by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Many people, even homesteaders, and here, obviously and especially the beginning homesteaders, seem to have little to now idea as to what makes a good ax and how to actually use it and care for it.
Especially sharpening of one, in the same way as sharpening a knife or other cutting implement, seems to be something that they think they know but actually don't and the same goes for caring for an ax or knife.
Axes are not made – generally – of stainless steel and thus do need keeping clean (but even a stainless steel blade does) and should have, as far as I am concerned, oil applied to the head every now and then.
The same, as to oiling, goes for the handles of wood. However, you don't use the same oil there as you would for the metal. Having said that, on the other hand, you can use vegetable oil for oiling the metal and the wood, only never use metal oil on wood.
The ideal medium for oiling is vegetable oil, any type, and I, personally, drain the oil that is left in bottles and which one normally cannot get out and keep this for treating wood and also the metal parts of garden tools.
The US Forest Service has a small valuable manual as to the ax, it's uses and care, called “An Ax to Grind: A Practical Ax Manual” and it is available free as a PDF at the link given below.
Right-click the link and “save link” to your hard drive. It is less than 70 pages and well worth a download.