A lot of myths and misunderstandings exist about how sharp an ax should be. Some argue that they should be uninteresting. An ax should be sharp, like a dull knife, some claim. As sharp as your sharpest knife, others suggest.
Should an ax be razor-sharp? An ax can be dangerously sharp. The tip of the ax will become too thin and fragile if you try to sharpen it too much. It will reduce the angle of the bevel. It will weaken it and make it more susceptible to chipping, cracking, or rolling over.
When sharpening your ax, there are things you should know. In this article, you will learn the proper way to sharpen different types of axes.
Sharpening An Ax
There is some misunderstanding about how sharp an ax should be. A cutting ax should be razor-edged, but a splitting maul should be dull rather than sharp.
Alternatively, an ax blade should be sharp enough to cut toilet paper and have a ‘working tip’ rather than a razor edge. Instead of a thick sharp edge, you can have a thin sharp edge.
An ax should be razor-sharp. Sharpening an ax can result in a cutting edge that you can shave with. But, depending on the type of ax and the profile of the blade. However, for some axes, this is not possible.
An ax that is too sharp has been over-sharpened, weakening the piece. It can happen if you disregard the blade’s current level. You can even make the mistake of filing away at an angle that is too narrow. While you will get a razor-sharp finish, it will be useless for serious ax work.
Sharpening Your Ax Accordingly
Axes are available in many sizes and shapes, and they should all be as sharp as possible. All of which come with their intended function and sharpness specifications.
A splitting ax benefits from a sharp edge, but it does not benefit from an excessively sharp edge. It is because the ax cuts parallel to the wood grain rather than through it. The bevel found on the edge of a splitting ax is more convex than on other ax styles.
It doesn’t have to be razor-sharp, but should the ax edge to this degree of sharpness be a problem? As long as you preserve the convex of the bevel, sharpening a splitting ax to this degree is no problem.
A Camping Ax
A camping ax is a multi-purpose ax. It has a shorter handle that you can use to fell small trees, trim log branches, and break small logs. A sharp edge and a moderately convex bevel are needed for this form of an ax.
When splitting wood, the V to the sharp edge should not be too smooth. If it is too smooth, it will encourage the ax to get stuck in the wood. The tip must also be sharp enough to cut smaller trees and branches cross-grain.
They have smaller heads and are reserved for work that isn’t as demanding. They have a flatter grind to the bevel than the other two ax styles. Because of the smaller mass in the hammer’s head, these axes can be sharper than splitting and felling axes.
A Felling Ax
A tree-felling ax has a different action and function than a splitting ax. A felling ax cuts through the grain of the wood, requiring a sharper edge and less of a convex bevel on the ax.
It is impossible to make the ax too sharp as long as this angle is preserved throughout the sharpening process. As long as you don’t adjust the bevel angle, you’ll be able to keep the edge from being too thin.
Bushcraft ax is the kind of ax you’d have on your belt if you were out in the woods. These axes usually have shorter handles and are not intended for heavy-duty felling work.
A bushcraft ax will have a much tighter, steeper angle to the V of the tip. It will have a much less convex bevel. It implies that the axes’ edges can be sharpened to a razor’s point.
What Is Too Much?
When sharpening an ax, it’s essential to maintain the original bevels that were ground into the blade. If you grind the bevel flatter, that is, move the bevel’s start line higher up the blade. The tip of your ax’s edge will be compromised.
The ax will be sharper if the bevel is flattened out. The edge geometry will be more similar to that of a knife. This action thins out the edge to make it sharper. However, it also decreases the mass of the steel behind the sharp edge, which is counterproductive.
It weakens the ax’s sharp edge, making it more vulnerable to rolling over and being rusty. It also causes the ax to chip and cracks when struck against the wood designed to cut.
It is crucial to keep the ax’s edge bevel height and angle as close to the original as possible. It’s impossible to make your ax too sharp and weaken the edge if you follow this law.
There are plenty of beginner ax owners who do not understand the geometry of the edge required. They make the mistake of over-sharpening an ax.
It isn’t to say that the ax can’t be razor-sharp. It’s always possible to sharpen your ax. You even get it to the point that it’ll shave the hair off your arm without compromising the bevel angle.
How Often Should You Sharpen An Ax?
It is crucial to spend some time repairing the damage you’ve caused with your ax after each use. It is even vital when you’re doing heavy work like tree felling. Sharpening with a file and honing with a sharpening puck is my favorite form.
After work, just ten minutes of treatment is a perfect way to unwind and care for your hammer. Doing so will ensure that it is in top condition for the next day.
An ax that has been honed can cut harder, be safer to use, and remain sharper for longer. Your edge has to be sharp enough to shave with if you follow the procedures.
You can test the sharpness by shaving the hair on the back of your hand with a dry razor. This method is a time-honored technique that has been used in the woods for many years.
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