Choosing an ax for hiking, the shape of the ax blade, working with an ax in the field, storing and sharpening axes.

A good ax is practically irreplaceable during work when breaking down and equipping a field camp. There are many different shapes and sizes of axes. It is generally accepted that the larger the ax, the easier and safer to work with it, although such axes are heavy and not very convenient to carry and store.. 

Choosing an ax for hiking, the shape of the ax blade, working with an ax in the field, storing and sharpening axes.

When choosing an ax, the most important thing is to achieve some compromise between its weight, size and ease of use. It is worth considering and weighing the pros and cons, maybe a small hatchet weighing from 500 grams to 1 kilogram is more suitable for you, rather than a large cleaver weighing several kilograms? You will not be able to knock down a large tree with a small ax, but it is easier and easier for them to chop small branches by harvesting firewood. Just do not forget that with a small hatchet it is much easier to injure yourself or injure yourself.

When choosing an ax, the main attention should be paid to its blade. By and large, ax blades come in three shapes – convex, concave and flat. Each shape of an ax blade is good for its task and a certain range of work. And of course, each person may have their own preferences in this regard. The ax with a slightly concave blade and a rounded cutting edge is considered to be the most universal.

Choosing an ax for hiking, the shape of the ax blade, working with an ax in the field, storing and sharpening axes.

Convex Ax Blade.

An ax with a convex blade is well suited for chopping wood, but if the blade is too convex, it will not be able to go deep into the tree, and you will have to make more effort when working.

Concave Ax Blade.

An ax with a concave blade will be good for work that does not require deep penetration into the wood, for example, for cutting branches from tree trunks. However, if the blade is too concave, it will be difficult to pull it out of the wood in case of jamming..

Ax blade.

An ax with a flat blade is the most versatile and can be used to perform a variety of jobs.

Ax Cutting Edge Shape.

The shape of the cutting edge of the ax is also very important – rounded or flat. An ax with a rounded cutting edge will be lighter and deeper into the tree, which means it will require less effort when working with it.

Field Sharpening.

It is more convenient to chop a well-sharpened ax not only for practical reasons, because it takes a lot less effort, but also for security reasons. A dumb ax that slips off when trying to cut something with it can cause serious injury. The principles of sharpening an ax are the same as with a knife, but the techniques are somewhat different. When sharpening a knife, they drive it with a blade on a grindstone, and with an ax, on the contrary, an abrasive moves along its blade. To facilitate the process of sharpening an ax, you can purchase a special sharpener, for example Lansky Blademedic.

Choosing an ax for hiking, the shape of the ax blade, working with an ax in the field, storing and sharpening axes.

The first stage of sharpening an ax.

It is made by a file. This step will be needed if the cutting edge of the ax is very blunt or damaged. During sharpening, a large layer of metal is removed from it, so it is not advisable to bring the ax to such a state. You can skip the step if the ax is dull or damaged not very badly and go directly to the second step..

Choosing an ax for hiking, the shape of the ax blade, working with an ax in the field, storing and sharpening axes.

Having turned the blade toward you, move the file along the cutting edge along its entire length, then turn the ax on the other side and repeat the operation. Sharpening continues until all nicks or dents disappear. Both sides should be treated evenly..

The second stage of sharpening an ax.

It is made by a coarse-grained grinding stone. Wet the surface of the whetstone with water and holding it at an angle to the ax blade, drive it in a circular motion clockwise from left to right. Turn the blade over and do the same operation on the other side of the cutting edge. Repeat the entire procedure until the blade is sharp..

Choosing an ax for hiking, the shape of the ax blade, working with an ax in the field, storing and sharpening axes.

The third stage of sharpening an ax.

It implies editing the cutting edge of the ax blade and is carried out with a fine-grained grinding stone. As in the second stage, make circular movements, but already counterclockwise, from right to left.

Choosing an ax for hiking, the shape of the ax blade, working with an ax in the field, storing and sharpening axes.

Work with an ax in the field and its storage.

Before you start chopping wood, you should protect yourself and others who are convinced that there is nobody in the immediate vicinity. In addition, we must make sure that there are no obstacles from above, above the head, for example, overhanging branches. For cutting very thick firewood it is better to use a saw, it will be faster and safer. Inspect the ax before work. Check if the blade is mounted well, if the ax is damaged or there is a danger that the blade will fly off, it is better not to risk it and repair it. Do not try to cut thick branches at right angles, in this case the ax may bounce. 

Gradually go deeper until you cut the whole branch. Cutting wood is very tiring. If you are tired, it is better to break off and relax. A tired person makes a lot of mistakes. It is not advisable to chop wood in poor lighting. Do not leave the ax on the ground; if someone steps on it, it could damage your leg. Stick the ax into the stump. Do not stick into a living tree, this can damage it, and the ax itself will surely fall down. If there are no stumps nearby, lean the ax against the tree with your butt down. In case of long intervals between work, the ax is best stored in a durable case. It’s useful to oil the blade so that it does not rust..

Used materials from the book Life in the Wild.
Bear Grylls.

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