Proper maintenance of your tools is important. Keeping them clean and sharp will make the job easier and your tools will last longer. While you are using your axe to chop firewood or other chores you might notice it will get dull over time. So having a good sharpening stone is important to restore the blade.
In this article, I won’t go into detail on how you sharpen your axe with a sharpening stone, but I will focus on what makes a good sharpening stone and which stones are the best that you can buy for your axe. If you want to learn how to sharpen your axe with a stone, then you really should read this article.
- 1 What makes a good axe sharpening stone
- 2 The Best Axe Sharpening Stones
- 3 Conclusion
What makes a good axe sharpening stone
A sharpening stone is a really simple tool, but there are still some differences between the stones. Think of different sizes, materials and oil or water-based stones.
Stone Size and shapes
There are two main shapes for sharpening stones. You have the round stones that you can easily hold in your hand and the larger square stones. To use a large stone you will be running the bit of the surface. Well, this is no problem for sharpening a small hatchet, running a felling axe of a large stone can come unhandy.
Smaller stones, on the other hand, can be held in your hand. This allows you to place the axe on your workbench ran run the stone of the bit. Another advantage is that you can easily use the smaller stones in the field. Ideal if you need to restore the bit while you are camping or on a hiking trip in the forest.
I personally like the smaller stones, they are easier to use on the bigger axes then the large stones. I only tend to use large stones for smaller tools, like my hatchet and knives.
Water or oil based whetstones
Water (soapy water) or oil is used on whetstones as a lubricate and to clean (flush) your stone. Oil stones are the traditional sharpening stones and are still commonly used. The advantage of oil is that it will prevent rust on your tools and give you are razor sharp result. The oil will polish the bit will you are sharpening it.
Water stones are synthetic stones and are softer than the oil based stone. The slurry that forms on top of the water stone is what is doing the work. So while you are sharpening your axe, don’t wipe the water off. also before you start using a water stone, make sure you soak it into the water until it stops bubbling and keeps it wet.
I prefer to use honing oil for my tools. The oil that is left behind on your blade protects your tools against rust and I find it easier to use. I don’t like to have to soak the stone before I can start using it.
Sharpening Stone Grit
Most sharpening stones for axes are double-sided. That means that each side of the stone has a different grid. A coarse side for the rough work and a medium or fine side for the finishing. If you are sharpening your axe with a stone you first want to restore the edge before you start working on making it sharp again.
The different grids are:
- Coarse side
You start with the coarse side. Typical the coarse has a grid level around the 120. This allows you to easily restore the bit, removing any dents. If you are sharpening a splitting maul using only the coarse side is more then enough. A splitting maul doesn’t have to be razor sharp.
- Medium side
If you restored the bit, you will want to make the edge sharp again. The medium grid level is around the 300 which is more than enough for a felling axe.
If you are looking for a razor sharp finish, you will need a fine or extra-fine sharpening stone with a grid level around the 800.
The Best Axe Sharpening Stones
So let’s take a look at some of the best sharpening stones for your axe. The best sharpening stones for axes are the round shaped stones. They are easier to use on a splitting maul or felling axe, while a bench stone is only really useful for the smaller tools like a hatchet.
As you will see, a sharpening stone isn’t expensive. The difference is mainly in the grit levels and shape. Don’t buy a stone that doesn’t have a course site below the 150, because these stone are only useful for knives and not for axes.
Lansky Puck – Dual Grit Stone
- Easy to use
- Can be used in field
- Can be used in shop
- works with all tupes of blades and axes
- easy to use
By far the most popular axe sharpening stone on the market and one of the cheapest too. The reason why it’s so popular is simple, the Lansky puck is a double-grid, easy to use stone. With a coarse grit of 120 and a medium grit of 280 is it perfect for sharpening an axe.
The small size makes it also ideal to use for other garden/outdoor tools, like lawnmower blades and shovels. The edges of the stone are rough while the centre is fine allowing you to use the sharpening stone in a more versatile way.
This stone is a real must have. If you buy the puck, also get some honing oil to use with it.
Gransfors Ceramic Sharpening Stone
- Ceramic Stone
- Can be used with or without water
- Coarse side and fine side
Another round sharpening stone, but from one of the best Swedish axe makers in the world. The difference with Lansky puck is in the fine side of the stone. Where the Lansky Puck has a medium grit of 280, the Gransfors comes with a real fine side with a grit level of 600. This allows you to create a razor-sharp edge which is perfect for felling axes and lawnmower blades.
The stone is easy to handle, it has one a diameter of 57mm (2.2″). The advantage of the ceramic stone is that is more durable and stronger than natural stone. The stone can be used dry or with water and comes with a protective case.
Norton India Combination Oilstone
- Combination oilstone has 100 grit on one face for repairing steel cutting edges and 320 grit on the opposite face for sharpening and maintaining them
- Aluminum oxide produces durable, smooth-cutting edges, and is preferred for close tolerances
- Prefilled with oil to allow lubricant to stay on surface during sharpening
- 1 x 8 x 2 inch (H x W x D) size makes this stone suitable for use as a bench sharpener for knives and tools
- Oilstone is more durable and harder than a waterstone
This 8-by 2-inch sharpening stone is perfect for use as a bench sharpener. The size makes is it easier to use on the workbench and allows you to sharpen bigger blades on it. The stone is oil-based and comes with a 100 grit for the coarse side and a 320 grit on the opposite side. Making it perfect to sharpen an axe.
You need to use honing oil on the stone to keep it in good condition.
Bora Axe Sharpening Stone
- The Bora 6-inch aluminum oxide sharpening stone is a 2 sided stone: one coarse grit and one fine grit
- Measures 6" x 2" X 1", ideal size for bench work
- Coarse 150 grit side and fine 240 grit side
- Intended for sharpening all types of tools and knives.
- Use water or oil as a lubricant
Another great bench stone. This aluminium oxide stone measures 6-by-2-inch and comes with a coarse of 150 grit and a fine side of 240 grit. The stone can be used with oil or water. If you are using water, make sure you soaked the stone 5 minutes before you are starting to use it.
Norton St. Gobain Axe & Hatchet Stone
- The item is Axe & Hatchet Stone 85316
- Used for Handtools & Tool Organizers, Sharpening Stones
- The product is manufactured in United States
The Norton Axe and Hatchet stone is almost the same size as the Lansky Puck, but only halve the weight and half of the thickness. The downside of the Norton is that the coarse side is almost the as the fine side of the Lansky puck. Making this stone not ideal to restore a dented bit, but if you go out on a hiking trip then this stone can be used for both your knives and hatches just fine.
Having a good bench stone is really useful, but if you need to do some work on a bigger felling axe or splitting maul then a bench stone isn’t practical in my opinion. The round shaped stones are so much easier to use when sharpening an axe or on other garden tools that I really recommend to get at least one Lansky Puck. They are cheap and you are really going to enjoy using it.
For the smaller tools, you can buy a bench stone and then buy one with a finer grit level so you can use it for you knifes as well. Always use a lubricant, soapy water or oil. This will keep your stone clean and helps to make a sharp edge.
I hope this article helped you with finding the best sharpening stone. If you have any questions, just drop a comment below.