Many see them as brutal weapons when thinking of an axe, machete, knife, and other sharp tools. Yet, sharp tools save you time and loads of effort. So how to sharpen them differs for each one you have. Today, we will share some helpful tips on keeping your camping, hunting, and home tools nice and sharp.
How to Sharpen a Machete?
You want to put an edge on your machete, right! If you do, make sure to check your user manual on your product if it needs added sharpening first. But for the following steps, we presume it will need sharpening.
Using a Belt Sander
Using this method is simple to sharpen most machetes. With it, you can get a convex utility edge. The important thing is to use light pressure to make an accurate edge. Also, keep the temperature of the blade in mind. Check out this great video on how to do it.
Machete Sharpening With Bench Grinder
Before you start, make sure you have adequate space available without bumping into anything. You need enough room to pull the whole length of the blade across the wheel. Everything needs to be done in a continuous action. The main problem is overheating of the edge. One way to get around the problem is to rinse your blade between each stroke.
Using a Mill File and Hones
You can also use a heavy-duty hone or mill file to get that edge. Your mill file has teeth that are smooth or rough. You can find them in a double-cut on the one side as well.
- Place your machete at the desired angle in a vice. Consider what you want to use it for. For cutting grass and non-woody vegetation, keep it from 20 to 25 degrees for razor-sharpness. For cutting wood and branches, hold it at an angle of 25 to 35 degrees.
- Push the mill file repeatedly over the edge. Do not pull but push the teeth angled away from the handle. Or you can draw the blade across a secured mill file.
- Once completing one side turn it over and sharpen the other side depending on the machete you have.
- When turning it over, check for burrs on both sides and remove them for a fine edge.
Using a mill file is excellent to use on large blades, and even if you’re a beginner, it will not damage the edge.
A Field Sharpener
For touch-up sharpening when in the field, you can use a field sharpener. You can find different pocket sizes available to carry with you. There is no need for oiling it, and it is excellent for touch-up jobs.
The field sharpener works great for sharpening fish hooks, broadheads, to serrated blades. Many of them come with a leather strop to finish the edge or a ceramic rod to give a coarse or fine finish. Furthermore, it comes with different angled guides for using it on your machete.
How to Sharpen an Axe?
There are different methods you can use for sharpening an axe.
How to Sharpen an Axes With a Grinder?
Before you start, you will need an angle grinder, protective gloves, a safety mask/goggles, ear pads, a steel wood pad, fine-grit sandpaper, and a table vise.
- Check to see if the head of the axe is firm and secure to the handle before starting.
- If the blade has chips or is dented, it is best to replace it with a new one.
- Clean the blade if you see rust buildup with your steel wool pad and treat the surface using fine-grit sandpaper.
- Next, place the blade in your table vise to keep it secure when sharpening.
- Put on your safety gear, and make sure to wear protective clothing.
- Hold the grinder with both hands after switching it on and keep your legs slightly apart and stable.
- Use the rotating disc to grind the blade’s surface at an angle of five to 15° and try not to chip the edge.
- Sharpen it with a slow long continuous straight stroke over the surface to prevent it from overheating.
- Do the same for the other side of your axe blade.
- Leave the blade to cool for up to ten minutes.
How to Sharpen an Axe With a Stone or File?
To ensure your axe is nice and sharp, you can use a file or whetstone to achieve excellent results.
For this method, you can get a special axe file such as the Nicholson Axe File but any other mill file from 8’ to 12’. Using this technique is excellent to restore your tool if rusted or damaged. You will need a vise or clamps to help with the sharpening. You can clamp your axe to the workbench with the blade horizontally. There are also two parts to filing your axe:
- Place the file against the cheek near the edge at a 10° angle with the ax clamped. Therefore it is 20° for both sides.
- Start at 1/16 inches from the edge and apply pressure keeping the file in place when pushing forward from the edge to the poll.
- Let the file do the work without applying too much pressure.
- Lift your file to move it back near the edge and slightly to one side and do it again.
- Do this continuously until you get the profile you need.
Remember, the blade needs to be thicker for a splitting ax while a felling axed blade is thinner. Once done, flip over the axe and do the same for the other side.
- Now start to give your axed the right edge needed.
- With the axe clamped, place the file against the edge now at a deeper angle.
- Next, push your file from edge to edge towards the axe rest but not too hard.
- Move a bit to the side as you file back and forth.
- Once you get the right edge, start making a profile curve.
- Start with a deeper angle moving the file forward and flatten it into the same pitch used for the cheeks. Do this on the other side at the same deep angle.
Using a Whet Stone
You can use any whetstone that has two grits and fits comfortably in your pocket. A good one is the Lansky Puck, as you can use it to sharpen your machetes and knives or tools.
- Start with the coarse grit if the blade is chipped or rough.
- Use the medium grit if the blade is okay but not sharp.
- Apply some water or oil to the whetstone or spit if you want. Doing this helps keep the metal shaving down, preventing it from plugging up the stone.
- Place the tool in your vice or clamp it. But if you do not plan to use one, keep it tight with the edge facing up.
- Use the puck in a circular motion by overlapping the circles. Using a straight stone, use it as if shaving off a thin layer of stone using your axe.
- When done with the one side, turn the tool around and do the same on the other side.
- If you notice metal shaving floating around in the liquid, remove it.
- Add more oil and spread it over the stone using a cloth. Continue until you feel satisfied the blade is sharp.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The AXE or any other woodworking tools need to be able to shave effortlessly yet be enjoyable to use. In addition, many new AXES need proper shaping when brand new.
The ideal angle for sharpening an axe is 25-degrees with a slight convex doing this at both sides of the blade. It helps if you do this until the gauge pattern fits. You can use a file or whetstone to achieve this.
Yes at it takes loads of abuse when used. With the hardened metal blade, it is still softer than your pocket knife. Sharpening your machete does not take that long as sharpening your pocket knife.
The good news is that you can sharpen the machete at a 20-degree angle. Here is a list of grades you can use on different types of machetes:
– Clever machete – 30 to 35 degrees
– Hunting knives, survival knives, pocket knives – 25 to 30 degrees
– Chef knives, kitchen knives, boning knives, carving knives – 17 to 25 degrees.