Cutting, chopping, splitting, and stacking wood are the chores that bother a woodworker. Right after the wood is received from the log yard, you’ve to pick up the axe and get into splitting firewood it right away.
For many of the noob woodworkers, this very step seems to be hectic and troublesome.
Yeah, we know that it takes a whole of years to learn how to split firewood with an axe perfectly. But it has some methods as well. If you’re on the right track, you’ll learn this process faster than ever.
And in this article, you’re going to be fed with those exact process(with bonus tips).
Before dive into, Tell me why you should split wood yourself? See the quote
Now let's dive into our main topic-
Some Precautions to Split Your Firewood
Before stepping into the process of splitting firewood, there are some things that you need to watch out for. And the moisture content or humidity is one of those.
Any type of green wood has a humidity of about 50%. The primary function is to dry the wood to reduce this significant amount of moisture present before using it.
Fortunately, the wood dries quickly (average drying time not more than a year though it depends on the types of firewood). In the case of some firewoods, you need to let it dry under sunlight or mechanical dehumidifiers to get over with the process.
In case you want to do the whole process by yourself, we can provide you with some quick hacks. To facilitate and considerably reduce the drying time, here are some precautions-
‣ Split the wood as soon as possible because only splitting can help to reduce moisture percentage properly and quickly. Split up parts will provide the moisture inside to escape faster and better.
‣ Cut, split and dry the wood before the spring season. You know, new leaves grow in the spring season, and that gives the tree limbs more moisture content to build inside.
‣ Split wood with axe into small logs. Small logs dry faster than long ones. The evaporation is 10 to 15% higher. Besides, the performance of small logs is higher during combustion.
‣ Split the wood leaving as little bark as possible because it acts as a shell and retains moisture. The lesser the bark, the more moisture will evaporate.
‣ Leave your wood outside and undercover for drying but don’t get your seasoned firewood wet in the rain. Rainfall might take your level of work into double or triple the usual amount.
As you can see, the length of the logs comes to be important in every sphere of pre-processing the firewood to cut. It basically depends on the size of the firebox of your wood stove. The majority of new stoves are of standard size (between 40 to 50 cm).
A log with a length between 40 or 50 cm also simplifies its storage. Beware, shorter sizes logs fall off from the pile.
How to Split Firewood with an Axe?
The items you will be needing is-
- A splitting axe (our pick: Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe)
It is easier to split wood if it is done at an appropriate time. Waiting too long makes your wood harder and harder. If once it gets hard, it will be tough to handle. The best time for the hardest wood to split is in winter when the temperature is low. Low temperature makes the wood harder and easier to apply the axe onto it.
Firewood Splitting Steps
This is the core of the article, for which you’ve come here. And we’ve backed you up right there.
Actually, there are several methods of splitting wood with an axe. The classic way is to use a good wood splitting axe, and the procedure is as follows:
Step 1: Install The Log
First thing first, install your log, this one must be heavy and stable enough to accommodate your piece of firewood and do not shake while hitting hard.
Step 2: Stay at a Safe Distance
Chopping wood with an axe might release dangerous wooden chips and splinters. To keep yourself safe, maintain a reasonable distance from the log. The position must be comfortable to continue with the axe as well.
Step 3: Make the Cuts
Take the axe in your hand, one hand ready with the tip of the axe (metal part of an axe) and the other in the middle. Now rise up the axe behind your head and Keep your arms elongate.
Step 4: Hit Hard
Do not hesitate before hitting hard at this stage, because some of the tough wood junctions will need so.
Wood Splitting Tips and Tricks
- If you have to split a hardwood, it will be easier to use wood splitting maul or a log splitter. It is a little more flared and splits the wood much better. You can also easily split your firewood with a maul and wedge.
- Also, avoid attacking woods that have knots because you will have more trouble while splitting them. The parts without knots are the weakest areas of the log and therefore the easiest to cut.
- Don’t waste your energy on the first swing in the middle of the log. The outer edge of the log is the best place to hit the axe first.
- If you have not yet bought your axe, choose the axe with a plastic handle, in the long run, you will feel comfort and less pain in the hands than the wooden handle.
Choose A Chopping Block Suitable For Splitting Wood
Log selection is essential; it makes your job easier. A good log must be stable and have a proper height.
A good log must be…
- Heavy / Hard
- Have two flat surfaces at each of the ends
All of these elements provide an excellent basis for proper cracking. Another idea is to place the log on a hard floor – so that, the energy can impact the wood by the axe.
How Long Should Your Block Be?
This length of the block is necessary to save you from possible pain in the back. Be alert; the length of the logs also to be taken into account. If the logs are too long, the speed will not enough to crack them correctly.
The height is ideal when the sharp edge of the axe splits the log at an almost straight angle.
Still confused? Read the remarkable article about Perfect Splitting Block.
The Basic Rule For Log Selection
In General split logs length should be around 30-40 cm, the log must not exceed the height of the knees.
Tips: Put a tire on the block to hold the logs together when you split them. This will help to avoid having to pick up each time the split logs spread on the ground. Another alternative is to surround the logs with a rope or chain before splitting.
I hope you learned how to split firewood. So, what are you waiting for? Sharpen your axe and split the firewood to prepare yourself for the upcoming winter.
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