How to Decide Which Sharpening Suits You?

Tramontina Bolo machete Sharpening

The Gaucho Grind

  • The most appropriate sharpening for general purpose machete work
  • Thin Convex Edge to suit Australia's tough bush
  • Simple to field sharpen using a file or sharpening stone
  • Easy and high performing edge to maintain & sharpen
  • 100% work ready edge
  • Sharper than any factory machete you can buy off the shelf
  • The Gaucho Grind suits grubbing work in the soil due to the blunt tip
  • The Gaucho Grind Plus is sharp all the way to the tip

El Premio Edge

  • Simply the best edge you can find on a Machete!
  • The Machete has been ground, honed, stropped & tested to be a hair shaving razor's edge
  • Suits bushcraft style users as this sharpening is on par with hand sharpened and stropped craft knives
  • Thin Convex Edge to suit Australia's tough bush
  • The edge is maintained with finer abrasives and strops or can be rough sharpened with a file and sharpening stone
  • The El Premio Edge requires less force and speed per cut due to the finer polished edge.
  • The El Premio Edge Plus is sharp all the way to the tip

How easy is it to keep these machetes performing?

We don't just sharpen your machete. We shape the steel behind the edge first (setting the primary bevel) then we put an extremely sharp edge on it.  Once all the hard work is done, keeping these machetes performing is easy. Click the YouTube link on the right for a clip published by Machete Bushcraft Australia. This clip demonstrates on one of the many methods used to field sharpen a machete. 

Easy field sharpening method that we use on our farm.

The Two Types of Sharpening We Offer: The 'Gaucho Grind' vs 'El Premio Edge'

If that's a mouthful for you, it's just The Cowboy Grind vs The Premium Edge.

Both are brilliant edges to work with, so how do you choose between the two? It's easy to pick once we explain the difference.

The vast majority of machete users will benefit most from The Gaucho Grind. It's an extremely sharp general purpose edge. It is an easy edge to keep sharp, even for a beginner or pro.

The El Premio Edge, It's just a pleasure to use any tool when they are this sharp! We have been sharpening tools for professionals for a very long time now and this edge never fails to impress.

Take a look below for a better description on both the Gaucho and Premio edges as well as Tip Sharpening.


The Gaucho Grind

The Gaucho Grind's edge will be much sharper and perform better than any factory sharpened machete you can buy off the shelf. We start by grinding and shaping the whole edge back to a fine thin convex shape that's just right for our harsh Aussie bush. We then sharpen just the edge (micro bevel) so it will slice thin unsupported material as well as chop heavily into woody branches.

It's called the Gaucho (Cowboy) Grind because it's a no frills but 100% work ready edge. It's about as good an edge you could ever need when using a machete for general purpose hard work. If you're using it properly, you will be touching up the edge a few times over a full days hard work with a file or sharpening stone. There is no point in paying for a polished edge if its going to be a workhorse.

This style of edge suits your basic sharpening equipment. We generally point beginners towards this setup. It's a forgiving edge to learn how to sharpen and maintain a machete. What you learn on this setup translates to just about any single edge cutting tool or knife.

Tramontina Machete North Arm Machete Co. Gaucho Grind


The El Premio Edge

Now, The El Premio Edge. This is simply a cut above the rest! This Premium edge will suit someone who won't settle for anything less. We start where we left off on the Gaucho Grind and now we begin to polish and refine the edge. Their are 6 grades of grinding belts from 180grit to 1200grit that we go through. Then one honing belt, then a .5 micron stropping belt to really polish the edge. We then test, sharpen, strop then re-test until we get a hair shaving edge!

Why would you choose the El Premio Edge sharpening? If you're a bushcrafter, you are really going to appreciate this edge. It basically has the same quality sharpen you will only find on very high end custom bush craft knives.

Being so sharp, the performance of the machete increases drastically. It cuts much deeper in heavy chopping and slices thin material with a much slower swing. This is the level of sharpness we use on a daily basis on our farm.

Maintaining this edge requires some finer sharpening stones and a strop but and axe stone and file will still keep the machete performing.

Tramontina Bolo Extremely Sharp North Arm Machete Co.


Sharpening All The Way To The Tip?

Tramontina Bolo Tip Sharpening North Arm Machete Co.

The Tramontina 14" Bolo come from the factory with a very rough, basic bevel and blunt tip. Bolo's are classed as a short machete and are designed to excel at heavy chopping. They also excel at chopping thick weeds very low to the ground where the tip is likely to hit the dirt (known as grubbing work). A sharp tip is not necessary for either of these tasks.

We find the sharp tip to be beneficial when we work. If we are carrying around a tool, we may as well have it set up to be as multipurpose as possible. A sharp tip is useful as a clearing tool and has various craft style applications.  The only two downsides that we know of to having a sharp tip is, It's a longer edge to be cautious of and you need to keep this tip out of the dirt otherwise its going to find the only rock in the paddock!

So keeping things simple, if you see a 'Plus' at the end of Gaucho or El Premio, that means the tip is sharp!


All in All, thats 4 different types of sharpening we offer. You get to pick and choose what you feel is appropriate for your application. If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to contact us here at North Arm Machete Co. We like questions and are happy to help!