Machetes are used all over the world and are common knives in most collector’s collections. Farmers use this knife to clear bush at their farms and explorers use machetes to cut paths through thick forests. Another reason a machete is a popular tool is that it can be used to cut branches off trees or trim bushes. If you buy smart and take good care of it, a machete can last forever.
By nature, this knife type is built to be used. It can even handle heavy-duty jobs that deliver a ton of abuse. However, most machetes are sold with a dull edge, which means you’ll have to sharpen it when it’s in your possession. But, if you want to get the most out of your machete, you need to sharpen it and follow a few basic maintenance tips. Below, we’ll tell you how to sharpen your machete and give you a few other basic tips as well.
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Put an Edge on a Machete
When your machete arrives, it will need to be sharpened. A machete doesn’t require a razor sharp edge, but it does need to be sharp enough to cut. It’s possible to take the machete to a knife shop, but most users prefer to sharpen their machete themselves. When sharpening for the first time, you can choose the grind angle that best meets the task you are completing and your personal preference. To move significant amounts of metal, most experts would recommend using a heavy sharpener.
How to Sharpen a Machete?
Belt sanders are another great way to professionally sharpen your machete. In fact, it’s the most popular sharpening technique used by professionals around the world. In addition to getting a professionally, sharp blade, using a belt sander is also very easy to do. With this tool, you can give the machete a convex utility edge starting at the belly of the belt.
To keep the edge straight, sharpeners used apply light pressure. Using a belt sander with a grinding wheel also helps keep the blade straight while you sharpen. Cheap belt sanders will do the trick, but make sure to keep an eye on the temperature of the blade. If it gets too hot, it can cause damage to the carbon steel composition of the knife and that can’t be repaired.
Sharpen with a Grinding Wheel
Machetes can also be sharpened with a grinding wheel. A grinding wheel is the best choice when someone is trying to take the initial bluntness of the machete away. Grinding wheels are aggressive, which makes them ideal for the initial sharpening only. After that, a grinder is too aggressive to use for regular sharpening. However, if you ever get a large nick, rusty spot, or a spot that has just worn out a bit, the grinder may come in handy again.
Grinders are offered at hardware stores for about $40. Grinders aren’t just good for sharpening machetes either. Instead, you can sharpen many other tools in your garage including gardening tools, blades for the lawn mower and much more. When you’re trying to sharpen your machete with a grinder, you have to make sure you have enough room to work. Ideally, you want to draw the machete across the grinder in one smooth stroke. To do this, you can’t have anything in your way.
The grinder can make the blade really hot or cause other damage. It’s important to keep an eye on the temperature of the blade and experience is recommended. To keep the blade cool, sharpeners can continually douse the blade with cool water. If the metal overheats and loses its temper, it will be ruined.
Hones and Mill Files
If you don’t want to spend a ton of cash, you can use hones and mill files to sharpen your machete. Mill files have rough or smooth teeth. Sharpeners choose the desired angle and push the machete repeatedly over the blade. During this process, it’s important always to push and not pull a blade. After sharpening with this method, you need to inspect the knife for burrs. If there are burrs on the knife, all burrs must be removed. Those that know what they’re doing will be okay with this sharpening device, and novice sharpeners will be okay too because the sharpener isn’t as aggressive as other methods.
Field sharpeners are perfect for use in the field. They’re often preferred over heavy sharpeners. Machete edges begin to dull quickly, so sharpening often is something that is needed.
How to Maintain a Machete’s Edge?
Once you’ve done the initial sharpening all you have to do is keep up with the machete’s edge. After being used to cut or accidentally striking a few rocks, the blade of the machete will begin to dull. But, if you took the time to sharpen the blade when you first got it, you’ll have no problem getting it back up to par again. Tools you can use for this type of sharpening include a Dremel or a whetstone.
Sharpening a Machete with a Dremel
If you want to keep your machete sharp with a Dremel, you can do it. Dremels are handheld power tools that use a rotating knife sharpener at one end. To sharpen, power up the Dremel and run it against the edge of the machete. You’ll have to do this on both sides.
Sharpening a Machete with a Whetstone
To sharpen a machete with a whetstone, you’ll need water. Using a whetstone, water stone, to sharpen a machete isn’t a novel idea and is rather traditional. Move the blade from the base of the knife to the tip. This method of sharpening is simple and easy to do in the field; however, it does require a bit of muscle to get it done properly.
With one or two ideas mentioned above, you’ll be able to maintain your machete easily and without a great deal of fuss. It’s important to treat your machete properly as it could last a lifetime with just a bit of maintenance and attention