How to Sharpen an Axe? A Detailed Answer is Here!

Posted by Knives Deal on 1/21/2020
tomahawk axe

Good news for all the wood lovers out there. But before telling you the news, let me ask you some questions. Do you really want something to improve your skills and show some love for wood and cutting? If your answer is yes, we have something exciting for you.

Whether you are a woodcutter or a chopper, an tomahawk axe will be the best weapon and tool for you. If you want to chop, toss, slice, or finely cut something, you can use a sharpen axe to do all these chores.

We will guide you step by step guide how to sharpen your axe for best results.

Sharpening Your Axe:

The sharper your axe, the easier, quicker, and more satisfying it will be to do your work.

Splitting axes or claw don’t have to be as sharp because they’re meant to crack logs and rounds of wood with direct force. The purpose is not to cut them completely. But, the rest of the axes have to be sharp to work, as well as, you want them to.

In this article, we will guide you step by step how to sharpen an axe, from preparation work to proper techniques and proper usage of tools. These tools came in both ways:

  • Manual such as filers and whetstones.
  • Automatic such as Dremel tools, belt sanders, and bench grinders.

Material And Tools:

  • Safety spectacles
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Table clamp or vise 
  • Grinding wheel (optional)
  • Bastard file 
  • Wire brush
  • Axe gauge
  • Dual-sided sharpening stone
  • Honing oil or water
  • Beeswax

Continue reading down to find out all about sharpening axes!

The Best Manual Method to Sharpen An Axe:

There are many different ways to sharpen an axe and at the same time, there are many products you can use. Before getting started, there are a few things that you should keep in mind to avoid any injury.

Dealing with axes, tomahawks, hatchets, and survival knives can be a dangerous enterprise. So, you have to take extra care & proper precautions. You should wear thick gloves and safety spectacles to protect against metal and probably a dust mask.

Below are some steps that you need to follow to sharpen an axe manually:

Step 1:

Before starting to sharpen your axe, you first have to clean the blade of axe to remove any dirt. You can do this with steel wool and use coarse-grit sandpaper to smoothen the head of an axe.

Repeat the process with the help of fine-grit sandpaper until you get a clean axe head. In case, you are in an open area and don’t have much time for this, you can simply skip this process. You can proceed directly to the next step.

Step 2:

Fix the handle of the axe into a bench vise. Start smoothing the surface by using an axe filer along one side of the bevel of the blade. The ideal angle is between 25-30 degrees. You can also check the angle with the help of a bevel gauge.

At a time, focus on one side only. You have to do filing in one direction. Don’t file in a push-pull direction. The metal shavings will come off the blade as a result. Remove these shavings with the wire brush.

Count the number of strokes on each side. The number of strokes on each side should be the same.

Step 3:

Keep on filing until a ragged edge of metal commonly known as a 'wire edge' becomes visible at the head of the cutting edge on the opposite side of the blade that you are filling.

Then, turn the axe and repeat the same method over the other side using the same number of strokes. In this way, you will get a symmetrical blade on both sides.

Step 4:

After finishing the filling, you will get a nice and sharp blade. Now, polish the blade using a double-sided sharpening stone. Using coarse-grit sandpaper in a circular motion will smoothen the surface with an equal number of strokes on both sides.

Step 5:

Once you have done with sharpening, always keep your tools in good condition. You should apply protective coating either of beeswax, linseed oil, or machine oil to the top after every use.

Take a moderate amount and then rub it on the entire head of the axe and make sure the whole area is covered and protected finely.

How to Sharpen An Axe With Mechanical Tools:

Sharpening an axe with power tools is an ideal way of making it nice and sharp quickly. Careless sharpening can often lead to deforming and damaging your axe so bad that it becomes practically ineffectual.

Though there are many ways to to sharpen an axe with power tools such as Dremel, belt sanders, and angle grinders, here we are going to explain the best one.

Sharpening An Axe With A Dremel Tool:

Dremel tools are great for sharpening an axe. You can easily keep them in your home or workshops. You will need a suitable Dremel head. Most of the people use aluminum oxide grinding stones. This is an ideal one from the original Dremel manufacturer.

Before starting, always wear protective gloves, long-sleeved shirts, protective goggles, and preferably a dust mask if working in an enclosed area. Keep a bucket of water to dip the head of the axe to prevent it from heating up too much.

After this, turn the Dremel on and place the head flat against the head of the axe. Move the Dremel along the edge using circular motions. Keep a check on the temperature of the metal.

If needed, dip it in the water bucket. This will make your axe more adaptable to chipping, scoring and denting.

Repeat the process on the other side as well. Always keep a check on the angle with your Dremel tool. If you don't, there is a risk of changing the angle of edge completely.

Conclusion:

It can be concluded that the old-fashioned way is the best way to sharpen an axe using manual tools such as filers and whetstones. There is always a little risk of damaging your axe unlike with mechanical tools. Mechanical tools are good to use when you know how to use them properly.

I hope this article is of much help to you. You can also read other articles for guidance on axe purchase and sharpening. Thanks for reading!

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