Sharpening a Hewing Hatchet

I hate addressing sharpening. It’s such a touchy subject. almost as bad as politics. But I did a short video (short for me, anyway) about sharpening my hewing hatchet. In the video, you’ll see I fix the hatchet so it’s stationary, I might have got that idea from Drew Langsner. It really helps.

Additionally, I have come to feel hesitant to discuss my hewing hatchet. The hatchet I’m sharpening here, and use everyday, was made 90 years ago in Germany. No – I don’t know where you can get one just like it. Yes, there are lots of hatchets out there. some good, some bad. No, I’m not going to advise you this way or that re: what hatchet to use or buy. I have written about it at length here on the blog, with measurements and photos – for example https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-endless-look-at-hewing-hatchets/ and one more https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/the-hatchet/

But whatever you use, make it sharp. Sharper is better.

9 thoughts on “Sharpening a Hewing Hatchet

  1. Thank you! That looks like a better method of propping-up the blade and fixing the hatchet than I’ve seen before. I’ve tried several ways before and was never happy with how fumbley, figity they were. Personally, I seem to be able to keep a more consistent angle if it the stone is horizontal or vertical than somewhere else, so being able to set the hatchet angle so that the sharpening stone is near to horizontal should help me.

  2. These are so delightful. I have a few non chopper smart dumb questions. This looks like a right handers hatchet since it is flat on the left side, sighting from the back of it. Is this correct? When you work the flat side is the stone flat or slightly angled? Now I understand why you are careful to keep your bolts out of the dirt.

  3. Made a handle for my E-Bay mortis chisel and chopped my first mortise on my future joined stool leg.
    What an adventure. Thank you.

  4. That pink side of the stone is 3000. I only know that because I have the same stone. Thank you for this info, I know sharpening makes for extreme banter amongst us woodworkers, but it’s helpful for me to see this as I have struggled to sharpen my own hewing hatchet.

  5. Great sharpening video Peter. Thanks for keeping it so straight forward and understandable. I have other sharpening videos that do the exact opposite.

  6. I needed your wiping rag warning a couple of weeks ago when I was sharpening my new-to-me drawknife. I was drying it off and cut through the rag and my thumb. It was definitely sharp at that point.

    I got my post bending form and all my other jigs ready for my first JA chair. Hoping to get a log this week. I used your blog photos along with Brendan’s drawings to get everything built correctly.

  7. Thanks for the sharpening workshop! Personally i have used a file for restoring edges of used bought hatchets or misused ones. I did clamp them to the bench, the bit overhanging, using the file in a drawning/tilted way. The filed bevel then can be smoothed with stones and honed.
    Ahem… single beveled hatchets are still produced by german brands Ochsenkopf, Bison, Müller and austrian Stubai. They are called “Zimmermannsbeil” or “Zimmermannshacke” in Austria. They are all made left- or right handled or doublebeveled. All have a nail-pulling claw at the back, it should probably be sawn off if not used in the rafters…

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