How can i chop wood?

(40 Posts)
janek Fri 01-Mar-13 12:44:55

That's it really - we have wood-burning stove. We buy wood, we own an axe, DP can chop the wood, i cannot. I have tried, but i either don't have the strength; or the knack; or both!

Is there something i am missing? I am particularly weak, you would beat me in an arm-wrestle for example, but does that mean there is no way i can sort out my own logs?!?

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Fri 01-Mar-13 12:47:10

I'm going to get an electric cuttersawy thing. smile I can't use an axe either, I buy logs in and they are usually the right size.

mumblechum1 Fri 01-Mar-13 12:50:28

If I were you I'd just order logs which are already the right size to go in the stove.

Do you need to? We had a wood burner and ordered logs about a foot in length. We bought kindling by the sack to get a fire going, then chucked on the logs....

I don't think I would have been able to chop logs either. I'm fairly strong but have no coordination so the axe would probably have hit the ground or gone through my boot.....

Buy a bow-saw. Or a Logmatic splitter if they are too wide rather than too long.

Axes are hard to use - you need to get the aim and the strength working together, which is not easy. Your DP probably has enough strength to thump through them quickly, and not to have to keep hitting them on the same line to have any effect - us less-muscly types have to keep hitting the axe onto the log in the same place, and don't have much impact on them.

Bow saws are much better, preferably with some sort of saw bench to hold the log while you cut.

notso Fri 01-Mar-13 13:00:04

It's not that hard to use an axe though you just need to practice, chopping wood for kindling was my pocket money chore when I was living at home and I have the arm strength of a jellyfish.

pirouette Fri 01-Mar-13 13:05:26

Chop using the end of the axe shaft, not half way down.

Make sure nothing or nobody is near you, choose the part of wood you want to chop, eye it and swing the axe mightily. Channel your inner Viking.If you are sawing it, use a sawhorse to keep the wood still.

Repeat hundreds of times until you have a good wood pile.

Chop kindlers on a large flat slab of wood. Keep your axes really sharp.

PolterGoose Fri 01-Mar-13 13:20:19

I use a hatchet rather than a big axe.

specialsubject Fri 01-Mar-13 13:51:50

I'm learning this. Make sure the axe head is secure and wear full length trousers and solid shoes. Chain up small children at a safe distance. Stand the log end-on on something that won't move and won't damage -an old stump is good. Line up the log so you are chopping along the grain and it will split well. Stand square and back a bit, pull in stomach muscles and swing the axe, using the weight of it to chop.

some bits just won't chop, give up. Most will, and the pieces fly about and will often land on your foot. Hence the decent shoes.

kindling costs a fortune. Learn to chop your own. It does take a bit of practice but is really satisfying when a piece of wood just comes apart!

DeathMetalMum Fri 01-Mar-13 14:07:23

My dad uses a large axe and a then machete once the pieces of wood are a little bit smaller. Using the chopping block (old large tree stump) to pretty much bang the machete through the wood.

Also as pp said a bow saw and sawing horse for getting the wood into managable pieces to begin with.

Fishandjam Fri 01-Mar-13 14:13:18

Do you have the right sort of axe? You need a splitting axe for logs, not a felling axe. I can just about chop logs with ours, and I have spaghetti arms.

janek Fri 01-Mar-13 14:15:21

I'm a little upset that the answer seems to be perseverance! To clarify - the wood is generally the right length, it just needs to be a little thinner. The stove is only small, a stockton 4, so the wood needs to be 20cm long (which it is), so i think we need to cut down the width as otherwise the fire isn't hot enough to burn through a whole log, iyswim.

Any further insight welcome!

janek Fri 01-Mar-13 14:16:33

Oo, i don't know fishandjam i hope so, it was bought, by dp, specifically for this purpose, and as far as i know he has no trouble... I'll google it!

janek Fri 01-Mar-13 14:17:56

Oh god, i don't know, how would i tell?!?

janek Fri 01-Mar-13 14:22:51

Okay, checked with dp, who rolled his eyes at the mention of mn, it is a splitting axe, the. I looked at the axe and it says splitting axe on it. Good.

So it's me. More tips please!

Fishandjam Fri 01-Mar-13 14:25:35

I have to let the weight of the axe head do the work - and hope that the blade sticks in the log (rather than bouncing off!) so I can split it properly. Some logs I just have to surrender to DH. And I don't do many at any one time. - Logmatic splitters are wonderful!

You position the bottom end on the log, then thump the inner part of the handle down inside it. Stays in position if you need more than one hit to get through it, no waving heavy and sharp implements around. Children can even use it safely, if you can convince them it's "fun" to help rather than a chore grin

janek Fri 01-Mar-13 14:26:58

Is our axe too blunt do you think? I don't seem to be strong enough to get the axe stuck in the log. I wonder if it may be the axes fault <hopeful>.

