General Information on Sharpening

Typical Grinding Media Used
  • SB-250 Original Grindstone, graded course
  • DC-250 Diamond Wheel Course
  • 60 grit ProEdge Zirconium Belt
  • CBN wheel : <100 grit
  • Very friable grindstone : 80 - 100 grit (possibly held on an angle grinder)
  • Sandpaper : <100 grit (possibly held on an angle grinder)

Shaping the Tool - Axes are typically only reshaped once in their lifetime. And that happens when the woodsman gets the tool from the manufacturer and adjusts it to their own preferences.

Typical Grinding Media Used
  • SB-250 Black Grindstone, graded fine
  • DE-250 Diamond Wheel Extra Fine
  • DF-250 Diamond Wheel Fine
  • 120 grit ProEdge Zirconium Belt
  • Pedia ProEdge Diamond Belt
  • 600 grit ProEdge Trizact Belt
  • 1,200 grit ProEdge Trizact Belt
  • CBN wheel : 150-180 grit
  • Very friable grindstone : 150 - 180 grit (possibly held on an angle grinder)
  • Sandpaper : 150 - 250 grit (possibly held on an angle grinder)

Sharpening the Tool - Axes should be resharpened at the start of the day, and as often as needed. Very hard woods and teenage sons can certainly shorten the time before the tool needs to be resharpened.

Honing and Stropping
to remove the burr
Typical Grinding Media Used
  • SJ-250 Japanese Waterstone
  • 3,000 grit ProEdge Trizact Belt
  • Leather honing wheel with a honing compound
  • Paper wheel with a honing compound or diamond honing paste
  • High grit (800-1,000 grit) diamond plate

Honing the Tool - Carving with axes greatly benefits from honing the cutting edge.

As with turners, there are others who sharpen and hone; and then they re-hone again as much as possible (rather than resharpening each time) using a diamond plate.

My experience has been that rough cutting can be done using a tool which is not honed; however the final cuts should be done with a tool which is honed. This provides for a smoother surface which requires less sanding (as sanding is the verb form of a 4-letter word !).

Also, a well honed tool surface is a great benefit for woods with tight grains or which are very hard.

Note: When honing or stropping, the side to start on is the one where the grinding was last done. If you start on the other side, the burr will get ripped off and you can end up with an edge like above.