You’ve Been Chopping Wood All Wrong
Everyone loves a good winter bonfire. And while the image of a lumberjack in flannel is what comes to mind when people thing of log splitting, there’s actually a great deal of technique to getting it right. Here we see two unique techniques in motion – a non-traditional maul (Fiskars) and a chain. When it comes to saving time, these guys know what they’re doing.
Non-Traditional Splitting Axes
The old trusty maul axe has been a time tested tradition amongst wood splitters. It relies on a simple high grade steel formed into a wedge and a linseed-oiled handle. For the first part, all you need to do is keep the wedge honed and it should sever a decent number of logs before needing to be sharpened again.
However, there have been some recent developments that challenge the revered maul axe. Fiskars is a Finnish company that produces a variety of tools ranging from scissors to knives. It’s only natural that they would branch out – no pun intended – into the realm of chopping and splitting axes. What makes these particular splitting axes unique is the shape of the wedge. Whereas a traditional maul axe would have a curved wedge surface, Fiskars uses a propriety diamond wedge shape.
Immediately noticeable is fewer strokes between splitting logs. However, as this reviewer pointed out, Fiskars sometimes uses sub-par steel to form their axe heads. This results i
Immediately noticeable is fewer strokes between splitting logs. However, as this reviewer pointed out, Fiskars sometimes uses sub-par steel to form their axe heads. This results in needing to sharpen the head more often than a traditionally honed maul. Also, Fiskars uses a synthetic handle which some lumberers find to be abrasive and wearisome to use. But, pound-for-pound, these splitting axes deliver a more efficient swing and effect. For the duration of a half cord of wood, they’ll certainly deliver. Further insight into this subject also lends credence to the Vipukirves Leveraxe. Also designed by the Finns, this axe uses a twisting torsion mechanism that reduces the need to deliver strong blows to the head of the block. It’s significantly lighter and rarely needs to be sharpened.
Chaining the Log
A lot of excess energy is spent picking up the pieces of a split log and placing them back onto the block for additional chopping. Not only is energy wasted in picking up the pieces, but it’s actually also wasted in the downward momentum of the swing itself. When a log splits apart into smaller fragments, it’s a result of releasing energy. That energy was delivered by you. If you’re interested in reducing the overall amount of work you’re putting into splitting a big log into pieces, why not bind the log together to retain that force? Overall, it results in a more finely split log and it saves you time on putting it into the bin.
This technique proves to be an effective way of splitting a large, seasoned log.
Another technique to consider is using a tire to contain multiple logs. When the wood splits apart, it’s forced back to the center – leaving you to decide which size serves best. This technique is efficient for doing multiple logs in a single go – as the inner circumference of a tire can accommodate a few smaller logs versus one big one with a chain.
Overall, the use of these techniques is a great way to reduce the workload normally attributed to splitting wood. Wood is a very cheap, efficient way to heat a home or simply to entertain guests. It can also be cheaper than heating oil or propane if approached in the right way. For less than $50, this demonstrates the base essential equipment and technique required to split pre-cut logs into pieces that can fit into nearly any fireplace.