While an undergraduate student at the University of Vermont I was the president and a founding member of the Woodsmen club sports team. We competed in competitions all across the Northeast. During the competition season I spent hours and hours practicing my axe work. By the end of my senior year, I competed in the Stihl Timbersports Eastern qualifier and won the hard hit underhand chop event at the 2016 Spring Meet in Alfred NY.
My love of wood chopping and fascination with the sport brought me to become interested in grinding my own race axes. A race axe needs to be able to endure an intense amount of stress while maintaining a razor sharp thin edge. In order for it to be able to do that, the axe needs to have a very specific geometry. With the equipment that I have for bladesmithing and knifemaking I am able to grind a precise bevel to within a degree of tolerance.
Each axe is ground on an Esteem 2x72" belt that was bought to grind knife blades. This grinder allows me to go from a rough edge to a fully polished bevel, all while maintaining a consistent bevel using my purpose built jig.
While many axe grinders use an angle grinder, their eye and practice to create a hollow behind the bevel. Instead of using this method I use radius platens that mimic very large grinding wheels to create a consistent hollow behind the bevel. This system allows me to provide a quality and repeatable product.
Chisel Grind Competition Axe
This grind is the most used axe in my axe box. It is ground with a 14 or 15 degree flat bevel for clean soft wood and 16 to 17 degree bevel for a competition/practice crossover. Behind the edge I hollow out the bit using a radius plate on my grinder. This creates the correct geometry for deep penetration. I grind out the wings to reduce weight, change the weight distribution, and make the axe more free in the wood.
Banana Grind Competition Axe
The banana grind with its exaggerated hollow behind the bevel and the increased height of the bevel, makes it one of the best grinds for very soft wood. With a 14 to 15 degree bevel, this axe will cut almost any soft wood.
This axe has a 17 -- 19 degree bevel for strength. The bevel has a 400 grit belt finish. Behind the bevel the head has a very slight hollow behind the bevel to make it more free in the wood.
* Prices for a re-grind are available upon request
**Grinds are can be modified and customized to the customer's needs
If you are interested in having a race axe ground or re-ground, please use this contact form to get the process started