Machetes are essential companions during bushcraft, camping, and other wild adventures. They serve very well as weapons and tools, and need a good amount of care to keep them in tip-top condition.
One way you need to care for your machete is preventing rust. Over time, rust can damage your blade and render it unusable. In this article, you’ll get to know our 7 expert tips for keeping your machete rust-free!
How to Prevent Your Machete from Rusting
Tip 1: Sharpen the Blade
To prevent rust from forming while you’re not using your machete, you should keep it sharp with a sharpening stone. Roll the blade back and forth on the stone to sharpen it—this keeps your machete safe from many forms of rust. Plus, you’ll end up with a sharper blade—which isn’t only more effective when bushcrafting, but safer, too!
Tip 2: Oil the Blade
Oiling your machete is another way to protect it from rusting. Some people use coconut oil or groundnut oil, or you can also buy specially designed knife oil. Whichever oil you go for, it will keep your machete’s surface sharp, polished, and protected from rust. What’s more, the oil will lubricate your blade and reduce friction during sheathing, another factor that can lead to corrosion.
Tip 3: Clean the Machete
After a bushcrafting trip, your machete may hold debris from leaves, tree bark, and more. This can lead to corrosion and rust. To avoid this, take your machete and wipe it clean with a rag until there is no debris left. You should also do the same for your sheath; a dirty or rusty sheath can easily spoil your blade, so make sure to clean the sheath too.
Tip 4: Remove Visible Rust
Don’t worry if you see rust on your blade—it’s a common occurrence with certain kinds of metals and can easily build up if you haven’t used your knife for a while. All you need to do is remove the rust from the blade yourself and apply oil afterward to shine it back to the desired condition. The oil will also prevent future rust. Also, make sure to keep your blade free from moisture when storing it.
Tip 5: Clean and Dry the Handle
Machetes have handles made from wood, rubber, or even iron. Notably, the handle of a machete can spread elements that cause rust on the blade. For that reason, it’s important to keep your machete’s handle not only clean, but dry too. Store your machete in a dry, circulation-free place so it’s not over-exposed to unnecessary moisture.
Tip 6: Use Your Machete!
Rust often forms when a machete is out-of-use for a while—so you can avoid this by using your machete more regularly! Take it out more on trips with you, or you can even use it for small household tasks like clearing weeds and chopping food.
Tip 7: Buy a High Carbon Blade
And our final tip for reducing rust: if you want to limit the chances of rust from the get-go, you can simply buy a machete whose blade has a high carbon content. High carbon steels can still rust, but it takes far longer. So if you don’t have a machete yet or you’re looking for a new one, a high carbon option could be the way to go!
While you’re out in the field, you can simply clean your machete to keep it from rusting. In-between trips, however, it’s easy to forget about your machete. But you really need to continue taking care of it to avoid corrosion, rust, and damage. Keep referring back to this article for our 7 tips on keeping your machete sturdy and rust-free!
I am Bruno. I write and lecture about bushcraft, survival, hiking, and nature experiences in general. I also produce short films on these topics as a director.
My wife Lilith and I try to travel as much as we can to discover the world! We wish to live in harmony with nature and preserve its ecosystems: Eden paradise is here now.
I want to open a door to reconnect with nature through this blog.