How To Reprofile An Axe: 3 Steps Guide

How To Reprofile An Axe

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Re-profiling an axe is essential for a logger. A numb axe blade will never provide first-class service to any axe user. On the other hand, and especially an up-to-date axe has the potential for a professional lumberjack.

The reprofiling process refers to changing the current shape of an axe cheek and polishing the axe head. For example, an axe head that moves forward to the eye needs to be re-profiled.

Moreover, reprofiling is also mandatory in the case when someone viewing the axe from above can notice the head goes down within a half-inch of the bit.

We cannot ignore the necessity of re-profiling an axe most of the time. So, it is important to know how to re-profile an axe. Layda, our Thetoolwise expert, will assist you by providing fundamental information about axe reprofiling.

How To Reprofile An Axe – The Proper Steps

A few steps need to be taken before re-profiling an axe. And here it is: 

Step 1:

To do re-profiling, you first need to choose an axe that is not appropriate, and its bit is quite thick.

A lumberjack will start his work on the part of the bit that is between 1/16 and 1 inch back from the cutting edge. He has to thin out the first section of the bit. He will not touch the cutting edge. Otherwise, it will affect the penetration and cutting ability of the axe.

If he wants an axe that can go deep into the wood, the cheek should be as thin as possible to provide the least amount of resistance when entering the wood.

Suppose someone is re-profiling a splitting axe; a thicker convex is required. For this reason, softer wood creates a more flexible atmosphere, and it will help pop out the chips when chopping.

This part of the bit should be at about a 20-degree angle from the floor. That means each cheek will be set at a 10-degree angle from the centerline.

Step 2:

In this step, the lumberjack will work with the edge. The thickness of the convex edge can also be different in this process. While approaching the wood from a steep angle, a thinner convex will allow for better penetration and less reflection of the wood.

This result is suitable for both carving and chopping. In addition, a thicker convex will make the edge more durable, requiring less sharpening and reducing the risk of damage.

Someone might want to start with a 30-degree angle on the bit for this step. But in this case, thin convex is preferable, which will be evident after using the axe.

Step 3:

Only one task is left in this step, which is smoothing the metal. In this part, the convex should be 24 to 25 degrees. Then, by flipping both sides of the axe, the lumberjack will polish the edge of the axe.

Re-Profiling An Axe: Why Is It important?

The majority of hatchets and axes have a poor profile. And as an axe user, you may be concerned about how do you re-profile an axe. For example, a low-profile axe has excessively thick cheeks, which causes binding.

Another issue is it makes the axe head profile unbalanced in the first place. The head of an axe should be balanced horizontally. Someone should lay it flat and then balance the handle near the hatchet head in their hand to check it.

And if the result shows the axe imbalance, then re-profiling is important. Sometimes rehanging an axe is also can be applied in such a situation.

Without thinning down the cheeks, sharpening or re-profiling an axe can be a big drawback for a logger. Because a sloppy axe can make an axe blade slippery, it can cause the bouncing of the axe head while chopping.

So, before thinning the cheek of an axe, a logger should know how to re-profiling properly. And it requires sufficient effort to develop a good axe profile.

A Common Misconception

It is not always true that an axe will not perform properly after re-profiling. It can happen with those axe producers, who forge their axe head at the beginning.

They usually look for the cheapest choice in the case of re-profiling and leave their axe a bit thick. They do this because easy re-profiling is done by using less expensive steel.

Quality Of Steel

To create a fine edge on an axe, good-quality steel is required. Because during heat treating, thin metal becomes hard and steel loses its authentic quality. After the heat treatment, the user should grind and polish his axe to ensure the correct profile and edge geometry. 

Unfortunately, the smith grinds the edge using a belt grinder to save time. However, it gives the axe an extremely sharp edge and labels it as a “convex edge”, to prove the axe as a good re-profiled one.

Why is Reprofiling Needed? 

You will understand the importance of re-profiling when you notice your axe cheek should be thinner than the current one because a thin cheek or blade cuts wood properly.

Otherwise, the axe will stick when you try to make deep cuts. Wood usually shrinks when someone starts cutting. At that time, the wood ratchets up on the wedge form of the bit and approaches the cheeks to perform. 

In such a situation, the wood loses contact with the axe. It allows the axe’s motion to drive the bit in the deepest way. And the axe motion works slightly without being slowed down.

The Importance of Softwood and Hardwood

An axe is a tool that can be used in a versatile way, such as a hammer or knife. A nicely profiled axe gives a mind-blowing service. But this outcome will depend on the wood’s condition. 

While cutting with softwoods, axe balance is less important. But in the case of hardwoods, poor balance can appear strongly. In this case, profiling is important. 

Usually, axes are designed for hardwoods and softwoods with distinctive characteristics. For example, because the softwood handle is more flexible, on the other hand, a hardwood user needs a wider blade to clear the cut and eject the wood chip while attempting the second cut.

However, this process will not result in a thick axe with hardwood handles.

Essential Things for Re-Profiling an Axe

Depending on the wood, the axe will work. The bit or blade of an axe will start at 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ in diameter. If the measurement is appropriate, the axe will be throwing huge chips. And to do that, a perfect re-profile is needed.

To do re-profiling, a few things are needed, such as:

  1. A grinding disk for an angle grinder
  2. Flap discs with grits, which range from 60 to 120.
  3. Use a paint stripping wheel to drill.
  4. Snow or a bucket of water
  5. Sandpaper pads
  6. A belt grinder is preferable, but it is not required.
  7. Clamps that can be used quickly
  8. A shambles is taped and filed.
  9. Ear and eye protection
  10. A straight edge

Final Verdict

To conclude, re-profiling is essential for getting a better cheek and profile on an axe. In this article, we have mentioned the step of axe reprofiling.

So, hopefully, now you know how to re-profile an axe. If you find this information useful, then share it with your friends and family.

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