WowOoo Fri 01-Mar-13 14:27:04

Do you think you need a larger axe then?

I have a small selection of them and would gladly come and do it for you if I had the time.

I love chopping wood. You just need practice and to follow steps explained above by specialsubject. I'm no hulk but I manage.

WowOoo Fri 01-Mar-13 14:29:30

How long since it was sharpened or bought?

Only you can tell if it's too blunt really!

janek Fri 01-Mar-13 14:30:44

They look brilliant muminscotland, do you have the big one, or the small one?

janek Fri 01-Mar-13 14:33:41

It was bought in january 2011 when we had the woodburner fitted, so it hasn't seen that much action - we only light the fire from november to march-ish. How quickly do they go blunt?

I've no way of knowing as i never tried to use it when it was new, but dp reckons we need a sharpening stone. And then proceeded not to get one.

We just have the small one - it goes through practically anything in one go when DH uses it, so long as the wood is properly seasoned. Tends to take me two or three thumps to go through a big log. They really are effective if you can't get the hang of an axe - I can't hit the same place twice, and DH has back problems so swinging an axe around is a bad idea for him. But the logmatic lets you stand there with your back straight, except when you have to pick up the results of course!

pirouette Fri 01-Mar-13 16:24:09

A local smiddy or blacksmith will sharpen your axes.
They love it when people have an axe to grind <baboom tish> grin

janek Fri 01-Mar-13 19:34:35

I DID IT!!! i'll be honest - i channelled my inner viking (didn't know i had one) and held in my stomach as advised and i did it. I'm so pleased with myself. And we now have a much more sensible amount of wood inside than we usually do.

I am delighted, thank you so much for all advice.

Ps i think the axe does need sharpening...

Selks Fri 01-Mar-13 20:03:22

Well done that woman! grin

janek Fri 01-Mar-13 22:09:15


That's really good smile
I'm terrified of our splitting axe. Really interested in that logmatic thing.

cakesaregood Sat 02-Mar-13 08:15:42

Well done!

Love the line about 'decent sized pile of wood'. That's the thing isn't it? Our lovely DPs do as much as they need for the here and now. We want to be prepared for a while to come!

MrsPennyapple Sat 02-Mar-13 08:36:44

I was all set to say I'm rubbish at splitting logs too, so I let DP do it. However, I see you've managed it now, which probably means I ought to have another go. To be fair, he does ours all through the summer so it's ready to just chuck on the fire. I do kindling though!

janek Sat 02-Mar-13 11:34:56

cakesaregood you've completely hit the nail on the head (using a splitting axe?), all our wood this year has turned up seasoned, but damp, presumable due to the horrifically rainy summer last year. By the time we get to the end of it the last few pieces have dried out sufficiently to actually burn easily.

But if 'we' could chop in advance and keep them by the fire then all the wood would burn easily and the bellows could rest. And now 'we' can.

mrspennyapple he sounds amazing. I'd keep that one, if i were you wink

SquidgyMummy Sat 02-Mar-13 11:40:43

We have a log burner
DP uses a log splitter. Put in the top of the log and whack with a club hammer.

SquidgyMummy Sat 02-Mar-13 11:46:14

logmatic looks good, i may invest in one so i'm not so reliant on DP.

OneHandFlapping Sat 02-Mar-13 11:51:35

Don't chop logs on the patio, unless you want cracked paving slabs, that's my advice.

<voice of experience>

lljkk Sat 02-Mar-13 12:18:22

DH uses a bigger piece of wood as his chopping block.

He has a chainsaw for most of the work.

There is a knack to how you swing the axe and putting minimal effort in to get maximum force to the axe head.

I can't do it, either. grin

MrsPennyapple Sat 02-Mar-13 12:24:14

Janek I plan to - we're getting married in a couple of months smile

He chops the log into pieces with a chainsaw, then splits them with the axe. He says it keeps him warm three times - loading it on the wagon, chopping it up, and burning it on the fire.

insancerre Sat 02-Mar-13 12:28:48

I used to chop logs when i was a teenager- it is very theraupatic grin
It helps to have the log up higher so you don't have to bend down too far- an old tree stump is ideal

NuclearStandoff Sat 02-Mar-13 20:55:30

In our house the wood chopping is definitely DPs job. We all stack the logs together and I usually fill up the log baskets but DP does all the axing. Makes him feel like a real man so I just let him get on with it.

ROUS Tue 05-Mar-13 00:43:35

I prefer the axe to the logmatic. worth persevering swinging the thing much less effort in the long run.

Logs with big knots, twists or branches will be harder to split.

If your axe gets stuck whack the end of the handle down quickly or pick up axe with log attached and smash down whole thing.

Aim for the centre of the growth rings - not necessarily the centre of the tree

Use a large round of trunk as your 'cutting' block.

It's great for your abs.

HannahD78 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:41:57

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