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Thread: Using broadheads right from the package

  1. #1
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Default Using broadheads right from the package

    Right now, 3 blade, fixed blade broadheads are very popular. The G5 Montec revived the interest and other broadhead makers have followed suit. All of these heads appear to be top notch, but as a broadhead collector, I can tell you that these heads are not exactly razor sharp right out of the package. Don't get me wrong. All of these heads will do the job straight from the package if you make a well placed shot through the vitals but they can all be improved by a little touch up prior to taking them to the field.
    The same is true of a head that you have been using as a practice Broadhead. Foam targets don't really damage a broadhead but they will dull them considerably. In either case, sharpening a 3 bladed broadhead is so easy that there is no real reason to not to give them a touch up that will make them scary sharp.

    Sharpening a 3 bladed broadhead is a simple a rolling a toy car on a table top. No special skills are required to produce a sharp, hunting quality edge. You can use something as simple as 400 or 600 grit wet dry sandpaper. This sandpaper is normally black and is available at all hardware stores and home centers. For longer life I use a flat diamond hone. You can also use a whet stone. The only other thing you need is a sharpie marker.

    The sharpie is used to draw in the blade edge. As you sharpen the head, you will wear away the marker and know that you have touched up the entire surface. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep your stoke count equal on all 3 sides of the head to maintain balance. If two sides can be honed with only 30 stokes but the 3rd side, requires 40 strokes, all sides must get 40 strokes.



    Here is a head I took straight from the package. Notice the grind marks and the rolled over edge (white line along the cutting edge). This head was semi sharp but not one I would take into the woods.



    I took another head and spent perhaps 3 minutes on a diamond hone and then an Arkansas stone. In very little time, I had the head much sharper. In the upper blade you can see the reflection of the camera lens info.



    This is the sharpness tester I built from a piece of wood and some rubber bands.



    I was able to press the first head into the tester without cutting a single band.



    The head I sharpened with only a few strokes cut nearly every band it came in contact with.



    Here is a video I shot of the diff between the two heads in the sharpness tester.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/rancidcrabtree64

    It takes very little effort to take a new broadhead that is semi sharp and turn it into a head that is more suited for hunting. The duller of the two heads will push tissue out of the way (like the bands) while the sharper head will slice through the material it contacts.

  2. #2
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Good information. I agree with you on the sharpness issue. I always sharpen the factory sharp broadheads. Emery cloth is cheap enough that anyone can afford a couple of sheets.

    As you stated three-blade broadheads seem to be the "Rage" right now. Pun intended! An interesting observation in watching the archery television shows; lack of penetration on many of the shots. The hunters state; "Look at that 2" hole." Well yea, for a few inches. I much prefer a complete pass-through even if the hole is smaller.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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  3. #3

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    might seem like a dumb question rancid…but do you use oil or other lubricant on your stones when you sharpen broadheads?

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    Member ekberger's Avatar
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    You should always use a lubricant on natural stones. The reason you do this is so that pores in the stones do not get clogged with the fine filings from the sharpening process or stone breakdown. Using a stone dry is a bad idea and will quickly ruin it and they will stop cutting. With respect to diamond stones, I never get clear answer on this. I've talked to a number of the manufactures of these products and some say yes, others say it's not necessary. One thing I've found is that even with diamond "stones", they do tend to cut better if they're cleaned after use, sometimes even during. I've used many products, even water and all seem to do just as good a job.

    Another important process after a stone gets used over time is that it needs to be flattened. Otherwise you just wear a spot into it and you will not get consistent sharpening. You can minimize this by using or varying the spot on the stone where you sharpen. If you always do it in the same spot you're going to wear an indentation in the stone itself. Natural stones, especially water stones, are especially susceptible to this but are easily flattened and refinished.

    Lastly, depending on the amount of repair or sharpening you have to do, always start with a corse stone and move up to your hard/fine stone for that final edge. If not, you'll spend an awful lot of unnecessary time in the sharpening process and may never achieve your intended goal.

  5. #5

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    the easieset (and by far cheapest) way to do this is without a stone.

    I don't hunt with the 3's but I've sharpened plenty either screwing off or showing guys the same thing.

    Glass is cheap, and flat! I have a spot on the coffee table just for this purpose (plane blades get the same routine).

    you can go to an automotive store and get paper into the thousands if you want to really polish it up like Rc had mentioned. If you don't like that high of a polished edge, don't get into the finer grits of sandpaper, pretty simple. You can also flatten your stones using the sand paper on glass if you have stones that need it.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    You can use either water or oil for a stone. I would suggest that if you carry a touchup stone in the field use water. If you use water and then switch to oil stone, then you basically have to remain using oil.


    a mentioned too, you can create a dip in your stone if you are not careful so try to use the full surface of the stone if at all possible.

