So, are you familiar with a machete? Well, Machete is indeed one of the most commonly used blades all over the world. With its popularity, it is a great advantage on your part if you own one. But, do you know how to sharpen a machete? Yes, sharpening a machete is important and so doing it the right way should be considered. Here, I will help you learn the best way of sharpening the said blade.
Different Methods on How to Sharpen a Machete
You might use different techniques for you to sharpen the machete:
Sharpening with a Belt Sander
This is considered as the easiest method if you will do heavy sharpening and also the most popular among many professionals. Belt sharpeners will let you apply light pressure only with little effort, and they are also easier to maintain a straight edge. You just need to make sure that you don’t get the blade too hot as you run it through the belt repeatedly as this could damage the carbon-steel consumption.
Sharpening with a File
It is quite simple to learn how to sharpen a machete using a file, and in fact, it doesn’t include operating special tools. You only have a vice and a mill file.
Only fix the machete into the vice at the proper angle then push the file over the blade repeatedly. You shouldn’t pull the teeth of the file point away from the handle. Or, you might secure the mill file and draw the blade against the tool.
Sharpening with a Grinder
Grinding wheels are being used for aggressive sharpening, so they are suitable for eliminating the initial dullness, restoration work or larger nicks. You might need a grinder, a spacious workspace and also a considerable experience.
There is a need for the work surface to have ample space allowing you to run the machete through the grinding wheel in a fluid motion for a smooth edge too. Take note as well that grinding wheels in the higher RPM ranges could overheat the blade and could mess with tempering.
So, you will need a grinder which is quite slow and a bucket of water for regularly dousing the blade in.
Sharpening with a Whetstone
For this technique, you might need a water stone or a whetstone, water and a breaker. This is a traditional method, and it doesn’t require a lot of expensive hardware.
Sharpening a machete using a stone will involve the blade from the base to the tip that is perpendicularly against the stone. You should also move the blade up and down the stone resulting in a net circular motion which sharpens the blade.
On the other hand, sharpening the machete using a whetstone or a rock is simple, and it also doesn’t require any tools making it a lot easier to implement in any field conditions.
Sharpening with a Dremel
This technique isn’t that difficult as well. This Dremel is a handheld power device along with the rotating knife sharpener right at the shaft’s end. You need a vice and a Dremel for this technique.
Just powered up the Dremel and laterally run it at the end of the machete. Bear in mind that you have to do it on both sides of the edge. However, this one involves lateral sharpening which could lead to an uneven edge.
How to Sharpen a Machete: Step by Step Guide
So, from the techniques mentioned above, which one is the best way of sharpening a machete? Well, let us consider the easiest and the most commonly used method, and that is sharpening with the use of a belt sander. How to do it the right way? Here’s what to do:
- step 1
Basic sharpening motion
Once you started the sander, you have to run the blade right from hilt to tip or in a little curving motion across the belt. This curve motion will ensure that the tip of machete gets sharps as the entire length of the edge.
There is a need for you to turn your hip to do so. Lean forward a bit on the side of the body which is closer to the tip, and you will get a perfect curving movement to sharpen the tip.
- Step 2
Rinse then repeat
If you are done on one side, you have to switch the machete to the other hand and only repeat the entire exercise. There is a need for you to do this many times like 3 to 4 minutes to get the bevel just right.
- step 3
Honing the edge
If you have opened the bevel up using a belt sander, you now have to add some finishing touches. And so, a honing rod will work fine with this. Just hold it up with one hand, run the blade in a very slight curving motion thru the rod with one another the same with how you do it with a regular knife.
- step 4
Polish the edge
Consider this step if you have arranged a buffing wheel. This step might not be needed, but if you feel that there are some impurities on the edge of the blade, you might use a buffing wheel to polish the edge. Put the edge flat against the buffing wheel and perpendicularly move it across and do this for both sides.
- step 5
Test and refine further
And finally, try the newly sharpened machete on a piece of 2×4 to see whether it could chop the way it is supposed to. You might also check for the burr at the stage by running a piece of paper together with each side of the edge once it makes a rough and dragging sound on the either side indicating the presence of a burr on that side.
For heavy duty sharpening of your machete, the steps above will guide you. However, if you plan to sharpen the machete for light maintenance, you might use a whetstone and follow the steps below:
- Step 1 Wetting the stone
For those who plan on using an artificial whetstone, put in a beaker of water first. If it is saturated, it will eliminate the need for regularly wetting the stone as you work. But in case you are sharpening a machete with a stone or rock you have found on the trail, this step isn’t required. You only need to splash some water over the stone before beginning.
- Step 2 Move the blade along the stone in circles
Now, move the edge of the machete from the base to tip along the stone. At the same time, move it up and down the stone. The circular motion would get some gray stuff off the stone or basically a mixture of tiny rocks as well as water that helps with sharpening.
And of course, you need to do this for both sides of the edge.
- step 3 Check for imperfections
Finally, run the finger down right from the flat edge of the blade to the sharp edge and on both sides, in order to check once one side has been honed more over the other. If yes, there is a need for you to put some more time to the duller side.
There is also a need to check the tip of the blade, ensuring that it is as sharp as the rest of the blade.
Professional Tips to Consider
Here are some of the professional tips you might consider:
- There is a need for you to use a belt with a bit of play in it since this kind of belt would allow you to give the machete a convex utility edge so enhancing the entire functionality of the tool.
- Bear in mind that wet or water stones are a subcategory of whetstones that encompass other sharpening stones like diamond stones or oil stones.
- Artificial water stones come with precise grit sizes but they might disintegrate over time due to their virtue of construction.
- And there is a need for you to begin sharpening a few inches above the base.
There you have it! You are now provided with the different techniques on how to sharpen a machete along with the right steps you need to follow. Indeed, the process of sharpening a machete isn’t that complicated only if you are guided all throughout.
There could be numbers of benefits out of sharpening a machete and so if you want to reap such benefits, sharpen your machete properly. Simply choose the best method that suits your needs and preference. Here’s a video to watch on how to sharpen a machete that will help you more.
I hope you find the article helpful if you have hard time to sharpen a machete. You can share this to your friends and family as well! We will be very pleased to read your comments!
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