/ How do you sharpen ice axe/crampons?
Just concerned that any sharpening would weaken the metal.
Crampons are rubbish for sharpening ice axes with, I'd use a file. If you can comfortably touch the working edge between file strokes then you won't have it hot enough to spoil the heat treatment.
Now I know everything you read says don't use a grinder, it'll heat the metal too much, weakening it, but in reality, if you're sensible about how you do it, so as not to put excessive heat into the metal, (ie:repeated short taps of the pick/points against the wheel, rather than prolonged contact) would it actually do any harm? I'd imagine you could potentially get a better, sharper, neater finish than with a file too?
Then when the front of the blade is flat, sharpen each side of the front of the blade so it has an edge.
Don't make the edge too sharp or it'll wear faster.
You may have to file away the first tooth if there's significant wear to the front of the pick. This is because you want the bottom front of the pick to penetrate the ice before the teeth.
If you have to file away more than the first tooth to make sure the front of the pick penetrates first, it's time to buy new picks.
The bottom, front corner of the pick needs to be sharp but the bottom, top corner of the pick can be rounded.
I think this is what the Andy Turner article says, and I applied it. There is also useful a very good, detailed section on this in this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Winter-Climbing-Rockfax-Guide/dp/1873341962/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid...
In para. 6, I meant "top, front", not "bottom, top".
I imagine you'd have more control over what you're doing with a file.
Personally, I can't see any advantage in using a grinding wheel.
If you are careful it is fine, the thing is most people aren't as careful as they think they are. You can use an angle grinder for doing your nails and a bangalore torpedo is great alternative to a plough but the margin for error is pretty small :-)
You'll have more control with a wheel if you take the time to set up properly, although I don't think I could be bothered with setting up a sharpening jig for my ice tools.
If you're careful and keep the work cool you can grind successfully heat treated steel but you need to be very careful. Cooling water helps*.
*Usual common sense stuff about power tools and mixing water-electricity obviously applies.
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