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Thread: Gut hook knives

  1. #1

    Gut hook knives

    Have been using a gut hook knife for a while now and really like it. Has anyone figured out a way to sharpen the guthook itself? Or has anyone seen a specialist tool for sharpening one?

  2. #2
    Small round steel - I *think* I got one from an angling supplies outlet - used for sharpening big barbed hooks, (just don't let Peter Pan see you buying it. )

    I used one for a while but went back to a 4" folding knife and guiding fingers in the end. Just suited me better personally.

  3. #3


    I personally find gut hooks just get in the way but a friend of mine uses one all the time and although you can get dedicated gut hook sharpeners he just uses the corect size chain saw file from mole valley for about 1.60.

  4. #4
    With Rick on this
    3/16 chainsaw file or diamond sharpener at 4 times the price

  5. #5
    A warning. Remember that knives are dangerous and can be damaged themselves when handled by inexperienced, clumsy, stupid or careless people, if you are one of these then get someone else to do it or suffer the consequences. If you are experienced and know what you are doing then you know the risks. I accept no responsibility for any one in either category or any other category who tries out the advice below. You should only read further if you agree with the above.

    For an excellent edge make up some hones yourself, not difficult and you get to choose the grit sizes you want.

    1. Get some dowels, ( wood, plastic or metal), slightly smaller diameter than the recess that forms the gut hook. They can be cut to any length required but about 6" or 150mm will fit in a pocket easily

    2. Get some sheets of wet and dry paper in the grit sizes you want

    3. Roll a piece of paper round a dowel , mark and cut to size, check for a good fit and glue on with waterproof glue.

    4. Let the glue set. While the glue is drying prepare the knife. Clean it and apply one or two strips of protective tape to the blade to prevent you cutting yourself.

    5. Sharpen your gut hook with your new customised sharpening kit!

    I would suggest grits of about 300, 600, 800 but its's a matter of personal preference really.

    If you are using wooden dowel it would be prudent to varnish the exposed areas especially the end grain to prevent water uptake and subsequent swelling of the wood.

    To sharpen dip the hone in cold water, lay it in the groove of the gut hook at the existing angle (as in sharpening a skandi ground knife) and take a few strokes towards the edge of the blade. You can go the other way or use a forward and backwards motion but remember that the grit is on paper and it can be cut.

    Start with the finest grit and try just a few strokes. If you have honed the metal all the way down the recess to the blade and a wire edge has formed on the other side of the blade (ie a little lip of metal which can either be seen or felt as a resistance with a matchstick or similar), then do the same to the other side. Remove the wire edge with alternative strokes to lose the wire edge and you are ready to go.

    If the edge does not form with the fine grit quickly or there is an area of the blade close the edge which has not been honed by the fine grit then go progressively to a coarser grit to achieve the desired effect.

    Once you get the gut hook sharp then go back through the finer grades again to achieve a better edge.

    Remember that in general less grinding is better than more (knife lasts longer) and also that frequent light sharpening to keep a keen edge is better than letting it get really blunt before attending to the edge.

    Have fun


  6. #6
    Good one bob but what a load of Poltava just get a sharp knife and gut thing not rocket science. The time spent sharpening the gut hook i could have emptied out dozens of deer.

  7. #7
    Quite agree LDG, I don't use a guthook myself but question was how to sharpen one.

    For those who don't know how to sharpen the same principles of sharpening apply to most knives. Just follow the makers grinds and use flat sticks to put wet and dry paper on. Offcuts of marine ply or water and boilproof ply very stable. If using a flat stone or a diamond sharpner push the knife away from you blade first rather than drawing it away from you as you would when using paper.

    If sharpening a blade shaped like a scythe, eg a tripe knife, then the round dowels can be used in the same manner as you would use a whetstone to sharpen a scythe. that is drawing it away from you and down at the same time. Watch out for that downward curving blade though, a moments in-attention and you could lay your hand open to the bone, if inexperienced use a thick leather or rubberguard between your hand and the blade.

    Those with a convex grind (eg Svord Pigsticker knives) are best sharpened by sticking wet and dry paper to a mouse mat and drawing the blade away from you.

    Start on cheap knives to learn and the knicks and cuts you recieve are natures way of telling you to improve your technique! With practice it's like reloading, or flytying, most of the time you will have better ammunition, flies or edges on your blades than most of the manufactures will provide.

    The basics are simple and will give a good result, there's also lots to learn if you wish and a sharp knife is so much safer and easier to use than a blunt or semi sharp one.

    A word of warning , if members of your household are used to blunt kinves warn them if you start sharpening them otherwise they will cut themselves and keep them away from children. Common sense really but sometimes it's not so common.

    Have fun


  8. #8
    LDG is right, my DSC 1 guy said to spend 8 on a stainless frosts clipper and learn to use it before I 'rambo about' with something big and silly.

    By the way, the frosts clipper is a hell of a bit of steel and I haven't gone 'Rambo' yet because it's a top tool.

    Having said that, if you can use the hook and it saves time and you prefer it to a simple blade then the advice above seems solid.

  9. #9
    Cheers, chaps.Hopefully i wont fall into the stupid,clumsy.inexperienced, or careless category. I gralloch about 100 red deer per year so am not in the big league, but after many years of using a straight blade I switched to a guthook (two actually-one a folding gerber gator, and one a buck fixed blade) and find it quicker and simpler myself. Both knives are quite compact (no bigger than a standard fixed blade) which I like as I prefer to carry them in my coat pocket-one because I find they get in the way when crawling on the hill at times, and two because I havent wanted to look like Rambo since I was 12! I would reccommend these knives to anybody, only slight problem is that I find the blade quite broad for bleeeding purposes but have got used to it. Thanks again, everyone.

  10. #10
    Hi traveller, I didn't realise you were more than a recreational type and got stuck in as much as you did so my apologies Certainly from the amount of reds you're doing and experience your blade it's the tool for you.

    Good luck!

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