One of the most important tools for a woodworker is his axe which is made use of relentlessly. This is why it becomes dull every now and then. It is extremely important to keep your axe in top working condition for better efficiency and also to save on time and effort as a blunt axe can not only make you tired quickly, it also increases chances of an injury which should be avoided at all costs. Axe sharpening techniques are different from sharpening knives in the kitchen and involve a lot more time and effort. You can sharpen your axe at home if you choose the right sharpener depending upon the type of axe as also the condition of the axe. There are times when you just need to do basic honing and stropping, but there are also times when the blade gets badly damaged. This is when proper axe sharpening techniques have to be used.
When your axe makes you tired and brings in poor results, you know that it is time to sharpen it. Of course you can choose to get it sharpened through professionals, but it is time consuming and may badly affect your work. You also need to shell out money to get it sharpened from an expert in the market. Sharpening your axe is an attractive option provided you learn the basic skills as otherwise you may waste a lot of time doing it.
The most basic of axe sharpening techniques is to use a file to sharpen it. You can do it just like you use it to sharpen your kitchen knife. You need to rub the file on the blunt blade in the same fashion as you do with your knife blades. Draw the blade of the axe close to the file, and then make forward and backward motion as if you were slicing something. This removes metal from the axe, making it sharp once again. Here it is important to keep in mind the angle at which you present the blade to the file. The knife blades are smaller and you can easily move them across the file to sharpen them. In comparison, the blade of an axe is much larger and the axe is heavy too. It is therefore better to draw the file keeping the blade of the axe clamped with a vice. This ensures that the blade does not move or slip while sharpening. This process has to be carried out for some time until a lot of metal has been removed and you get to see an entirely new, shining edge. But you have to be careful not to remove too much of metal as a very thin edge is liable to break when a large force is applied to cut wood.
Among other axe sharpening techniques, the use of grinding wheel using a bench grinder is extremely popular. However, you would require assistance of another person to hold the axe so that the blade of the axe is presented nicely at a constant angle.