For beginners, learning how to split wood with an axe is paramount.
Not only it helps you split wood more efficiently and effortlessly in a shorter amount of time but also keep you safe during this task.
In this article, I’ll walk you through everything, from the ultimate guide to split wood properly with an axe but also some FAQs and advice for safety. Read on!
How to split wood with an axe?
Choose/set up a safe location
A good place for splitting wood must have no overhanging limbs or debris around. Above all, it provides you with good footing.
Prepare a chopping block
As the chopping block is where your wood log is placed on to split, it should be a tree’s trunk with a flatly expanded surface to cause less strain on your back while making it easier to swing your axe.
Many experts advise choosing a chopping block with 6 inches high from the ground for the best results.
Never split wood on the concrete or ground because it will make you feel tired faster, which is not a good idea if you have lots of wood logs to split.
To avoid dangerous ricochets when striking a glancing blow, the chopping block should not be too short nor too high.
Choose the length of wood logs to split
There is a basic rule of thumb: The shorter the wood logs, the easier to split.
The ideal length of wood logs for splitting should be within 40 to 50 centimeters, equivalent to 16 to 20 inches. And this length also fits standard fireplaces and wood stoves.
Therefore, remember to cut your wood into reasonably shorter logs before splitting them and make sure the cutting surface is flat, even, and square. Avoid crooked cuts.
Choose the right axe for splitting wood
To choose the best wood splitting axe, determining the size of your wood logs is important. It directly affects the axe’s blade size and heft.
For example, an expanded heavy blade is ideal for splitting medium-sized to large logs while a smaller, lighter model is perfect for small-sized to medium logs.
A suitable axe blade is key for the precision, speed, and power need for wood splitting.
Aside from the size of wood logs, your purpose of the use is another thing influencing an axe’s blade. A shining example is that when you intend to carry an axe along your camping/backpacking/hiking trip, it should obviously be compact, lightweight, and portable.
Other protective gear
While considering the right axe and location for splitting wood, don’t forget to your outfit.
For safety, I highly recommend wearing thick jeans as well as some good-quality gears, like solid work boots with a steel toe, safety glasses, and work gloves.
Splitting Wood With An Axe
Find a proper stance
Not only a good axe blade, finding the right stance will enhance your power when splitting wood, making it less effort-taking and tired while saving more time. According to experts, the best stance for wood splitting is placing your feet evenly with shoulder-width apart.
But some people find placing one foot slightly in front of the other more comfortable and give them more strength to split wood. Just try it if you feel that, too.
However, try not to exaggerate it because that probably causes fatigue or pain on your hips.
Hold & swing your axe
Your dominant hand should be placed beneath the axe’s head and the other hand is at the base of the handle.
When swinging the axe, no need to use too much force to execute it. Just raise the axe above your head and let it drop! When the axe drops, slightly slide down your dominant hand to meet the other hand of yours while pulling your hips back and bending your knees. In other words, keep your butt stick out.
There are two biggest benefits for this gesture: 1) reduce pressure on your hips and lower back to prevent these body parts from feeling tired or pain, 2) add more kinetic energy to the swing to cut the wood log more cleanly.
What To Do If I Have To Split Large And Long Logs?
Aim for a point midway between the center of the wood rounds and the edge.
May you know it or not, the wood log center is the hardest place to split because it gathers all wood fibers to hold the whole thing together. The edges, on the other hand, are weaker so they’re much easier to split.
Should I Use A Wedge To Split Wood?
If you have many large-diameter, hard, or knotty pieces of wood logs to split, I highly recommend using a wedge.
Is It True That Splitting Hardwood Is Particularly Efficient On A Cold Day?
Yes, it really is.
If the wood logs have been aged properly prior splitting and you use proper technique to split, it will be pop apart with ease during cold weather, making the task much more effortless and time-saving.
And that’s all about how to split wood with an axe. But before ending this article, here are some extra safety tips for you:
- Never split wood if there’s somebody standing behind or in front of you, especially kids.
- If the wood logs are uneven or have some nails on, don’t split
- Don’t carry out this task alone. Find a companion or at least, placing a cell phone nearby so that you can call for help in emergency cases
- Always be aware of your stance to prevent your feet and legs from injury if unluckily, your axe misses the target.