How To Sharpen And Care For Karambits And Curved Knives

Karambits are traditional knives originating from South East Asia. Their unique appearance, a curved blade held in a wood, horn or ivory hilt, makes them stand out from the crowd, but also makes them a deadly weapon. Traditionally the hilt is held in the fist, with the blade protruding from the bottom of the hand, allowing for short, sharp punches and deadly accuracy.

But all the skill and subterfuge doesn’t mean anything if your blade isn’t razor sharp.So how do you sharpen a karambit or any other curved blade for that matter? And how do you keep that blade in great condition so that it is ready for your next strike? Follow our easy step-by-step guide and you and your karambit will be ready for what life throws at it…

What you’ll need to follow this tutorial

  • A clean cloth
  • Liquid soap
  • Sharpening stones in various grit (8000 and 3000 are ideal) or a Sharpening File
  • Sharpening stone oil
  • A piece of leather; an old belt or similar
  • A piece of paper for testing the blade
  • The knife you want to sharpen

How to Sharpen Your Knife Using a Sharpening Stone

  • Step 1: Sharpening the blade is a fairly simple process, but before you start you will have to prepare the knife. Firstly, check the blade for any dirt, dust or grease, before carefully wiping clean with a dry cloth. If that’s not enough, a simple clean with some warm water and liquid soap should lift any surface dirt from the blade. Make sure to dry the blade thoroughly afterwards, using another clean cloth.
  • Step 2: Now we’re going to start the process of sharpening the knife. Place your highest grit sharpening stone on a work bench or firm surface. Then take your knife, apply a small amount of sharpening oil to the blade (1 to 2 drops should be sufficient), before beginning to stroke the blade of your karambit along the length of the stone. Start at the hilt and move towards the end of the blade. For safety’s sake make sure you stroke the blade away from you. If you slip or the blade catches, working in this direction will minimise the likelihood of an accident.
  • Pro Tip: Work the blade along the length of the stone, keeping the angle of the knife to the sharpening stone as small as possible. By keeping the karambit flat to the stone you’ll ensure that you are sharpening the blade and not shortening it instead!
  • Step 3: Repeat Step 2, but using the lower grit of the two sharpening stones. By moving down from a high grit to a lower grit, you are grinding down the knife in smaller increments. This allows you to sharpen the blade, finely grinding the dull knife into a razor-sharp weapon.
  • Step 4: Check the blade has reached optimum sharpness by taking a piece of paper, and running the blade down the paper. A sharp blade will effortlessly cut through the paper without snagging or stopping. You should sharpen your blade until you can slice through a sheet of paper with ease. It is then time to clean it and prepare it for use.
  • Step 5: Take the piece of leather, and stroke the blade along its length on the leather. This will not only remove the last of the sharpening oil, but it can also help you to remove any other debris from the sharpening process. The cleaning action of the leather can also help prolong the sharpness of the blade, and lengthen the time between sharpening.

How To Sharpen Your Karambit Using a Knife File

You can also sharpen your karambit using a knife file. These are often a cheaper alternative to a sharpening stone, although they can be tricky to use and often don’t produce such great results.

If you have one and you’d like to use it to sharpen your karambit, then here is what you’ll have to do…

  • Step 1: As when using the sharpening stone, you’ll have to make sure that your knife is nice and clean. Remove any dirt by using a clean cloth. Stubborn dirt or grease can be removed using liquid soap and warm water. Make sure your karambit is dried thoroughly before you being the sharpening process.
  • Step 2: Hold the knife in your dominant hand, and the file in your non-dominant hand. Working away from you begin by stroking the length of the blade along the length of the file, before turning the blade and continuing the motion.
  • Step 3: As with the sharpening stone, you will want to check that the blade is sharp enough. Take a piece of paper, and cut it with the blade of the knife. A sharp blade won’t snag or pull, but instead will produce one effortless cut through the paper. If you don’t get this result, repeat Step 2 until you do.
  • Step 4: Clean the knife, and remove all the debris from the sharpening process. You can do this by rubbing it along the length of a piece of leather. This will lift off any grit, metal filings or dirt, leaving you a sharpened karambit that’s ready to use.

How To Sharpen A Karambit – Video Guide ​(Tutorial by Michael Christy)

​So did you like our step-by-step guide on how to sharpen a karambit? The best thing about this guide is that it can be used to sharpen any curved blades, not just the karambit, so there is no excuse to have dull knives hanging around.

The longevity of a knife is based solely on how well you care for it. Keeping the blade clean and regularly sharpened will help prolong the life of your karambit, so be sure you frequently take the time to care for your knife.

Bookmark this page, and you’ll be sorted for the next time you want to sharpen your karambit. And if you liked it, be sure to comment below and pass it on by sharing on your social media pages.

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