Firewood has many benefits to offer. Firewood is a renewable resource since trees can easily be grown. Firewood will keep you warm and provide light in times of power outages. Most importantly, firewood is the most budget-friendly fuel for heating in your home.
A roaring fire creates a warm, homely atmosphere that nothing else can quite match. For these reasons, many people decide to turn a fallen tree in their garden into firewood.
Find a good log-spliting maul, it is an indispensable tool which will prove handy in your log-splitting endeavours. A maul looks like a cross between an axe and sledgehammer, and is the best tool for hand-splitting firewood. Mauls come in various sizes, but the 6 or 8 pound maul is your best bet.
Use a chainsaw sharpener to sharpen your chainsaw blade. A sharp chainsaw helps you save both time and energy. The 16-inch chainsaw offers the perfect combination of power and cutting speed.
Use a chopping block. The chopping block should be 16 inches in height and at least 12 inches in diameter.
Have at least one person nearby who can offer first aid or call for help in case of an accident.
Choose an appropriate location. Your location should be spacious, cool and have good airflow to prevent you from overheating. Remove all debris and unnecessary obstacles that could hurt you.
Wear an appropriate outfit. The correct clothing plays a crucial role in work efficiency. Never wear overly-tight clothes. Wear high-quality gloves and solid work boots to protect your hands and feet. You should equip yourself with hearing protection and a face shield while cutting.
2. Cutting The Tree
Cut away all branches from the tree with a sharp chainsaw. Divide the tree into 3m long logs, which will make dragging them to the splitting location easier.
Cut your wood to lengths. The length of your logs will depend on your use for them, whether they will be used immediately or stored, and the size of your storage space. The shorter the log is, the easier it will be to split. In general, 16-20 inches (about 40-50 cms) is a suitable length of wood for most woodstoves and fireplaces. Try to cut the pieces flat, as this will make them easier to stand up for splitting.
Create a “cradle” by holding a few logs together and cutting them at the same time.
3. Splitting the logs
Place your block on flat ground, ensure its stability, and then place your log on top of it.
Look for hairline cracks in the log. Let your blade run in the same direction as the cracks, as this will save energy. Mark the location where you want to split the log. Tap a little hollow into the wood, so that you have a good visual of where to split.
Widen your legs and stand flexibly. The distance between your feet should be the same as the width of your shoulders. If you are right-handed, hold the maul firmly with your left hand at the end of the handle, and put your right hand just below the head of the maul.
Bend your knees slightly, raise the maul overhead and extend your arms, keeping them straight. Slide your dominant hand down to your weaker hand, grab the end of handle firmly, and move your wrists. Each and every movement must be fast and strong. The correct technique is more important than strength. Gravity, rather than your energy, will do most of the work.
If the maul is stuck, you can rock it to get it out of the log. Then, take another swing, aiming for the crack. If the maul won’t budge, hit the blade to the end of the maul.
Stop splitting when the wood is the size that you want it to be. Load the split wood into a trolley or a train, and take it to your warehouse. Don’t expose the wood to moisture, as this will result in rot.
Safety precautions are of great importance, whether you’re an expert or a beginner. A good log-splitting maul and a sharp chainsaw will be your best companions in the task ahead. Happy chopping!