CARING FOR YOUR B&C AXE
An axe is a versatile and indispensable tool but also requires proper care and maintenance to ensure long-lasting performance. Brant & Cochran offers a range of high-quality products designed to enhance your axe care routine. Read on as we guide you through proper care for your axe.
Cleaning Your Axe
After each use, it's vital to clean your axe to remove any dirt, sap, or debris that may have accumulated. Start by wiping the blade and handle with a damp cloth or sponge.
For stubborn dirt or resin, a mild detergent can be used. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the axe's surface. Once cleaned, dry the axe thoroughly to prevent rust.
Sharpening the Bit
A sharp axe blade ensures efficient and safe cutting, so regular sharpening is necessary to maintain optimal performance.
- Begin by securing the axe head in a vise or using a sharpening jig to stabilize it.
- Use a sharpening stone or file to remove any nicks or dullness from the blade.
- Maintain a consistent angle as you stroke the stone along the blade's edge, working from the base to the tip.
- Repeat on the other side, ensuring even sharpening.
- Test the sharpness by gently running your thumb along the edge (with caution). If it feels smooth and catches your skin slightly, your axe is adequately sharpened.
To keep your axe wicked sharp, we suggest Brant & Cochran's dual grit honing puck or Arkansas Stone Honing Paddle. With two different grits, coarse and fine, the honing puck or paddle allows you to achieve a precise and razor-sharp edge.
Oiling Your Axe
To prevent rust and protect the metal parts of your axe, it's crucial to apply a thin coat of oil when your axe is not in use. We recommend camellia oil (used by the samurai to protect their swords) or some of our camellia oil/beeswax paste found in our field kit. You can also use a rust-preventive oil or a light machine oil specifically designed for tool maintenance.
- Apply a few drops of oil on a clean cloth and rub it onto the axe head, including the blade, and the metal parts of the handle.
- Wipe off any excess oil and allow it to penetrate for a few minutes before storing.
Your axe handle also requires special attention to ensure durability and longevity. Regularly inspect the handle for signs of wear, such as cracks, splinters, or loose haft. If any issues are found, address them promptly by sanding away splinters or replacing the handle if necessary.
We suggest monthly application of raw linseed oil to the handle or a wood conditioner to prevent drying or cracking. Apply a thin coat of oil and let it absorb into the wood before wiping off any excess.
Store & Protect Your Axe
Another key to maintaining the condition of your axe? Proper storage.
Store your axe in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Ideally, you’ll hang the axe on a wall-mounted rack and store it in a dedicated axe sheath or case to prevent accidental damage and keep the blade protected. Avoid placing the axe on damp surfaces or storing it in humid environments as this can lead to rust formation. Conversely, avoid placing the axe by your fireplace or wood stove as this can dry out the handle and possibly loosen the handle from the head as the dry wood shrinks.
Regular Inspection of Your Axe
Periodically inspect your axe for any signs of damage, such as loose or damaged handle fittings, cracks in the blade, or excessive wear. By catching potential issues early, you can address them promptly and prevent further damage or accidents.
If major damage is detected, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance or consider replacing the axe.
If you notice any significant issues or have concerns about your axe's condition, Brant & Cochran's knowledgeable team can provide expert advice, guidance, and recommendations for proper axe maintenance, ensuring your axe remains in excellent shape.