The Flentje family's passion for wood and timber, which began in 1938, extends beyond just the love for the material. It encompasses the tools that interact with the wood, particularly the axe. As a young boy, I remember the stacks of wood in my Grandad's shed and the beautiful smell of freshly cut timber. Now, as the founder of Engineered for Axemen, I want to share with you the importance of caring for your axe, a tool that is as much a part of our family's history as the wood itself.
Cleaning Your Axe
Just as my Grandad and Dad taught me the importance of clean cuts when sawing wood, the same principle applies to your axe. After each use, clean the head of any sap or tannins using steel wool and acetone. The handle should also be cleaned of dirt and sap. Remember to dry your axe thoroughly after cleaning to prevent rust, much like how we used to keep our timber dry in the shed.
Oiling Your Axe
In the final year of my Mechanical Engineering Degree, I met Nev Meyer, and my interest in the sport of competition woodchopping was born. I learned that oiling is an essential part of axe care. Apply a thin layer of oil all over the metal of the axe head, removing any excess with a cloth. The handle also benefits from periodic oiling to keep the wood from drying out and shrinking, particularly where the handle runs through the head. Linseed oil is a popular choice for this purpose.
Sharpening Your Axe
A sharp axe is a safe and efficient axe. Regular sharpening keeps your axe performing at its best. The frequency of sharpening depends on how often you use your axe and the type of wood you're chopping. Always follow safety precautions when sharpening your axe to avoid injury, a lesson I learned early on in my woodchopping career.
Storing Your Axe
Proper storage is crucial for maintaining your axe. Axes should be kept in a dry place, but not so dry or warm that the handle risks shrinking in the axe head. If your axe comes with a leather sheath, use it. The sheath protects the blade from moisture and dust while also preventing accidental injuries.
Regularly inspect your axe for signs of wear or damage. Check that the handle is secure in the axe head and look for any cracks in the wood. If you notice any issues, it's best to address them immediately to prevent further damage.
Caring for your axe is a small investment of time that pays off in the long run. With proper care and maintenance, your axe will give you many years of reliable service. Remember, a well-maintained axe is not only more efficient but also safer to use. At Engineered for Axemen, we're proud to provide the highest quality products for competition axemen and axewomen all around the world. And we're here to help you take care of them.