How to Sharpen Tanto Blade [Step-by-Step Guide]

A dull tanto blade can be frustrating to use and even dangerous. Keep your tanto in top condition by learning how to sharpen it yourself. With the right tools and a bit of practice, you can quickly restore the sharp blade edge of your tanto and keep it slicing through materials with ease.

Sharpening a tanto knife can be challenging, and taking all necessary safety precautions is essential. 

This guide will provide an overview of the different types of tanto blades, explain the anatomy of a tanto blade and the safety precautions that should be taken, and provide stepbystep instructions on how to sharpen tanto blades. 

Let’s dive in.

Safety Precautions 

Take all required safety precautions before sharpening a tanto blade. Always wear safety gear like long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection. Make use of a sharpening stone made especially for tanto blades. By doing so, you can maintain the blade’s sharpness and balance.

Additionally, use the proper technique for sharpening the knife blade to guarantee that it is done so accurately and effectively.

When sharpening, ensure the fixed blade is firmly in position and that your hands are far from the blade. Avoid using too much force when sharpening, as this could damage the blade.

Additionally, before sharpening, always clamp your blade in place first. This will make it more likely that the blade will remain steady as you work on it and that you won’t cut yourself by accident. In order to avoid the possibility of accidentally cutting yourself, position the blade far from your body.

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Blade Sharpening Basics 

tanto blade

The blade should be held firmly in position while sharpening, and a sharpening stone or rod should be used against the edge at a steady angle. Depending on your desired level of blade sharpness, this angle should be in the range of 10 to 20 degrees.

Once the proper sharpness is attained, the stone or rod should be continually moved back and forth. To ensure consistent sharpness, it is crucial to slide the stone or rod over the whole length of the blade, from the tip to the base.

Selecting the Right Sharpening Tool 

Choosing the proper sharpening equipment is crucial when honing a tanto blade. The best tools for the job are a sharpening stone or a sharpening rod composed of a hard substance, like diamond or ceramic.

Grits, which describe the size of the abrasive particles on stones and rods, are a characteristic of both. While fine grits are preferable for producing a finer edge, coarse grits are better for swiftly sharpening a dull blade.

It’s crucial for a beginner tactical knife sharpener to comprehend the different types of sharpening equipment offered. The most typical kind of sharpening tool is a sharpening stone, which is made of a hard substance like diamond or ceramic.

Another tool for sharpening tanto blades is a sharpening rod. They are constructed of the same hard substances used to make sharpening stones, such as ceramic or diamond. They are utilized by repeatedly moving the blade along the rod, often back and forth, unlike stones.

Sharpening rods have varying grits, similar to stones, and the coarser grits work best for swiftly honing a dull blade, while the finer grits work best for grinding a finer edge.

And finally, when sharpening a tanto blade, it’s essential to think about the kind of edge you want to produce. Combining a sharpening stone and rod can provide a blade point that is both sharp and long-lasting.

Sharpen the blade first with the coarse grit of the stone, then polish the edge with the fine grit of the rod. As a result, the edge will be strong and able to sustain use.

Preparing the Tanto Blade for Sharpening 

It’s crucial to get a tanto blade ready for the procedure of sharpening before doing so. To start, use a soft cloth to wipe away any dirt or debris from the blade.

After checking for nicks or burrs, the blade should be smoothed out to the proper blade shape before being sharpened.

Finally, oil should be applied to the blade to reduce friction and keep it from heating up excessively while sharpening.

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How to Sharpen Tanto Blade

The sharpening procedure can start after the blade has been adequately prepped. The sharpening stone or rod should be pressed on the edge at a consistent angle while the blade is being kept firmly in place.

Put the tanto blade on the whetstone after first lubricating it with the sharpening oil. Ensure that the blade is parallel to the stone.

Sharpen the blade by moving it back and forth while keeping it flat against the stone. To maintain sharpness, keep the blade flat against the whetstone.

Finishing the Edge 

The edge should be complete once the blade has been sharpened. A leather strop or honing compound can be used to stop the blade. This will aid in achieving a smoother edge and lower the danger of the blade becoming dull.

The rod should be held at a 10-20-degree angle, and then you need to grind up and down from the handle to the tanto point.

To ensure the blade is sharp enough for your purposes, try it once by cutting through a piece of paper or fabric to ensure its cutting edge is sharp. Repeat the sharpening procedure if necessary to reach the desired level of sharpness if the blade is not sufficiently sharp.

How to Maintain a Tanto Blade 

Once a tanto blade has been sharpened, it is essential to take steps to maintain the blade’s sharpness. The edge should be regularly cleaned with a soft cloth and oiled to prevent rust and corrosion. Additionally, the blade should be periodically stropped and honed to maintain a sharp edge. 

Finally, the blade should be stored in a secure, dry location. This is so the stainless steel doesn’t rust easily.

Common Types of Tanto Blades 

The juken tanto and the ken tanto are the two main types of tanto Japanese knives. 

The traditional tanto style, the juken tanto, has a single-edged blade and a straight back. Blades in this design are frequently employed for cutting and thrusting.

The ken tanto has a double-edged blade and a curved back, making it a more modern design sword. In present martial arts, this method is more frequently used for thrusting.

There are numerous further sub-styles of the tanto blade, including the yoroi tanto, the mokko tanto, and the kurigata tanto. The single-edged yoroi tanto has a curved rear and a sharp tip. This tanto style is often used for thrusting and is popular among martial arts practitioners. 

The mokko tanto is a double-edged blade with a straight back and a slightly pointed tip. This style is often used for cutting and is commonly seen in martial arts competitions. The Kurita tanto is a double-edged blade with a curved back and a pointed tip. This style is used for both thrusting and cutting and is popular among martial arts practitioners.

Final Words 

Sharpening a tanto blade can be a challenging process, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be done safely and effectively. 

This guide has provided an overview of the different types of tanto blades, the safety precautions that should be taken, and provided step-by-step instructions on how to sharpen a tanto blade. 

With proper care and maintenance, a tanto blade can be kept sharp and ready for use for many years.

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