How To Sharpen A Hawkbill Knife – Sharpening Curve-Edged Knives

Hawkbill knives are knives very similar with the kukri knives and the karambit knives, the thing they share is the curved edge. Most of these knives are not used for chopping. Instead, they are used for carving and slicing. The original idea of the blade was to resemble a tiger’s claw. Sharpening a Hawkbill knife is a little bit different than sharpening a normal-shaped knife. The Hawkbill has a curved blade, which requires special tools to sharpen. That doesn’t make it harder to sharpen than normal knives, though.

What Does A Hawkbill Knife Look Like

The Hawkbill knife back in the day was used as a tool for harvesting crops but over the years it became a tool that can be used in everyday situations.

Milwaukee 48-22-1985 Fastback Hawk Bill Folding Knife w/Belt Clip and Lanyard Hole

Nowadays, all modern Hawkbill knives don’t resemble the past culture when it was a tool for agriculture. Just like its predecessors, these knives too were foldable, but the modern ones have higher standards, greater designs and they have some other cool features that you couldn’t possibly find back in the days. Another interesting change that Hawkbill knives underwent was the change in their size. Before, they couldn’t be used by people with large hands. Nowadays, they are better and obviously, bigger.

Usually, in the past, this type of knife had several purposes. For instance, many people used it to defend themselves, but they also used it for numerous survival related tasks. By its design, these knives are designed in a certain way, and it is practically impossible for anyone to take it away from your hand – and that’s a plus – your enemy cannot take away your weapon.

You can see the purpose in combat for this knife since it the versions from the West also had safety rings.

Nowadays, many people find usage in this type of knife for outdoor activities. You can use it to go hunting or fishing, you can do outdoor trips like skiing, camping or backpacking with it, or you can even do some hunting tasks with it.

So we can see that the Hawkbill knives are a descendant of the well-known karambit knife which serves more of a combat weapon. However, combat ability is completely removed from modern Hawkbill knives, and nowadays they are made for everyday use, such as carving and slicing.

For more outdoor knives articles have a look at Elk Ridge knives review or how to use a butterfly knife.

How To Sharpen Your Hawkbill Knife

You may know that normal shaped knives are often sharpened with a whetstone, however on a knife that has a curved edge that is impossible. In order to get the best edge for your Hawkbill knife you will need a sharpening stone which has a round edge. The angles of sharpening however stay the same on both knives. With that said, the only real difference is the round edge which is important so it can contact the blade properly. Here is a picture showing how a round-shaped sharpener looks like.

Now, let’s see the steps of how to sharpen a Hawkbill knife.

Prepare your knife

-First of all prepare your knife for sharpening, that means get rid of any dust or dirt that could be on it and clean it using a dry or absorbent piece of fabric. If the knife isn’t clean, use warm water to clean it and make sure to dry it afterwards because it needs to be free from dirt and water before you start sharpening it.

-Now you need to grip your knife in your hand in a way you feel comfortable in. Don’t hold it too tightly. You must remember that the art of knife sharpening is always based on steadiness, carefulness and logic. If you don’t grip the knife the proper way you may risk breaking it which is always undesirable.

Sharpen the Hawkbill Knife

-Next, begin stroking the knife very gently on the stone, which by the way should be a very small and quality stone just because the nature of a Hawkbill knife is very delicate. Stroke the blade 4-5 times on each side using a downward motion. And always remember to point the knife away from you to prevent any accidental damage.

-Now you will need to switch to a finer grit or a sharpening stone and continue sharpening the blade until you feel like its sharp enough. Finer grit stones are an amazing tool to change the edge of the knife.

More about sharpening articles can be found in our guides how to use a Lansky pocket knife sharpener or how to use a Smith’s knife sharpener.

Finishing touches

-Be sure to always remove any residue or powder from your sharpener using a dry and a clean cloth or blowing it away.

-Also you can use leather fabric to run over your knife with. This way, you give longevity to the sharpness of the blade, and you prevent yourself from having to sharpen it again anytime soon.

-To test that your knife is sharp enough the best way is to use the oldschool method: the paper cutting. The most simple and effective way to tell if your knife edge is razor sharp.

This is pretty much everything there is with using a round knife sharpener, it is not hard but you still need to be very careful while doing it just like with any knife sharpening process.

Klein Tools 44218 Utility Knife, Folding Knife with Hawkbill Blade, This Lockback Utility Knife for Cable Skinning has a Replaceable Blade


Hope you learned how to sharpen a Hawkbill knife, and that it can be a very simple process using the right tools. There are two options in round sharpening tools, you can buy one or you can make yourself one at home using sandpaper. The pre-bought one can be a better choice if you have never made a knife sharpener at home yourself. The basics of knife sharpening also applies to this knife also so you don’t need to learn any new stuff to make your Hawkbill knife razor sharp. Just get the right tools for it, see the basics of the motion and at what angle you should hold the knife while sharpening it and there you go.

Taking your knife to a professional for sharpening can be a wise choice as well, people with experience at sharpening can make the best for your knife. But if you want to have a tool at home which will be a cheaper way of doing it, we recommend buying a very fine round diamond stone.

For more related reviews you can visit best EDC knife under $100 or how to fix a pocket knife that won’t close.

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