05 Nov Best Axe Sharpener
The Importance of a Sharp Axe
Having a sharp axe means that users can do more with it, and with less effort compared to a dull axe. An axe that isn’t sharp won’t bite when it strikes the wood, consequently resulting in bounce back or deflect.
Adding to this, an axe with dull blades makes the task even more difficult, and in worse cases could cause serious injury. Buying one of the best hatchet sharpening tools allows users to sharpen the axe at home, and have it ready when its time to head out to the great outdoors.
Tools Required to Sharpen an Axe including Best Axe Sharpening Stone
Before moving further to tell what is the best axe sharpener, it is important to note that sharpening tools for mauls can vary slight from axes, and you can read about the difference between a maul and axe to understand why.
There are a several tools available to sharpen axes and hatchets, and some of them can even sharpen knives. The words axes and hatchets are often confused for each other, due to their similar functionality, but there are key differences between the two tools (differences between a axe and hatchet) – article title).
Axe sharpeners can be a honing stone, strop, file or grinder, where a file is the most commonly used tool to sharpen an axe especially one with an extremely dull edge. Regardless of which type you use, it is a good idea to learn how to store axes to avoid sharpening them frequently (how to store axes).
A stone is good to sharpen smaller size edges, and is also highly portable, making it easy to carry on the road. Grinders typically are a great choice when looking to sharpen two-sided axes, and a strop can be used for the final stages of sharpening.
How to Sharpen a Hatchet or Axe with a File?
Before sharpening an axe, it is important to take the necessary safety measures, given that the process involves working with a sharp blade.
Start by paying attention to the bevel or angle of the bit end, because the angle of thickness differs throughout the edge of the blade.
For example, most axes have a 15 – 20 degree angle about ½ inch from the cutting tip and a 30 – 40 degree angle at the end of the bit. Take note that the bulge that’s a bit away from the edge is the part that provides the axe with its cutting power.
When sharpening the axe at home, it is recommended to secure down the axe for safety – something that might not possible in the field. Once the axe is clamped down in a mounted vide of edge up, then grab an aggressive file and remove any burrs or nicks that are present.
Use the file by stroking it in a downward motion, while making several passes on each side of the edge. The pic below illustrates the rough angle to hold the file when passing it on the edge.
Be sure to alternate between sides to ensure that all chips and dings are filed away, and the result is a gleaming arc of steel. Pay close attention when filing towards the edge of the axe, as a slight miss can lead to a big cut.
Wearing a pair of safety, cut resistant gloves is always a good idea. Here’s a video tutorial to sharpen an axe with a file. This range of gloves prove handy in several other situations as long as you buy the right pair of safety gloves (safety gloves buying guide – about 2000 words plus).
Sharpening a Hatchet or Axe using a Sharpening Axe Stone
If there’s a sharpening stone and some lubricant handy such as water or oil, it’s easy to use both together to sharpen an axe. Here’s some expert advice on how to use a sharpening stone the right way for knives and other bladed tools, and is a must read especially if you are familiar with how to use an axe sharpening stone.
A sharpening stone offers several benefits (benefits of whetstones), and has two sides to it – a finer side and coarse side, which is the side that needs to be lubricated with oil or water.
Now, position the tip of the axe’s head on the stone, and ensure that it matches the angle of the bevel. Next, apply slight pressure and move the axe’s head in small circles, while making note of the number of strokes, and repeat this process from one side of the axe to the other.
At this point, there will probably be a little bit of paste that is generated, which should not be wiped off. Once a pass is completed after going forward and backward to the starting point, flip the axe over and apply the same process to this side of the axe blade and for the same number of strokes.
Now that the axe has received the course side treatment, apply the lubricant to the fine side of the stone, and perform the same steps as the course side 2 -3 times. The axe head should now be razor sharp, and its sharpness can be tested by running a fingernail along the blade.
Video tutorial on sharpening axe with sharpening stone.
Why a Bench Grinder is one of the Best Hatchet Sharpening Tools?
Bench grinders are regarded as the one of the best axe sharpening tools, and it is important to use safety gear when using them. If you don’t own a bench grinder, please read our detailed bench grinder buying guide (for this, article I was thinking of doing a full review style with buying guide because there are many models to cover) to buy the best model.
Start by powering on the bench grinder, and match the angle of the bevel to the grinding wheel, while applying light pressure when grinding.
Ensure there’s a bucket or tub of water handy to dunk the head of the axe to cool it off and preserve its temper. Repeat the same process for the other side of the blade, and lastly clean up the edges with a wire brush for that razor sharp edge.
Sharpening an Axe with a Puck aka Axe Blade Sharpener
The contoured shape of a puck makes it an ideal choice to sharpen a wide range of blades including axes, lawn mowers, hatchets, spades and other cutting and chopping tools. First, place the axe in an upward position with the blade facing upright.
Lubricate the coarse side of the puck, and then work it in small circles on one of the sides of the blade, and do not wipe off the paste that accumulates. Repeat this process on the other side as well. The blade at this point should be sharp enough to cut paper.
Now to sharpen the axe to cut tough logs of wood, apply lubricant to the fine side of the puck and repeat the same steps as the course side for roughly 3 – 4 times. If the correct sharpening technique has been used, the axe will be ready to take to the field. Quick video Tutorial to sharpen with puck.
What to Look for in the Best Axe Sharpening Kit?
Before using any type of tools for sharpening, it is wise to take the necessary precautions to avoid injury. Additionally, it is also important that you buy the right tool for the job such as chainsaws to cut dense wood (this can be a product review article about chainsaws – 3000+ words.
There are a few factors to consider when shopping for the best hatchet and axe sharpener, most notably:
For sharpening stones and pucks, it is nice to buy one that has a two-sided grit – course on one and fine on the other. Adding to this and regardless of the type of tool, it is good idea to buy a bigger size, especially to sharpen large size axes.
Multipurpose sharpeners can sharpen axes as well as other tools such as kitchen knives, scissors, hunting knives and others with blades. If buying a multipurpose axe sharpener, ensure it rests on a sturdy base to prevent tipping over.