Abraham Lincoln once said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe.” I think he should have cared for his tools better.\n- Nathan Gareau, Famed Cocktologist and Axe Enthusiast\nTo be Canadian is to own an axe. Since the first people ever crossed the land-bridge into north America, axe chipped from stone were used. Later, Vikings made their way over and even later than that the French and English came to this land. In the modern day any Canadian citizen has the privilege to enjoy the Canadian wilds. Whether you choose to hike, camp, hunt, or simply sit by the fire in your backyard - an axe is a must. \nAn axe that has been properly cared for should last for generations. The blacksmiths that make our axes use high-carbon steels which allows for a sharper edge that lasts longer. This also means that a hand-made axe is much safer than an axe that dulls quickly. There are a few steps that you can follow to keep your axe happy and safe for decades to come.\n\n\n\nOiling. High carbon steels have huge benefits, but can be fussy at times. It is very important to keep your axe head oiled and free of excess moisture as the steel can rust if forgotten about and left damp. We like to recommend Remedy Brand Tsubaki Oil, the same oil that one would use to keep a treasured razor from tarnishing between uses. A few drops rubbed into the steel with a clean cloth is all that is needed to protect against aggressive oxidation.\n\n\nSharpening. A sharp axe is a safe axe; take care of your axe and use it as intended. A carbon steel axe is for cutting, chopping and whittling wood, not stones and other hard materials; misuse will result in a chipped edge. That being said, chips aren’t the end of the world. Minor chips and touch ups are easily taken care of with a small sharpening stone such as the Hultafors Axe Grinding Stone. Rub the stone against the edge using small circles to wear out chips and sharpen the blade, and be sure to keep the stone wet with water while using it. Start with the rough side of the stone, and polish your edge with the smoother side. Keep in mind that any axe purchased from Kent of Inglewood can be brought into the shop for a first-time free sharpening.\n\n\nHandle-Care. The axe-head and edge would be nothing more than a dangerous paperweight if not for the hickory handle. Taken from the center of an American Hickory Tree, the haft of a hand-made ax provides the perfect blend of strength and flexibility. There is no need to fear the occasional over-swing, these handles are made by hand to last. It’s best to keep the wood oiled and waxed to prevent drying and shrinking, particularly where the handle runs through the head. We prefer Remedy Brand Butchers Wax because it also has mineral oil in it to hydrate the wood and protect it. If the axe becomes loose while chopping, stop working and re-affix the head. This can be accomplished by firmly hitting the bottom of the handle with a mallet or by sinking a wedge into the ‘eye’.\n\n\n\n\n\nUse it Properly. One of the best things I ever did for my axe was to read Norwegian Wood by Lars Mytting. In his book, Mr. Mytting lays out the entire life of a tree from sapling to firewood and details felling, splitting, stacking and burning methods. Following his instructions made me a more competent axe-user.\n\n\nKeep a Good Knife or Hatchet Handy. Most axe-related injuries are done to ones-self when cutting kindling. Avoid this kind of folly. A sharp small blade like the Helle Eggen, Higo no Kami or Hultafors Mini-Axe can be used to chip wood for starting fires, cut feather sticks or slice small pieces of kindling. Why do a job with a heavy, unwieldy blade that can be done more safely with a smaller one?\n\n\nEach axe has a unique and specialized use; some are for chopping, some for splitting, carving or even throwing. Regardless of the use, be aware of your surroundings and follow good axe safety. Don’t forget that good axe-care is your duty as a Canadian.