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.
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 than 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 the razor-sharp result. The oil will polish the bit while 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 waterstone 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 in 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 of around 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 than enough. A splitting maul doesn’t have to be razor-sharp.
- Medium side
If you restore the bit, you will want to make the edge sharp again. The medium grid level is around 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 of around 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 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
- Made in the USA: This blade and pocket knife sharpening tool is made in the United States of America.
- Compact Size: It's hard to fit a Lansky sharpening system in your pocket, but with this Lansky knife sharpener, you can carry it anywhere. It's great to keep in your camping supplies, shed, or pocket knife sharpening kit.
- Versatile Use: This honing stone will refine the edge of any bladed tool that should be cutting but isn't, be it an axe, machete, lawnmower blade, or knife. No matter what tool it is that has gotten dull, something as simple as a sharpening puck can be the solution to your problem.
- Simple & Easy to Use: When it comes to knife sharpeners, it's easy to get too caught up in complex tools. But anyone can use this simple knife sharpener stone. You don't always need a professional knife sharpener to put a working edge on your cutlery and tools.
- Blade Protection: For best results, use Lansky's Nathan's Natural Honing Oil (not included). Honing oil is not required, but it can help to protect the stone and preserve your blade.
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 center 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 Grinding Stone
- Can be used with or without water
- Coarse side (180 grit) and fine side (600 grit)
- Diameter 57 mm (2.2”)
- Weight: 160 g (6.5 oz)
Another round sharpening stone, but from one of the best Swedish axe makers in the world. The difference with the 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 really 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 a diameter of 57mm (2.2″). The advantage of 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
- This combination knife sharpener stone has a dual side sharpening system, one side with 100 grit stone for repairing cutting edges and 280 grit stone for sharpening and maintaining razor sharp edges on knives and tools
- This sharpening oil stone is great for efficiency in repairing and maintaining the razor sharp edges needed for key at home tools, including kitchen knives, hunting knives and many more
- This sharpening stone is prefilled with oil to allow lubricant to stay on the sharpening stone surface while sharpening
- This tool and knife sharpening oil stone is 1 x 8 x 2 inch size (H x W x D), is great for use as a bench stone for kitchen knives, a utility knife, tools and more
- This knife sharpener with an oil stone design is more durable and harder than a whetstone and is intended to be used with Norton Abrasives Sharpening Stone Oil for the most efficient sharpening system
This 8-by-2-inch sharpening stone is perfect for use as a bench sharpener. The size makes it easier to use on the workbench and allows you to sharpen bigger blades on it. The stone is oil-based and comes with 100 grit on the coarse side and 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 aluminum 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 soak the stone 5 minutes before you start 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 halves the weight and half of the thickness. The downside of the Norton is that the coarse side is almost the same as the fine side of the Lansky puck. Making this stone is 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 getting 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 your knives as well. Always use a lubricant, soapy water, or oil. This will keep your stone clean and help 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.