The Proper Way To Sharpen an Axe

A sharpened axe allows you to work faster, more efficiently, and with more precision and less effort. Knowing how to sharpen an axe is an important skill to master if you frequently use it in your daily tasks. 

On the other hand, you don’t want the edge of your axe to be so sharp that you can cut the hairs on your arm. If you are using your axe to cut into dirt-encrusted wood, you simply need it to have a clean, work-like edge. 

This article will highlight the best way to sharpen your axe.

How sharp should an axe be?

As previously mentioned, you don’t want your axe to be razor-sharp. This is because axes that are shaped to the point that they are razor-sharp tend to be more prone to chipping. Even more so than a standard edge. 

The axe should simply be sharp enough to cut through wood fibers. 

Steps in sharpening an axe

You can use a file to sharpen the edge of your axe. This process will yield acceptable results and leave you with a serviceable edge. You will need the following tools to sharpen your axe:

  • Flat work surface
  • File
  • File brush
  • Bug and tar remover
  • Clamp
  • Work gloves
  • Honing oil or beeswax

1. Clamp your axe

Using a file to sharpen your axe will require a lot of movement. You’ll need to secure the axe to a surface to prevent any injury while you are filing the axe. Use a clamp and clamp the axe’s handle to a work table, allowing the blade to extend just past the edge of the table so that you can safely file it. 

2. Clean the axe

Use bug and tar remover to clean off any debris or build-up on the axe’s surface. This build-up or debris may clog your file, so working on a clean surface is essential. You can do this by cleaning off the axe before starting. 

3. File the axe

You may proceed to file the axe one side at a time. Once you finish with one side, turn the axe around and file the other. Use slow and deliberate strokes and move one stroke at a time. Always wear safety gloves that are specifically designed for this type of work. Always try to maintain the bevel of the blade to avoid reshaping it.

Other ways to sharpen an axe

There are several other ways to sharpen an axe. You could use a bench grinder. You may need additional equipment, such as a bench grinder, safety glasses, and honing oil or beeswax. Always start by cleaning the grinding wheel and axe first. Then, grind one side at a time. Use precision and focus.  

Alternatively, you could use a sharpening stone. This is one of the oldest methods; the only additional tool you will need is a grinding stone. 

Clean your axe and tools before starting. Oil the stone with honing oil. Hold the axe steady with the sharp edge away from you, and use the rough side of the grinding stone to work the edge of the axe.