Having a good supply of wood for fuel is crucial for your homestead. While using the proper technique is important for efficiency and safety, using the right tool for the job can be just as important. Here are a few items that will help save you time and energy as you get ready for the winter.
A splitting maul has several benefits over a chopping axe. Its wider angel will spread the wood easier, while a thin chopping axe can get stuck in the wood. It is less likely to bounce off hard wood because of its weight and the momentum that it generates. And it is usually going to require fewer swings to accomplish the job.
Trying to spilt wood on the bare ground versus using a chopping block will be much more difficult because the ground will absorb and diffuse much of the energy you are swinging into the wood. To prevent this from happening, get a large cut of wood with one end flat, and one end with slight irregular angles. You want the flat end to the bottom and the end with angles to be the top where you place the wood you are splitting. The reason for this is that the wood you are splitting is never going to be perfectly flat and the angles on your chopping block can be used to counter the angles in the wood you are chopping.
Bungee and Chain
When splitting large cuts of wood, splitting into two pieces will not be enough. This will leave you bending down repeatedly to retrieve the fallen pieces and trying to balance them again, over and over. One way around this, and a way to help focus the energy of your swing, is to use a bungee and a chain. Get a 12” black rubber bungee cord and a chain about 3’ in length. Hook one end of the bungee to the chain and then wrap it around the wood you are going to split, pull it tight, and hook the other end of the bungee through a link that will keep it tight around the wood. As you split the wood it will remain together and upright. This will not only keep you from bending over again and again, but it will also keep your maul or axe from being deflected, and focus its energy downward.
Splitting wood is never going to be a breeze, but you can make things much easier on yourself by being prepared and using these simple tools to optimise your output.
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