How To Split Wood With An Axe

Split Wood With An Axe

For some people, splitting wood to prepare for the freezing winter days is probably the manliest thing a guy can do. It is also an activity where men can release frustration as well as aggression while getting some exercise to maintain a fit and toned body build.

While this activity is viewed or considered to be a mere household chore nowadays, the fact is wood-splitting is an art that dates back thousands of years ago. It is an art that has to be done properly to help people build fires to keep warm during the winter times through the years.

Proper wood-splitting seems to be pretty straightforward; however it’s actually easier said than done. If you want to learn the right way of chopping logs and splitting wood, the first thing, you first have to be familiar with the methods that you can use. It will also start by having a good and reliable axe, at the very least. Now, if you want to learn the right way of splitting wood to prepare for the winter, you might want to read until the end.

So let’s start by learning the three ways to chop wood.

The Three Methods of Properly Chopping Wood With and Without An Axe

There are three different ways of properly chopping logs or splitting wood. You can do it the conventional way with the use of an axe, chop logs with a wedge and a sledgehammer or simply use a hydraulic wood splitter. With wood splitting equipment, you can easily chop logs at a faster phase and produce more firewood compared to the manual methods.

On the other hand, splitting wood using the traditional methods is considered an art that needs to be done properly. Otherwise, you’ll end up having an amount of firewood that will barely make through a day along with a soaring back causing a lot of pain. To avoid this from happening, you first have to learn the basics on the art of splitting wood.

Below is a guide that will walk you through the proper way of splitting wood with an axe. If you want the guide that will help you split wood with a wedge, you can follow this link.

The Proper Way of Splitting Wood with An Axe

When it comes to splitting wood, there are several things you have to consider; safety, surroundings and a proper form. This art also doesn’t rely solely on the sharpness of your axe; it’s more on the technique. To understand this better, refer to the guide that will walk you through the entire process of splitting wood.

Step 1 – Prepare Yourself And Prioritize Safety

Before you start releasing your tensions and frustrations by splitting wood, you first have to prioritize safety for both yourself and other people. So, before you start chopping logs or splitting wood, you first have to equip yourself with the necessary safety gears such as goggles or safety glasses, rubber gloves and work boots. You also have to make sure that the edge of your axe is firmly and securely attached to the handle.

Wearing the proper gears will protect you from the debris of wood while chopping logs. While making sure that the edge of your axe is firmly attached to the handle eliminates the risk of having the axe edge detached and flying through the air after a heavy swing.

Step 2 – Look for An Ideal Chopping Block and A Safe Location

The next step is to look for a safe location where you can place your chopping block and allow you to swing your axe freely. The location should be open, obstacle-free and preferably secluded to avoid any unwanted accidents to happen. In case you don’t have a chopping block yet, you can get a large piece of unsplit wood with a good thickness or flared stump. Or you can look for one by following the tips below.

  • Thick and knotty wood makes an excellent chopping block because they have better resistance against the force applied by the axe.
  • Elmwood is an ideal chopping block because it has grain that naturally makes it split-resistant.
  • An ideal chopping should always have yield because chopping against a hard surface can cause damage to your axe.

Step 3 – Preparing or Positioning the Wood to be Chopped

Now you can take the piece of log you want to chop and position it on your chopping block. Standing it may require some adjustments due to the natural irregularities on it such as the knots and splits developed during its growth. Make the log stable as much as possible and position it within the striking point from where you are going to split it.

Step 4 – Take Your Position and Get Into Proper Form with A Firm Grip

You are now ready to split the log. Take your position and make sure that there are no obstacles within your surroundings. Twigs, hanging branches, loose stones, slick mud or anything that may block your axe or cause you to slip can be dangerous. You also have to make sure that you are in the proper form; your feet should be in shoulder width apart to avoid any injuries in case you hit a glancing strike.

Make sure that you have a firm grip on the handle to eliminate the risk of the axe accidentally slipping from your hand. Keep in mind that the proper grip should have your dominant hand near the axe head and your non-dominant hand near the end of the handle. This will allow you to execute a proper swing.

Step 5 – Observe the Piece of Log to Aim for the Weak Spot

Knots and limbs make the wood harder to split. So, you have to observe the piece of log that you are going to split and look for a part that has smoother grain. Aim for that spot to easily chop the piece of log.

Step 6 – Preparing Your Swing and Finally Splitting the Wood

Now that you are in the right form and a firm grip. All you have to do to prepare for your swing and let it go to split the log finally. To prepare your swing, bring the axe up leaning to your dominant hand to form an arc over your shoulder. Do it in slow and steady motion while keeping an eye on your target.

Once you are on the perfect stance and completely focused on your target. You are now ready to release your swing and split the log. To split the wood, bring the axe down firmly in a quick motion. You have to allow your dominant hand to slide down the handle towards your off-hand.

Depending on the thickness of the wood that you are going to split, you may have to strike it several times. Once you successfully chop a log, you can just repeat the steps 3 until step 6 to produce your desired amount of firewood.

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