Knife and shears sharpening!??


In the Brooder
Feb 13, 2017
Question for all you out there that process your animals. What have you found works best to sharpen your knives and shears? I don't want to use a bench grinder for fear of destroying the knives. I have a little kitchen sharpener but I think that is falling apart. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!


Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Two different answers for you. I wound up getting a knife with replaceable blades. You can find some with an online search looking for what hunters use to skin out deer in the field. A knife will get dull as you use it. I don't want to stop butchering to resharpen so I replace the blade. You can resharpen them later if you wish but I don't.

I don't sharpen shears or scissors. You can probably use a jig to hold them steady enough or maybe get a sharpener that works, but I just don't sharpen them. For my pocket knife and kitchen knives i use a whetstone in the range of 200 to 220 grit. For some people that will be too rough but I feel more like I'm polishing a knife instead of sharpening it if I go much finer.


Crossing the Road
Oct 30, 2018
East central Alabama
I think Ridgerunner's answer about knives pretty much covers it. Here is how I sharpen scissors: a thin piece of rubber like is used in the medical field as a
tourniquet to draw blood. You just cut it with the scissor all the way up the blades. It works wonders for any scissor that is not bent.


May 22, 2017
SC Midlands
There are several knives out there now with replaceable blades as RR says. The blades are essentially razor blades. Some of the brands you might want to look into are Havalon (I think they were the first ones out), Gerber, and Outdoor Edge.

If you want to sharpen your own blades quickly and efficiently I would look at the Work Sharp knife sharpener. There is a bit of a learning curve to using one of these, but nowhere near the learning curve associated with learning the multitude of methods for hand sharpening on whetstones, strops, guided systems, etc.

Scissors are probably best left to professionals who do sharpening for a living.


Crossing the Road
Oct 12, 2018
British Columbia, Canada
If your edge is in good shape you should only need to hone it a bit as you work with a good honing steel or a quick honing thingie (official term there!) (Edit: knife drop, husband got up to provide term) I Don’t know how to link these things so here’s a quick screen shot of my google search:

:04B4904F-4AED-4D32-821D-F628981F98E5.png 35BAC75B-7A01-4810-BC77-63C8A4F06B32.png

We use an older, cheaper version of the leftmost pic with a plastic frame and two metal honing wires while we are slaughtering (20 lamb or 4beef per slaughter) and the honing steel when cutting the meat after it has hung for an appropriate amount of time.

We do use a bench grinder the night before each slaughter to keep the edges in good shape, especially on the skinning knives (but we are a full abbatoir, so there’s probably more use than you will have). Key points are very quick, smooth passes on the grinder so you don’t distemper the knife, and carefull attention to the correct angle on your edge.

We aren’t doing chickens yet, but these are the tools we use in our professional abbatoir.

Edit to add: And buy good knives! Victorinox are our preferred ones with either fibrox or rosewood handles (husband is a knife snob, that’s part of what brought us together lol). You need good steel, and a comfortable, light handle. Heavy blades lead to mistakes and arm/tendon fatigue if you’re putting in a long day. We mostly prefer the curved boning knife over the straight as well.
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Jul 17, 2019
North Idaho
I have a pull through hunting sharpener just two hardened steel pieces set in plastic creating a "V". I use this for heavy removal when a blade is really bad.

Next I have a diamond sharpening stone, it is diamond impregnated metal and I use that for finishing out a knife.

My third go to item is a an old kitchen sharpening tool the metal rod with hardened ridges on it, I use that a lot when I am in the middle of butchering and I dull a blade that is a quick way to get an edge back, not perfect but it is quick.

With these three things you can sharpen most anything you need.

I use the diamond stone to also sharpen my meat grinder blade and flatten the cutting plates for it. I also use it to sharpen my hair trimmer blades and my horse and sheep trimmer blades.
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