Log splitting for firewood: how to make your life easier

Manual log splitting equipment

When most people think of splitting logs, they imagine using an axe. However, an ordinary axe is not a very effective tool for splitting logs. Its thin profile is better suited to felling small trees.

A better choice for log splitting is to combine a sledgehammer with a wedge. This has led to the invention of the splitting maul, a long-handled wedge-shaped axe.

Due to its weight and length, wielding a splitting maul takes a fair amount of strength but you also need to get the technique right.

Saving energy with good technique

To begin with, it is a good idea to place your log on a large, flat stump rather than the ground if possible. This will provide a more supportive surface so that less of the force you use is absorbed by the ground. Using a stump as a base will also protect your feet from danger.

While on the subject of safety, it is also important to make sure the area around you is clear and there are no children, animals, obstructions or other hazards.

Splitting logs is heavy, manual work and even with the best splitting maul, you will soon tire if you use a poor technique.

Standing in a wide stance, the trick is to use the strength of your whole body – aided by gravity – to bring the maul down on the same spot each time, avoiding knots where possible. The more accurate your blows, the sooner the log will split and the more energy you will save.

When splitting logs, a lot of time can be wasted retrieving pieces for further splitting. One solution to this is to encircle the lower half of the log with a chain connected to a short bungee. When you split the log, the chain will keep the pieces together, saving you time when splitting into smaller pieces.

Finally, don’t forget gloves. Unless you are used to using your hands for manual labour, using bare hands to split wood will soon give you blisters. This will not only hurt but will slow down your progress.

On-site log splitting from Kneebone Trees

Even with the best equipment and a flawless technique, manual log splitting is hard work, especially if your logs are full of knots or pitch. It also takes a lot of time.

The quickest and easiest way to turn your felled trees into handy firewood is to use a hydraulic log splitter. These use oil pressure to either force a moving wedge through the log or, in some designs, to push the log into a static wedge. Hydraulic log splitters are often designed to be towed and some models have useful features such as four-way splitters and log catchers.

Kneebone Trees can hire out our log splitter to commercial or domestic customers. Not only will we bring our log splitter to you, we will provide an experienced operator to keep you and your family safe (after all, ten tonnes of force is not to be played with!)

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