In the Saw Shop, questions and answers: axe head pitting, bent blades, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers!

1. (question about pitting weakening an axe head)

Yes, excessive rust pitting can structurally weaken axe heads to the point that they are unsafe to use. As a rule, any pitting on an axe head that exceeds 10% of the steel thickness deep renders the axe unsafe to use. Weakened eyes can also be spotted by distortion. Any axe eye that is noticeably out of shape should be discarded.

Vintage poll axes are commonly abused by using the polls to drive splitting wedges and double bit axes are abused by pounding things with the flat of the axe. Combine this with rust pitting and you’re likely to have a dangerous tool.

2. (question about straightening bent axe blades and bent shears)

Most edge tools and knives that can bend rather than break are poorly tempered. Straightening these cold gives a 50/50 chance of breaking or cracking the blade, a dangerous situation with an axe. Unless you’re a blacksmith with the ability to hot forge and retemper, forget trying to straighten an axe bit.

3. (question about repairing a circular saw blade with a broken tooth)

For a steel circular saw blade, forget trying any repair of a broken tooth. Anything that could possibly reattach a broken tooth would hopelessly compromise the blade. For saws with carbide teeth, lost or damaged carbides can be replaced but few saws are worth it.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Madison Ave, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Fridays)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

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