How to Split Firewood

How to Split FirewoodSplitting firewood for an evening campfire is a longstanding pastime among campers. As with any activity, the task at hand calls for proper tools and methods. The right ax for the size of log you are splitting makes all the difference. It can be difficult to split larger pieces of wood with a conventional ax, whereas using an ax with a splitting head on smaller logs can be overkill.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Splitting the Wood

Things You’ll Need:
  • Standard ax
  • Splitting head ax
  • Hatchet
Step 1
Organize the pieces of firewood by size, which dictates which ax to use. You can split logs 8 inches in diameter or smaller with a standard ax head. Larger pieces, up to 24 inches in diameter, require an ax with a splitting head.
Step 2
Start by splitting the smaller pieces with the standard ax. Because this kind of ax has a longer angle on the blade, it will penetrate small-diameter pieces of wood quickly.
Step 3
Place the piece of wood on a flat surface and aim for the center of it as you come down during your chopping motion. Use small, distinct chopping motions, not wild or out-of-control ones. This will keep you safe and use your body's energy more efficiently.
Step 4
Use the splitting head ax on larger pieces of wood. The splitting head has more of a wedge shape that enables this specialized ax to split wood with fewer swings. As with the smaller pieces, place the wood on a flat surface and aim for the log's center, but also note the direction of the wood grain. Hitting the wood with the grain makes splitting the log much easier.
Step 5
Use a hatchet to chop any branches or other obstructions off of the side of the log.

Article Written By Brian M. Kelly

Brian M. Kelly has been freelance writing since 2003. His work has been published in respected outdoor magazines such as Outdoor Life, Great Lakes Angler and Salmon Trout Steelheader. He holds an associate's degree in automated machine design from Macomb College.

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