Reprofile an axe is a valuable skill for anyone who wants to restore or improve the cutting edge of their axe head. Over time, an axe’s edge can become dull or damaged, making it less effective for chopping and splitting. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to reprofile an axe, bringing it back to a sharp and efficient cutting tool:
Tools and Materials You’ll Need:
- Axe that needs reprofiling
- File or sharpening stone
- Bench vise or a secure workbench
- Safety goggles and gloves
- Honing oil or water (if using a sharpening stone)
- Rags or paper towels
- Wooden block or similar material
Step 1: Safety First Before you begin reprofiling your axe, ensure your safety by wearing safety goggles and gloves. Sharp tools can cause accidents, so always prioritize safety.
Step 2: Inspect Your Axe Examine your axe head for any signs of damage, such as nicks, dents, or chips. If there are significant issues, consult a professional or consider replacing the axe head. Minor damage can often be repaired during the reprofiling process.
Step 3: Secure the Axe Head To maintain stability while reprofiling, securely clamp the axe head in a bench vise or secure it to a sturdy workbench. This prevents any unwanted movement during the reprofiling process.
Step 4: Assess the Blade Angle Determine the ideal angle for your axe blade. Most axes have a bevel angle between 20-25 degrees. To maintain this angle, you can use a protractor or a specialized axe sharpening guide.
Step 5: Begin Reprofiling a. File or Sharpening Stone: Depending on your preference, you can use either a file or a sharpening stone to reprofile the blade. Hold the file or stone at the correct angle (as determined in Step 4) and move it along the edge of the blade in smooth, even strokes. Be consistent in your movements to maintain an even edge.
b. Sharpening Direction: Always sharpen from the bit (the cutting edge) towards the poll (the back of the axe). Stroke away from the axe head, not towards it.
c. Use Lubrication: If you’re using a sharpening stone, apply honing oil or water to keep the stone lubricated, which helps prevent overheating and extends the life of the stone.
Step 6: Check for a Burr After reprofiling, run your fingertip gently along the edge to check for a burr. A burr is a raised metal edge created during sharpening. Remove it by gently filing or stroking it with the sharpening stone.
Step 7: Test the Edge Carefully test the sharpness of your axe on a piece of wood. It should bite into the wood with ease, and the edge should feel uniformly sharp along the entire length.
Step 8: Final Cleaning Wipe the axe head clean with a rag or paper towel to remove any metal shavings or debris. Ensure that the axe head is dry and free from oil or moisture before storing it.
Step 9: Storage Store your reprofiled axe in a cool, dry place, preferably hanging it on a wall or in a protective sheath to prevent accidents and keep it in optimal condition.
Reprofile your axe ensures that it remains an effective and safe tool for chopping and splitting wood. Regular maintenance will prolong the life of your axe and keep it ready for various outdoor tasks. Prioritize safety throughout the reprofiling process, and your axe will be sharp and reliable when you need it.
Related- How To Store An Axe?