I also saw something else in the video that I should have mentioned as well. At the 1:10 point he gets the axe stuck in the end of a bigger split. He lifts the axe and wood overhead and swings it down to use the momentum to split the wood on the axe head. That is also quite dangerous if the split falls off of the axe head when it's above your head. If I have that situation, I wouldn't hesitate to lift the axe and split together and drop them onto the splitting block, just don't put it over your head, foot or other soft target.
I like the idea of splitting a 6' circle of wood at the same time but I don't like hitting wood that is that low. Maybe it's just because I'm too tall but I just prefer to have the wood higher off the ground.
Dale Hodgins wrote:Good one.
Chris Kott wrote: Next we'll be reinventing the wheel.
I've done that in several cases where there was nothing to fix.
I enjoy the flurry and bluster of old fashioned maul splitting. I always use a full 360 rotation using the legs and back. Arms are just there to hold onto the handle. Quality equipment that is sized to fit the operator, rubber grippy gloves and a maul head that will not leave the handle, all contribute to safety.
The old tire thing works pretty well. Frozen wood often splits better than it would in warm weather. Quite often, energy is wasted when wood is lifted to a wiggly chopping block and then the first swing topples it. I have used a really solid scrap of 1 inch plywood which was frozen to concrete as my chopping block. A super solid backing like this causes all of the force to go into the chunk that is being split. The maul travels a little further and hits harder when the wood rests at ground level. KA BAM.
Splitting big wood just isn't a job for sissies. Get the best maul for your strength and stature and swing it like you're trying to win a prize at the fair. KA BAM !!!
The Darwin award for wood splitting should go to the Unicorn. This video has been around for several years and as of last month, the star still has four limbs. Enjoy ---
We have been using the Unicorn for 4 years now. Here are my thoughts on it. You always have to remove the wheel and then install this device. It is low to the ground so you are constantly bending. It is easy to use but you are running your vehicle and creating gas fumes you want to be sure you install it on the opposite side and downwind from your muffler.
We are off grid and seniors. Not just because we have to think of our age and safety but ease of splitting not just big logs but also kindling.
We will be building and setting up a new way of doing things this year or next year the latest. Already have much to do this year. I will be sure to post photos and a video whenever we get to it.
My experience tells me the easiest will be the Ingmars klyv IV. It is a manual device that will not need fuel. We can set up a stand to put the logs on that will not need us bending.
We will have 2 tires sizes available that we could use to put on the stand and support the logs so we can simply turn the logs to keep splitting the logs to the desired cut.
2 tires sizes so one will support the larger logs and one to support smaller ones. This way wood does not fall over as you split it.
It is amazing how often a piece of wood when chopped or even as you go to chop will fall over. The stand and tires will save lots of time as well bending over.
As one person brought up, you also need a solid chopping block otherwise energy is wasted. So building a nice stand to work at I hope will allow more force of the hatchet or splitter to split the wood more efficiently.
I am not saying it would be worth it, or not be worth it, I am not sure. And while I understand a person setting up a trial run for YouTube is going to use the best wood that they can, it is not a real world test.
Here, where hardwoods abound, firewood is ALWAYS hardwood, but who ever said I was conventional! In the last few years the wood industry has really changed in Maine and low grade paper is no longer produced so softwood prices went from $70 a cord roadside to $10 a cord. On the other hand hardwood went from $40 a cord to $70 roadside. Therefore I have switched over to burning softwood along with a few others. Eastern hemlock gives you almost the same BTU's as hardwood, but its bigger and a bear to split. Still I see little reason to burn hardwood for heat when it has so much value as pulpwood. However I must figure out a better way to split that gnarly wood, that is why I am questioned the wood of which he was splitting.
I talked with the Procurement Forester of a big paper mill here and he said that he does not look for that to change any time soon. The Federal Government just gave them 200 million to put in a new paper machine and its going to use...sadly...hardwood. They are putting in two biomass plants close by too, all in an effort to get the forest products industry cranking again, and everyone is excited about this but me. I have a lot of land tied up in forests, but biomass pays a landowner $1 a cord. To put that in perspective, that is $20 a truckload...and a lot of trees that took a long time to grow. No thanks, I'll burn the junk wood no one wants and sell my hardwood for the highest price.
Sadly I have a lot of hemlock on other spots as well, and now it is hard to even get rid of. A paper mill started taking it between Christmas and New Years and got swamped in that one week alone from loggers who had stock piled it just waiting for a place to sell it. Its now mid-March and they have not done that again!
I have a photo someplace of what a mismanaged forest looks like. This is old growth forest that is 100% hemlock and has never even been thinned out as you can tell. I wish I had thinned it out 3 years ago when the forest industry here was at its height and paying really well for wood. Now I got a mess.
With these rounds I start hitting them parallel to the edge of the round about 3 inches from the edge. The cuts resemble a hexagon or octagon depending on how large the rounds are. Usually by the second time around the planks begin splitting off leaving behind a core that splits in the traditional wedge shape.
