How to Sharpen an Axe? 3 Easy Way to sharpen

Working with a blunt axe is harmful as controlling the movement of a dull axe is quite challenging. Thus, it may lead you to an unexpected incident that we don’t need to explain.

While a razor-sharp axe ensures efficient results; and you will be able to chop depending on the technique. More importantly, it won’t slip, making the chopping task a lot more convenient and less strenuous.

So, sharpening an axe is necessary, not only for efficient performance but also for safe use. Then how to sharpen an axe? Is it a tedious task? Can I take it as a DIY project?

Continue reading this guide that explains multiple methods of sharpening an axe.


How to Sharpen an Axe with a Grinder?

You will find different types of grinders in the market. Grinders are a great way for polishing, cutting, and grinding various materials. In this process, we will use an angle grinder because sharpening will be much easier with it.

Let’s look at the below step-by-step procedure.

Step 01

Before sharpening, inspect the axe carefully. Ensure that the axe’s metal head is securely and firmly attached to the wooden handle. Otherwise, when sharpening, the head could slip off and hurt you seriously.

Step 02

Check whether the axe’s head has any sign of rust or not. At this point, a steel wool pad can be handy to remove the corrosion and rust. Next, use fine grit paper for treating the surface.

Step 03

The axe’s blade needs to be secured in a table vise. This way, the blade will remain stable in its position, which will make the sharpening process convenient.

Before turning the grinder on, don’t forget to wear safety gear such as goggles, hand gloves, ear pads, etc.

Step 04

Now, turn the angle grinder on. Use both hands to hold the tool. It would be best to choose a model that has a long cord. Thus, you can work your way around the axe in the vise. Moreover, a stable standing position will be beneficial.

Step 05

Next, grind the axe blade’s surface using the angle grinders rotating blade. In order to get the best result:

  1. Hold the axe blade at an angle within 5° – 15°.
  2. Provide continuous, long, and straight strokes on the surface of the blade.
  3. Remember not to overheat the blade’s surface.

Step 06

Once you are done with one side, then start the other side. The whole surface needs to be treated evenly to get the expected result.

After sharpening one side, leave the axe blade at least for 10 minutes to get relaxed. Also, when you are not using the grinder, don’t forget to turn it off.

Step 07

The same process needs to be followed when sharpening the other side.

Step 08

After completely sharpening both sides, switch off the grinder and remove the electric cord from the power source. Then the vise needs to be loosened carefully. The axe blade might be hot; use protective gloves to hold it. Now, the axe needs to be removed from the vise. Once it gets cool, store it in a safe place.  

Warning: Be careful when using a grinder because hazards can happen if you don’t wear protective gear.

Additionally, the above process gives you the answer to “how to Sharpen an Axe with a Bench Grinder.” Sharpening an axe using a bench grinder is similar to the steps mentioned above.

How to Sharpen an Axe with a Whetstone?

Stone or whetstone is a good choice at sharpening not too severely damaged axe blades. Generally, after the initial pass with a bastard file, you have to use whetstones.

Whetstones are available in a wide range of grits.

  • 1000-grit: Best for sharpening medium chipped edges.
  • 1000 – 3000-grit: Suitable for sharpening dull edges after removing deadly bit damage.
  • 4000 – 8000-grit: Offer the best result when used for polishing

Follow the below steps meticulously.

Step 01

Get a 1000-grit whetstone.

Step 02

Depending on the whetstone type, use water or oil to coat the whetstone and the axe blade. If necessary, don’t hesitate to reapply water or oil.

Step 03

Start sharpening. Apply gentle and even pressure. Use a circular motion to sharpen both sides. When you see burr is formed at one side, switch to the other side.

Sep 04

When you notice that the burr becomes a “feather edge burr,” get a 4000 – 8000 grit whetstone for perfection.

One question might have popped up in your mind, which is – how will I know if the axe blade edge is sharp? Well, a razor-sharp axe blade can cut a piece of paper effortlessly.

When buying a whetstone, select a 2-grit stone that comes with one finer side and one coarser side. Having 2-grits in one tool allows you to handle the sharpening process conveniently.

You will love to know that you can sharpen an axe using a wet stone with the steps mentioned above. Thus, you don’t need to search for the process of “how to sharpen an axe with a stone.”

How to Sharpen an Axe with a Dremel?

A Dremel is a great alternative to a grinder. It is faster and safer than a grinder, making the sharpening process much more comfortable.

However, Dremel has drawbacks too. Axe sharpening required a reliable and robust tool; the head of Dremel is too weak. So, choose a Dremel that comes with an ideal head grit for sharpening an axe handle. Generally, the Dremel head made of aluminum oxide offers a good result.

The steps of sharpening an axe with a Dremel and a grinder is nearly similar with a few minor differences. Read the below step-by-step procedure.

Step 01

Clam down the axe if possible. This way, the axe will stay in a fixed position. Then you have to worry about the Dremel head’s position only.

Step 02

Turn on the Dremel. You will need to place the flat head opposite to the edge of the axe bit.

Step 03

When sharpening the bit, use a circular motion. Once you find that the current side is sharpened enough, change the side and follow the same sharpening procedure.

Step 04

If you need to use a finer grit for perfection, use it.

Step 05

Grab a wire brush and clean the axe.

Step 06

Once you finish with both sides, soak the axe head into the water, let it cool. Remember to wear protective equipment.

Isn’t the process effortless? Hopefully, you will not find any difficulty when sharpening an axe using Dremel with the above steps.

Final Words

Before every wood cutting season, you should sharpen your axe. Don’t think that axe-sharpening is an annual task. You should assess the sharpness of the axe blade when cutting wood. For this, stop cutting periodically and run your fingers over the axe edges.

A razor-sharp axe blade might give you a comfortable time when chopping pieces of wood. As long as you have a few power tools or standard shop tools, you can sharpen your axe in less than 30 minutes.

When we started this article, you were looking for ways on how to sharpen an axe. Hopefully, now you will be able to sharpen your axe efficiently.

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