No matter its firewood processing or just regular carpentry, an axe is your true companion. If you haven’t already bought your firewood and you don’t have a log splitter, then you have to go back to a quality splitting axe anyway.
The axe should be as sharp as possible so that the wood can be split smoothly. How you can do it at home? Don’t worry! Today, we will explain how to sharpen an axe and maul step by step at home.
In the age of electric tools, nevertheless, the axe is one of the essential tools that depends on your muscle power. But even when chopping wood you can minimize the force with the help of a sharp axe.
From my experience, one thing is clear that even the best edge of an axe becomes duller overtime at work. So it makes sense to grind and sharpen the axe time to time.
In this article, we’ve decided to put up an end to your struggle. Go through the 4 methods of sharpening an axe at home, and chose the right one for your purpose.
Let’s hop on the wagon, and get going-
How to Sharpen Axe and Maul By Hands
For splitting hard & strong firewood, a sharpened axe is a must-have tool. To complete this task, you can call an expert who will do the job on behalf of you, or you can try it by yourself. But using a blunt tool to sharpen axe can harm human health and life.
Axe has its jobs in specific, which contains processing or cutting wooden things majorly. So, all of the axes come with a general structure. As you know, this tool consists of three parts- blade and cutting edge, the body of the handle and the throat of the handle.
But as long as we are concerned about the axe sharpening process, we’ll focus on the blade only.
The blade is made from different types of steel that contain more than 0.7% of carbon. Those steel are basically two types- Special blades and ordinary blades. Both of them differ in the number of metallic impurities.
If you’ve identified the exact type of blade onto your axe, it’s time to step into the sharpening process. For sharpening any kind of axe, you have to consider the following factors-
- The hardness of the wood to be split
- The humidity of the wood to be split
- Type of work(that the blade has to do)
- Features of metal that the blade is made of
Finding the Perfect Angle
Before stepping into the action, it is necessary to determine the desired angle. The final sharpness of the blade is affected by factors such as the size and the angle of the grinding of the chamber.
This last characteristic is chosen according to the type of work proposed. To chop stump or wood uses an acute angle. This figure may be less than 20 °.
A general rule is to sharpen the axe blade at an angle of 25 ° to 30 °. This is enough to perform minor tasks on wood processing (e.g., logs or cut small trees). To perform a more precise job, experts advise, the angle should be of 15 or 20 °.
Sharpening at the exact angle will assist you in the accurate finishing. The professional carpenters use to use this technique mostly to complete the finishing of individual pieces of furniture.
- Wire brush to remove rust (Our Pick- Forney 70504 Scratch Brush)
- Sandpaper of varying thickness (Our Pick-120 To 3000 Assorted Grit Sandpaper)
- The surface with a vise (Our Pick- Yost LV-4)
- Oil or lubricant (Our Pick- Multi-Purpose Oil)
- Whetstone (Our Pick- Whetstone Cutlery)
- Protective glasses (Our Pick- DEWALGlass)
- Apron (Our Pick- Waterproof Apron)
- Gloves (Our Pick- NoCry Gloves )
Steps of Sharpening An Axe
- At First, clean the Axe blade from rust. This can be done using specialized tools. A wire brush is a fine example.
- Then, polish the axe head surface from all directions. Don’t even miss any angle of the gripping surface.
- Repeat the previous step again and again; you can use fabrics to polish the surface
- Fix the Axe on the edge of a table or in a vise so that the blade edge hangs from the table, and the handle rests against the surface.
- Remove metal chips and other dust with the brush.
- Now keep the blade rolling on a double-sided stone in a circular motion. Before this procedure, keep the surface oily or lubricated. On the other hand, sharpening the blade also goes through the same method, but uses a less hard rock.
- Make sure to use instruments used for polishing metal surfaces to prevent the occurrence of corrosion & sharpen the axe perfectly.
If you’ve followed the above-mentioned steps of how to sharpen the axe you might have noticed that this procedure can be done with our own hands. No expert support needed at all!
