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Old 07-10-2009, 12:28 AM   #1
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Default Sharpening an Axe

Alright, so I know this isn't technically a weapon, but it would be very usefull if the SHTF. I was wondering if anyone knew the best way to sharpen an axe. I've got a large and a handheld axe that are about 4 years old and have quite a bit of use. I've had 4 tall pines fall in that amount of time, and have used them to clear about 150 square yards of small trees, so they've had plenty of use and need a new edge. Any suggestions?

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Old 07-10-2009, 12:54 AM   #2
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I'm not sure what they are called, but its a long, skinny metal piece. It has rough sides, which you just press against the edge of the axe. Idk, its hard to explain and I cant find a picture. Worked over 4th of July weekend, we had to chop wood for the fire. Takes a few minutes and makes a world of difference.

Something like this.


S.S.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:01 AM   #3
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First, find a good way to clamp the axe in one position. A vise is best, but you can also use a C clamp with the head laid flat, protruding from a table edge.

Avoid using power tools unless there are big chunks missing out of the edge. They may remove too much metal, heat the edge and ruin temper, etc.

I use a coarse file to reach the angle I need, and a medium file refine it. A water stone is used to do the final sharpening- leaving a smooth, slick surface that does not bind in the wood. Coarse file one side, then turn it over, coarse file the other, then medium, turn it over, etc. Keeps the edge centered in the plane of the axe head. SOME axes (broadax) are used to hew the sides of logs, and are actually sharpened off center- but you don't want that.

There are different angles for a splitting axe than a felling axe (splitter is a more abrupt angle). Myself, I have a Sotz Monster Maul I use for splitting, and keep axes for cutting.

Never leave an axe stuck in a log, and never use the poll (back of the head) as a hammer.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c3shooter View Post
First, find a good way to clamp the axe in one position. A vise is best, but you can also use a C clamp with the head laid flat, protruding from a table edge.

Avoid using power tools unless there are big chunks missing out of the edge. They may remove too much metal, heat the edge and ruin temper, etc.

I use a coarse file to reach the angle I need, and a medium file refine it. A water stone is used to do the final sharpening- leaving a smooth, slick surface that does not bind in the wood. Coarse file one side, then turn it over, coarse file the other, then medium, turn it over, etc. Keeps the edge centered in the plane of the axe head. SOME axes (broadax) are used to hew the sides of logs, and are actually sharpened off center- but you don't want that.

There are different angles for a splitting axe than a felling axe (splitter is a more abrupt angle). Myself, I have a Sotz Monster Maul I use for splitting, and keep axes for cutting.

Never leave an axe stuck in a log, and never use the poll (back of the head) as a hammer.

YouTube - techlife: Techniques for sharpening an axe
I do this as well but, as dumb as it may sound, I count the strokes when using the file ( and no comment out of anybody ) to make sure I do the sides evenly. I guess I count it like I do when, I sharpen a knife on a stone.
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:07 AM   #5
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I sharpen my axes the same way I sharpen my convex ground knives: wet/dry sandpaper backed with and old mouse mat or leather. I start on coarse grits if I need to remove lots of metal, slowly moving to finer grits (I finish the edge on 1500 or 2000 grit). Then I strop it on leather with fine buffing compound.

It's easy and I get a mirror polished edge that's keen enough to shave.

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Old 07-10-2009, 02:16 AM   #6
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[QUOTE= It's easy and I get a mirror polished edge that's keen enough to shave.[/QUOTE]

Wanna bet? I bought a new straight edge years ago and wanted to try it in the worst way. It was the sharpest blade I had EVER experienced. So I shaved with it. I'll never do THAT again! Maybe I should have used a strop, but my face looked like I was shot at close range with a load of No. 8's...from now on it's the Gilette Mach3 or nothing!

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Old 07-10-2009, 02:26 AM   #7
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Wanna bet? I bought a new straight edge years ago and wanted to try it in the worst way. It was the sharpest blade I had EVER experienced. So I shaved with it. I'll never do THAT again! Maybe I should have used a strop, but my face looked like I was shot at close range with a load of No. 8's...from now on it's the Gilette Mach3 or nothing!
LOL! Sorry, I seen that one coming. I did the same thing.

My mom, years ago gave me my Grandfather's Strait Razor and his Leather strap, the kind that you use to see in the Barber Shop. Been there done that.

I'll stick to my Gilette Desposable Razor's. If things ever get bad, you can call me Grizzly Addams if you like.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Wanna bet? I bought a new straight edge years ago and wanted to try it in the worst way. It was the sharpest blade I had EVER experienced. So I shaved with it. I'll never do THAT again! Maybe I should have used a strop, but my face looked like I was shot at close range with a load of No. 8's...from now on it's the Gilette Mach3 or nothing!
LOL I'm sorry you guys had bad razor experiences in the past. I shave with a straight razor and love it. But I'm a sharpening geek, I admit it, I can spend hours working to get that perfect gleaming edge.

Here's a website with some good tips on shaving with a straight razor for beginners: RazorCentral - Home of the straight razor
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:32 AM   #9
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thanks guys for the info, looks like i have something to do this weekend besides the same old cutting the grass. Cant wait to get it sharp again, might even take out some stress on a small tree or two. i knew i could count on you guys. i've also thought about getting a straight razor just in case, and i still might, although with the horror stories i may wait until there is no longer a mach 5 before i use it.

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Old 07-10-2009, 12:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franciscomv View Post
LOL I'm sorry you guys had bad razor experiences in the past. I shave with a straight razor and love it. But I'm a sharpening geek, I admit it, I can spend hours working to get that perfect gleaming edge.

Here's a website with some good tips on shaving with a straight razor for beginners: RazorCentral - Home of the straight razor
Thanks Francisco! Interesting article with good info. I definately wasn't doing it properly, and I'm sure as sharp as my razor was, it still wasn't stropped. However, the problem with being "older and wiser" is that it makes you very skeptical about making the same mistakes all over again, especially when bleeding is involved...
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