We all know a thing or two about sharpening knives…
…but have you ever tried sharpening a broadhead?
Broadheads are the best arrow tip to have when hunting big game. They’re strong, accurate, and deadly.
But here’s the thing…
Broadheads are only good if they’re sharp.
Imagine how ugly things will get if you shoot with a dull tip. It will hardly puncture your hunt, and you’ll go home empty-handed.
That’s why it’s so crucial to sharpen your broadheads.
Unfortunately, these are tricky to sharpen. It’s not like sharpening a knife… plus, there are different types of broadheads that require different techniques.
So how is it done? How can you get your dull broadhead razor-sharp?
Let’s find out…
Types of Broadheads
Before we get into how to sharpen a broadhead, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with first.
Not all broadheads are equal. Some give priority to weight and accuracy, while others are built to be as deadly as possible.
There are a lot of variations, but you’ll find three basic types:
Let’s have a closer look at each one
They aren’t as popular as other types, but single-bevel broadheads are here to stay. A lot of professional bowhunters still prefer these over double-bevel and triple-bladed broadheads.
Single-bevel broadheads are shaped like your typical arrowhead. It is a thick, double-bladed head that only has one sharp side on each blade. This design gives single-bevel heads some perks.
Thanks to the imbalance caused by the thickness and shape, single-bevel heads spin a lot. When it hits its target, it causes more damage than a steady arrow would.
Instead of sinking straight it, the spin causes area damage – think a drill boring a hole. It can sink deep and can shatter brittle bones with ease.
In terms of accuracy, single-bevel heads keep the arrow on a straight path. Again, this caused by the spin. It works the same way helical fletching does.
Both of these – the damage and the accuracy – make single-bevel broadheads super deadly.
That said, there are some downsides to single-bevel broadheads.
One of the worst is that they’re not as common as double-bevel and triple-bladed heads. You’ll have to look harder and spend more to get one of these.
But that doesn’t stop a lot of bowhunters from seeking these out. Plus, they’re super easy to sharpen – more on this in just a bit.
From afar, double-bevel broadheads look the same as single-heads. However, when you take a closer look – or examine the way it flies – you’ll see a big difference.
The difference is self-explanatory: instead of having one bevel per blade, double-bevel heads have two.
Double-bevel heads are also a lot thinner. Unlike their single-bevel counterparts, this type of broadhead doesn’t rely on spinning to get damage.
Instead, double-bevel head shoots straight and fast. It can penetrate straight into your target without the spin slowing it down.
Does it penetrate deeper? Is it more deadly?
No one knows for sure. For centuries, these two heads have been around – and we’re not getting closer to finding which is the better one!
In terms of availability and price, though, there is one clear winner: double-bevel broadheads.
You can find these all over the place. They’re affordable, effective, and there’s nothing “wrong” with them at all.
They’re also not that difficult to sharpen.
Single-bevel and double-bevel broadheads aren’t the only ones in the picture. There are also triple-bladed broadheads.
Instead of having the standard two blades, triple-bladed heads have three.
Why would anyone need three blades?
Well, nothing is black and white. But it’s believed that triple-bladed heads leave better blood trails.
When you’re out bow hunting, you won’t get a kill on your first shot. Even if you hit, deer can still run quite some distance. You’ll need to track the blood trail to get your kill.
Thin, weak arrows won’t penetrate enough to get the blood spilling. This way, it’ll be impossible for you to find your hunt unless you can kill with the first shot.
This is where triple-bladed broadheads come in. With their large surface of penetration, you’re sure to get deep penetration and a good blood trail. No animal can escape you with one of these.
How to Sharpen The Three Types of Broadheads
How do you sharpen these?
Because they’re so different in design, each of these three types has a different technique. I’ll give you a step-by-step guide for each one. This way, your broadheads will always be razor-sharp and ready for the kill.
Single-Bevel Sharpening Steps
You might think that sharpening a broadhead is the same as sharpening a knife.
