People use axes for different household applications.

However, when you don’t have a sharpen axe, you can’t carry out the work easier and fasterIn this article, we will tell you different methods used to sharpen an axe.

How to prepare for axe sharpening

It is important to wear gloves before you sharpen your axe. You may not wear thick gloves because they can make the process time-consuming and cumbersome. But it is good to wear some sort of gloves for safety. For example, you can wear light cotton gloves. They will protect your hands or fingers from nicks and cuts.

If you have a smaller space for sharpening the axe, we recommend you to wear a dust mask. Likewise, if you are using power tools, we recommend you to wear safety goggles and a respirator. The safety gear will protect you from metal dust.

Besides, if you have a rusty axe, first, you have to remove the rust and then sharpen it. Use a rust eraser, steel wool, or coarse-grit sandpaper to remove the rust. Apply some pressure and rub the axe gently.

Now, place the axe on a flat surface. You can also clamp the axe in a vice. However, if you don’t have a clamp available, then it is fine. After removing the rust, the next step is to sharpen the axe.


The file is an important thing you need to work on the edges of the axe blade. You can use a file that is 8 inches to 12 inches long. Don’t use shorter files because they are not as effective as long ones. Most axes come in convex shapes, which are 20 degrees to 30 degrees. So, you need to follow the blade curve and apply some pressure with strokes of the file.

It is important to hold the file with one hand. You can likewise sharpen the axe by gripping your filehandle in the non-dominant hand and the file’s tip in the dominant hand. Once done, you must pull it towards yourself and make sure it makes a sweeping motion. People call this method the “Draw” technique of filing.

If you have a dull axe, then you have to do a lot of work using the file. When you file the edge of your dull axe, you will have to curve the axe away from the file. It creates a “burr” that is a slight overhand on the blade’s edge to curve away from the file. After creating an overhang, make sure you don’t change the blade’s angle too much. Don’t curve the edge too far in a single direction.


Most often, people call it a sharpening stone. It is the best way to sharpen the edges of your axe. You will find a wide range of whetstones on the market. For example, you can use 1000-grit whetstones to sharpen the chipped edges of the axe. A 3000-grit stone can sharpen the dull edges of the axe, and 4000-8000 grit whetstones can refine the blade and edges to perfection.

If you want to buy the best one, we recommend you to buy a 1000-grit and double-sides whetstone. Likewise, if you need a good finishing stone, go for 3000-grit or 8000-grit stone. Once you have bought the whetstone, make sure you coat the axe with water or oil.

Place the whetstone against the axe’s edge and rub it gently in circular motions. Apply some pressure and go from one end to another. You have to repeat the process on the other side of the axe. Switch to the finer side of the whetstone. When you feel the burr is now a “feather edge” butt, you have to get rid of it.

River Stone

River stones come in different types and sizes. For instance, you can use moderately hard sandstones or smaller stones that are either smoother/quartz or coarser/granite. Large river stones are smooth, and you can place them on the ground to sharpen the axe. The process is easy. You just have to hold your axe in two hands and the grind the edge against the stone.

Experts argue that river stones are the best when it comes to axe sharpening. The method to sharpen the axe with river stone is similar to that of the whetstone. You can start with coarse river stone to sharpen the axe.

Make sure you wet the blade of the axe and use the stone in circular motions to sharpen the blade. Continue the circular motions up and down for a few minutes. Next, use the smoother river stone to give an excellent finishing to the blade. The purpose is to make it sharp and smooth so that when you use it, it does not cause problems.

Dremel Tool

Some people use power tools like a Dremel to sharpen the axe. It is better than using aluminum oxide grindstones. There are many models of the Dremel tool available on the market. However, we recommend you to choose the one that best fits your needs.

Before starting to use the tool, it is vital to wear protective gear. It includes a long-sleeved shirt, dust mask, and eyeglasses. You must not skip wearing the protective gear, primarily when you work in an enclosed area.

Moreover, you must have a bowl or bucket of water so that you can dip the head of the axe in it to reduce too much heat. Once done, turn “ON” the Dremel tool and place it against the edge of the axe. Guide the tool along the edge of the axe and make circular motions.

If the metal feels too hot, make sure you cool it down by dunking it in the water. Otherwise, you can lose the temper of the metal. On the other hand, if you don’t cool it down, the edges of the axes will become prone to scoring, denting, and chipping.

Belt Sander

You can use a belt sander to sharpen your axe. It is one of the most powerful tools that work effectively and quickly to sharpen the axe. Again, when you use the tool, you have to wear protective gear, such as glasses, gloves, and a dust mask.

Set up and run your belt sander. Grip the head of the axe with both hands. Then run the axe across the sander in curving motion. Make sure you don’t press it too hard, but at the same time, it is good to apply some pressure. You have to apply pressure evenly and continue sharpening the axe.

Likewise, it is essential to avoid keeping the blade of the axe against the tool for too long. If you want to sharpen your axe correctly, keep the head in motion against the sander. You must also keep a bowl or bucket of water to cool down the axe. Otherwise, it will lose its temper.

Angle Grinder

Last but not least, an angle grinder is another powerful tool that you can use to sharpen your axe. First, fix the axe in place using a vice or clamp. Some people place a block of wood under the head of the axe. The purpose of doing this is to make the bevel easier and smoother.

Angle grinder follows the same process as other power tools. Make sure you follow the angle of the axe’s edge closely and give it steady strokes. Remember, you must not make several passes on one side of the axe. Doing so will mess up the bevel. Focus on your work and when you feel the metal is too hot, use the bucket water to cool it down.


As you can see, there are various methods of sharpening your axe. Power tools will work quickly and efficiently but have the risk of losing the bevel and tempering the metal’s quality. On the other hand, stones will work slowly and require you to make more effort, but they don’t damage your axe.

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