A machete is one of the most versatile tools you can have. It’s a powerful tool for cutting through vegetation and dense brush or for carving wood or harvesting crops. A machete is one of the best all-purpose tools you should have.
However, like other blades, machetes can also become dull over time. A dull machete is ineffective at best and dangerous at worst, so it’s important to learn how to sharpen your tool at home.
In this guide, we will cover how to properly sharpen a machete no matter if you’re in the brush or at home. You’ll soon realize that while there are many ways to sharpen a dull blade, one tool can also do it all.
How to Sharpen a Dull Machete
There are many reasons why you need to sharpen the blade of your machete. Your new blade may not come with an edge. Or, your trusted machete has nicks and is dull from frequent use.
No matter the case, you can follow these steps for how to clean and sharpen a machete at home.
Prepare Your Blade
First, you will want to ensure your blade is ready to be sharpened. Remove any dirt that may have accumulated and inspect the blade for any large knicks that you’ll need to address.
Keeping the blade oiled regularly is important for preventing rust.
Choose Your Method
There are plenty of ways to properly sharpen a machete. While they’re all great at getting the job done, some methods require more expertise than others.
The below methods are ideal for giving your blade an edge. They take off a significant amount of metal to achieve the ideal grind angle.
This is the preferred method among many machete masters. It’s a relatively easy method that requires light pressure to keep a straight edge. Just be mindful of grit sizes and the temperature of the blade. A low-grit piece of paper can aggressively sharpen your blade without you realizing it.
Experts agree that this is the most inexpensive sharpening method, however, it’s more time-consuming and requires some expertise. That’s because you do the work of pushing the mill file over the length of your blade.
This can take more time, but you can more precisely control how much metal you’re removing.
For more experienced blade sharpeners, a grinding wheel can help aggressively sharpen a machete to remove its initial bluntness. The intensity of this tool can take off a lot of metal and cause your machete to overheat, so experience is recommended.
Whetstones or sharpening stones also require some practice but remain popular for sharpening machetes. OutdoorLife offers expert advice for knife sharpening with a sharpening stone. With time and practice you can create a clean edge of the machete to the angle of your liking.
Start With a Coarse Grind
After choosing a method you’re comfortable with, it’s time to create the edge of the blade. All of the above methods are ideal for creating an initial edge or sharpening a very dull or damaged blade.
A coarse grind also helps to remove any imperfections on the edge of the blade.
Angles Are Everything
Angles are crucial when cutting the edge of your machete during this step. The Machete Specialists recommend angling the side of the blade depending on what you use it for. For instance, if you use it to cut grass or non-woody vegetation you should aim for angles of 20-25 degrees to make it razor-sharp.
If you use a machete to cut thick brush and branches, a larger sharpening angle of 25-35 degrees is best to make it more durable for chopping.
Hone The Blade
Once the initial edge is created, it’s time to clean things up. Use more precise tools, like a belt sander with fine grit, to remove any burrs (rough edges) and perfect your angle. This is also a good opportunity to polish your blade
You can find plenty of tools specific to your machete for this step as well. For instance, you can sharpen a Gerber machete with a branded sharpener to help you achieve a uniform 15° angle on each side.
How Often Should You Sharpen Your Machete?
How often you clean and sharpen a machete ultimately depends on how frequently you use it and for what. Mash-Up Americans recommend always keeping your machete clean and dry after every use and using oil to prevent rust.
If you use your machete often for heavy-duty tasks, like chopping branches, it will likely require more sharpening.
One Tool To Do it All
Looking for the easiest and most efficient way to sharpen a dull machete at home? SELECTOOL sharpens tools, such as mower blades, axes, and machetes with ease. Keep your machete blade sharp and your hands safe.