For single-bevel heads, you’ll have to deal with a thick, double-sided, single-bevel edge.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to sharpen… you just need to know the proper technique.
Step 1 – Stabilize Broadhead
Find a way to get the broadhead as steady as possible. If you have a removable broadhead, by all means, take it off from the arrow. This will make sharpening a lot easier.
Use a clamp if you have one. If not, a broadhead holder will work perfectly.
Don’t have either? You could go freehand, but BE CAREFUL. These are double-sided blades. If you grasp it firmly, it WILL cut you.
Step 2 – Find Angle
Single-bevel heads are thick, making this step super easy. There’s little to no guesswork involved since you can see it clearly with your naked eyes.
That said, it’s still a good idea to mark it with a permanent marker.
Color the edge black so that when you’re sharpening, you’ll know if you’re hitting the right angle.
Step 3 – Sharpen!
Now get to sharpening!
You can use a sharpening stone, a file, sandpaper, or anything that can remove steel.
All you have to do is run your sharpener across the bevel. You can do this in any direction, but I prefer pushing towards the tip.
Do this a few times, then feel for a burr.
Once you feel the burr on the flat side of the bevel, you know your broadhead is sharp.
Step 4 – Sharpen Other Blade
Once the first blade is done, flip your broadhead and work on the other one.
Step 5 – Strop
Next, take a leather strop – you can also use your belt, boots, or anything leather – and polish your broadhead.
Run the strop against the edge the same way you sharpened it. This will remove the burr and give your arrowhead a razor-sharp finish.
Double-Bevel Sharpening Steps
Double-bevel broadheads are sharpened in a similar fashion. There is one key difference though, double-bevel heads are… well… double-beveled.
Step 1 – Stabilize Broadhead
You know the drill, use a clamp or broadhead holder – or carefully use your hands.
Sep 2 – Find Angle
Take your marker and mark up the edge. Remember that these are double-beveled, so mark both sides.
Step 3 – Sharpen!
In the same way as single-bevels, take your sharpener and rub it against the edge. Always remember that angle is super important. Get it wrong, you’ll damage your broadhead.
After a few gentle strokes, feel for a burr on the opposite side. When you feel it, you’re done with that side.
Step 4 – Flip!
Don’t forget, you’re dealing with a double-beveled broadhead. The edge has two sides!
Before getting to the other blade, flip the edge over and work on the other side first.
Using a marker is even more important when working on double-bevel broadheads. This is to ensure that both bevels are sharpened at the same angle.
Step 5 – Sharpen Other Blade
Once both sides are sharp, start working on the other blade.
Make sure you sharpen both sides of this blade as well!
Step 6 – Strop
As always, stropping is so important. You can never have a perfect, shiny, and deadly-sharp finish without this step.
Triple-Bladed Sharpening Steps
Last but not least, the triple-bladed broadhead.
At first glance, you might think this is the most difficult to sharpen.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
You’ll be shocked at how easy triple-bladed heads are to sharpen. Sure, they use a different technique. But once you know it, you can never go wrong.
So how is it done?
Step 1 – Stabilize Sharpener
Did you catch that?
The first step is to stabilize the sharpener, not the broadhead.
Take your sharpening stone and place it down on some wet paper towels. This way, it won’t move around as you sharpen.
Step 2 – Place Broadhead on Sharpener
The best part?
You don’t have to worry about angles!
Place your triple-bladed broadhead flat on your sharpener, and that’s already the perfect angle.
Step 3 – Sharpen!
Once that’s down, pull your broadhead against the sharpener. I recommend pulling towards you (this makes it easier to deal with the burr).
After a few strokes, feel for a burr to know when you’re done.
Step 4 – Rotate!
Sharpen each of the three sides separately. Once you’re finished with one, rotate your broadhead and work on the next one.
Step 5 – Strop
And… of course… strop every side to finish it off.
Broadheads have been around fr centuries… and will remain for centuries to come.
Now that you know how to sharpen, not one…
…but all three types of broadheads, you’ll never have a dull arrow in times of need.