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Sharpening an Axe

  An splitting axe is the ultimate example of the convex or Moran edge. The thickness behind the edge not only gives it strength, but acts as a chip breaker when chopping and as a wedge when splitting wood.  A felling axe is much thinner with a bevel of about 30 degrees, the same as a wood chisel.  Most axes you can buy today are general purpose, not heavy enough for splitting and not thin enough for felling, however they can be converted for felling.

Since the steel in an axe is softer than a knife to prevent chipping, sharpening can be started with a file. Support the axe head on a workbench or cutting block, and file on each side. Keep following the original contour until the edge is as sharp as you want it. File sharpening is enough for most applications.

The edge can be improved with a bench stone. Rather than try to move the axe across the stone, support the axe head and move the stone across the axe. To keep your fingers out of the way, lay the stone down on the bench or other flat surface, then pick it up. As long as you don?t shift your grip, your fingers are safely behind the stone surface.


Lansky puck

Special round stones are made just for axes and other outdoor tools.

  A  circular stroke is easiest to use when sharpening an axe. A coarse stone is probably all you need, but you can keep on with finer stones until you can shave with it. 

 belt sanderIf you have a belt sander, the slack belt section works well with an axe.


Copyright 2015
Updated June 23, 2015

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