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Thread: How sharp should my axe be?

  1. #1

    Default How sharp should my axe be?

    Have just bought a second hand Huqsvarna hatchet axa, its pretty good condition but needs a sharpen. I have tried to sharpen with my home made sharpening blocks (as per 5 sharpening kit thread), but the axe still doesnt feel that sharp when running my thumb across the edge. How sharp does it need to be to split small logs effectively?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    An axe scold be as sharp as possible. You should be able to slice a piece of paper with it. You should be able to get it that sharp with a cheap sharpening kit. Although I don't know what kind of axe you own. If it is a cheap or blunt one, you might need to use a file to get the edge till near sharp. Otherwise you could spend ages sharpening. Really hours of sharpening if it's too blunt. If you use a file, you should use a fine one (fine teeth.) An old file is a good idea, as the file can become blunt itself.
    Last edited by Lush; 16-08-2008 at 12:14.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Still stuck in Nothingtown...


    If the axe is to be used just for splitting then it really doesn't need to be razor sharp at all because you're not cutting into the wood. You're using the axe as a wedge to drive the fibres of the wood apart. Some would say that a slightly blunt axe is actually better for splitting as it won't stick in the wood or the chopping block.

    However, if you're using it for chopping, cutting, carving or anything else other than splitting then it'll need to be properly sharp.
    Hold up a piece of printer paper by one corner and try to cut into it by 'swiping' the axe across it. If it makes a good clean cut without tearing the paper then your axe is as sharp as you'll need it.

    The best thing is to try it out. If you can split different woods easily with your axe then that'll do.
    ''It is poor manners to ask someone for the loan of his axe.
    It is worse to use it without permission.''

    - Mors Kochanski

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Silkstone, Blighty!


    Depends what you want to do with it. If you are splitting, then it doesn't really need to be razor sharp IMO. If you want to be limbing a tree, then it would need to be sharper. A fine razor edge is more fragile though, so you may need to touch it up more often. It's a trade off, get it sharp so that you can feel there is a good edge, but don't run your finger along the blade as you're liable to cut yourself. Feel by rubbing across the edge with the pad of your thumb, you'll feel if it is sharp or not without cutting yourself.

    Edit: Switch, you're quick!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Whitehaven Cumbria


    I agree with Spamel and Switch depends on what you are doing with it.
    For log splitting a keen edge is all that is required for other things it needs to be sharp.

    The axes my Scouts use for splitting wood have keen edges the felling axe is sharp but not used by many of the kids as it is too big for most.

    He who laughs last, thinks slowest

    Scoutmaster on BB Knives by me
    Scout out


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