How to Sharpen an Axe


An axe is a useful tool for a variety of projects. However, this item can quickly become useless when not properly cared for. An axe should be sharpened on a regular basis and always use the proper safety precautions when sharpening an axe to prevent accidents and injuries.

Step 1

Clamp the axe securely to a sturdy worktable. Put on thick gloves to protect your hands throughout the sharpening process. Slip a thick piece of leather onto the file and hold it so that the leather sits just above your hand, providing added protection against a slip while sharpening the axe.

Step 2

Use the file to sharpen the blade of the axe. File away from you and toward the center of the axe. Your filing should gradually create a fan shape on the axe cheek. File until a burr of metal has formed on the opposite side of the axe blade.

Step 3

Turn the axe over and file the other side as you did the first. File until the burr has worked its way over to the opposite side of the axe again. The filed fan shape on each side of the axe should be about 2 to 3 inches thick. Compare both sides to ensure that they are even.

Step 4

Hone the edge of the axe with a whetstone. This will remove the burr and help create a polished finish. This whetstone should also be used to hone the axe blade before each use.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use a high speed grinder to sharpen you axe unless you are very experienced with this method. A novice can easily damage the axe this way by drawing the temper from the axe blade.

Things You'll Need

  • Axe
  • Clamp
  • Mill bastard file
  • Gloves
  • Piece of thick leather
  • Whetstone


  • An Axe to Grind
  • Axe Sharpening

Who Can Help

  • How to Sharpen Tools
Keywords: axe care, sharpening, sharpening tools

About this Author

Mandi Rogier is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about a wide range of topics. As a previous employee of Walt Disney World, she enjoys writing travel articles that make use of her extensive knowledge of Orlando theme parks.