How to chop wood
Knowing how to chop wood properly can save you a fortune on electricity/gas/oil. Given the right tools it really is quite easy and is definitely economical (on both time and money, that is unless you earn over 6 figures because then it’s probably more economical to just buy the wood in). Firewood warms you twice: once when you cut it and again when you burn it; it’s both great exercise and massively manly ego stroking when you provide warmth for those around you.
1- Safety. I’ll leave this one up to you, but it’s a good idea to wear appropriate attire when processing wood. Wear work boots, safety goggles, work gloves, pants (not shorts) and a long-sleeve shirt. When using a chain saw, it’s also a good idea to wear hearing protection and a face shield.
2- Limbing. Start by using a chain saw to trim all the branches from your log. A 16-inch chain saw is ideal as it provides a nice combination of power and cutting speed without being too heavy or unwieldy.
3- Cutting to length. After limbing the log, cut it into pieces about 16 inches long or for whatever is appropriate for your size of fire place. It’s best to first use the chain saw to cut a shallow groove into the log about every 16 inches to mark where you’ll cut.
4- Use the chain saw to cut about three-quarters of the way through the log at each 16-inch groove. Don’t try to cut all the way through the log; you’ll end up sawing into dirt or rocks, blunting the saw chain. Instead, roll the log 180 degrees and cut through the final one-quarter of wood.
5- Find a chopping block. You’ll need a raised surface on which to split the log pieces into firewood. This just needs to be a heavy, flat surface, the classic example being the stump of a tree. Set the chopping block on a flat area of ground, then stand one of your 16-inch-long log pieces on top of the chopping block.
6- The swing. Stand with your feet shoulders’-width apart. If you’re right-handed, grab further up the axe with your right hand, and further down the axe with your left. The end of handle with your left hand should be near your hip. Raise the axe over your head, and as you bring it down onto the log, slide your right hand down to your left hand. Focus on driving the axe straight down through the centre of the log. Don’t swinging the axe in an arc at anything other than 0 degrees as otherwise you will start, slowly but surely, straining your back.
7- Drying. Chop wood well in advance for best results. Freshly fallen wood will take at least a month to dry out enough for easy and ‘less smoke’ burning.
Depending on the diameter of the log, you can then split the log into quarters or eights.