A bushcraft axe can be one of the most important tools that you can take out into the woods with you. In our previous blog, we looked at how to choose a bushcraft axe. Now in this blog, we’re going to look at how you can keep your axe sharp while in the field. As always, feel free to read the whole blog or skip to the section that interests you the most.
- Equipment for sharpening your axe
- How to sharpen an axe in the field
- How to test the sharpness of an axe
- Kit list
- Further reading
Equipment for sharpening your axe
Keeping your bushcraft axe sharp is an essential skill. A blunt axe is not only difficult to use it can also be dangerous it becomes cannot easily split wood. Here are our tips on how to sharpen an axe in the field.
- Inspect the edge or ‘bit’
Inspect the edge of the axe blade, this is also known as the ‘bit’. If the edge is nicked or damaged then any nicks need to be removed using a bastard file.
- Find the bevel
Use a sharpie, or marker pen, to mark the edge of the axe. This will help you to keep an even and consistent bevel. Place the axe between your knees with the head of the axe facing away from you. Place the sharpener against the edge of one side of the axe, holding it at the correct angle for the bevel start the sharpening process. Remember to push away from the edge and not pull into it. Once a rough edge has been established it is time to move on to the puck.
- Using the puck
Start with the coarsest edge of the puck, match the bevel angles, and use small circular motions along the whole length of the edge. Count the number of strokes that you use on edge side and then repeat the same number on the other side. Make sure that the axe is sharp enough to cut paper before turning the puck over.
- Finishing off the axe
Using the finer side of the puck, repeat the step outlined above. This will help you to establish a really sharp and consistent edge.
How to test the sharpness of an axe
It is important to test the sharpness of your bushcraft axe before finishing the sharpening process. The sharpness of your bushcraft axe can be tested by trying to shave off thin pieces of wood, the same way as you would if you were making fire sticks.
How to sharpen an axe in the field
Keeping your bushcraft axe sharp is an essential skill. A blunt axe is not only difficult to use it can also be dangerous. Here are our tips on how to sharpen an axe in the field.
Here are some pieces of kit that you might find useful when out and about in the woods.
Please note that Wildway Bushcraft is not associated with any of the products or manufacturers listed below; we don’t get anything from them if you choose to buy anything.
- Gransfors Bruk sharpening stone
- Gransfors Bruk sharpening file