Jun 03, 2024
By Smith's

A key tool for gardeners, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts, the machete is as versatile as it is invaluable. However, maintaining its effectiveness depends heavily on one important factor: sharpness. A sharp machete can effortlessly slice through non-woody vegetation and produce clean cuts, whilst a dull blade can make simple tasks tedious. But how do you keep this prized tool in top shape? Let's understand how to sharpen a machete effectively.

The Short Answer: Sharpening a machete is a skill that's acquired with practice and understanding. While there are several tools one can use like the belt sander, the mill file, or the sharpening stone, each tool brings about different strengths in detailing your blade. For instance, the belt sander would be your go-to for aggressive sharpening while the mill file and sharpening stone would be more suited for fine-tuning your blade with precision and patience. And then, for a refined sharp finish, a sharpening rod is the perfect tool for the job.

Using a Sharpening Stone to Sharpen a Machete

A sharpening stone, often considered the oldest tool in the book, can prove beneficial in achieving that perfect, sharp edge on your machete. Here's a step-by-step guide to using a sharpening stone.

Infographic explains how to sharpen a machete using a sharpening stone.

Step 1: Preparing Your Sharpening Stone

Select a stone based on your blade's condition – coarser ones for blunt blades and finer ones for honing. Then, add our honing solution or some sort of lubricant to the stone before sharpening.

Step 2: Establishing the Angle

Hold your machete against the stone at a consistent angle, typically between 25-30 degrees for most machetes.

Step 3: Sharpening the Blade

With the blade at the right angle, slide it across the stone using light pressure. Remember to cover the entire blade length to establish a fine edge. Turn your blade over and repeat the process.

Step 4: Checking for Sharpness

Inspect your blade. It should feel smoother and sharper. If it is not there yet, repeat the steps until satisfied.

Using a Bastard File and Honing Rod to Sharpen a Machete

When dealing with an extremely dull machete, manual tools like a bastard file and a honing rod come to the rescue. To bring back your blade's sharpness, let's start with the bastard file.

Use a Bastard File for Initial Sharpening

A bastard file is an excellent tool for aggressive sharpening. It's best utilized by firmly securing the machete, then running the file along the dull edge while maintaining a consistent angle. This process, though taxing, is effective in grinding down the metal and achieving a new edge for your machete blade.

Refine Your Edge Using the Honing Rod

After establishing the primary grind using the bastard file, it's time to refine that edge with a honing rod. Remember the consistent angle you maintained while using the file? Do the same with the honing rod. The rod's job is to smooth out and realign any minor blemishes on the edge, leaving you with a sharp and fine edge.

When to Use This Method

Using a bastard file and honing rod requires a bit more time and effort, but when it comes to a severely dull machete, they're the perfect pair. However, if you're looking for a more efficient and simple sharpening process, we have a better solution for you…

Making Machete Sharpening Simple with Smith's

Sharpening a machete doesn't always have to be time-consuming or demanding. If you're seeking a more straightforward, efficient method, we have a solution: Smith's. We've been producing superior sharpeners for all different types of knives and tools since 1886.

Smith's Axe & Machete Sharpener is designed specifically for your needs. Unlike traditional sharpening systems, using our sharpener is easy and quick without compromising on the sharpness or quality of your blade. The preset sharpening angle ensures your sharpening requires minimal effort.

Image is of Smith's axe and machete sharpener.

Our goal is to help you maintain your tools in the most efficient way possible. Smith's brings you a simpler, yet effective solution to keeping your machete ready for action!

Article reviewed 06/03/2024:

Ricky Dukes

Vice President Marketing and Product Development

About the Reviewer:

Ricky Dukes has been leading the marketing and product development resources at Smith's Consumer Products for over 7 years. In that time, Ricky has become an expert in the world of knives and sharpeners including a deep understanding of their applications and uses.