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  • Axe sharpening – what angle?
  • Premier Icon teacake
    Free Member

    Hello,

    My friend (and he still is) was using my axe to chop some kindling. He was chopping straight onto the hearth, took a lovely big chunk out of the hearth as well as blunting the toe of the axe – argh!

    I’ve filed the blunted part of the toe, been over it with a diamond file, then 600 grit wet and dry. I seem to have done a bad job as now most of the cutting edge is pretty blunt. I’ve been working the files from the cutting edge to the poll, with a slight diagonal movement.

    Am I holding the files at the wrong angle? (been using about 20-30degrees) Have I not taken enough metal off? It’s all been done by hand How long should it take?(I’ve been at it for an hour or more now).

    Any advice welcomed – thank you!

    Premier Icon jimjam
    Free Member

    Try and keep the original bevel shape, let that guide the angle of the file.

    Premier Icon Milkie
    Free Member

    Depends what type of wood you are cutting. 20°-30° Inclusive for soft woods. 30°+ for Hard woods. There also maybe a tip bevel (primary & secondary bevels). Really you should keep the angle already on the axe and it should be a concave bevel, not flat, unless its for carving.

    Premier Icon ski
    Free Member

    Any advice welcomed – thank you!

    Don’t lend axes to friends 😉

    Premier Icon sharkbait
    Free Member

    For splitting duties blunt is fine (sharp for chopping/cutting).

    Premier Icon teacake
    Free Member

    Is it really as simple as running the diamond file over it at around 30 degrees until sharp. I’ve done this for a while and still don’t have a razor edge I was expecting?!

    Premier Icon jimjam
    Free Member

    What grit is the file? Is it in good condition? I use a double sided sharpening stone which I find is perfect so long as I stay on top of things and sharpen regulalry. I’d only really use a file (bastard) if I’d done some heavy work or a bit of damage to the axe. I don’t really bother with fine grit paper unless I’m going to shave with the thing.

    The stone gets it sharp enough to cut news paper, so sharp enough.

    sharkbait
    For splitting duties blunt is fine

    Sharp is still preferable.

    Premier Icon teacake
    Free Member

    I have three of different thicknesses:

    coarse
    medium (240)
    fine (400)

    Premier Icon project
    Free Member

    Diamond files are very slow cutting, use a metal file or grindstone, dont overheat the blade plenty of cold water to dunk into.
    A long bevel is a low angle and will allow the axe to cut where as a steeper bevel will be more suitable for spitting.

    Hold axe bevel up in a brigt light and over a sheet of white paper and if you can see a thick line over bevel at cutting edge you need to sharpen it flat,to more of a sharp edge, also the bevel should be flat front to back of blade, and curved side to side

    Premier Icon sharkbait
    Free Member

    Sharp is still preferable.

    Why? If you’re splitting you’re using the axe as a wedge and the edge on it doesn’t matter – in fact a sharp edge is more likely to get stuck when splitting logs.

    Premier Icon jimjam
    Free Member

    sharkbait

    Why? If you’re splitting you’re using the axe as a wedge and the edge on it doesn’t matter

    If we are talking axes not mauls then sharper the better. Sharpen your axe and see if it detracts or improves splitting. Then grind it down to a flat blunt edge. It’ll split better sharp, trust me.

    in fact a sharp edge is more likely to get stuck when splitting logs.

    No. A felling axe is more likely to get stuck than a splitting axe or maul, because it’s not designed to split and bites into the wood whereas a maul or splitting axe is a very differnt shape designed to split the wood apart.

    Premier Icon sharkbait
    Free Member

    trust me.

    You know what I’ll stick with my experience if you don’t mind.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Full Member

    Sharp axe for splitting kindling
    Blunter maul for splitting logs

    Premier Icon kcal
    Full Member

    Somewhat less that 30 deg. I’d have thought – especially for likes of a smaller kindling type axe.

    Got a spare whetstone kicking about if you want. For lots of kindling, I usually use a heavy kindling axe, not sharp so tends not to embed, just pushes apart or wedges without taking a finger or other damage with it – Roughneck one IIRC.

    Premier Icon twinw4ll
    Free Member

    Blunt for kindling, so you can split quickly, then when you do catch your hand/thumb you don’t end up in A&E.

    Premier Icon granny_ring
    Full Member

    Couldn’t tell you what angle mine are, just got the angle grinder on them. Sparks ahoy. 🙂

    Dont get that geoff & twinwall…..the sharper the better for me.

    Premier Icon teasel
    Free Member

    Sharkbait and Twinwall speak sense. Just to help out here’s that vid I made last time this shit came up…

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAwd1i_cXMQ[/video]

    It would’ve been rude not to.

    8)

    Premier Icon granny_ring
    Full Member

    Nice.
    I take it that was 2.5 seconds quicker than a sharp blade….. 🙂

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    “Couldn’t tell you what angle mine are, just got the angle grinder on them. Sparks ahoy”

    Ah but for how long does the now soft edge stay sharp ?

    Premier Icon granny_ring
    Full Member

    **** knows, just sharpen them when they dont chop as well!
    The splitter more often than the hatchet.

    Premier Icon rene59
    Free Member

    First you need to go into the woods…

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfY8HY50dGU[/video]

    Premier Icon CountZero
    Full Member

    I keep looking at getting some waterstones like Ray’s using, then I look at the prices…

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Free Member

    An Axe to grind book in pdf

    or video
    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz3rs-eaN3E[/video]

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Full Member

    back in the 50’s my father was a proper tree fella just like them lads at the beginning of the us film above, except he was in the north of england. come the early 60’s i spent every school holiday and saturday morning out in the woods working. i was nt allowed to use a felling axe til i was about 13 and thats when chainsaws (stihl) were really popular ( although really expensive.. they came in individual wooden crates back then.)
    during the day i tallied each tree as the lads were paid per foot and at bait time i sharpened the felling axes.
    polishing would be better description as they 3 lads felling were good are very rarely hit anything other than wood. i used (and never saw any other method) a small wetstone in a circular motion wetstone was about the size of a medium box of matches and was hand held it was wetted with spit. each axe probably had a a couple of minutes a couple of times a day the heads were wrapped in sacking at the end of the day after a smear with an oily rag and left overnight in the wood in an old ammo box ( most stuff we used was ex army back then)when the chainsaw took over the wetsone was swapped for a rats tail file and i sharpened chains will they ate jam butties and drank cold sugary tea.

    my dad always insists he never did any exercise but to see and hear them axes going from dawn till dusk 6 days a week .. they got a pretty good work out.

    elf and safety.. clogs with irons ( made in haworth), heavy denim jeans, 3 inch wide leather belt and that was it. i can vaguely remember a horse they used when i first started but most of the work was done with an ex army matador truck complete with machine gun mount on the cab.

    A Matador owner writes…
    It’s a common misconception that the hole in the roof of Matadors and other trucks is for a machine gun.
    While it would be possible, and no doubt happened, to fire a gun through the hole, it’s main purpose was for observation.

    Back to the axes…

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Free Member

    STW: Come for the bikes; stay for the stories 🙂

    Premier Icon slowoldgit
    Free Member

    I always assumed that sharpening is best done in a simple movement towards the blade but slightly diagonally, with lifting the stone or file clear for the return. Or the equivalent holding the tool down onto a stone. And gradually stepping along the blade with larger tools. It would be something to do with burrs or a wire edge.

    And because both hands aren’t behind the blade, wear gloves.

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