A wildland fire axe is one of a firefighter’s most reliable and useful tools in the field. However, they can get very dirty because it gets so much use in the field. A dirty axe is an ineffective axe, which is why cleaning them is so important. With these tips, cleaning your wildland fire axe will be easy and you can get back to using it on duty in no time at all.
Clean the Axe Head
The first thing you must do is remove the accumulated dirt or debris on the axe head. Scrub away all this debris with a wire brush. Know that some spots may require more effort than others. Once you remove the larger debris from the axe head, you can use steel wool and oil to buff off rust or scratch marks. Diligence in this phase is important to achieve the best results.
Clean the Handle
In addition to cleaning the head of the axe, you must also pay careful attention to the handle. With standard soap and water, you can clean most stains. Tougher stains may require a specialized cleaner, but they should be easy to get out with such a solution. After cleaning, dry the handle completely—lingering moisture could damage the handle and prematurely age it.
Re-Wax the Handle
After cleaning the handle, you may need to re-wax it. A waxed canvas handle needs cleaning by hand, but even after all the cleaning, the wax’s effect can lessen and prove less effective in the field. Use a wax conditioner and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you do the job correctly and you’re not damaging the axe in the process.
Sharpen Your Blade
An effective axe does not have a dull blade, so break out the whetstone or whichever sharpening tools you have and get to sharpening. During this phase, pay careful attention to the angle at which you’re holding the blade to ensure you get a smooth edge. A sharp blade is one you can rely on to get the job done when you’re in the field.
Store It Carefully
An important part of cleaning your axe is safely storing it so it stays in good condition longer. Find a dry space to store it so moisture doesn’t interfere with the handle or create rust on the axe head. Improper storage will quickly bring down the axe’s quality and hurt you in the field when you need it most.
Cleaning your wildland fire axe is a critical part of every wildland firefighter’s job, but it’s a task that’s easy to neglect. You must carefully maintain all of your wildland fire hand tools to do your job effectively. Let The Supply Cache help if you’re having a hard time maintaining your tools or need some new ones. We have all the high-quality wildland fire tools and equipment you’ll need to do your job effectively.