Getting an edge

Discussion in 'Axe Mob' started by possumjon, Jan 13, 2018 at 12:18 AM.

  1. possumjon

    possumjon Supporter Supporter

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    Every axe I've gotten so far has had a great to decent edge on it with no chips etc. I bought a Kelly a while back and hung it. It's edge was like a butter knife, but flatter/wider.
    I've been able to maintain my axes very well with regular sharpening, but this one coming dull took a while to get somewhat sharp. The heel and toe I was able to get exceptionally sharp but the middle part is still fairly dull and I can't seem to work out a few micro chips.
    It cuts and splits very well as is but I know it could do better, I'm to the point im so frustrated id consider paying someone to get it right for me lol. Any tips on working a dull axe to top shape?
     
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  2. CHREBA

    CHREBA Scout

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    The best advice "I" could give would be to take it slow with a good file on the desired area and then maybe a Lansky puck course side then smooth and of course 1000 grit wet/dry then strop if your going for the gold . But fair warning I'm no expert .
     
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  3. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Have you watched an axe to grind on YouTube?



    I'd advise that you focus more on the middle of the bit. Old American axes tend to have high centerlines and so you need to remove more material from the middle of the bit to maintain the same angle. This is where the classic banana grind comes from, it's dependant on the superior ;) high centerline profile. If you sharpen it evenly you'll likely wear out your heal and toe a bit, and never see the axes true potential. A picture would also help.

    Banana grind right (not the best example) flat cheeked axe left

    [​IMG]West Woods 18 VS GB SFA 2 by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    Next question is what are you using to sharpen it? You should be using a file. I recommend a Bacho file as the stuff they sell in stores these days is absolute junk. Then once you finished with the file you can either draw file, use a stone, use sandpaper, or a combination of any of the above. I like to draw file then finish with sandpaper backed by a strop. It's what most folks refer to the Rooster method, but I believe many of us have been doing it that way for a long time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018 at 8:45 AM
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  4. Glock Holiday

    Glock Holiday Tracker

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    You can find real, made in the USA Nicholson files at garage/estate sales. They have lost quality being made in mexico. If you buy new files read the fine print. Some are for wood and PVC only
     
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  5. Bucksnort

    Bucksnort Scout

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    yeah, sharpening the center with a file will take a while, but it should not be difficult to get an edge, but it will take some work... I recently took a number of axes from file, to lansky puck (rough then smooth), then to a belt with stropping compound (screwed/clamped to my workbench)... this has resulted in a near mirror finish with less work than i thought it would take...
     
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  6. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    It's not that they have lost quality, it's that they are complete and utter garbage. It may sound harsh, but I'd just like to keep others from making the same mistake I did and wasting their money on a tool that will not work at all.
     
  7. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    I cant even tell you how many really dull axes like that I've put an edge on.

    If there's chips, first thing is take the edge down to the shape you want it, and clean those up. A couple tiny ones don't bother me though. Unfortunately this makes it duller! But it pays off to start clean.

    What @MJGEGB said about the high centerline is the part that always takes the most work. I agree it's the superior design though, and worth the trouble.
    Flat axes are easier, all it takes is just a good convex along the edge. Any of em, flat or convex cheek, that are worn much.....you have to take off a lot of steel to get that bevel right.

    Bring that center down, dont put a big secondary bevel on, make it convex right to the edge with a microbevel. You'll be amazed how well it can cut, and really throw chips.
    Make an angle guage, then just get rid of what doesn't match. Takes some time with a file, and take the advice to get a good one.
    Even if you don't get a banana grind, it takes more work in the middle. When you're done it should look something like one or the other of these. Both these throw huge plates 2 inches thick in nice green wood.

    Banana
    20171227_102557.jpg

    No banana
    20171119_111238.jpg


    Desired results
    20171119_105045.jpg

    This is a worn boys axe brought to a good bevel. It cuts excellent now, despite having a thicker bit.

    20170410_150927.jpg

    20170410_151553.jpg

    Good luck!
     
  8. possumjon

    possumjon Supporter Supporter

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    Awesome guys, I just have a cheap Menards special file, I'll take some pics tonight. Just got back from camp and despite not being satisfied with my edge it got the job done. I'll have to watch an axe to grind also!
    rps20180114_135804.jpg rps20180114_135828.jpg
     
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