How to sharpen a dull machete
It is quite normal that your brand new machete might need to be sharpened once you receive it. It is crucial that you get your machete properly sharpened and ground the first time around. Depending on the type of grind angle you need, you may want to use a certain kind of sharpening method. For cutting grass and soft vegetation, you need a small 20-25 degree angle for a razor sharp edge. But if you are planning on using it for cutting wood, branches and wooden vegetation, a 25-35 degree angle is recommended, because it has a blunt and thus durable edge which will not be damaged when you hit the heavier wooden vegetation. As for machetes used for heavy chopping, the best recommended angle is 25-30 degrees.
Different sharpening techniques:
1. How to sharpen a machete with a stone or rock
The stone can be either natural or manmade and used for “whetting” or sharpening the machete. It is called a wet stone, whetstone or water stone. Wet stones and water stones are a type of whetstones, which can also be other sharpening stones, such as diamond stones or oil stones.
Artificial stones for sharpening come with a more precise grit size, but they disintegrate easily as compared to natural stones.
Once you have the proper stone, you will need water and a beaker. It is a traditional sharpening method, so it is simple, easy and cheap. To sharpen the blade, you need to move it from the base to the tip against the stone by holding it perpendicular to it. It requires some effort and time, but this sharpening method can be done anywhere and at any time.
2. How to sharpen a machete with a file
First off, you need to start with a machete. Even though even a cheap one would work just fine, we highly recommend getting a good machete. It will last longer and serve you better. You can sharpen it using a mill file or a hone. If you will be using a mill file, make sure it is not the roughest or smoothest kind, but rather the intermediary type called a “bastard” file. Then fix the machete in a stable still position at the correct angle in a vice. Push the mill file as many times as necessary over the blade. Remember to push and not pull the mill file, because the teeth are angled forward. If you find it easier, you can secure the file with the vice and drag the blade across it. If you are outdoors, you can stick the machete in a tree to hold it firmly while you use the mill file to sharpen it.
When you are done with one side of the blade, turn the machete over and sharpen the other side, unless you have a machete with a chisel grind blade – it is sharpened only on one side. Remove all the thin metal burrs which have been created during the sharpening.
Using a file is actually one of the safest ways for newbies to sharpen their machetes without damaging the blades.
3. How to sharpen a machete with a dremel
Firtst, you need to fix the machete in a still position in a vice. Run the dremel against the blade’s edge, then turn the machete around and do the same to the other side of the blade. This method often results in an uneven edge which needs to be fixed with a file.
4. How to sharpen a machete with a belt sander?
This is possibly the easiest method of all, and yet is the most professional way to do it. Apply little pressure when sharpening the blade and be careful not to heat up the blade too much while sharpening it.