Doesn’t it feel cozy to sit in front of your fireplace, see those little logs burn as you get the warmth? Sipping coffee and having your favorite book in your hand or maybe having a busy winter afternoon seeing those little snowflakes falling from the sky.
The happiness gets double if the logs are homemade; when you chopped them with your own hands. Suddenly, you start to feel more warmth from them than those store bought ones.
But getting this outcome is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears starting from chopping the wood, to stocking and storing them- one of a “laborious” kind I must say. It’s not that easy where you just have to bring out the oldest axe out of your closet, lift it up over your head and swing on the wood in the name of Lord. Little do people know that without right form, you will end up with fewer chunks of wood barely can be used for anything, not to mention but at the cost of neck, shoulder and hand soreness.
We don’t want to end up with that, don’t we? That’s why we are here with 10 tips and tricks that would make you a pro in splitting firewood.
So without wasting time, let’s get started, shall we?
- Prepare yourself
It’s a universal law to prepare yourself first before you start working with a sharp object; in this case, it is an axe or a hatchet. Ensure your safety with proper arrangements. Wear work gloves, boots, and safety glasses as the log pieces will be flying everywhere when you start splitting them. Prevention is always better than cure, remember that.
- Select the wood that you want to split
Now, the types of wood matter in this case. If your main motive is to make fire logs then choosing a hardwood would be a wiser decision than going for the softer ones. The reason being simple, hardwood takes more time to burn in the fire than softwoods- giving you longer hours of warmth. Examples of such hardwoods may include oak, hickory, and ash.
- Maul is your best friend
Instead of going all-natural, i.e. using an axe and your old hand to do all the working, invest in a good quality maul. Maul has all the common features of an axe and a sledgehammer, plus, they have wider heads. All these attributes make maul a good choice to chop those large chunks of wood. But then again, if you just want to shape those little pieces of woods into fire logs, then using your axe won’t be a bad idea either.
- Look for a chopping block
There will be few people who would think that chopping block isn’t necessary as you can split your wood directly on the ground. But that’s a wrong conception. Doing such would dull the edge of your hatchet or maul’s blade almost immediately. So refrain doing that and look for a thick un-split chunk of wood or a flared stump- this world work absolutely fine as a chopping surface.
- Position the wood you want to split
Making sure that your log stays in place before you make the swing is crucial. You have to balance the log on the chopping block, for this, you may require to make a few adjustments by scrapping the knots or other irregularities of the log. When your log is stable on the block, make your swings.
- Grip your axe correctly
If you are working with your axe, then there is a technique that you must follow for greater control over it. When you are holding your axe, place your dominant hand close to the head and non-dominant hand at the end of the axe. When you are swinging, slide your dominant hand down the handle towards your other hand, this will provide you with a more powerful stroke.
- Observe your swinging point
Check the details of your log; see where the knots, limbs, and splits are. The best place to land your axe blow is the smoothest grained part of your log between the knots and limbs.
- Swing and repeat
You may not be able to get the wood split at your first stroke. On the basis of knottiness and thickness of your wood, you may need to make a couple of strokes to get done with the wood split.
- Stack and store your woods
When you are stacking and storing your final woods, use a crisscrossing technique. In this technique, you build up your piles altering directions, between horizontal and vertical piling. Using this technique would help you build up a stable pile, plus the air circulation among the woods would be better. Your woods would dry faster in this way.
- Test before you put it on fire
The woods must be fully dried before you use it as fire logs. Usually, the woods should be given a minimum of 6 months to get dry before its usage. To check whether it’s dried or not, see if its lighter and has turned into greyish or yellowish in color. Plus, if you see it makes a hollow sound when two pieces are banged together, then yes, it’s perfectly ready to be your fire logs.
So, this is how you get your own fire logs. Yes, it is a bit time consuming, but the end result is indeed, self-satisfying.
I’ve been cutting wood since I was 8 years old with my father. I have been using log splitters for 7 years now and have a great deal of experience with them. Now I’ve got my own wood cutting & logging business and want to share my experience with my readers.