I usually use a tire for smaller (liftable) rounds. The key to efficient use of the tire technique is having the tire a step or two from where you're stacking. That wood needs to be lifted anyway, might as well make the splitting easier.
To get a tire rig setup just right, determine exactly how high you need to raise a round off the ground so your (favorite) maul hits the round just past perpendicular to the ground. I initially built mine for 18 inch long logs so it's too high for the 22 inch logs I'm splitting now.
Once the Ash runs out (splits easy) I may change my mind on the 22 inch logs...
Last I checked you can get the X27 at Walmart and Amazon. If you've never tried one, it's the cats meow. I have an 8 pound maul from Council tool that is sitting idle thanks to this little plastic wonder.
I've used this method on some large cuts myself. I find that when I'm splitting any wood, the splitting become immensely easier somehow as soon as the cambium has been cut into. I'm not sure why that is the case, exactly, but once I even cleave one of these outer crescents off, I can often get a full split happening down the middle. Sometimes it takes a few, but I often do not have to go around and around as you describe. I don't have huge hardwood though. Generally I've had to do this with really big gnarly spruce, or birch.
ith these rounds I start hitting them parallel to the edge of the round about 3 inches from the edge. The cuts resemble a hexagon or octagon depending on how large the rounds are. Usually by the second time around the planks begin splitting off leaving behind a core that splits in the traditional wedge shape.
Roberto pokachinni wrote:I find that when I'm splitting any wood, the splitting become immensely easier somehow as soon as the cambium has been cut into.
Generally I've had to do this with really big gnarly spruce, or birch.
I have this with white/paper birch all the time. One thing I do as soon as I fell a birch is to zipper it. Run the chainsaw down the length of the logs to cut just through the bark. Then I cut them into firewood length pieces. If I'm splitting them I line the axe cut with the bark zipper and they split much easier. If they are too small to bother splitting and I'm only going to stack them, the zipper lets the moisture out much better so the birch dries instead of rotting.
I have used the zipper myself, though I never had a name for it. I sometimes forget to do this with the smaller wood as you mention with your method here:
zipper it. Run the chainsaw down the length of the logs to cut just through the bark.
This is a good idea with birch as it holds so much moisture.
If they are too small to bother splitting and I'm only going to stack them, the zipper lets the moisture out much better so the birch dries instead of rotting.
Here is this contraption at amazon: https://amazon.com/dp/B01KKU8Z0Q
paul wheaton wrote:
Here is this contraption at amazon: https://amazon.com/dp/B01KKU8Z0Q
I have been using this contraption a LOT. This is, by far, better than any of the other contraptions we have here. Today I noticed that they have a slightly larger one. I put it in my wishlist and hope to buy it by next winter.
The chopper looks like an axe. sorta. There's not really an edge. There's two wedges along side the wedge edge. They keep the chopper from getting wedged into the log. Over the years I also learned to chop off the sides of the log. An advantage of this is what you get from the centers is bark free, read but free wood. If you want to take wood into your attached garage, you want the bark free centers.
Here's a video of a guy trying to break it on a maple. Skip to the 5 minute mark. Skip to the 19 minute mark for the shotgun test.
on my fence driver. Seems like it would give you a lot more control, and if you put about 15 or 20 lbs on it, it should work well.
Some pieces though are just tough. Maybe they are good candidates for huggle culture, turn the challenge into an apportunity.
I had a friend that had a house built. Part of the contract was that they would leave the bucked wood from the trees on site for him. When he moved in, he thought the pile looked kind of small. When he started splitting it, he realized that everything in his pile was a knot or branch. He marvelled to me how a bunch of trees with 30 feet of clear trunk somehow became a relatively small pile of chunks that all had big knots or crotches in them.
Years ago I had the misfortune to try to split some rounds that were about 4 feet across and about 3 feet thick. They were so full of water that when you hit them with the hammer water just oozed out and the wood formed around the head. we wore ourselves out and never split one. They were so heavy that it took couple of guys could roll them onto their side for splitting. Looking back, the obvious answer should have been to cut them so they are only half the thickness. In that case, maybe levering them off the ground so they could dry out for a year or two.
The problem is, firewood chunkers can only take a smallish tree at 4 inches in diameter or so. That means I need about 500 trees a year to heat my home. There are plenty of sources of saplings in terms of per-commercial thinning and along the edges of my fields, but wow that is a lot of individual trees to deal with. So I came up with a 100% mechanized plan.
1. Cut the saplings down with a homemade feller-buncher, loading onto my log trailer and hauling them to a deck.
2. Chunking the firewood up with a homemade machine. That will chunk the trees directly into my dump trailer so I can dump it into my firewood shed.
I have got the first part done, making a homemade feller-buncher. That will speed up the felling and loading of trees. Now I have to build the firewood chunker.
paul wheaton wrote:Over the years I have seen stuff about safer ways of chopping wood - but this is the first time I saw this contraption. Very interesting.
But of these sorts of contraptions, this appears to be the biggest seller at amazon:
I've found the kindling cracker that you reference above to be an absolutely outstanding tool. It has probably saved me at least three fingers at this point. Well worth the money!