How to Sharpen a Machete
Whether you’re an avid camper, a busy farmer or a do-it-yourself home landscaper, a machete can be a versatile and convenient tool for the outdoors or at home. When you’re buying a machete, it’s important to note that some knives come unsharpened and sharpened. Nevertheless, it’s helpful to know how to sharpen a machete so it can be used properly. Read on for some helpful machete sharpening tips.
Keep Your Purpose in Mind
Machetes are used for a variety of tasks, from cutting wood to clearing brush. These activities will require different degrees of angles for sharpening. For example, experts recommend sharpening the knife to a 20- to 25-degree angle for cutting light vegetation such as grass. If you’re cutting wood and harder substances, sharpen the machete to a 25- to 30-degree angle.
Sharpening the Blade
If you’ve using an unsharpened machete or your existing tool is dull, there are several methods for sharpening the blade. Before you start, be sure you leave at least a one-inch length of the blade unsharpened from the handle for safety.
Using a belt sander – The easiest way to sharpen a blade, a belt sander can be a convenient and affordable option. This method makes it easy to maintain a straight edge during sharpening.
Using a grinding wheel – This option is ideal for those who are experienced in sharpening blades, and is best for preparing a rusty or worn knife initially. Keep in mind this is the most aggressive sharpening method. When setting up your sharpening workspace, be sure you have adequate room to draw the entire blade across the wheel in one motion.
Using a file – The most affordable and common sharpening option for large blades, a mill file should be used with a vice, which will old the blade in place. To sharpen, use the vice to hold the machete at the correct angle with the blade edge pointed up and away from your body. Then push the file repeatedly over the blade away from the machete’s body and handle. Alternatively, you can also secure the file itself and draw the blade across to sharpen it. Continue this process to sharpen the other side of the blade. During sharpening, be sure not to pull the file towards the machete body so as not to damage the blade’s teeth.
When using any sharpening method, it’s important to mind the blade’s temperature during the process.
Maintaining the Machete
Field sharpeners should be used for touching up the machete while you’re out in the field. There are many machete sharpeners available, such as pocket-sized files or stones.