There are excellent ways to split the available firewood.

There are excellent ways to split the available firewood.

  • To warm your house or cottage with wood, a constant supply of split logs is required. Our experts share tips on how to divide firewood to employers with their own hands.
  • Few ways to warm a home are as creative and satisfying as burning wood—much more so if you cut the wood yourself.
  • There are many other ways you can heat your home, but they don’t include splitting firewood or giving you the satisfaction that comes with keeping your home warm and cozy during a snowstorm.
  • As a kid growing up in a country house, I have many fond memories of splitting wood with my parents when I was six or seven.
  • Even though I’ve been in my house for several years, I continue to heat the wood and enjoy splitting and stacking it just as much as I did when I first moved in.
  • If you’re interested in trying wood heating this winter but aren’t sure where to start, read on.

Methods for Splitting Firewood

As with any practical skill, the ability to split firewood is based on two things: the right knowledge and the right tools.

Knowledge comes from experience, and the best way to acquire both is to begin your adventure with someone who has perfected the technique of cutting and splitting wood. In terms of tools, what works best for you is determined by the amount of wood you expect to split each season and the amount of time you want to spend splitting it. Here are four possibilities:

An axe for splitting

Splitting firewood with a splitting ax, also known as a splitting maul, is one of the easiest methods. This tool is constructed with a wide, robust, wedge-shaped steel blade linked to a long, durable handle.

The objective is to swing the ax downward, striking the ax’s thin edge into the top surface of the log you’re splitting with enough force to split it in half. Following that, arrange the two halves on their ends and split them again. Rep until the split firewood is as fine as you need it to be.

A splitting ax typically has a three-foot-long handle and an eight-pound head. For those who lack the upper body power to swing a large one, shorter and smaller ones are available. Splitting firewood with an ax is time-consuming and inefficient in comparison to using a gas-powered splitter, but it is extremely rewarding.

However, if you expect to split more than a cord or two of wood per year (a cord is defined as an 8-ft. 4-ft. x 4-ft. pile of stacked firewood), you’re definitely better off with a gas-powered splitter—that is, unless you’re exceptionally strong, fit, and enjoy physical challenges.

Splitter of inertia propelled by gasoline

Also known as a kinetic splitter, this contraption makes rapid work of your firewood pile by harnessing the power of combustion. This sort of splitter, which uses a lever to connect to a moving steel wedge via an internal flywheel and belt system, is the quickest way for householders to split firewood.

Although their tonnage rating (the amount of force applied to the end of a log) is frequently high, a kinetic splitter cannot sustain that force for an extended period of time. They frequently struggle with knot-filled or twisted logs, which require multiple flicks of the lever to finally split. Even so, if speed and quantity of firewood production are priorities, an inertia splitter is difficult to beat.

Gasoline-powered hydraulic splitter

Similar in form and operation to a kinetic splitter, a hydraulic machine splits a log much more slowly than a kinetic splitter.

Using hydraulics rather than belts and flywheels, this machine can effortlessly split through any timber. I’ve been using my hydraulic splitter for over a decade and have yet to see it break, even when working with the toughest, most gnarly oak and maple I can locate.

Splitter is manually operated.

Certain individuals choose to split firewood without the use of large, noisy gas-powered machinery.

Additionally, they may lack the confidence and physical power necessary to swing an ax properly. That is where manual splitters enter the picture.

The design details vary, but most incorporate a steel wedge attached to a shaft installed within or adjacent to each log.

Putting a sliding weight on the shaft, you want to hit the wedge with it. The weight will push it into the wood’s end grain and eventually split the log.

As a child, the first method I used to split wood was with a manual splitter. It was ideal for me at the time, as it was less dangerous than other instruments and required little skill or strength.

The disadvantage? A manual splitter is one of the most time-consuming methods of producing firewood.

Another method of manually splitting firewood is using simple steel wedges and sledge hammers. Hold the wedge against the log and lightly knock it in with the hammer. Remove your hand and pound the hammer into the wedge until the log splits.

Splitting firewood

I recommend a good gas-powered inertia splitter to the majority of folks interested in splitting large volumes of wood. They’re quick and simple to operate, and the occasional binding on stubborn wood does not justify the hydraulic splitter’s normally higher price tag.

Each year, I split approximately ten cords of wood. I’ve experimented with practically every type of wood splitting tool available and find myself reaching for my inertia splitter more frequently than any other. If you’re unsure how much wood you’ll need, the average home requires between three and six cords per winter, depending on the environment, square footage, and insulation quality.

When splitting firewood with an inertia splitter, the following are the most important steps and safety rules:

  • Protect your eyes and ears by wearing safety glasses, earmuffs, and thick work gloves. Never split wood without these items (minus the earmuffs if using an ax).
  • Protect yourself from log-induced bruises by wearing a short-sleeved shirt, thick work pants, and steel-toe boots.
  • Cut your firewood logs to splitting length (the length of the burn box on your stove or fireplace, minus two to three inches).
  • when using a chainsaw, always wear safety chaps over your pants.
  • Check gas and oil levels, then ignite your inertia splitter, which is often activated by a pull cord.
  • Chopped logs should be lifted up onto the splitter’s bed. The end should rest on the steel base plate.
  • Pull the lever, keeping your hands clear of the wedge and log, and hold it in position until the log is completely split.
  • Retrace the lever, wait for the wedge to return to its starting position, then repeat the process with one of the split log halves against the baseplate.
  • If you don’t want to split firewood, look for pre-split firewood. If you’re only going to have a few bonfires and not use wood to heat your home, a pre-split bundle from the grocery store is usually enough.
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