Winter is quickly creeping up on us again, which means it's time to stock the woodshed before the temperature really starts to plummet. Follow these 5 top tips for safely and effectively splitting and chopping wood.
Chopping your own wood means more than just protecting your wallet and lowering your power bill over the colder months. There is something satisfying about getting out in the backyard, swinging an axe and showing the log who’s boss. The trick is to make sure you’re doing it safely and efficiently so that you and your log don’t end up reversing roles.
Internationally renowned axe maker, Fiskars has devised some quick and easy tips to ensure that you harness your inner-lumberjack like a pro, and keep the fire roaring over the chilly Australian winter.
1. Safety first
Splitting wood will often send sharp splinters and larger pieces of wood flying in all directions. Make sure you wear safety eyewear and closed footwear at the very least.
2. The right axe
Before you take a swing, make sure you’re using a splitting axe not a cutting axe as there is a big difference. A splitting axe has a wider head to increase leverage and will make splitting timber a whole lot easier.
3. Wood on wood
Always split wood on top of another flat, stable stump or chopping block. If you try splitting wood on concrete or garden pavers there’s a very good chance that you‘ll crack or damage the surface within a few strikes. Make sure the ground is sturdy and flat. If the ground is too soft it will absorb energy being delivered by the axe to the log.
4. Aim for weakness
To make your life a little easier, try aiming for existing cracks, around the growth rings or other signs of weakness. Avoid knots, twisted grain or other obvious obstruction as it will be near impossible to cut through these sections.
5. Form up
Having a good stance and swing will not only keep you safe, but give you the highest chance of a successful strike. Stand facing the chopping block, keeping your feet a shoulder width apart. Check your distance by holding the axe out straight and making sure that it’s directly over your target. Swing the axe high overhead extending your entire body to gain maximum potential energy. Finally, bring the axe down forcefully on the intended section of the log.