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I saw a YouTube video where someone restores an old axe. After removing the rust and piths, he spray paints the head with black primer. Is this advisable? While it protects the head from water and sap, don't I lose the ability to clean the axe head with paint thinner? Also, won't the oils I apply to the axe head damage the paint?

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I don't know if it's advisable, but it sounds like overkill. –  uncle brad Sep 14 '11 at 13:40
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Not when you are chopping a fresh green sappy tree. As a boyscout, I only chopped dead wood. However, I spent the good part of a Saturday chopping and splitting a fallen tree. When you split green logs, you get a lot of sticky sap on an axe. –  Justin Dearing Sep 14 '11 at 13:47
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In the military we spray painted our entrenching tools after each group went through basic training. No idea if that's applicable to axes or not. –  DA01 Sep 14 '11 at 14:21
    
I believe the paint is applied to prevent corrosion, so if you are cleaning and oiling the axe regularly I would say you don't need it. –  Tester101 Sep 14 '11 at 16:44
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

From my friend Kevin in a personal email:

You do not want to paint any striking or chopping part of an axe head. Paint on the striking end will cause your axe to slip when hitting something. Paint on the cutting end (from the edge all the way to the end of the wedge portion) will cause the axe to stick and bind into whatever you are cutting with every swing.

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