Aug 4, 2017
Florence, SC
A good tool to have with you in the wilderness when the SHTF is an axe. It is useful for cutting firewood and wood to make things like a shelter. You need to know how to keep your axe in good shape.

Before using an axe, whether old or new, you should sharpen its blade. Clamp the head of the axe, edge up, in a vise. Use a medium-cut mill file, never a power grinder. Hold the file flat against the blade. Draw the file upward towards the cutting edge, lifting off at the end of each stroke.

File on both surfaces, rounding them to a convex profile. Retain this profile to the corners of the blade; don't taper the corners. Check the edge by sighting down its length.

Bright spots indicate dull areas. File these until the edge looks almost invisible. Hone the edge with an oiled, round axe stone, moving it in circles. Use a fine grade of steel wool to apply rust inhibitor or lightweight machine oil. When the axe is not in use, protect it's blade in a leather sheath.

Replacing a handle:
A loose, split, or broken handle is hazardous. Replace it with a new one from a hardware or lumber store. To remove the old handle, clamp the axehead in a vise and saw the handle clse to the head. Drill holes in the wood inside the axehead, then force out the wood with an old screwdriver or chisel. Take the axehead along when you buy a new handle to ensure proper fit. Make sure you get a hardwood wedge with the new handle.

If necessary, sand or rasp the handle to fit the axehead; the fit should be tight. Drive the wedge into the slit in the handle by placing a board against the wedge and hammering it. Saw and sand the handle flush with the head. Finally, smooth the handle with fine sandpaper, and apply linseed oil with a soft cloth to protect the wood.


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