Best Axe Sharpening Stone
If you are a bit outdoorsy, you have probably used an axe before. Whether chopping wood for a fire or cutting down a tree, an axe is one of the most versatile and durable tools for anyone to have.
However, like with all blades, the edge of an axe can wear down and become dull over time.Thankfully, restoring the blade (or bit) to its former glory is simply a matter of elbow grease, some effort, and a high-quality sharpening stone.
If you’ve never sharpened an axe before, it’s important to know that there are multiple steps to doing it right. Unlike knife blades, you typically bring the stone to the axe, rather than vice versa. What this means is that you have to work the stone on the axe while it is in a fixed position, instead of pulling the bit through a sharpener.
Today I won’t be going into too much detail about how to properly sharpen an axe, but instead, I will focus on finding and buying the best axe sharpening stone.
How to Choose the Best Axe Sharpening Stone
Although the stone itself is a remarkably simple device, there are still some critical factors that you have to consider before making your purchase. The top considerations for picking the right stone for your axe are:
Although most people would argue that the best way to sharpen an axe is by running a stone over a fixed blade, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do the opposite and move the axe bit over the stone.
When choosing an axe sharpening stone, the size of the stone itself will help determine what kind of sharpening you will be doing. A large stone is best used by running the bit on the surface, whereas a smaller model is best to use on an axe that is being held in place.
The size will also determine whether or not you can sharpen in the field.For example, if you are camping, you will probably want a small sharpening stone to restore your axe on the fly.
However, if you only use your axe at home or some other workplace setting, a large stone can work better in this situation.
When choosing an axe sharpening stone, there are a few different types of material. Usually, most stones will be made of the same kind of rock, with the difference being the smoothness of the edge. These classifications are:
This is usually the roughest material, and will feel slightly bumpy if you run your hand over it. This material is ideal for large axes that are used for splitting.
Most axes can be sharpened with a fine stone, as most axes are used for either chopping, cutting or splitting. Unless you have a large, wedge-shaped blade, a fine stone will be ideal for your needs.
If you want to get your axe blade razor sharp, then use an extra-fine sharpening stone. However, this classification is usually designed for knives and other kinds of blades instead of axes.
It may be hard to imagine a “soft” rock (outside of the musical genre that is), but some sharpening stones are rated as a softer material than others. Soft stones are used for a wider range of blades and work much faster than hard stones.
When choosing the degree of hardness, it can be difficult to determine how hard you need your sharpening stone to be. However, most stones are rated as “hard”, and can be used with a variety of materials, including axes.
When it comes to sharpening, most people don’t only sharpen one kind of blade. That being said, while most sharpening stones that are rated for axes can be used for other materials, such as knives, not all knife sharpeners are rated for axes.
When choosing your sharpening stone, make sure that it can be used for axe blades as well as any other tools you may need, such as a planer.
Recommended Best 5 Axe Sharpening Stones
Now let’s look at some of the best stones available on the market today. Almost all of these sharpening stones are fixed position, meaning that you can run the axe blade over the surface, rather than vice versa.
However, that being said, you can still use most of these models as a handheld device, running the stone over a blade that is held in place. The majority of the stones on this list are small enough and have enough grip to handle them in either setting, offering more versatility to your workspace.
1. Lansky 6"x2" Hard Arkansas Stone
First on our list is the Lansky Hard Arkansas Stone. Lansky is one of the top brands for sharpening stones, and the Arkansas stone is a perfect example of the company’s commitment to excellence.
The size of this model is six inches by two inches, making it ideal for both knives and axes.Also, this stone comes with a plastic grip on the bottom, meaning you can use it as a "bench" stone, or hold it in your hand.
As the name would suggest, this is a hard stone, so it is perfect for planer blades, knives, axes, and even screwdrivers. This model also has a relatively fine grit so that it will create long-lasting sharp edges.One important thing to note with this stone.
However, is that you will ideally lubricate the surface before sharpening. You can operate this model dry or wet, but oiling the stone will provide some much-needed benefits, such as faster sharpening and easier cleanup.
You may think that a wet stone would be harder to clean than a dry one, but the fact is the liquid captures the material that is generated when sharpening, so you don’t have a big mess afterwards.
