How To Care For Your Council Axe

Never use a high-speed dry bench grinder to sharpen your axe. You can easily damage the temper and ruin the tool, leaving the steel too soft to hold an age. An old style pedal grindstone that says wet with water works well. Most folks don’t have access to one of these so we recommend using a file and whetstone.

Be sure to wear heavy leather gloves throughout the process.

Guard your file with a piece of leather, wood, or fire hose. Clamp the axe to your workbench at a comfortable height. Always file or grind into the edge of the axe.

Sharpen on the push stroke and life the file off the axe blade on the return motion. Try to achieve a fan-shaped effect on the axe cheek. File back from the cutting edge to the middle point when you can feel a metal burr on the back side.

Turn the axe over, and repeat the process on the second side. File this side (sharpening on the push stroke and lifting the file off the blade on the return) until the burr goes back over to the first side of the axe. Stop and check the shape with a sharpening gauge. Ideally, the angle should be a about 25 degrees (and slightly convex).

Continue to file equally on both sides of the blade until the sharpening gauge pattern fits perfectly. Next, it’s time for your whetstone to do its job: honing the edge.

Store your axe in a dry place, out of direct sunlight. Ideally a dry and somewhat cool storage area works best. Keep the axe head slightly oiled during storage to deter rust.

Always wear eye protection when using your axe – or any other Council Tool product.