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Home » Hand Tools » Firewood Splitting Tools

Firewood Splitting Tools

logs

There is something extremely satisfying about cutting, splitting and burning you own logs on an open fire or wood stove. Many species of timber found in the UK make acceptable firewood if allowed to season for a reasonable amount of time.

All timber will dry out faster if you prepare it for the fire soon after cutting. Read our firewood species guide for a detailed look at the various types of timber suitable for burning.

Splitting tools

There are three basic tools used for the splitting of firewood.

splitting

For the majority of timber, you will just need a basic splitting maul. A maul has a specifically shaped wide head and splits the timber far more effectively than a traditional felling axe.

Splitting mauls come in various weights and should be chosen depending on your physical ability, a good average size for most people is 6 1/2 pounds. The speed of impact is just as important as the weight of the maul for efficient splitting.

In additional to the splitting maul, you’ll need another log (splitting block) on which to set the timber to split.

A splitting wedge is used with a sledge hammer to split difficult or large pieces of timber. The wedge is driven into the timber and hit with the sledge hammer (or the back of the maul head) until the piece splits. A clever variation on the conventional wedge is this Log Grenade.

log grenade

The reason some timber is difficult to split is down to a number of causes. Some species of timber can be very knotty (Elm for example). Knots make the job of splitting more difficult. The longer the timber sits around before splitting will also make a difference so always split the timber soon after felling.

Firewood splitting tips

When splitting logs, position your legs a couple of feet apart and leave sufficient distance between yourself and the splitting block to allow for a comfortable overhead swing with you arms extended. The speed of the maul is just as important as the weight.

You will find that the maul will sometimes glance off the log and dig into the ground. This is another reason for distancing yourself from the splitting block and avoiding any injury to your feet or shins. Don’t let these bad swings worry you, your aim will improve with practice!

Be very careful splitting timber near other people, windows or greenhouses as the split timber can sometimes be propelled considerable distances.

When splitting, remember you’ll need a mixture of small and large pieces for the fire. To make your own kindling, collect twigs and small branches or select some straight grained timber such as Ash or hazel and use a hatchet to split small pieces. Scrap timber such as old fence panels and off-cuts from woodwork also make great kindling but do tend to spit and spark if from a softwood source.