(This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.)
A machete is your best pal if you are an adventure fan who loves to pass through the dense forests or a hard worker who works tirelessly in the yard. Undeniably, a machete has many uses. Now, you have found that its edge needs sharpening.
So, how to sharpen a machete? Well, there are a couple of ways to do so. However, what you need to know is that many machetes do not have a factory edge, which means you need to sharpen it upon arrival to render a good cutting edge.
If you are trying to sharpen a machete for the first time, it is essential to have some primary skills and knowledge. This post will exactly guide you here. Just keep in mind that you should be careful in handling its large blade and get familiar with different tools that render a fine edge. So, let’s get started.
Knowing the Important Grinds and Angles
A few machetes feature a chisel grind in which just a single side of the blade is the cutting edge. In case of a machete with this grind, it suffices to sharpen the cutting edge and remove any burr (thin metal shavings) generating at the blade’s rear portion by making a few passes using a sharpening stone or a file.
A few military-style machetes feature blades with a chisel grind. As they are sharpened only on one side, the burr is likely to be on the other side where it clings to the edge.
Other machetes have both sides ground to render the cutting edge. In other words, you need to sharpen both sides of the blade evenly for having a consistent cutting edge.
Apart from the grinds, you should also know the precise sharpening angle. For this, you only need to know the purpose for which you will be using your machete.
If you will be using it for cutting non-woody foliage or grass, an angle of 20-25 degrees is ideal. This is because here razor-like sharpness is essential and that there is hardly any risk of chipping the fine edge.
On the other hand, for cutting woods and branches, it is wise to choose a larger sharpening angle of around 25-35 degrees. This gives you a more durable edge to tolerate the stress of recurrent chopping strokes.
Moreover, some users prefer a distinct grind angle for performing a specific task or as a personal preference. In this case, it is suggested to choose a heavy sharpener that can discard significant quantities of metal.
How to Sharpen a Machete Using Different Tools
You can use different tools for sharpening your machete. Let’s explore them.
Using a Belt Sander / Belt knife sharpener
For sharpening, just put a light pressure while keeping the blade straight. Ensure that you do not apply high pressure or overheat to prevent any damage to both the carbon blade and belt.
For safe sharpening, it is ideal to apply low pressure. You obtain convex sharpening if you use the sander properly. Here is our guide on how to use belt sander for sharpening.
Using a File
A file is the simplest tool to use for sharpening machetes, especially the billhook ones. As the most inexpensive option, a file can restore the initial edge via its smooth or rough teeth. It is usually single-cut on one side for sharpening finely and double-cut on the other for a rough outcome.
You start by holding your machete firmly at the intended angle and pushing the file frequently over the blade. Here, you should never pull, as the teeth are leaning far from the handle. On the other hand, the blade can be pulled across the locked file.
When one side is done, turn the machete and sharpen the other side. Thus, a 30-degree edge, in this case, is the composition of two bevels, each of 15 degrees.
Files are reliable for sharpening large edges and are not that hard-hitting due to which beginners are at the least risk of harming their machetes.
Using a Whetstone
Want to sharpen without any electric device or a tool? If yes, then this is an ideal sharpening method to try. It is also an inexpensive one.
What you only need is a stone, the beacon if relying upon an artificial stone, and a bowl filled with water. Once these things are gathered, you only have to focus on the right method and sharpening pattern.
You start by soaking the stone in water for some time. Next, place the stone in a secured position and pull the blade in the up and down position. Continue to do so until you gain the desired level of sharpness.
It is essential to retain the blade in the right-angle position and move it from the stone’s base to its tip in a circular manner for gaining good sharpness.
Many sharpening stones are available but you should select only a high-quality one. It is fine to spend somewhat more on a sharpening tool to save your blade. After all, a low-quality stone can reduce the grading of your blade.
Sharpening stones tend to differ not only as per the size but also as per the grit value. For example, a stone of 220 grit renders a new blade shape, while that of 1000 grit is ideal for sharpening all types of knives.
A grit value of 1200 is meant for sharpening fragile blades, while that of 2000 is ideal for regular machete sharpening without taking off too many metal particles. For the finest sharpness that most professional desire, a grit value of 5000 is ideal.
Using Another Knife
Yes, you can use the other knife’s spine for sharpening a machete. Just run the machete over the spine. That’s it!
The aforementioned ways are some of the most popular ways of sharpening a machete. You can choose the method as per your comfort level and preference. Above all, keep safety as your top priority, as a machete typically has a long blade.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.