Bushcraft Tips And Advice

Welcome to the tips and advice section, where we have gathered information on a variety of topics related to Bushcraft and Outdoor Survival.

Gransfors Outdoor AxeCaring for your Axe
Woodlore Leather BeltCaring for your Leather Products
How to Sharpen a Knife
Using the Gransfors Axe FileHow to Sharpen an Axe
Woodlore Canada Jay Sleeping BagSleeping Bag Comfort Temperatures
British Army Bivi BagWhat is a bivi bag?


How to Sharpen an Axe

Using the Gransfors Axe File (click to zoom)
To view Woodlore's range of exclusive Gransfors Axes and Axe Sharpening Tools, please visit the Gransfors Axes section of our Online Shop.

The best way to learn how to sharpen your axe is to attend a relevant course. The safe use of cutting tools, including sharpening an axe, is covered in our Campcraft Course.

If the blade has been heavily damaged, start with the Gransfors Axe File. For smaller dings, restoring the edge from normal use and getting the right sharpening on the axe blade after filing, use the Gransfors Axe Stone (see further below).

  • Clear the blade of dirt and resin before you start to sharpen, otherwise the edge can get filled in and the 'bite' will be lost.

  • To ease filing, hold the axe against a stable surface. Place something under the blade for stability and to get the right angle.

  • Hold the handle of the file with one hand and use the fingers of your other hand to apply pressure against the backside of the file.

  • File away from yourself in the direction of the blade, lifting up the file when returning to the beginning of the stroke.

  • Avoid filing back and forth as this fills the file ridges with metal shavings and dulls the file. If the file gets full of metal shavings, clean it with a wire brush.

  • To preserve the axe's original bit shape file equally on both sides along the length of the entire bit.

To then sharpen your axe you will need an axe stone with both coarse and fine sides. Ray particularly recommends the Gransfors Axe Stone, which features both grades and is encased in tough, black rubber, making it sturdier when in use.

  • Again, make sure the axe blade is free of dirt and resin before you begin. In cases of smaller dings or normal wear the coarse side of the Axe Stone should be used.

  • The stone is normally used wet but can also be used dry. Using light pressure, work in circular motions towards or away from the edge.

  • The Axe Stone should be rotated occasionally to ensure even wear. Metal shavings should be cleared from the stone by blowing on it, brushing or rinsing it off with running water.

  • Finally, with the help of the fine side of the Axe Stone, the proper edge can be restored.

  • Change sides and sharpening angles often until the edge has a smooth and even surface. If the edge becomes too thin and fragile you can work against the bit, using a circular motion. This will help to achieve a wider cutting angle and stronger edge.

  • When finished, rinse the Axe Stone with water and dry with a soft cloth.

After sharpening your axe, Woodlore recommend the use of Camellia Oil to protect the blade from rust and corrosion.

Frequent Questions

You might also like to take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions where you will find advice on everything from contacting Ray to Ray's earlier TV programmes. We even provide some useful Camping Equipment advice.