Friday, April 09, 2021

Cheap, Loved and Sharp(er) | Putting an Edge on a $1.00 Hatchet

Earlier this week I found myself scrounging through drawers looking for a tool to pry a plastic disk from the glue pad it was cemented to. I found just the tool in my Columbia Must-Have Multi-Tool. Between the heat from the hairdryer and the leverage from the multi-tool, I had the project completed in no time.

I also got to relish in the joy my Columbia Must-Have Multi-Tool gives me.

Back in 2016 Shira and I visited Bogota, Columbia. While there we found ourselves in the equivalent of $1.00 store, and while shopping I spied a bin full of these beauties:

Did I need a poorly made combination hammer, pry-bar, hatchet, nail puller? Uh, yeah. I did. Badly. The 10 year old boy in me needed one, and the adult in me figured it would be a novel souvenir.

Back from our travels, I hadn't found a use for the multi-tool. One reason why: the hatchet blade was comically dull.

After my experience earlier this week using the pry-bar, I got to thinking that sharpening the blade may be a worthwhile undertaking. I'd end up with a more useful tool and perhaps learn something along the way.

I followed the advice offered in Home Built Workshop's How to Sharpen an Axe video. I ordered an $8.00 axe file off of Amazon, clamped the multi-tool to our kitchen island, and cautiously started to scrape away at the blade.

It was like magic! With just a few strokes of the file I could tell that I was removing metal, shaping the blade and generally making things better. It's almost like the axe file is designed for sharpening axes (spoiler alert: uh, yeah. What else would it do?). I suppose I figured that the file required a skilled operator; apparently not.

All told, I probably spent 30 minutes sharpening both sides of the blade. I found the repetitive process oddly soothing. I'm the farthest thing from an expert, but I'm almost certain I could feel when the file was at the right angle and I was making forward progress.

The blade is definitely not 'shaving sharp.' But it's vastly sharper than when I started. As you can see from the carrot I sacrificed to the cause, not only could I chop, but I could slice shavings, too. I do believe I finally have a functional blade on this sucker.

Overall, I'm really pleased with this little project. I avoided buying gimmicky or over-priced products to get the job done. Instead, I focused on learning a new skill in a low-pressure way. I couldn't have dulled the hatchet any further. About the worst I could done would have been to ruin an $8.00 file. That's a risk I was glad to take.

Want your own Columbia Must-Have Multi-Tool? You can buy the same tool on Amazon for $12.00. It's not the $1.00 or so I paid for mine in Columbia, but of course, you won't have to buy plane tickets to Bogata. So there's that.

The hatchet even comes with this notice: comes dull for your own safety, sharpen it to your own preference. You see, the dullness is a feature, not a bug! And I think they're on to something: buying a cheap hatchet and file will give you a chance to be amazed at what a little elbow grease can produce.

No comments:

Post a Comment