How to Sharpen an Axe

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When sharpening your axe, you’ll want to find a surface on which you can sharpen the blade without getting it too dirty.

You can use sandpaper or wet sandpaper. The sandpaper will remove the less durable outer layer of metal on your blade, while the wet sandpaper will remove some rust and corrosion.

You can also use sharpening stones or a diamond stone. A diamond stone is capable of honing your blade more easily than sandpaper.

You can also use other abrasive surfaces.

Make sure your axe blade isn’t too dirty to begin with. If it has rust, clean it off with steel wool or sandpaper before you start sharpening.

This will make the process easier and more effective. You don’t want particles of rust or dirt getting into the metal that’ll get ground off when you sharpen your blade, or worse – into the air if they aren’t ground off.

Now that you’ve prepared your sharpening surface, stand in a comfortable position with one hand on the axe’s handle close to the blade’s edge and the other hand holding it steady at about 12 inches away from the edge.

If you’re using sandpaper, wet sandpaper or a diamond stone, make sure to keep the blade of your axe flat against the sharpening surface.

Now all you have to do is draw the edge of the blade away from yourself until it barely scrapes against the sharpening surface.

If you feel like you’ll cut yourself with any more pressure, ease up on the pressure.

This is very important because you don’t want to break your blade by grinding too hard against it.

You also don’t want to scrape anything off of your blade’s edge while sharpening it.

Keep drawing the blade toward yourself until you get a nice, even burr along the whole length of its edge.

Almost like a long, thin shaving of metal is forming along the side of your blade. This burr should form right after you’ve drawn the blade away from yourself about ten times in one direction when using sandpaper or wet sandpaper.

If it forms when you draw the blade toward yourself, turn over your sharpening surface and start drawing your blade away from yourself in the other direction.

The burr is easier to feel than it is to see, so when you get it, stop immediately and check your sharpening surface to make sure that it’s clean.

If there’s rust or any particles on the surface and you don’t take care of them, they will get ground into your blade’s edge.

Now you have a much smaller burr, but this time it’ll be on the opposite side of your blade from where you started sharpening.

Just repeat the above process to get rid of it. This is why it’s important not to press too hard; otherwise, you might remove more material than necessary and make it harder to get rid of the burr.

If you’re using sandpaper, repeat the above process on finer and finer sandpapers until your blade is sharp enough to shave with or use when camping.

If you’re using a diamond stone, repeat the above process on stones that are increasingly finer in grain size if your blade’s edge is still rough.

Once your blade is sharp, remove any remaining rust on it with a metal file and wash it under running tap water to remove any grit from the sandpaper you used to sharpen it. You can then dry it off with a clean cloth or let it air-dry.

If there’s oil on the blade to prevent rust, don’t wash the blade until you’ve cleaned off all of it. If there’s oil on your blade and you wash it before taking care of it, you risk exposing any steel underneath the oil to moisture.

Remember that diamond stones are made up of industrial diamonds bonded together with a metal or resin holding them together. They’re meant to be used dry without any oil on them.

Once you’re done sharpening, don’t store your axe where it’s exposed to moisture. Putting an oily rag over the blade when storing it is a good idea if you want to keep moisture away from the blade. If you do this, make sure that the rag doesn’t cover your blade’s edge.

You change the direction in which you draw the axe’s edge toward yourself every ten strokes when using sandpaper or wet sandpaper to keep a uniform burr along its whole length and to stay within the bevel angle of your blade.

Try going one way for a while, then turn around and go back that way for a while, and then switch to the other direction.

So this is how to Sharpen an Axe.


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