How To Sharpen Machete: A Short Guide For Novice User

Due to their ability to go through bushes and branches with relative ease, machetes are some of the most commonly used blades around the globe. Compared to before, people could purchase quality machetes much easier nowadays, they are sold by both physical and online retailers. Nonetheless, to ensure consistent performance, machete users have to take good care of their blades because there is no such thing as an invincible tool. If you wish to keep the edge of your blade in optimal condition, you must learn how to sharpen machete.

Of course, you could always send your machete to the sharpeners and let the professionals take care of the rest. However, why you have to waste money on a sharpening service when you could sharpen your machete edge by yourself? In the case you are completely clueless about machete sharpening and associated issues, this article should come in really handy. Read through the entire guide and you would be able to master the technique in a blink of an eye. Sharpening the machete is not a complicated task, it simply requires proper preparation and concentration.

The Principle Of Machete Sharpening

Generally speaking, it’s possible for your blade to attain a razor-sharp edge but in reality, you should pay attention to the reliability aspect. What your machete needs in order to go through dense vegetation is a robust chopping edge that could take care of vines, branches and bushes. To do that, a couple of sharpening methods are available for you to choose from, each comes with unique characteristics.  They would be listed in detail down below so all you have to do here is to select the sharpen method that matches your situation the most.

Several Popular Machete Sharpening Methods

Whetstone: A Traditional Sharpen Method

Sharpening with a whetstone is the classic way to restore the edge of a dulled blade and it doesn’t need expensive or complicated tools. Usually, the method requires a whetstone and some water though you may also have to grab a beaker in case you use an artificial whetstone. To sharpen the machete edge, simply run it from base to tip against the stone. For the duration of the sharpening project, the contact angle between the blade and the stone must be kept perpendicular.  

  • File: Labor Intensive But Effective

In the case you don’t have specialized tools and also unable to afford them, the file method shall be the most suitable sharpening option. The method involves pushing a file over the blade of your machete repeatedly, flip the blade to the other side and then repeat the process. For most of the time, the ideal sharpening file to use should be the one that possesses bastard grade teeth. About the technique, you have to push the file, not pull it because the teeth of the file are pointed away from the machete blade.

  • Grinding Wheel: Quite Efficient But The Sharpener Must Be Experienced  

To eliminate sizable nicks and initial dullness, aggressive sharpening is needed and the grinding wheel could provide you with that. About the tool, the method only requires a conventional grinding wheel and a spacious workspace so you could run the machete across the wheel uninterrupted. Similar to the belt sander method, you need to make sure that the machete blade doesn’t get overheat or the steel quality would be degraded. In most of the case, you should only use the grinding wheel method if you have a lot of experience.

  • Dremel: Good At Removing Minor Imperfection On The Blade

The dremel is an excellent handheld tool that you can use to take care of small dulled spots and alike. Because you would not sharpen the entire blade in one go, the dremel method could lead to an uneven edge.  However, you should be able to use the dremel to good effect as long as you stay concentrated. Beside the dremel, this sharpen method also requires a stable vice to secure the machete while you gently run the dremel against the blade edge. It’s recommended that after you done with the dremel, you should go over the spots again with a file.

  • Belt Sander: Simple And Straightforward  

Well-liked by professional sharpeners, the belt sander method is considered to be the easiest way to sharpen your machete.  You only need a generic belt sander, a honing steel rod and some fine belt grits to begin the sharpening. The method requires little effort but you have to stay concentrated and it’s advised that you apply light pressure. Applying too much pressure could cause the blade to heat up and damage its carbon-steel composition in the process.     

Tips And Tricks

  • Leave A Few Inches Unsharpened: It may sound weird but in some cases, you don’t have to sharpen the machete blade top to bottom. By leaving a few inches of the blade edge (starting from the base) unsharpened, you could use the machete in a “choke up” manner for fine works. Sharpening in this fashion also let you avoid knee/thigh cuts caused by over swings.
  • Artificial vs. Natural Water Stones: Artificial water stones come in a variety of grit sizes so it’s very easy to pick the one that matches your needs and requirements. High grit sizes are excellent in the case you need fine and precise sharpening. In contrast, low grit sizes are mostly suitable for rough and inaccurate sharpening. However, artificial water stones are not as robust as their natural counterparts, in fact, most of them often disintegrate as time goes by.
  • Beware Of Burr (Wire Edge): If you don’t pay attention, there is a good chance that your blade may end up with a metal deformity caused by over sharpening. It’s called a burr (wired edge) and its presence means that you need to start sharpening from the other side. You could detect a burr by running your fingers across the blade edge but be careful in order to avoid getting a nasty cut.

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