How to Blacken an Axe Head: 4 Tricky Steps Ever

An axe is an essential tool that you can use for lots of work. It is not so challenging to blacken an axe head. However, you must follow a few steps to give your axe head the most durable and delicate finish. How to blacken an axe head is a common question that many axe restorers, collectors, and outdoorsmen ask. This content will give you the easiest ways to blacken an axe head smoothly. 

The Tools You Need

  • An axe head
  • Steel wool
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Rust-removing chemicals
  • Brush
  • Alcohol swab
  • Disposable gloves
  • Plastic container 
  • White vinegar 
  • Wood stain

How to Blacken An Axe Head- 4 Easy Steps for A Good Finishing 

If you follow some easy steps that this content contains, you will be able to blacken your axe effortlessly. The steps might not be familiar to many. So, checking out the process might help you a lot. 

Step 1: Removing Rust from the Axe Head

First of all, you have to clean off the dirt from the axe head. Make sure your axe head is rust-free before starting the project. Any remaining dust on the axe head may eat away the steel from under the color. When you want to remove any old paint from the axe head, you can go over it with 100-grit sandpaper to eliminate the rust and paint entirely. 

To make this initial stage successful, you can use multiple tools to remove rust. However, if the axe head has too much heavy rust, use rust-removing chemicals to make the process easier. It would be best if you remembered that using chemicals may cause harsh effects on your skin, for which many people are likely to avoid this method. Nevertheless, this effect is much easier and less free of hassles and physical labor than other ways.  

Alternatively, you can put the axe head in a plastic container where there is some vinegar. Leave the axe to soak on it for 6-8 hours. After that duration, you will see the vinegar turn brownish and some rust flakes in the container. Scrub the axe head with the steel wool. For a less rusty axe head, choose a scrubbing method. You can find various tools for scrubbing an axe head. Using steel wool can be an excellent idea for a less rusty axe head that mostly doesn’t create scratches on the surface. 

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Step 2: Cleaning the Surface 

Does your axe head have any oil or grease on its surface? Make sure you remove those things to go well with the bluing method. Without removing the grease or oil from the surface, you can’t prevent it from affecting the bluing procedure. Using a good cleaner should be your prime concern for this phase. You can use brake parts cleaner to clean your axe head effectively. This cleaner is not only good for this project but also for any metals. However, you might not bear its toxicity. If you don’t want to work with any toxic elements, choose another cleaner for cleaning the surface. 

Whatever you use, you must be very careful with the products or tools. Go through the manufacturers’ instructions given on the label and suitable usages. Please note that you can also create a combination of a mild degreaser and a bit of hot water with which you can wash your axe. When the combination gets dried on the surface, you should use a brake part cleaner to clean the area correctly. 

Step 3: Gun Bluing Your Axe Head 

As you move to the third phase, you have to bake your axe head in an oven at 170 degrees. Take Perma blue paste for coating the head with a brush or a cotton swab. Check out whether you can notice any difference or not. Once you are done with the first coating, take steel wool to scrape away any debris from it. 

After finishing the first coating task, you should bake the axe head again at the same temperature. Then, repeat the process of applying the coat in this phase again. For the next coat, you don’t have to bake the axe head anymore but run it under hot water and leave it to dry before you apply the paste. The last coating requires the axe head to be frozen before applying the coat of paste.

Step 4: Polishing with Used Motor Oil

Before starting the final step of blackening the axe head, ensure your axe head is thoroughly cleaned after coating it five times with the gun blue paste. Used motor oil can work best if you can use it correctly. Use a rag to rub used motor oil on the axe head, wipe it off, and get the darkest axe head. 

Read: How Long Does A Half Cord Of Wood Last: Full-On Analysis

Cautionary Measures 

  • Work in a well-ventilated area until the end of the task.
  • Wear gloves to keep your hands safe from any damage.
  • Keep the axe on a dry and clean surface while doing the task.


What are the ways to remove rust from the axe head?

You can use some rust-removing products that are available on the market. If you are looking for the cheapest process, check out a DIY approach of using a mixture of salt and vinegar, where you can soak the axe for a great look. 

What can I use to apply the paste on the axe head?

Use a brush, cotton ball, fingers, or anything else that doesn’t damage your axe head. Whatever you use, ensure your fingers or hands are safe from damage.

What is the most effective way to blacken an axe? 

You can use many ways to blacken an axe, but the bluing method is the most effective. The reason is that this method requires very convenient elements that are reasonably priced. 

How can I oxidize an axe head?

For oxidizing the axe head, take some salt to coat the axe and then use lemon juice. Leave it on the top for two to three hours before you remove the rust by scrubbing. 


You might experience working with an axe for many purposes. An axe can be used in numerous ways. Though an axe is one of the best tools for heavy-duty work, many of you haven’t known how to give a vintage look to it. Hopefully, this content will help you with how to blacken an axe head properly following some easy steps. The steps above might help you give your axe the more decadent and elegant look you are seeking.

Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

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