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View Full Version : How sharp are your Axes, Hatchets & Machetes?



saintnick001
10-04-2010, 10:47 AM
I was sharpening a hatchet and a couple machetes this weekend and was wondering how sharp you all get them.
I like all my knives to be able shave hair. Seems that the chopping tools don't need to be (and probably shouldn't?) that sharp. So how sharp is sharp for an Axe, Hatchet and Machete? How do you test the sharpness of these tools?

Leif
10-04-2010, 10:52 AM
As sharp as my knife.

Aguineapig
10-04-2010, 10:55 AM
Sharper than a knife.

jdavidboyd
10-04-2010, 11:01 AM
At least sharper than a pointy-ish rock. Anything after that is gravy!

Bushwacker73
10-04-2010, 11:04 AM
Like the other guy's, sharp as I can get it. Make sure that You still have a convex edge so that it does'nt roll over.

J
10-04-2010, 11:04 AM
Shaving sharp

upthecreek
10-04-2010, 11:07 AM
I can usually pop hairs with my users. A dull axe is a dangerous axe

Croatoan
10-04-2010, 11:25 AM
They will all pop hair.
My Wetterlings small axe is one of the sharpest I own. I never realized how sharp a good axe can be.

The hunter's axe is sharp but not as sharp as the small one. I do more fine work with the small, and heavier chopping with the hunter.

Absolutely love these axes.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_H72N0qcIdz8/TJtNEWbYJ3I/AAAAAAAAANg/IAUhAfvTH_s/s400/2.jpg

Pinebaron
10-04-2010, 11:40 AM
Sharp enough.

saintnick001
10-04-2010, 11:54 AM
Wow, seriously? Even a machete?

NorthernBushcraft
10-04-2010, 11:59 AM
I keep my choppers sharp enough to make feather sticks, but not quite as sharp as my knife.

bmatt
10-04-2010, 12:33 PM
I sharpen all my edged tools so that they cut paper cleanly. This level of sharpness allows them all to cut very easily and do what I need them to do. They may also be able to shave hair, but I don't do this as a test.

Scotsmanspride
10-04-2010, 12:37 PM
Very sharp. Up to 2000 wet dry sandpaper and then to the strop with chromium, then mothers polish and then plain leather. Holds an edge so well I usually just have to strop after use. FYI my main user is a wetterlings hunter axe.

cbo
10-04-2010, 12:40 PM
a dull axe will bounce, so I keep them as sharp as a knife. It is sharp as a knife, but the blade is not as thin, so it will not cut like a thin knife, my axes have beveled edges

leaf and lightning
10-04-2010, 12:45 PM
I keep my knives sharper, but my hatchet will slice a piece of copy paper the long way without hanging up... it won't shave my arm, but I don't doubt it could take that kind of edge...

Raydarkhorse
10-04-2010, 01:08 PM
I don't have a machete right now but my axe is as sharp as my knife, and either will shave hair without pulling it.

Trekon86
10-04-2010, 01:25 PM
Damn near as sharp as my knife (which will shave).

But they don't stay that way, haha. Which is the price you pay when you hone your knives and tools that thin...lmao.
PMZ

skw
10-04-2010, 01:34 PM
This is how my neighbour keep his axe sharp :18: He was cutting a metal plate with that poor old hatchet. OMG. Some people really don't care of their tools.

http://i56.tinypic.com/a2yxd4.jpg


btw, MY axes are shaving sharp, how else :3:

matt

madmax
10-04-2010, 01:41 PM
Axe sharp as can get. Machete...a working edge. My machete gets abused. Chopping, slashing, whackin'. Sometimes into the sand to remove any stobs stickin' up that could puncture. No sense in spending the time putting a hair shaving edge on it IF you use it like that.

Joshuajk
10-04-2010, 09:46 PM
This sharp

http://i689.photobucket.com/albums/vv256/Earljacob/spoon2.jpg
http://i689.photobucket.com/albums/vv256/Earljacob/spoon1.jpg

spoon crafting accident. hehe

Fishcranium
10-04-2010, 10:16 PM
like others....as sharp as my knife and able to shave. They are far more efficient and in my opinion safer in that condition. I keep a good convex edge and strop it frequently just as I do my knife.

