A well-built axe will provide a lifetime of service, but you need to take care of it. In addition to regular maintenance, it’s important to store an axe correctly. We’ve pulled together this axe storage guide to give your tool a fighting chance at lasting a lifetime.
How do I store an axe the right way?
To keep your axe in top condition, store it with a leather sheath attached to the head. Keep it in a dry location that isn’t prone to extreme cold or hot conditions that can cause damage. Instead of adding an axe to a pile of tools, place it on a wall rack or in a storage box.
Follow the steps below for an in-depth storage process.
1. Clean it
Clean the axe from the eye down to the knob, taking care to remove any moisture or dirt. Use a clean rag dipped in a little oil. Water encourages rust so never use it to clean your tool. Use steel wool to remove any unwanted rust from the head.
2. Oil the head
If wood chopping season is over and you don’t expect to use your axe for months, then oil the head before putting it away. This is a great way to stop it rusting while it’s not in use. You can read this article on how to oil an axe head to get detailed instructions.
3. Oil the handle
Use a clean rag or paintbrush to apply boiled linseed oil or something similar to the haft. Allow it to dry then repeat apply a second and third coat. Wipe off any excess oil if necessary. You can learn more about oiling an axe handle here.
4. Attach a sheath
Apply a sheath, or leather mask, to the axe head to protect it while in storage. They’ll keep other tools from contacting the axe head’s bit and will also keep moisture at bay.
You may want to add some beeswax to the sheath if it’s starting to dry out and lose its shape. This will prolong the mask’s life and provide better axe protection.
5. Put the axe away
Store the axe inside a shed, away from the elements and extreme temperatures.
Tips for storing an axe
- The ideal temperature for storing axes is between 40–70 °F (4–21 °C). Freezing temperatures can make the handle of an axe more prone to breakage.
- Always keep an axe away from moisture, whether it’s rain or humidity. Both will encourage warping of the handle and rust formation on the metal parts of the axe.
- Never leave an axe outside for long periods, tossed next to a woodpile, or left at a work site.
- Avoid storing axes near heat sources like fireplaces or furnaces.
- Store axes in a safe location where they won’t injure someone by falling or getting stepped on.
- Leaning an axe against a wall long-term can cause the handle to bend.
- Stacking an axe in a pile with other tools is a good way to damage the blade.
How do I store an axe in a vehicle?
To securely store an axe in a truck you can use an innovative device like the Rola Axe and Shovel Holder. This accessory is versatile, allowing you to secure tools damage-free when traveling.
If you’ve got roof racks, you can also use a zip-tie to attach an axe to one of the bars. For a more permanent solution, drill a couple of holes through the axe’s handle and bolt it to the roof rack. Keep in mind that making holes may weaken the handle, so it’s not recommended for an expensive axe.
How do I hang an axe on the wall for display?
Hanging an axe is a great way to display it while keeping it away from the elements. It’s important to mount it securely for safety reasons.
- Start by locating the studs in your wall with a stud sensor. If possible, use horizontal studs that provide more hanging options. Once you find them, position the axe and mark where the screws should be positioned.
- Select screws that a twice as long as the thickness of the axe. Then drill in the screws halfway. Check that they are secure without any wiggle when you move them with your fingers.
- Place the axe on the screws carefully and check that the screws will hold its weight. If necessary, add another couple of screws for extra support.
Quick tip: The symmetry of a two-headed axe looks great hung vertically. Single bit axes look better at an angle with the blade facing down.
After working with an axe, it may be tempting to leave it onto the shed floor or lean it against the wall. Although this won’t be a big problem short term, it may affect the axe if it’s left like that for months.
Some basic maintenance and keeping your axe inside, away from rain and extreme temperature, will go a long way towards keeping it in top condition.
You may also want to check out these maintenance article on how to sharpen an axe.