Splitting Wood Basics

Categories: Homesteading

Learning how to split wood properly can save you a lot of time, frustration and energy.  Although I find splitting firewood enjoyable, at times it can be a daunting task, especially if you have a huge pile to work on.

So.....to conserve energy and make swinging an axe or maul as safe as possible, there's a few important tips and techniques to consider.

Splitting firewood serves two purposes.  First, by splitting large chunks of firewood (known as rounds) into smaller sizes, they're a lot easier to handle which reduces fatigue and the possibility of injury.

Second, splitting the firewood allows air to penetrate the wood from all sides which helps the wood to properly season.  The smaller you split the wood, the faster the wood will dry out and the faster it will burn.

When splitting firewood you should consider these important details which will make the job a lot easier....

  1. Place the wood on a splitting block (which is typically just a large piece of wood).  A splitting block keeps your axe out of the dirt and it prevents the ground from absorbing the energy as the wood squishes into the dirt.
  2. Understand that knots, branches and crotches are the hardest areas to split.
  3. After a few logs you should be able to "read the wood."  Look for natural cracks or weak spots that will make the wood easier to split.
  4. Strike the log near the outer edge, especially on large pieces.  This will help develop a crack in the wood that you can work on until the wood splits.
  5. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and focus on hitting an exact spot.
  6. Softwoods like pine will split easier than hardwoods like elm or oak.

Although pine, birch and oak (probably in that order) are decent to split, elm is a very stringy wood and can be a nightmare to split by hand.  The wood wants to tear and not split apart.

"Firewood Harvesting for off grid homesteads is a life line! Mr Hilder has been splitting woods probably as long as he has had that mustache!
Today Mr Hilder shares some of the things he incorporates to make wood splitting EASIER fro him. when you are splitting cord after cord after cord BY HAND, you learn real quickly practical things to SAVE time and energy!"

via Youtube

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