Axe blades do not need to be honed to the same degree of sharpness as, for instance, knives, chisels or plane irons. As a rule you would sharpen a chisel blade with a grit 1000 waterstone and then follow this by honing the blade with a grit 6000 and/or 8000 stone. The latter step falls away if you are sharpening an axe. The first few blows would convince you that all the careful honing was in vain, because you would immediately notice countless small notches along the edge. This means a stone with grit 1000 or 800 is all you need. What does make sense for axes is to have a rough sharpening stone with grit 250 to hand to remove any small notches. Prior to the grit 250 stone you can also work on your blade with a flat file, a highly effective method of removing even larger notches on western-style hatchets and axes. Note: Japanese hatchets based on a multi-layer steel design are mostly too hard to respond to filing.
This single-cut file with a fine cut is suitable for roughly sharpening the blade of an axe.
Cutting length 200 mm
Cross section 20.2 x 3.2 mm
Total length 255 mm
The size of file handle you select should depend less on the size of the file and more on the size of your hand. Any length between 100 and 120 mm will do.