Q:

How do you sharpen a machete?

A:

Quick Answer

To sharpen a machete, shave metal from the cutting surface of the blade using a belt sander, grinding wheel, mill file or field sharpener. The best type of sharpening instrument depends on the personal preference of the user and the type of cutting edge desired.

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Full Answer

A machete is a large knife used for cutting foliage and whittling wood, among other applications.

Step 1: Choose a sharpening tool

Belt sanders offer the easiest solution for novice machete users. The machete is held steady over the belt as it sharpens, and the user determines the pressure. Grinding wheels work well for removing rust and other contaminants from the blade, while mill files and field sharpeners require significant manual work.

Step 2: Sharpen the machete

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the chosen sharpening tool. Most (other than the belt sander) require a back-and-forth motion to provide even and accurate sharpening. Take breaks every few minutes to avoid overheating the blade, and always wear goggles to protect the eyes from any flying sparks or pieces of metal.

Since sharpening a machete requires the user to remove slivers of metal to increase the blade's sharpness, it is important to undertake this task only when necessary. Field sharpeners work well for slight alterations that are necessary while working outdoors, away from the heavy sharpeners.

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