The first step of making good firewood is to cut and split the logs in the right size. This way you can store them properly and also prevent moisture and rot from setting in. Properly split logs easily allow you to fill your stove, fireplace or furnace and also dry faster. Today we will study some easy ways to split firewood with an axe or maul. These simple guidelines can help you do the job quickly and efficiently. As always, wear safety equipment and dress appropriately.
1. Select a splitting platform
A splitting platform helps raise the wood to proper height. You can choose a stump or a large piece of round wood which is difficult to split. You can always split the logs on the ground, but a platform ensures that you get maximum effect for each swing and that the axe does not hit your feet or rocks.
2. Make each swing count
This step is very important to get the most out of each swing you make using your axe/maul. A half-hearted swing might cause your axe to get stuck or lead to an incomplete split. You must therefore utilize your core muscles as well as your legs to put force in each swing.
3. Use proper leg positioning
In order to put energy into each swing, you must straighten your legs on the upswing and bend them a bit when you bring the axe down on the piece. You can also bend at the waist at the time of impact and snap your wrists.
4. Study each piece before splitting
Sometimes, firewood logs already have cracks called checks which you can target at the time of splitting. If not, you can first make inch-deep checks in the wood before striking them. This is especially needed when a piece appears difficult to split. You can also place knots at the bottom of the pieces to facilitate splitting.
5. Place the pieces upside down
Some experts believe that splitting wood is a lot easier when you place the logs on the platform in the opposite way they grow, which is upside down.
6. Strike first at the nearer end
It is very important to orient each piece correctly on the swinging platform. Your initial strikes are best targeted at the near end of the piece rather than the center. Once you have worked the cracks in the piece, you can target the subsequent strikes closer to the center.
7. Peel instead of halving
Instead of halving or even quartering the rounds, consider peeling them. This means that carving off chunks from around the rounds and leaving the center intact. After the entire edge and outer side of the round is peeled, you will find it much easier to peel the center.
8. Use old tires
An old tire or two placed near the striking platform will prevent your having to stoop in order to pick up split firewood or chase flyaway pieces. Secure the tires to the top of the splitting platform and keep the pieces to be split inside the tire. Swing the axe as you normally would and the tires will keep the split pieces within them. You can also use tires to balance odd shaped pieces.
9. Use electric or gas powered tools
For stubborn pieces or when you are splitting large loads, use gas or electric powered tools instead of an axe.
10. Practice safety rules
Always keep your hands away from logs being split. Develop a system of communication with whoever you are working while splitting. Also use eye and ear protection. Keep clothes tucked in so nothing gets caught in the tools.
Splitting smaller logs or kindling with a traditional axe
Splitting larger rounds of firewood with a splitting axe
We hope this guide will help you split firewood easily for the upcoming winter season.