If you have been wondering what the most efficient methods of sharpening an axe were, you’ve come to the right place. We enjoy giving out a hand to people who might be struggling with sharpening and maintaining their cutting instruments. As is the case with any other tool designed for cutting, proper use and maintenance are two core ways of keeping your axe in perfect shape.
Even though sharpening an axe might look like a daunting task, we think that it might be a good idea if you had a look at the following tips and tricks that we’ve gathered for your consideration. They speak to beginners and advanced users alike.
Before getting to work, you should assess the condition of the axe and its handle. Closely inspect the cutting edge and focus on the nicks. Then, decide whether you want to sharpen it for carving or shaving, for smoothing planks for a table, or for felling a tree. You may find different methods on the internet but take into account the fact that there isn’t a universal way of doing the sharpening for every task you might need your axe for.
For example, cutting requires a flat angle while for splitting firewood you will need an axe with a short and abrupt edge.
The simplest way of removing excess metal is by axe grinding. However, this isn’t the most recommended option for people who have little to no experience, as you’ll need to use the grinder very slowly to determine whether or not you still need to remove metal. Perform any quick movement and you might end up ruining the blade.
The easiest way to sharpen an axe
If you are looking for a hassle-free experience, you might consider using an emery tool or a fine-toothed flat file. The main idea to keep in mind is to stick to the original shape of the blade. With straight bevel faces, you will have to keep the entire bevel face on the wheel or file.
As previously mentioned, a grindstone can do the trick when it comes to repairing minor damage. Wear is something that occurs naturally in an axe, and sharpening against the rotation of a grindstone can be done efficiently and in a rather timely fashion. Perform slow and careful movements both back and forth, so that you even out the entire edge.
Once you’re satisfied with the level of sharpness, you can proceed to hone the edge. This task can be performed with a coarse and then a fine whetstone, which has been previously dipped in water or oil. If you are still looking for a keen edge once you’ve done all this, use a length of leather.
Sharpening with a file
This technique is different compared to the one we have described above. It won’t get you the sharpest edge, and therefore, it doesn’t speak to people who are looking to use the axe for shaving. Nevertheless, it’s a great alternative for people who don’t own a grindstone and the sharpness will do its job for all around use.
Start by removing the burrs and nicks with a rough file, once you have clamped your axe. Use a downward motion and remove the metal as evenly as possible, until you start to notice that the edge has started to reflect some light. Be careful when doing these movements, as you don’t want to risk performing a bad cut. Also, if you’re not the handiest person in the world, try using a pair of proper gloves.
Once you’ve reached the sharpening level you have been looking for, it’s time to use a fine file in order to finish the edge. Use the same downward strokes we were mentioning above and keep the same angle all throughout the operation. To get the right finish, you are likely to require a medium stone.
This sharpening method is rather easy and offers good results for people looking to use their axe on a regular basis.
Don’t forget about safety
The process of sharpening an axe should occur slowly and carefully, regardless of the method you think is the most convenient. Always pay attention to what you are doing, particularly once you have partially managed to sharpen the blade. In the event you have to attend to some other activity, simply take a break and don’t trust your multi-tasking abilities. Once again, a pair of cut resistant carving gloves never hurt anyone, and it won’t hurt you.
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