What is the proper sharpness for an axe?

Very good data, Thunderstick.

That twist trick works pretty good, don't it? I still sometimes stick an axe. Though keeping my first blows near the edge as you mentioned seems to prevent most of the sticking.
We had an acre of elm out back when I was a kid. That's all me and my brothers did all summer was split elm (OK, not all summer - maybe just a couple days a week). That's what I learned on. The nightmares had mostly subsided - until I ran into that London Plane.

I couldn't count how many elm stumps I dug out. And if you didn't follow the roots down at least 18"-24" they'd sprout right back up with a vengeance.

Nightmare on Elm street heh??