Need to sharpen your axe in a hurry? Here's a fast and easy way to get your axe as sharp as a samurai sword (slight exaggeration...but just slight). AND we can do this without a bench grinder.
Step 1: Step 1: Watch the Video and Get Your Gear.
Watch the video and start gathering your gear. This is a fast process and it will probably take longer to grab everything than it will to actually sharpen the blade.
Here's what you need:
Axe (seems obvious)
Bucket of Cold Water
Wedge of Wood
Angle Grinder with Rigid Metal Wheel
Step 2: Step 2: Set Up Your Work Station
Before actually getting to work, set up your work station. On a table or bench, clamp the axe down so that it will not shift or move while sharpening. I use a wedge of wood under my blade to help me grind the correct angle. You don't have to do this, but it helps.
Step 3: Step 3: Start Grinding
With your axe secure, fire up the angle grinder and start grinding. Your axe will have an existing angle on the blade from when it was previously sharpened. As best as you can, try to match that angle. Start slowly and take several slow passes until you evenly match the angle across the blade.
Step 4: Step 4: Soak the Blade
This is a very important step. Soak the sponge in cold water and run across the blade. This will cool the metal. If your blade becomes too hot it can damage the metal causing the blade to become brittle. If you use a brittle axe, chips can begin to fly off...and that is no good. It will ruin the axe and possibly ruin you. This is also a good time to mention you should always be wearing safety glasses when working with angle grinders.
Step 5: Step 5: Flip and Repeat
Flip the axe over, secure with clamps, and repeat the sharpening process, making sure to frequently wet and cool the blade.
Step 6: Step 6: Repeat
Repeat this process of grinding and cooling the blade several times on each side of the blade to create and sharp edge.
Step 7: Step 7: Sharpening Stone
Wet a sharpening stone, and move it in small circles across the blade, trying to match the angle of the edge.
Step 8: Step 8: Remove Burrs
Finally, remove the burrs. Strap a leather belt to a tree branch and run the edge of the blade down the backside of the leather belt. Be sure not to cut into the belt. You should move the axe in a fashion that the back of the axe is moving down the belt.
Step 9: Step 9: Finish and Rejoice
Be happy! You have just sharpened your axe and it is ready for some serious business. If you want, check the sharpness of the edge by slicing a piece of paper with it.
This is a good time to mention that you should never ever run your fingers down the edge of an axe blade, even a dull one. This is also a good time to mention that I am not a professional. This is the process I use to sharpen my axe. Obviously caution should always be exercised with angle grinders and axes. I take no responsibility for any injuries that may occur.