HOW TO SHARPEN A MACHETE
So youíve got a machete that has put in the work and needs some love. Follow this machete sharpening guide to restore its cutting edge to all the glory it was once known for.
Blade Grinds and Angles
Some machetes sport chisel grinds where only one side of the blade is ground to a cutting edge. For chisel grinds youíll want to just sharpen the ground side and knock off any burr (thin metal that curves over on the cutting edge) that forms on the back of the blade. You can take off burrs with a few quick passes of a file or sharpening stone.
Other machetes are ground on both sides to form the cutting edge. This means both sides of the machete blade will need to be sharpened evenly to form a uniform cutting edge.
The blade angle you choose depends on what you will be using your machete for. For light cutting of grass and vegetation, smaller blade angles of 25 degrees work best as they allow finer edges. For heavier chopping tasks of things like wood, larger angles up to 35 degrees do well to take the impact. Machetes usually come from the factory with great all around grinds, so if in doubt, sharpen to the same angle it already has.
Sharpening Tools and Methods
The best machete sharpening method is up to debate, so weíve compiled a few methods that work well. These sharpening methods not only work for machetes, as they can put a great edge on an axe as well.
Sharpening stones are easy to use and come in a variety from coarse to fine. Machetes do not need super fine cutting edges because they are not used for precision slicing. This allows use of coarse stones that will sharpen faster. It is easiest to use a file and finish with a sharpening stone, but stones can get the job done with a little time and effort.
Be mindful when using a belt sander because you donít want to heat the blade too much and affect the heat treatment of the steel. Simply use the belt sander to sharpen the ground edges of the blade until you have a good working edge. Belt sanders should be used by experienced knife sharpeners as they can cause problems if done incorrectly.