How to Split Wood With an Axe

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Whether you chop wood for fun or work, it should not be a difficult process. It is also important that you use the correct method when splitting wood, from a safety perspective. 

In order to make splitting wood easy, safe and less time consuming, you need to use the correct technique and the right equipment.

For your convenience, we have made a list of the best tools and methods you can use to make wood splitting more efficient.

What Do You Need When Splitting Wood?

Here are the things you need to split wood using an axe.

Wood

The first and most obvious thing that you will need for wood chopping is the actual wood. It doesn’t really matter what type — you can easily split dry, wet, soft or hard wood.

Axe

A maul is a type of axe that can be used to split wood but nothing else. You cannot expect to use a maul for chopping down trees. The maul has broad cheeks and an edge that is less sharp than a regular axe’s.

This design makes it the perfect tool for chopping any size of wood — even the biggest rounds. The regular axe has a flat, thin edge and cheeks, which causes the axe to chop into the wood and then get stuck in it. Unlike this, a maul forces the wood apart.

A maul weighs around 7-10 pounds. It has a hard and flat face (resembling a hammer) located on the back of the axe head. This design is perfect for splitting tough wood, including beech and oak.

Splitting axes can be used for a variety of tasks. This axe has thinner cheeks than a maul, but wider than a regular axe. The edges are also much sharper and weigh less than mauls.

Plastic or Metal Splitting Wedge

This tool can be used to make the wood splitting process much easier.

A splitting wedge helps split wood faster because of its 60° bevel. You place the wedge into a crack in the wood that you are about to split.

If there is no crack in the wood, you can drive the wedge into the log using a sledgehammer, the back of a maul or a hammer. This tool allows you to keep one end forced open while you split the center and the other end of the log.

You can find various different types of splitting wedges. They initially just used to be wedged shaped, but you can now find diamond-shaped splitting wedges as well.

Gloves and Safety Goggles

Safety always comes first. Make sure that you put on a pair of gloves and safety goggles before you start splitting wood. You wouldn’t want a wood splinter shooting into your eye while you are working.

How to Split Wood With an Axe

How Do You Use an Axe to Split Wood?

First, you need to make sure that your feet are placed firmly on the ground and are widened to around shoulder-width. If it is more comfortable, you could place one foot just in front of the other.

However, the more forward you put this foot, the less hip mobility and power you will have during your swing.

Raise the axe above your head and slowly allow it to drop. Many people use all their force to slam the axe into the wood, but this will only waste your energy.

As your axe drops, the hand that was originally placed just underneath the head of the axe must slide down towards the other hand at the base of the handle. You should also pull your hips back and bend your knees as the axe is falling. This will add additional kinetic energy to your swing.

If you are chopping large pieces of wood, aim your axe midway between the center and the edge of a round.

The edges are much weaker than the center of the wood, making them simpler to split. You should also use this technique if you are splitting large or longer logs.

Safety Tips

Before you split a log, ensure that it is firmly placed on whatever surface you are going to be chopping it on. If it is not secure, the log can roll away if you strike it incorrectly.

If you have an old tire lying around, it could be a wise idea to place rounds of wood within one. The tire will prevent the rounds from flying off when you strike them with the axe.

It is also important that you hold a proper stance during the splitting keep your feet a safe distance from where you are going to be chopping.

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