How to Sharpen Your Pick Axe

What You'll Need
Reaper file
Commercial metal cleaner
Sponge or washcloth

If your pick axe has been dull lately, you may want to sharpen its blade. With the help of few simple tools, your pick axe can be sharp in no time.

Step 1 - Clean Your Pick Axe

Before you can sharpen your pick axe, you must first give the blade a preparatory cleaning. Using a sponge or washcloth, apply your commercial metal cleaner to the blade of the axe. Vigorously rub your cleaning tool of choice over both sides of the blade in an up-and-down fashion, taking care to remove any caked-on dirt and debris. For good measure, use a lightly dampened sponge or washcloth to remove any dirt from the axe's handle. Once your blade and handle have been sufficiently cleaned, you'll be ready to begin the sharpening process.

Step 2 - Sharpen the Outer Side of the Blade

Now that your pick axe has been cleaned, wiggle the blade a bit to make sure it is secure, then proceed to sharpen the blade's outer side. As an additional precaution, you may want to perform the sharpening outside, where you'll be able to firmly plant one end of the blade into the ground, effectively holding the axe steady. When sharpening the blade's outer side, it is recommended that you use the double-cut side of your reaper file and run it up and down the blade in a top-to-bottom fashion. Additionally, you should take care to hold the file parallel to the blade in order to remove any dings and scratches.

Once the outer side of your axe blade appears to be sharp, proceed to administer another sharpening, this time using the single-cut side of your reaper file. While generally not essential, this additional step will ensure that your blade is extra sharp and perfectly capable of penetrating hard surfaces. After making the outer edge as sharp as possible, you'll be ready to proceed with the next step.

Step 3 - Sharpen the Underside of the Blade

Having successfully sharpened the outer edge of your pick axe blade, you're almost finished. You will now need to sharpen the underside of the blade in the exact same fashion as the outer side. After confirming that the axe's blade is securely in place, proceed to sharpen the underside of the blade with the double-cut side of your file, after which you will need to use the file's single-cut side to administer one last sharpening. Both sides of your axe's blade should now be sharp enough to handle any job.

Step 4 - Keep Your Blade Clean

To ensure that you have to sharpen your axe blade as infrequently as possible, make a point of cleaning it after every use. As mentioned in Step 1, you can easily clean the blade with nothing more than a sponge or washcloth and a commercial metal cleaner. In addition to keeping your blade sharp, frequent cleanings will help protect it from rust.