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    I have been using 2 blade (no bleeder) cut on contact for 30 some years and I sharpen them with a file which gives a sharp but ragged edge and I always get pass thru on things up to elk. Razor edge works fine too, I just have had good luck with the file...suppose it would work on 3 blade too.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak-fang View Post
    might seem like a dumb question rancid…but do you use oil or other lubricant on your stones when you sharpen broadheads?
    Mostly water. Its cheap and easy to find and cleans up with..................... Water. Oil, not so much.

  9. #9
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    I have been using 2 blade (no bleeder) cut on contact for 30 some years and I sharpen them with a file which gives a sharp but ragged edge and I always get pass thru on things up to elk. Razor edge works fine too, I just have had good luck with the file...suppose it would work on 3 blade too.
    I used to use a file on 2 blades also. And also know that the burr left can cut very efficiently. But to rely on a burr, that you do not know if it is going to break off as entering the hide, I questioned the practicality of file usage. So I switched to holding devices, precision angles and honed edges.

    When I was hunting in New York recently and pulling arrows from the quiver every other day, I even switched the ones I pulled, opting for the sharpest broadheads I could have. Either way, sharpening to a necessity and fun part of planning a hunt.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    I concur with daveinthebush. Gone are the days of the Fred Bear file edge. With todays sharpening/honing tools available, a mirror finish hone is achievable to all at very little cost or time. I detailed this in another thread.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php/138304-cheapskates-guide-to-broadhead-sharpening

  11. #11

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    honestly as much as I like a finely polished edge and will likely continue to hunt with it as I have from the start, most of my hunting buddies prefer the filed edge of Hill and Bear. Its simple and quick and just as effective on game. To each their own.

    Dave,

    You need to read on how Hill sharpened his heads....I do believe Freds method was very similar. It basically turned it into a microscopic serrated edge, not a burr persay that could fail.

    I will say I've had some mirror edges roll on me and I have also had them ripped off. It doesn't happen often, as a matter of fact I only can think of twice now where I ripped a edge off. I did go to a lower degree edge than my typical setting and haven't had the issue since I returned to my normal edge taper. I've also stopped going to a mirror finish. Its fun but its a complete waste of time. It's plenty sharp on an extra fine stone to do what I want it to do. Taking it down to 1500 or 2000 grit stones is pointless for what we do. I like sharp don't get me wrong and no I do not file edges, I would if I could but I've never been good enough with a file on a broadhead to get an edge I cared for.

    I also don't believe carrying a full set of stones is really a wise move around here. There are better options. Though I don't believe the montec stone is quite big enough for the typical 3 blades we shoot it might be close. I do believe you could make a simple home made job out of sand paper front and back for touch up purposes and save some serious weight in doing so.

    I like using oil on my heads....why? Because I'm going to put oil on them to keep them from rusting anyways. I've used chapstick and Vaseline over the years and they worked fine. But I continually use oil to sharpen for this reason alone. I hate rusty heads and knowing me if I started sharpening with water, I'd leave water somewhere in the weld and viola I'll end up with rust. rust drives me goofy when it comes to heads and knives.

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    Gosh, I'm not as old as Hill or Bear but my Dad was and that's where I learned the file thing...nothing wrong with a stone. We all know it's where you put the arrow that counts...not how you sharpened it...so whatever works for you.

    Gotta agree with Trad....water has no place on my broad heads....just be careful wiping that Chapstick on and don't get confused between the broad head and your lips!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Sharpening anything is a science. For my knifes I like 17-19 degrees. Axes 33 degrees. Fillet knifes more around 10-12 degrees. So what is the ideal angle for a broad-head so it won't roll or even tear as it hits flesh and bone? I have seen Thunderhead and Rage broad-heads tear lengthwise on the edge.

    I try to stick with 19-21 degrees for the two blades. The three blades are I think, if I do the math right, I are 30 degrees. I have never had a three blade tear. And I think with a compound shooting a 500 grain arrow, it is going to do the job.

    Filing again is a science. The angle of the teeth on a file is not the best for the sharpness you want on a broad-head. I like to do more of a draw filing technique where the file is drawn across instead of pushed at 90 degrees to the cutting service. I do the same with the axes. I put a block of wood on the head, and draw the file across the cutting edge. I can get an axe scary sharp.

    What angles do you others try to obtain for broad-heads?

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

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