The venerable axe is arguably the most useful tool anyone can own. With proper care an axe head can last for multiple generations. You can routinely pick up axes for around $10 at flea markets, estate sales and the occasional yard sale, but we recommend the estate sales. While you are there look for a decent chainsaw if you don't already have one. In one instance we saw a $450 Husquavarna chainsaw go for $30.
Keeping it Protected
Make sure you have:
- A leather bit protector such as the Weaver Leather Axe Guard
- Double-cut mill bastard file of 8 - 10 in
- Linseed oil
- Sandpaper 80 & 400 grit
Keeping it Sharp
Every man needs to understand the axe and how to maintain it.
- Coat the axe head in linseed oil either by hand or using the rag (ACHTUNG! linseed oil soaked rags can be a fire hazard) and let the axe head dry.
- Sand out any rust spots with the course then fine grit sandpaper
- Rub again with the linseed oil and wipe dry
- Clamp your axe to a solid surface like your workbench with the cutting blade (bit) hanging off and facing you.
- Take your file and work the bit at a 30 degree angle until you have a uniform surface across the bit.
- Flip your axe, reclamp and repeat on the other side.
- Using a whet stone and sharpening oil or 3-in-1, work the bit to sharp at 45 degrees.
- Flip your axe, reclamp, and repeat on the other side.