While sharpening the axe blade the axe must stand at the rotation level from the surface. It can be an angle of 45°. Slowly move the blade in a rotational motion along the surface for bevel polishing perfectly.
To avoid overheating, wash it with cold water, or at least permanently immerse the axe under a stream of cold water.
Apart from this regular method, there are three different ways to sharpen an axe at home. Stay tuned, and we will follow you up with the steps-
#1: Sharpening Axe with File
- Axe file (Our Pick-Nicholson 06706N Axe File)
- Grindstone (Our Pick-Whetstone Cutlery)
- Belt sander (Our Pick-WEN 6515T)
How To Sharpen an Axe with File
Before starting with this method, let us remind you about an important thing first. Protection should be considered before starting work. It is recommended to wear safety glass to protect against flying metal splinters, nasty grains and sparks.
Done with the safety precaution? Proceed to the steps of sharpening axe with file-
Steps of Axe Sharpening with A File
If the cutting edge of the axe has a profound defect, then you must first sand back the entire cutting edge. To do this, you should clamp the axe with the cutting edge upwards in a vise and use a flat-file to remove material from the cutting edge.
Keep going with the step until the defect is no longer visible. Make sure that you keep the original radius of the cutting edge.
Remove the axe from the stump and attach to a belt sander. By now, the filing process finally resulted in a hard edge.
Now, you have to sharpen the edge again at a sharpening angle of about 30 degrees (15 degrees on each side). But even if you have not done the first step, you should now work with the belt sander.
Turn on the belt sander and choke the speed. Now you have to move the axe up and down across the sanding belt. However, it is essential that you dissolve the blade of the axe in cold water for a short time because the temperature of the blade increases very swiftly during grinding axe.
Important: The head of the axe must be cooled in cold water at regular intervals, so that, the heat of grinding does not damage it.
Finally, it comes to fine-tuning. For that, a dampen grindstone tides with the ground in circular motions along with the cutting edge.
And that was about it. If you have followed those steps, then your axe should be nice and sharp again and the beating of firewood will turn into a child’s play.
#2: Sharpen Axe with Grinder
If you have a grinder(our pick- DEWALT DCG413B), you can easily sharpen the axe by using it. But beware! You have to proceed correctly. For sharpening an axe, it is important to use a grinding wheel. Also, while buying a grinding wheel, make sure to choose the right diameter.
In the video, you can see how to sharpen the axe quickly and easily with a grinder.
Warning: It is not recommended to use the grinder to sharpen cutting tools, as it may heat the metal and thereby remove the hardness of the metal. There are very effective sharpeners on the market specially adapted for cutting tools.
#3: Sharpen Axe with Sharpener
Alternatively, you can use an axe sharpener. There are professional axe sharpeners (Our pick- Fiskars axe sharpener) available in the market and the online stores, which will turn the job way easier for you. But all you have to do is spend some extra bucks to purchase the sharpener itself.
If you hold the axe vertically, you cannot do anything wrong. The axe adjusts with the angle optimally.
Chop Firewood with the Splitting Axe
A splitting axe is basically the smaller version of a split hammer(maul). It is especially used for shredding firewood.
Here are the features of a splitting axe:
The splitting axe handle is made of wood or fiberglass. The total length usually measures between 60 to 80 cm. A big plus point is their lightweight, as it averagely brings on just 2 kg on the scales, making it lighter than a large splitting maul.
The classic application of a splitting axe is undoubtedly the chopping and splitting firewood. It makes sense that you should cut wood as soon as the falls down. The drier wood gets harder. Also, the wood in a firewood rack dries faster when crushed. However, if the wood is already very dry and hard, then use a splitting maul.
Safe handling of a splitting axe
We already know that an axe is a dangerous tool, we certainly do not need to emphasize here. But the fact is to consider specific security measures. It is important to split the wood on a stable surface. Tribes have tested and tried, especially the beach logs. If you miss the wood when splitting, the axe will land safely in the tree trunk and not somewhere else.
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