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Designed as a type of a hand-held knife, karambit is a multi-purpose weapon featuring a curved but single, double, or a multi-edged blade. The presence of a curved blade itself emphasizes the need for a unique technique for sharpening it.
The curved blade enables a user to wrap it around or into an adversary, facilitating a few efficient, defensive plots. Although the origin in the Indo-Australian Archipelago, karambit is commonly used in Southeast Asia as one of the exotic knives due to the blade shape serving several purposes.
The knife is exclusively meant for close combats. It is also known as the woman’s weapon, as it quickly hides in the hair. At present, it is looked upon as a curious addition to any protective arsenal. Thus, it is common for many people to have this knife.
A vital aspect of owning such a knife, especially after investing significantly in it, is to know how to sharpen it. When it comes to how to sharpen a karambit knife, it is essential to know that several karambits are sharp and ready to use once you unpack it.
Nevertheless, over time and with frequent usage, the blade becomes dull, which indicates the need to sharpen it. Thus, this post is dedicated to making it easy for you to sharpen a karambit.
Basics of Sharpening a Karambit
Sharpening a curved karambit is not that tough as you may think. In terms of ease of sharpening, it is the same as sharpening a straight blade. Nevertheless, the tools used for the same are a bit different.
Thus, when it comes to how to sharpen a karambit knife, ensure to choose the right sharpener along with the method to get a razor-sharp edge.
A typical straight blade that has an outward curve needs a flat stone for precise and smooth sharpening. However, a curved knife with an inward curve, such as a karambit or a kukri, requires a stone with a round edge.
The actual process and the sharpening angles remain almost the same. There is just one difference; a stone with a round edge is mandatory, as it is the only stone that can properly come in contact with the blade. A few knives feature a gentle inward curve close to the heel, which is perfectly sharpened with such a stone.
Due to the curved blade shape, sharpening most karambits using a flat bench stone sharpener or an Arkansas flat stone is unwise. This is because none of the two helps in getting the work done. The most reliable sharpener for this task is a triangular or round rod. Round ceramic rods and honing steels work well. Don’t even think about using electric sharpeners!
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Steps of Sharpening a Karambit
The process of sharpening a karambit is the same as sharpening any other knife or blade. To get started, however, it is essential to ensure that the blade or knife is free of any debris and dirt. This indicates that you should sharpen only a clean knife.
If dirty, it is wise to clean the blade so that it becomes ready for the sharpening process. Check carefully across the blade and remove any dirt or dust with the help of a dry, soft cloth.
If the blade is dirty that does not budge with wiping, consider applying a mixture of liquid soap and warm water and then drying it with a clean cloth. The bottom line is that the blade must be completely dry and clean for sharpening.
It is worth keeping in mind that working with sharp blades is a risky task. Thus, it is wise to practice all safety precautions. For example, it is mandatory to wear durable gloves. With a clean and dry karambit, here are the sharpening steps for you to follow:
- Firmly grip the karambit in your hand. However, do not hold it too tightly to indicate that you are about to attack someone. The grip should be such that you feel flexible and comfortable while getting a firm feel. The art of sharpening a knife is based on being steady, careful, and logical. Thus, ensure your wrist is flexible and that the angle at which you are clasping the blade to the sharpener is small. It should be as small as possible. If this is not done, you are likely to change the blade’s shape entirely or shorten its length. Even worse would be to end up damaging the blade. None of the three is desirable.
- With a medium grit, begin stroking the karambit blade across the surface of the sharpening stone smoothly and gently. At this time, just remember that the small karambit knife is delicate by nature due to which you should use a small and quality stone. You need to be very meticulous at this stage and stroke such that the blade remains pointed away from you. Further, ensure the same stroke count for both sides.
- Now, switch to a finer grit or sharpening stone and continue stroking the blade until you get the desired sharp look. The finer grit is ideal for changing the edge. It is wise to use the stones from the same brand for performing both these steps. You will be able to see a small gap between the blade and the stone. This is due to the shape of the karambit. Because of this, another sharpening tool is required.
- Sharpen the blade with the help of a narrow and fine sharpener of a rectangular or round shape. Mostly, such a sharpener is made up of steel. Ensure to sharpen along the course of the tool in the form of continuous long strokes while holding at a small angle as possible.
- Finally, remove any residue or powdery tuff from the knife with the help of a dry and clean cloth. Similarly, clean the tools as well by blowing the dust or wiping them.
Alternatively, watch this youtube video. It lists multiple ways of sharpening Karambit or other curved blades.
Tip: You can make your sharpener or sharpening tool by pasting sandpaper to a convex surface with the help of a suitable glue.
Sharpening a karambit knife is a simple process if you choose the right tools and follow the proper technique. You can either choose from the existing round-edge sharpeners or make your own, dedicated sharpener.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.