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How to Sharpen a Machete

By Contributing Writer

A machete is a tool that is highly diversified in its design and is used for various purposes across the globe. Machete is Spanish for saber or cutlass, and one of its original functions was as a weapon. Commonly made from a single stamped piece of steel, with a simple handle, the machete can be purchased sharpened or not sharpened. Unsharpened machetes are intended for the owner to sharpen. A machete is most commonly used to cut through thick brush and so experiences much abuse to its cutting edge.

Secure the machete in a vise with its blade edge pointed upward, or secure it by hand with the blade edge pointed away from your body.

Have a large flat file (mill file) and sharpening stone (whetstone) ready for the machete. Only use the sharpening stone if you want a very fine cutting edge. Only use a fine edge if infrequently cutting through soft material.

Move the mill file against the blade in a direction away from your body. Use a small angle with the file so that your hand is just out of contact with the machete.

Repeat this procedure down the length of the blade. Leave an unsharpened edge near the handle. This provides extra strength to this part of the blade and creates a buffer of safety. Some machete handles provide no measures to prevent your hand from sliding onto the blade.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other side of the blade edge. Remember to orient the blade edge away from your body.

When using the sharpening stone, hold it in one hand while moving it in one motion up the length of the blade toward the blade tip. The stone can also be moved in very short, back and forth motions over the sharpened edge. Back and forth motions can be used with the whetstone due to its fine texture. Do not use much pressure with the stone on the blade edge.


Things You Will Need

  • File
  • Sharpening stone
  • Vise