LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
Written by Bowhunting.com contributor Tom Claycomb III.
I don’t know about you but every once in a while I miss. I live in Idaho so that pretty much means my broadhead (BH) is going to land on a rock, tree or at best in the dirt. That’s not good for the BH and as everyone knows, it is imperative that your broadhead be razor sharp in order to kill as quickly as possible.
An arrow kills by slicing blood veins, not by pushing them aside, which is exactly what will happen if boadheads aren’t kept razor sharp. Broadheads can be dulled in a number of ways. Missing an animal, shooting an animal, or simply putting your arrows in or out of the quiver will dull the blades on your broadhead. And, in case you’ve never noticed, broadheads are a little expensive so you sure don’t want to throw them away every time that you dull one. The solution? Learn to sharpen your own broadheads.
Only a quality, razor-sharp broadhead will deliver the devastating results that bowhunters look for after the arrow has been launched.
So let’s talk about how to sharpen a broadhead. Smith Abrasives makes a little hand held gizmo for sharpening broadheads. The first thing you’ll need to do before using it is to determine your blade angle. This is a pretty simple task and can be done in a matter of minutes. To determine your angle, get a black magic marker and mark along the edge of the broadhead blade. Run your BH over the sharpener. If all the black is gone….great! If not, this means that you need more angle. My current broadhead is easy to sharpen. I lay them flat and simply rub back and forth. They are set at an angle that allows me to do it in this manner. If yours aren’t, then sharpening them will be a little harder. You’ll have to do one side at a time almost as if you’re sharpening a knife.
Sharpening a broadhead with a Smith’s Broadhead sharpener is easy once blade angle has been determined.
Just remember, you want to grind the same amount of strokes on each side of the broadhead or else you will end up with a weird angle. When you’re sharpening your knife you don’t rub two times on one side and four on the other side do you? Then don’t do it to your BH’s. That’s what you’re doing if you rub it for five seconds on one side and eight on the other.
More Than Sharp
So let’s suppose that you have an edge that is pretty boogered up. You’ll want to start with a coarser stone. Maybe even a 325 grit diamond stone. This will remove the knicks and flat spots along the blade very quickly. Next you will go to your fine diamond stone and finish it up. You should have a good edge within literally 2-3 minutes. It is now time to go to your Arkansas stone. Apply honing oil to the surface and rub it back and forth. That’s one good thing about BH’s. They’re flat and don’t have a curvature like most knives so you don’t have to worry about changing the angle as you go down the edge like you do on a knife.
For tougher jobs, like eliminating nicks and flat spots on the blade, you will need to use something more heavy duty , like this Smith Abrasives fine diamond stone; working the blades and the stone down as you go.
In a nutshell you will sharpen your broadhead pretty much in the same manner as your knife; by starting with a coarser stone and working your way down to a finer one. The difference between the two is that I don’t let my knives get dull enough to require a coarse stone. On BH’s though, many times when I need to sharpen them it is because I have missed my target and have messed up the edge pretty good. Again, it is imperative that to the best of your ability you remove all knicks and flat spots. If these hit a blood vessel they will be pushed aside instead of being sliced. You want to end up with a razor edge.
So with a little practice you should be able to learn how to sharpen your own BH’s. Not only will it save you a lot of money, it will also reduce the amount of animals that you lose or cripple.