People have been using firewood to make campfires and bonfires for thousands of years. As civilization has advanced, we started building giant hearths in our homes to keep our families warm during cold nights. Though many people now rely on furnaces that use natural gas or oil, wood stoves are still a common household feature.
However, if you’re new to wood stoves and don’t know how to cut wood, the process can seem a little intimidating. You may not even know how to use an axe.
Don’t worry; we’re here to teach you the basics. Keep reading for everything you need to know about using an axe for splitting wood.
First, make sure the wood chunks you’re trying to split aren’t too long. The longer the wood is, the harder it’s going to be to split accurately. We recommend keeping your wood pieces under two feet long.
Typically, wood chunks are created using a chain saw to cut them down to size. The size of wood you want also depends on the size of your wood stove or fireplace.
Next, find a solid chopping block to place your wood chunks on, rather than placing them directly on the ground. This provides a stable and solid stand for the wood. If the ground is soft or muddy, placing the wood chunk on the ground will not be as effective.
Furthermore, using a chopping block prevents you from overextending your back by driving the axe all the way to the ground. Use a big round from a tree or a flat stump.
Axe or Maul
Learning how to use an axe effectively comes down to picking the right equipment. Ideally, you need an eight-pound splitting axe or maul.
Other axes are about four pounds. Though they are easier to swing, they make you work much harder to split the wood cleanly.
However, for outdoor recreational activities, carrying around an eight-pound maul may not be practical. In this case, use the Barebones Axe, which is designed for chopping wood, digging trenches, and more. Just as importantly, it’s lighter, which makes it ideal for hiking, camping, and hunting.
Learning how to chop wood also means learning how to wield your axe or splitting maul. Start with a wide base in your feet, about shoulder-width apart. Your dominant leg should be staggered back.
Hold the axe right below the head with your dominant hand. Your other hand should be a few inches above the end of the handle.
Bring the axe up over your dominant should and swing straight down between your legs at your wood target. As you swing, your dominant hand should slide down to meet your other hand.
You can also use the same technique with a square, symmetrical stance.
Finally, let’s talk about how to use an axe safely. This requires donning the appropriate protective gear.
Eye protection is essential, as wood chips have the tendency to fly in all directions while splitting wood. One of the best tips for using an axe is to also wear protective gloves. This will prevent blisters from swinging the axe and splinters from handling the wood.
We also recommend thick pants and steel-toed boots.
Want More Tips on How to Use an Axe and Other Practical Advice?
Learning how to use an axe is an essential skill, even if you never think you’ll need it. Just remember to maximize your safety above all else and use the right gear.
And if you’re looking for more practical advice, check out some of our other articles. Our blog was created to be an informational hub for people like you.