This article shows and tells just about everything you need to know in order to sharpen an axe. Please be extremely careful. Wear heavy leather gloves.
Axe Sharpening Myth and Confusion
There seems to be a lot myth and confusion about how sharp an axe should be. Some say they should be dull. Some say “kind of sharp, like a dull knife”. Others say as “sharp as your sharpest knife.” So who is right?
Answer- Your axe should be shaving sharp!
The Father of Bushcraft Speaks of Axe Sharpening
“The inexperienced and occasional users who are more prone to accidents in the first place, often fail to appreciate the importance of a keen edge. All woodworking tools, including axes, should be sharp enough to shave with for effortless, efficient and enjoyable work. Most new axes require from an hour to a half a day of hand sharpening to put them into proper shape. A dull axe is less efficient and more tiring to use. It is also a greater hazard as it glances more readily. An axe should be sharpened on a regular basis, perhaps with every half-hour of use or each time a tree is cut down. A minute spent on sharpening may shorten your chopping time by 5 minutes.”
The Pros Have An Axe To Grind
Also, Bernie Weisgerber, author of the US Forest Service Axe Manual “An Axe to Grind” says,
“A correctly honed edge is sharp with no wire edge. It reflects no light. If you followed procedures, your edge should be sharp enough to shave with (Figure 73). I sometimes check the sharpness by carefully dry shaving the hair on the back of my hand. This is a traditional method used in the woods for years. A safer and equally effective test is to carefully put your fingernail (not your finger) against the sharpened edge. The edge should bite into your fingernail and not slide down it.
Abraham Lincoln and Axe Sharpening
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. -Abraham Lincoln
Axe Sharpening Fee
Hatches & Axes (double bit $18.00) $9.00