How to Sharpen an Axe - Picture Heavy

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fishy1

Banned
Nov 29, 2007
792
0
sneck
Can you sharpen an axe just with waterstones if it doesn't have any lumps missing and is reasonably sharp to begin with?
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,705
628
Mercia
You can sharpen an axe with stones of any type fishy yes, but sharpening a convex bevel on a flat stone does need more technique than I've shown here. Anything is possible, but it wouldn't be my chosen method personally

Red
 

KRF1963

Tenderfoot
Oct 19, 2007
51
0
York
Hiya Red - Just ordered a small Wetterlings from ebay and want to get a sharpening kit together and was wondering what the best size is for the diamond hones is?

Axminster do a 25mm x 75mm and a 50mm x 150mm set - which would you recommend?

Is there a better place to buy them than Axminster?

Many thanks

Keith
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,705
628
Mercia
Keith,

My advice is "don't spend a fortune". Mine were £3 off the market :eek: They work fine though.

Go for the 150mm size - they will speed the job up no end

Red
 

VirusKiller

Nomad
Jul 16, 2007
392
0
Hogsty End
I just wanted to add my thanks for this superb tutorial. I know there are a lot of stickies in this forum, but this thread should really be amongst them.
 

KRF1963

Tenderfoot
Oct 19, 2007
51
0
York
After many months I have just spent an hour putting an "edge" on a Wilkinson Sword hand axe as practoce before I have a go at doing the same to my Wetterlings.

It is nice and shiny but there is no sharpness to it at all! I used the diamond files, wet and dry (down to 600 as that is all I have in) and the polishing compound but didn't use a rough file as there was no damage to it.

I guess I was a bit too timid and didn't work each stage enough!

Hey-ho will have to have another go some time soon!
 

L8starter

Forager
Mar 6, 2011
134
0
norwich, uk
wow, that sounds as though it makes sense and i remember my father using lots of different motions so can almost envisage how it looks but id like to be able to say, is it ready for the next stage now? how would i know that? id really love to find somoene near me in norfolk so i could go sit and be shown

to say my axe is blunt is a gross understatement. its old, the head was loose but i have hammered in a wedge which seems to be secure and now i need to try to get some kind of edge on it. i am doing a level 3 forest leaders course and am new to this site but already can see what a mine of information it is.

my axe is a different shape from these, looking at the cheek, the head is symetrical with the same curved shaping as the one you show but curved on both sides so it resembles a woman in a ball gown... bizarre... is this an ok axe for bushcraft use, at this stage all im doing is pointing poles? it has a convex blade with some damage to the toe.

i have a sharpening stone, (maybe the axe stone you refer to above?)it is rectangular about 15cm x 4cm, approx 2/3 light grey and 1/3 darker grey. the edges feel rough with the darker material feeling the rougher but the surfaces of it feel smooth and the lighter side looks to be contaminated with black something. i do remember buying this and trying to sharpen something a few years ago and failing miserably, i think it was a scythe i was trying to sharpen. any advice as regards what this is and whether it is suitable for my purpose would be gratefully received

i guess i need to start by buying myself a coarse crosscut and a fine metal file?

i havent fully found my way around this forum yet, are there ever informal campouts, where i might come along and be advised as im working?
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,705
628
Mercia
There are indeed many meet ups. I rarely go, but if you ever run up to Lincolnshire, we can soon teach you.....
 

Dave

Hill Dweller
Sep 17, 2003
6,019
8
Brigantia
Great Tutorial. I use a car body file, which is pretty long, and over the years, Ive taken the 'black' off the cheeks. Which now occasionally rust.
Is there any way to re-blacken the cheeks of the axe, or is it just a product of the forging process?
 

Ian S

On a new journey
Nov 21, 2010
274
0
Edinburgh
Never tried it myself, but see your local gunsmith that caters for shotgun types. They may sell cold bluing solution (Birchwood Casey is one brand). You could also try the vinegar patination technique that some use on carbon steel knives.

It's the same basic technique - build up an oxide layer that prevents further oxidation.

Cheers
 

Dave

Hill Dweller
Sep 17, 2003
6,019
8
Brigantia
.......The vinegar patination technique..........
It's the same basic technique - build up an oxide layer that prevents further oxidation.

Cheers

I was'nt aware that it was. TY. [I'll 'potato' it]
 
Last edited:

KRF1963

Tenderfoot
Oct 19, 2007
51
0
York
After many months I have just spent an hour putting an "edge" on a Wilkinson Sword hand axe as practoce before I have a go at doing the same to my Wetterlings.

It is nice and shiny but there is no sharpness to it at all! I used the diamond files, wet and dry (down to 600 as that is all I have in) and the polishing compound but didn't use a rough file as there was no damage to it.

I guess I was a bit too timid and didn't work each stage enough!

Hey-ho will have to have another go some time soon!

Just an update to say I followed Red's tutorial on my Wetterling and whilst I am sure it could be sharper, it is certainly sharp enough for me!

I now need to repeat the exercise on my old Wiklinson Sword so my son can use it this weekend when we go to Brockwell Woods!
 

DFCA

Nomad
Aug 11, 2009
295
0
Monmouthshire
I just got linked to this tutorial and wanted to add my thanks to Red, what a superb tutorial and follow up advise. I will be using all of the info herein, excellent! :)
atb
Dave
 

ToneWood

Tenderfoot
Feb 22, 2012
78
0
Wessex
For a carving axe (for bowl/kuksa/spoon making), would you still do a convex grind, or would a straight/Scandi(navian) grind be more appropriate?
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,705
628
Mercia
That will depend entirely on the nature of the grind on the axe - a side axe is wholly different than a dual beveled axe
 

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