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Having a fireplace in the home has long been popular. Preparing the wood to burn in those fireplaces is sometimes less popular. As the old saying goes, firewood can warm twice. It warms you up when you’re cutting and preparing the wood, and again when you burn it. To make the process of preparing the wood and cutting it go as smoothly as possible we’ve included some tips on how to split fire wood the traditional way and also a much quicker and practical way.
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Make Safety A Priority When Splitting Firewood
It doesn’t matter how or where you cut your logs, what matters is safety. It is highly advisable that you use safety equipment and clothing that can protect you while cutting and preparing your firewood. A good set of work boots can help protect your feet and safety goggles can protect your eyes. Many things can happen while cutting that include the log falling onto your foot or splinters flying into the air which could poke your eye if not protected, and other safety issues. Not to mention an axe to the foot.
Work gloves and pants can protect your hands and your legs from splinters and your hands from getting blistered. Long sleeve shirts are equally recommended to protect from any number of issues that could come up while cutting the wood. If you use a log splitter (Recommended) during part of the process you may even want to consider a face shield.
Are You Cutting The Logs?
To make splitting as easy as possible you’ll want to cut the logs to make them prepared for splitting. This means using a chainsaw to cut away any branches that are remaining on the log. In most situations, a 16-inch power chainsaw will work nicely. Once the log is clear of branches then you’ll want to cut it into 16 inch long pieces of wood. Also known as ‘Rounds’. There’s no need for a measuring tape as you can simply use the 16-inch power saw blade to measure and you can cut out small grooves until you reach the end of the log and those notches can be used to know where you start to cut each piece.
How To Split Fire Wood The Fast Way
It’s best to prepare for the colder months much before they begin. Firewood needs to dry out as cutting green wood and burning it is not as practical. While it can be done, I don’t recommend it. Prepare well in advance and allow adequate time for the cords of firewood to dry out.
The fastest way to split logs for fire wood is via a log splitter. If you don’t know what a log splitter is, don’t worry. I got you covered. A log splitter is a machine that can range anywhere from a hundred bucks to several thousands bucks. Obviously being a home owner that doesn’t need to cut 10 plus cords of fire wood a season you won’t be requiring a commercial machine.
As a home owner looking for ways to speed up cutting logs in preparation for Winter, there are 3 main types of log splitters I recommend. I will discuss these options in a second.
First tho, lets explain what a log splitter does. So you know that using a machine like this does increase the amount of time it takes to split wood. I feel you should also know that they are safer than randomly swinging an axe at a tree stump. So they are faster and much safer in my opinion.
So a log splitter is a machine where there’s a splitting device at one end and a pushing device at the other end. Put the log onto the surface and pull the lever. The pushing device pushes the log into the sharp splitting end using hydraulic power. The 12 inch log is now split into half. Run the half through the splitter again for a even smaller size bit of wood. So you get the idea, pull a lever and the wood splits in half. Simple, easy and very safe.
How A Log Splitter Works – Short Video
As I previously mentioned, a homeowner not needing massive amounts of logs split on a daily basis can get away with a less powerful machine. The less powerful, usually the less expensive as well. So the three types of log splitters are as follows. Cheapest to more expensive/
Manual Log Splitters: A manual log splitter doesn’t use any sort of external power source other than your arms. With this kind of splitter, you move the arms/levers back and forth to move the log into the splitter. Very simple to use, doesn’t require gas or electricity. Generally the cheapest option, but does require some Human effort to split the logs.
Electric Log Splitters: Probably the best option for the home owner in my opinion. These machines are powered by the mains or by a generator. They are much easier and more powerful than a manual. But cost a little more, while saving you the manual labor. They don’t require gas either, so running low on gas will never be a problem, nor will the fumes either.
Gas Powered Log Splitters: These machines start out as household machines but also can go up to commercial use possibilities as well. The more power, the more they will set you back, The main advantage with a gas powered machine is that you can cut logs in a vertical position rather than logs being split horizontally. This makes splitting huge logs much easier. As they aren’t powered by the mains, you never have to worry about loosing power. Provided you’re topped up on gas.
Splitting Fire Wood The Traditional Way
To split wood you’ll need a good solid chopping block end either an ax or a maul. A maul has a sledgehammer like hammering tool on one side and an ax on the other. The chopping block should be about 15 inches tall and approximately 12 inches around. It will need to be flat on the top and bottom so that it can sit steady and so that it has a place for cutting the wood.
There are two ways to split the wood. One way is to swing the ax handle which in most cases will begin the split and then you’ll have to hit it a second time to complete the split. The second way is to use a spike and a sledgehammer. Pieces of wood that are more difficult to cut will sometimes require this type of measure in order to cut them. The harder pieces of wood are very difficult to cut with an ax and that’s why most people will use a wedge and sledgehammer for those pieces.
Some pieces of wood will need to be cut into quarter sections to be most suitable for use in the fireplace. This means that the initial piece of wood will be cut and then each of those pieces will then need to be cut again. The good news is that the second cut will usually be easier than the first because the pieces have been made to be smaller and this helps them to be easier to cut.
Learning how to split fire wood is not very difficult. It is simply a matter of having the right tools, using safety measures and the time and energy to cut it. The enjoyment and warmth of a fire in the fireplace is very enjoyable in the winter.