Breaking the tip of your knife can be frustrating, and may leave you contemplating whether you should just toss the knife and get yourself a new one. While it can be a pain to have a chip of your blade fly off after dropping your knife or accidentally hitting a hard surface, it is not the end of the world.
Many higher quality knife manufacturers have easy-to-use and affordable (if not free) knife repair options available to their customers. If your knife does not come with those kinds of repair options, but is still too nice for you to want to part with, you can still repair a chipped tip on your own.
There are a few different methods for repairing a broken knife tip that you can choose from, and they are all fairly simple if you have the patience. Before you get started though, you need to decide how you want to get on the new tip.
This might just come down to a matter of personal preference, but you have the option of deciding which side of the blade to file down to meet the new point of your knife.
If you file down the flat side of the blade down the edge to make the new tip, the belly of the blade will maintain the same curvature as it had before, with the flat side having a steeper curve to it. You can also opt to file down the edge of your blade, giving the belly a new angle, but still providing enough cutting surface.
As long as the work you do with your knife does not depend too strongly on the shape of the blade, either option should do the trick. Your blade will be a little shorter than it was before, but that should not cause you any trouble.
Once you have decided how you plan to repair your chipped knife, you can decide which method suits you and the tools you have at your disposal.
The most time consuming and physically demanding option is using a grit stone. Grit stones are a traditional and simple way to file down your blade, with lower grit signifying that they remove more material. The user simply grinds their blade at an angle on the stone to shape as they please.
If you are not familiar with different grinding stones but have been in a scout program, you are probably most familiar with a wet stone, which is a grinding stone that you lubricate with water. They are very popular and incredibly effective. Other types of grit stones include oil stones and diamond plates.
While you can argue that the repetitive nature of the task is nearly meditative in a sense, be prepared to spend a few hours on your knife if this is the tool you have available to you. To accomplish this, only two things are crucial, though you will probably want to do some more detailed work afterward. Make sure you have a marker on hand, and a grit stone (preferably one with 400 grit).
Once you have the necessary tools, use the marker to mark the part of the blade you plan to file away. You do not have to be exact as you can always judge by eye while you work, but it is good to set a general boundary to grind down to.
After you have marked the part of the blade you will be removing, hold your knife at about a 45 degree angle against your grit stone and get to work grinding. This will almost definitely take you a few hours, so put on some music or a podcast while you work.
After you have got approximately the tip you were hoping for, your knife is ready to go. If you would like, use a paper towel to wipe the excess sludge off of your grit stone, this can be used to polish your knife!
While this may not leave you with the most professional looking blade, it should more than do the trick in a pinch, and your knife will certainly be able to do everything it could before.
Probably the easiest option, though still requiring a bit of exertion and time on your part, is a knife sharpener. Knife sharpening tools often come with suction cups or clamps attached so that you can securely set them on a flat surface to safely sharpen your knife.
The only tool you need here is the sharpener, and it should be as simple as pulling your knife clean through the device until you are satisfied with your new tip. Be sure to consult any instructions that may have come with your particular knife sharpener in case yours has unique features.
If you opt for the process of using a handheld power tool to repair your broken knife, you will need a few things before you get started: A marker of some kind, your handheld drill and attachments (metal cutting blade, grinding and sanding bits), polishing materials, a clamp, and a wet stone or honing steel.
Once you have all of the materials (and your broken knife) get started by using the marker to shade in the part of the blade, top or bottom, that you will be removing to make the new point. Now that everything is planned out and set, clamp the knife to your work table or surface.
Clamping your knife down is crucial, both to ensure that you have proper control over the work surface, and also to avoid any terrible accidents involving flying knives.
Use the metal cutting attachment of your drill to cut off the shaded section of the blade with light and steady pressure while running at full power.
After the chip is gone with the new tip in its place, using the grinding and sanding drill attachments to clean up the cut, polishing afterward. Your knife is now just about ready for use again, all that is left is a little sharpening.
Using a wet stone or honing steel, run the edge of your blade a couple times (on both sides, depending on the knife) until the edge is as sharp as desired.
Another excellent option for those with tools at their disposal is the belt sander. You will want to start with a medium-grit belt, like a 220 grit. Similar to the other methods, you should try to mark the part of the blade you plan to remove before starting as a baseline. Also make sure you have the sanders leather strop and honing compound.
Before you get started, be aware that the belt grinder will likely cause the knife to heat up rapidly. Both for the safety of your hands and the well-being of your sander, be sure to let your knife cool off as needed. Letting it get too hot can cause you major issues and injuries.
Put the 220 belt onto your sander and set it up depending on your preference, be it horizontal or vertical. Set the sander to its maximum speed, and you are ready to start sharpening your knife back down to a new tip.
Gently move the edge of the blade against the spinning belt, gently pressing the edge into the belt as you run it back and forth, just enough for a dent to form. Do this for a bit before flipping the blade over and evening out the other side of the edge. Make sure to stay focused so you do not go further than you intended.
Once you are satisfied with the new tip of your knife, replace the medium grit belt with the leather strop with the honing compound and move the blade the way you did while sharpening.
How often a blade may need to be sharpened depends on the specific knife manufacturer and materials. For example, William Henry pocket knives are recommended to be sharpened every 18 to 24 months. William Henry will periodically sharpen your knife for just $10 (the cost of shipping it back to you). Just compile the appropriate form here, ship it to us, and we will get it done for you.