Axes are handy tools for chopping down trees, splitting firewood, hand hewing wood for building, camping purposes, and much more. Axes are no doubt useful tools, but a when an ax is dull it isn’t very effective,
and work is much harder than it needs to be. Everyone who uses an ax should know how to sharpen and properly care for it. Proper sharpening will lessen the time it takes to chop wood, and proper lubrication and care will help protect the metal blade. An ax handle often breaks after repeated use, so it’s also helpful to also know how to replace the handle should it break. Knowing how to sharpen, care for, and store an ax will help it last for many years.
How to Properly Sharpen an Axe
A brand-new ax right from the store isn’t usually as sharp as it should be, so even if it’s new, you should sharpen it before the first use. To properly sharpen the blade of an ax you’ll require a vise and a medium-grade mill file. Although it seems a power grinder would make sharpening easier, never use a power grinder. A power grinder can damage the blade. A mill file will allow for better control while you sharpen the blade.
To sharpen the blade, begin by clamping the head of the ax with the edge facing up into a strong vise. Make sure the vise is securely clamped around the head of the blade. Place the medium-grade mill file flat against the blade while drawing it upwards toward the edge. Lift the file off the blade at the end of every stroke. The goal is to sharpen the blade into a convex shape while being careful not to taper the corners. The ax blade should slowly taper from a wide width down to a narrow sharpened edge. Complete the sharpening process on both sides of the blade. Look down the length of the blade to check for uniformity, and continue to sharpen the blade accordingly. After using the mill file, hone the ax blade, and sharpen it to perfection with a well-oiled round stone. Move the ax stone in a circular motion. The newly sharpened ax blade should be lubricated to complete the sharpening process.