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Thread: Anyone polish their axe?

  1. #1

    Anyone polish their axe?


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    I bought some sand paper since I don't have any heads to hang at the moment.

  2. #2
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    I find at least a certain degree of polish useful on the working regions of the bit, but not for cosmetic reasons since it'll quickly haze up with micro-scratches. Mirror polishing is a lot of work so I don't like to squander time on a flawless polish when I know it'll be wearing right off the second it's put to work. However, the smooth surface aids in penetration and release alike, so getting it nice and smooth to the touch helps in performance!


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  3. #3
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    I don't and probably don't own the equipment to do it. I do own a couple that a bought polished though. Sure doesn't hurt anything.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by garry3 View Post
    I don't and probably don't own the equipment to do it. I do own a couple that a bought polished though. Sure doesn't hurt anything.
    That's $25 dollars of equipment and some elbow grease

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Whiskey_Jim View Post
    That's $25 dollars of equipment and some elbow grease
    What did you use? Besides elbow grease of course.

  6. #6
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    No because patina and character comes from years of use and can't be had on a brand new axe.

  7. #7
    Polishing adds rust resistance, fwiw.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by axen'questions View Post
    What did you use? Besides elbow grease of course.
    60 100 220 400 800 1500 grit wet sand paper

  9. #9
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    I polish the bit for the reasons stated by 42 and Moonw. It helps alot with release.

  10. #10
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    I did this American Ax Company axe just to outline the bevels. I used a buffing wheel on a grinder with compound. It's actually shinier than the picture shows.

    [IMG][/IMG]

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonw View Post
    Polishing adds rust resistance, fwiw.
    In theory I suppose, due to minimizing the surface area. I suspect that the effect is negligible in practical application however - because I've seen lots of polished steel surfaces rust readily under humid conditions (mostly rifles, which benefited not just from polishing but from bluing as well).

    To return to the OP's question, I've buffed a few edges, usually with scotchbrite disks on a grinder. It did seem to help a little but the effect was temporary as the surface inevitably gets scratched up in use. For a working ax it's not worth the bother even with a powered buffing setup.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfaxe View Post
    I did this American Ax Company axe just to outline the bevels. I used a buffing wheel on a grinder with compound. It's actually shinier than the picture shows.
    Nice looking axe

  13. #13
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    Not an axe but a tiny 9oz slip handle hatchet, bottom in first pic, no other reason than being flash.
    Bottom pic a hawk & ball peen hammer I forged from a VW drive shaft (hammer has splines, sorry for crappy phone pic).
    Polished to look good, not sure there is any point polishing a user as it'll get scratched up first use.




  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by serotina View Post
    In theory I suppose, due to minimizing the surface area. I suspect that the effect is negligible in practical application however - because I've seen lots of polished steel surfaces rust readily under humid conditions (mostly rifles, which benefited not just from polishing but from bluing as well).
    Well, my experience showed increased rust resistance, so much in fact that I've complettely skipped oiling 5160 blades treated this way. I'm a believer . Some steel just WANTS to rust, no matter what , though.

  15. #15
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    yeah, leaving polishing compound on is just as good as a patina IME but i havent done an entire head, just the bevels on my kellys

  16. #16
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    Wow these look awesome, i need to get my grand dad to polish up my estwing sportsman haha

  17. #17
    Of course I meant bevels only.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonw View Post
    Well, my experience showed increased rust resistance, so much in fact that I've complettely skipped oiling 5160 blades treated this way. I'm a believer . Some steel just WANTS to rust, no matter what , though.
    5160 is well known to have a bit more corrosion resistance than straight carbon steel. While by no means stainless, that little bit of chromium helps with the rust.

    I've not seen the effect with straight carbon steel, and I'd be pretty skeptical of the effect even with alloys like 5160. I could see a person believing in it if they have axes made of both and started polishing about the time they added the 5160 blades to the mix.

    Now I have heard of electropolishing stainless to improve corrosion resistance. I suspect it owes its effect to depleting the surface in iron and thus concentrating the chromium slightly. Perhaps something similar is going on with your 5160, though I'd be hard pressed to imagine a mechanical polish changing the surface chemistry much.

  19. #19
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    Polishing carbon steel does slow it's tendency to rust, how much is debatable with so many variables but it does make a difference.

    I always assumed it was because polishing gets rid of pits & lowers the surface area.

    Easy to try a couple of test bits of steel to see for yourself.

  20. #20
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    The reason why polished carbon steel will rust up is mostly because it's bare un-passivated steel and so is in its most vulnerable state, albeit much less vulnerable than the same bare steel with a coarser surface. Induce a patina on the polish or blue it and you'll get a protective oxidized layer with the benefits of the polish. Any sort of coating will wear in use, but at a slow rate on actively used regions that keep it clean, and the unworn regions will be kept protected.


    Baryonyx Knife Co. ~Trusted specialists in high value, low cost knives and tools.

    "To live at all is miracle enough."
    — Mervyn Peake

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