Feature At a Glance
- Compact size (2” x 6”)
- Durable, long lasting stone
- Hard surface rating for more refined edges
- Ultra versatile: can work with knives, axes, planer blades, and more
2. Lansky 8"x2" Soft Arkansas Stone
When comparing Lansky’s Soft Arkansas Stone to their Hard Arkansas Stone, there are very few features that stand out between the two. The most important distinction between these stones, besides the hardness, of course, is the size.
Whereas the Hard Stone is small and compact, the Soft Stone is a bit longer, which can make it somewhat difficult to handle if you are sharpening a fixed blade.When looking at the hardness of a sharpening stone, the primary distinction between hard and soft is the type of work it will perform.
While the Hard Stone is perfect for refining an edge, the Soft Arkansas Stone is ideal for quick, efficient, multi-purpose sharpening. Soft stones are used in a broad range of applications, from commercial to residential use, whereas hard stones are typically seen in a workplace or industrial setting.
Feature At a Glance
- Durable, long-lasting material
- Plastic grip holds the stone in place while working
- Ideal for knives, axes, and other tools
- Will sharpen quickly and efficiently
- Can sharpen both dry and wet with equal results
3. HTS 131A0 6" Double Sided Sharpening Stone
Next on our list is the HTS 131A0 Double Sided Diamond Sharpening Stone. When looking at the name, the word diamond may make you think this is a “luxury” item, but in fact, diamond studded stones are quite common, especially in industrial practices.
Since diamond is the hardest material on earth, a diamond-studded stone can provide an unparalleled sharpening experience. Some of the benefits of a diamond sharpening stone are:
- Can reset the bevel width on most blades
- Will not wear down or curve with age, unlike most stones
- Can be used on high-density metals, such as certain steels
- Fast sharpening
Although diamond stones are mostly used in the workplace or industrial settings, the HTS is rated for home use as well. If you need a rapid and efficient way to sharpen your axe, the HTS can be right for you.
However, be aware of the fact that diamond stones will remove much more material than other stones, so you have to be careful when sharpening. Otherwise, you may take off too much metal and have to re-bevel the entire blade.
Feature At a Glance
- Double sided for added versatility
- Coarse side is perfect for removing chips and scratches
- Fine side is ideal for smoothing and polishing edges
- Can be used wet or dry, although I recommend wet
- Will last much longer than most sharpening stones
- Quick and efficient sharpening
- Can re-bevel your axe blade in case of extreme chipping or wear and tear
4. Arkansas Sharpening Stone Set
While the stones on this list are perfect for certain applications, what if you want a range of materials to do a variety of jobs?
Fortunately, the Arkansas Sharpening Stone Set by Best Sharpening Stones offers the most versatility by providing you with three separate stones for your convenience. The stones provided are:
- Soft Arkansas (coarse material)
- Hard Arkansas (fine material)
- Black Arkansas (extra-fine material)
Each stone is embedded in a high-quality wooden holder, making them perfect for either sharpening in a fixed position or your hand.
Feature At a Glance
- Three stones for added versatility
- Hard, Soft, and Black stones provide full range of sharpening
- Stones are embedded in wooden holders
- Each stone can be used as a “bench” stone (fixed) or be handheld
5. Lansky Dual Grit Sharpener
Finally, we come to yet another Lansky sharpening stone, the Dual Grit “Puck” Sharpener. The nickname is because the stone is shaped like a hockey puck, although it has bevelled edges.
The center of the puck is fine material, while the edges are rough, allowing for better versatility while sharpening. The “puck” is perfect for sharpening in the field, either while camping or on the job. And, because it’s a Lansky product, you know it’s built to last.
Feature At a Glance
- Small, compact design
- Ideal for sharpening on the fly
- Comes with two grades of stone: coarse and fine
- Multi-grade stone allows for more versatility while sharpening
When choosing the best axe sharpening stone, I like to use a model that works either on a flat surface or in my hand. The reason I prefer this is because I like to use my stones for a broad range of tools, from kitchen knives to splitting axes.
That being said, the best deal for the money would have to be the set of three Arkansas Stones by Best Sharpening Stones. If, however, you are looking for something a bit more hardcore, then you can’t go wrong with the Diamond Stone.
Whether you want a fast edge or want to re-bevel a worn down bit, the Diamond Stone is perfect for you. Finally, I would highly recommend the “puck” if you ever go camping.