Long Hunter
10-04-2010, 11:45 PM
I keep my axe very sharp and my machete reasonably sharp, but I touch it up often with a little file I keep in my pocket.

tennecedar
10-05-2010, 01:32 AM
Shaving sharp.

justin_baker
10-05-2010, 01:39 AM
I dont care to get it that sharp. I usually just file it in the field. Im not going to use various stones and strop it with compound because I know that I wouldnt be doing in the field. Plus, I have found that when I get my granfors bruks shaving sharp it will chip easily from some of the hardwoods around here. (madrone, manzanita, the kind of stuff that makes steel cry and run home to its mother.)
If i am carving thats a different story, but I would rather spend 2 minutes on a file in between various jobs in the field than spend 30 minutes to get it shaving sharp only to have it dull and have to do it over again.......its just more time efficient to give it a decent edge and go with that.

tennecedar
10-05-2010, 02:14 AM
I dont care to get it that sharp. I usually just file it in the field. Im not going to use various stones and strop it with compound because I know that I wouldnt be doing in the field. Plus, I have found that when I get my granfors bruks shaving sharp it will chip easily from some of the hardwoods around here. (madrone, manzanita, the kind of stuff that makes steel cry and run home to its mother.)
If i am carving thats a different story, but I would rather spend 2 minutes on a file in between various jobs in the field than spend 30 minutes to get it shaving sharp only to have it dull and have to do it over again.......its just more time efficient to give it a decent edge and go with that.

I've not tried out a GB axe. All of my axes seem to be tempered differently than how you descibe your GB. I have rolled edges but never chipped one. Even when hitting dirt and rock. ( I don't try to )
I want to get one to test side by side one of my old Plumbs now.

petrifiedwood
10-05-2010, 02:17 AM
I don't use one often, but I keep my Estwing hatchet sharp enough to cut paper without hanging up too bad. I try to keep my knives sharper.

bmatt
10-05-2010, 02:41 AM
I dont care to get it that sharp. I usually just file it in the field. Im not going to use various stones and strop it with compound because I know that I wouldnt be doing in the field. Plus, I have found that when I get my granfors bruks shaving sharp it will chip easily from some of the hardwoods around here. (madrone, manzanita, the kind of stuff that makes steel cry and run home to its mother.)
If i am carving thats a different story, but I would rather spend 2 minutes on a file in between various jobs in the field than spend 30 minutes to get it shaving sharp only to have it dull and have to do it over again.......its just more time efficient to give it a decent edge and go with that.

I agree. What's the point of getting a working axe shaving sharp? Does it really chop that much better? And how long after one starts working with the axe does the shaving-sharpness last? A few weeks back, I bucked a 7"-dia. seasoned pine log with my 26", 2.5 lb. (overall weight) vintage Gränsfors into several bolts. By the time I was done, light would reflect off the edge. Granted, this tree was quite a mouthful for the axe and probably overdoing it, but it would have been the same if I cut twice as many smaller-diameter trees instead. I'm just not going to take the time to make that axe shaving sharp over and over and over again. If it cuts paper cleanly, it'll cut wood cleanly. :D

BTW, whether I'm at home or in the woods, I use a small file for shaping the bevel/removing nicks and a pocket stone to smooth out the file marks and to hone and give the final edge.

justin_baker
10-05-2010, 02:42 AM
I've not tried out a GB axe. All of my axes seem to be tempered differently than how you descibe your GB. I have rolled edges but never chipped one. Even when hitting dirt and rock. ( I don't try to )
I want to get one to test side by side one of my old Plumbs now.

Actually its more blunting and compression of the edge.....I have gotten a few chips but its not super common. I have had the edge sort of fold over but not chip. I guess you could call that "rolling over" but it was a massive rolling over that was equivalent to a chip. GB axes were designed for the northern coniferous forests. I wonder if there are axes specifically designed to deal with nasty hardwood.
The wood I am talking about(madrone) is so hard that, if you saw off a well seasoned and thick piece, its extremely hard to split even with a full sized sledgehammer and wedge. I was literally unable to split a 3 inch piece with a bowie knife and a large hammer. I took the same piece of wood to skillsaw to it and when it hit the knot in the center, the piece of wood exploded and cracked a sliding glass door from the flying wood pieces.