Hearth Hacks: 5 Tips for How to Split Firewood
During the winter season, you probably regularly rely on your fireplace to keep your home warm and cozy. You’ve learned how to keep mice out of your pile, tips for stacking firewood, and tips for drying firewood. But do you know how to split firewood for even better seasoning and storage results? Different from cutting or chopping wood, split wood logs provide clean and stackable halves or quarters. Split wood prevents messy wood chips and chunks, and makes transporting fuel for your fires easier.
Creating usable, mess-free logs and log halves that are easy to stack and toss in your home fire is actually pretty simple. Check out these tips for splitting firewood to improve seasoning, make fires easier to manage, and save you added strain or effort this winter.
How to Split Firewood
1. Wear proper clothing.
First and foremost, make sure you wear proper attire when chopping firewood to prevent injury. Keep your hands and feet covered, and use eye protection to keep wood splinters from flying into your eyes. Wear safety glasses, long pants, work gloves, and work boots.
2. Create a base.
If you can, use a stump or your largest block of wood as a base for splitting wood. This will make each log closer and easier to split while alleviating some of the back strain involved.
3. Choose your cutting tool.
Contrary to popular belief, a maul is actually better for splitting firewood than any regular ax. An ax is better for chopping or cutting wood, not splitting large logs (see more info here). Thicker and heavier than an ax, the maul splits the log into manageable halves without creating messy chips. While smaller wood pieces and chips are still burnable, they’re a hassle to collect, transport, and store.
4. Look for advantages and weak spots in the wood.
When placing your wood on the chopping block, prepare to cut from the thinner end, which is typically the top. The fibers at the top away from the root are looser and easier to cut. Any large pieces poking out should also be farther away from you if possible.
If you find there is already a large split in the wood, use it! It will be much easier to chop all the way through with any check or break in the log. You can also “speak to the wood” and carve your own little break before splitting to help.
5. Stand firm, aim, and split!
Now you’re ready to split your firewood! Keep shoulders squared and feet planted firmly beneath them. This position allows maximum force and control, as opposed to a fighter’s stance. Once you’re in position, “Raise your splitting maul directly over your head (never to one side of the other!) and pull down, bending at the knees and using your legs for power.” (Source: Den Garden) Split your wood into halves or quarters that can easily fit into your fireplace (typically 15-18 inches).
BONUS TIP: Once your firewood is split, it’s time to store!
Now that you have small and stackable firewood, it’s time to store it away. Freshly cut wood needs sufficient ventilation and moisture protection in order to season properly and ensure safe and efficient fires. A firewood storage solution from Sheds.com ensures a well-ventilated and protected pile so that your pile seasons faster and resists moisture, mold, and unwanted pests. Learn more about the importance of firewood storage and protection, and check out 5 storage sheds you can utilize now.
Hopefully, you now feel more prepared when it comes to knowing how to split firewood safely and efficiently. There are plenty more tips and tricks that make splitting firewood much easier (such as this tire trick!). Once your firewood is properly split and ready to be stored, keep your pile dry and protected with a firewood storage solution. For more tips and tools to utilize in your backyard, home, or deck and patio, Sheds.com has everything you need for a cozy home inside and out year round.