One of the best things about owning an axe is that you get to experiment with it. You can alter your axe using numerous ways. However, not all of them can give you the exact vintage look you’re seeking.
One thing that everyone is wondering these days is how to blacken an axe head. It’s a popular way of upgrading your axe to give it a richer and ageless look. That’s what we are getting into today.
Let’s not keep you waiting anymore.
How to Blacken an Axe Head – 4 Steps Guide
Blackening your axe includes a few easy steps. It’s a rather uncommon procedure that you won’t hear from people very often. Note that this is not how to restore an axe head. The more appropriate term for the method would be, how to polish an axe head.
Let’s get to it without any further ado.
1. Remove Rust
The initial step is to remove any rust that may be present on the axe head. There are multiple ways to remove rust from the old axe head. If your axe has heavy rust, I recommend using rust-removing chemicals.
Many people may not prefer this method because they simply wish to avoid any harsh chemicals. However, I have found it the most effective method for removing rust without any hassle.
You can soak your axe on a rust-removing chemical overnight to clear all the rust without any scrubbing or sanding. It reduces a lot of physical labor and makes your work easier.
If your axe is comparatively less rusty, you can go for scrubbing. There are tools you can find to scrub your axe head. Alternatively, using steel wool can also be a smart solution. Whichever option you go for, ensure not to create any scratches on the surface.
2. Clean Thoroughly
If your axe head has any grease or oil on the surface, the bluing procedure will be affected. So, you must degrease it using the proper cleaner. There are several options you can go for.
One of the most effective methods of cleaning the axe head is to use a brake parts cleaner. As well as it works with metals, there is a downside to this product. It’s extremely toxic in nature. So, if you are not okay with its toxicity, make sure you go for another cleaner.
Another thing I would like to mention here is following the precautions. Always take the labels seriously. Read the instructions and use the products accordingly. Note that there are plenty of environment-friendly degreasers you can consider.
If you want to be thorough with the cleaning, you can create a combination. Wash your axe with a mild degreaser and hot water. Then, once it dries, use the brake part cleaner to clean it entirely.
3. Gun Bluing the Axe Head
This is where the process gets interesting. The first thing you do is to bake the axe head in an oven at 170 degrees. Then, use Perma Blue Paste to coat the axe head. You can use anything like a brush or a cotton swab to apply it on the axe.
You will notice a difference from the first coating. After finishing the first coating, use fine steel wool to scrape lightly to remove any debris. Once you’re done scraping, use an alcohol swab to remove the debris you’ve scuffed.
Now, bake the axe head at 170 degrees again and repeat the process of applying the coat. The next two coats won’t need baking the axe head. You can simply run it under warm water and wipe it dry before applying the paste.
For the last and final coating, you’ll have to freeze the axe head before applying a coat of paste.
4. Polish With Used Motor Oil
The final part that does the magic of blackening the axe head is used motor oil. Use a rag to rub used motor oil over the axe head and wipe it off. That’s the darkest you can get your axe head.
Don’t forget to clean the axe head thoroughly after you finish coating it with gun blue paste five times. If you do it right, used motor oil can be one of the best oil for axe head you can find.
Tips And Precautions
- Use a well-ventilated area for the process.
- Don’t forget to wear gloves.
- Keep the axe head on a clean and dry surface during the process.
This process uses various temperatures to create a black finish on the axe. You can also do the bluing process without adjusting the temperatures. However, you may need to apply more than five coatings of the paste. Eventually, the darkness will be close to the one you will get with different temperatures.
You can use anything that doesn’t damage the axe head, including a brush, cotton ball, cotton swab, or your fingers. However, make sure to wear gloves if you are using your fingers for the coating.
There are rust-removing products you can use to remove rust from your axe. However, if you want to avoid spending extra bucks on a product, you can go for a DIY approach. Mixing salt and vinegar and soaking the axe in the mixture will work great for removing rust too.
If you know your way around, it’s not rocket science to blacken your axe. Regardless of what reason you want to do it, it’s always better to learn how to blacken an axe head using the proper way.
As I have mentioned before, there are other ways you can do this but the most effective one is to use the bluing method. Besides, the elements you need for this method are conveniently available and reasonably priced.