much material, you’ll change the shape of your arrowhead. Once all of the ink is removed, flip the blade over and repeat this process. Like I mentioned earlier, the Work Sharp Field Sharpener is my favorite sharpener.
3. Polish the edges with a file
Now, you’re going to clean up the blades and finish sharpening your broadhead. You’re going to need something to hold your blade sturdy. It helps me maintain the angle and makes for a cleaner, sharper broadhead. Once you’ve finished with that, you’re going to need a very fine file or strip of leather. Use this to polish the edges. Run your blade along with the file, like how you did in the first step. Once your blade is smooth and shiny, you can move onto the next step. Many bowhunters believe that this is as much as they have to do to get a razor-sharp edge. However, to really finish the blade completely, some sort of stropping is necessary.
4. Using tooling leather for maximum sharpness
The final step is sharpening your blade using a strop or Arkansas stone. A strop is a piece of tooling leather that is used to maximize the sharpness of your broadheads. Once you’ve got your strop, the key is to run the blade repeatedly and evenly across the soft side of the leather. Light and steady pressure is the key to ensuring maximum sharpness. The more you run your blade against the strop, the finer the edge of the blade will become.
5. Wax for maximum protection
Broadheads can be prone to rust which can greatly reduce their lifespan and cutting ability. Therefore, consider using a light coat of archery wax in order to make your broadheads last longer and save you money. I recommend Dead Down’s Bow Wax.