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#262709 - 08/22/13 11:47 AM Re: saw or axe [Re: quick_joey_small]
quick_joey_small Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 505
Loc: UK
Thanks Jerry. I think my main problem will be cutting logs down so they fit in and I've bought a folding saw.
BUT now you mention it; what if the logs are simply too thick? I'd need to split them. A maul sounds safer than an axe. I'll give it a go.
qjs

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#262719 - 08/22/13 05:46 PM Re: saw or axe [Re: quick_joey_small]
JerryFountain Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida
qjs,

No problem. Sounds like you got the right tool. For shortening the logs a saw is certainly best.

Respectfully,

Jerry

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#262720 - 08/22/13 08:08 PM Re: saw or axe [Re: quick_joey_small]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2747
Loc: Alberta, Canada
While I own and use many (many!) axes, hatchets, and mauls, I am always cautious about inexperienced users. An accident from an axe or hatchet can be very serious.

Also note that an axe with a thin "felling" profile (e.g., Estwing) makes IME a lousy and potentially dangerous wood splitting tool. The cutting head can easily become deeply embedded in the wood without splitting it, requiring all sorts of contortions to get it out.

A good folding or bow saw is a very practical choice for a self-propelled traveller. If you can't split the wood, you can cut rounds off the end that will burn reasonably well.

However, if you split the wood it will certainly burn better. Consider this: the primary hazard with an axe/hatchet comes from swinging it at a target. But you can also use an axe or stout hatchet as a simple splitting wedge and "baton" it with another piece of wood. Much safer. If the wood does not split readily (too many knots), use the saw to cut it into shorter lengths that are easier to split.

And last, a dumb question: have you determined if there is already a splitting axe at the hut?

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#262721 - 08/22/13 11:25 PM Re: saw or axe [Re: quick_joey_small]
JerryFountain Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida
Doug,

I agree with you that a typical axe or hatchet makes a poor splitting tool. But take a look at the link I posted. This is not a "hatchet" but a splitting maul with a wedge style head.

For the self propelled traveler I agree with you, but that is not the situation we are talking about.

Respectfully,

Jerry

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#262725 - 08/23/13 12:25 AM Re: saw or axe [Re: quick_joey_small]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2747
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I was just responding to the general thread and not any specific comment.

I have seen those little mini-mauls. Nice idea, but the handle's too short for my taste. Looks like a knuckle buster to me, especially if the wood is tough. Then again, I haven't had a chance to try one.

As for general axes and splitting, their effectiveness varies depending on the profile of the axe (thin for cutting vs. thick for splitting) and the characteristics of the wood itself. A nice straight grain in dead-dry wood splits easily with just about anything. Add a lot of knots or a high moisture content and you can work up a sweat even with a full size maul. The latter is what I usually see in public parks, in great big blocks, and people are chipping away furiously with tiny hatchets (and often wearing shorts and sandals - yikes).


Edited by dougwalkabout (08/23/13 12:26 AM)

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#262784 - 08/24/13 12:55 AM Re: saw or axe [Re: quick_joey_small]
jzmtl Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/18/10
Posts: 530
Loc: Montreal Canada
If I use a hatchet I wouldn't split wood in the traditional sense, but lay the wood flat, smack the hatchet into the far end of the wood then twist them in opposite direction to split it.

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#262797 - 08/24/13 04:03 AM Re: saw or axe [Re: quick_joey_small]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1361
I don't know that I agree that a tomahawk is a poor splitting tool. but I would definitely agree that a small one is ... I bought a small 'hawk called a "mousehawk" and that thing is next to useless for anything. you do need a certain amount of weight in the head of the tomahawk before it splits wood.

i'll tell you where it comes in handy - at least for me. it's in those campgrounds where all the visitors have gathered up ALL the kindling. so you look around and there is literally not a single small bit of dry branch or twig to be found. all the small dead stuff got burned by Moms and Pops doing smores for the kids. I've got nothing against it. but what usually happens is that you manage to find one huge piece of an old log and there's no way to split kindling off the thing. and you just don't want to throw the whole thing into your campfire - which won't start anyway because you've got no twigs. that's why I usually carry a medium sized tomahawk in my vehicle.

and I do agree that you have to swing them carefully - the wounds from an accident are gruesome.

Pete2


Edited by Pete (08/24/13 04:04 AM)

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#262820 - 08/24/13 06:08 PM Re: saw or axe [Re: jzmtl]
Burncycle Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 525
Originally Posted By: jzmtl
If I use a hatchet I wouldn't split wood in the traditional sense, but lay the wood flat, smack the hatchet into the far end of the wood then twist them in opposite direction to split it.


http://youtu.be/X5W6r5U7yBE?t=2m14s
grin

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#262840 - 08/25/13 05:23 PM Re: saw or axe [Re: Burncycle]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2747
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: Burncycle
Originally Posted By: jzmtl
If I use a hatchet I wouldn't split wood in the traditional sense, but lay the wood flat, smack the hatchet into the far end of the wood then twist them in opposite direction to split it.


http://youtu.be/X5W6r5U7yBE?t=2m14s
grin

Good stuff. I suppose everybody who processes wood by hand comes to use these techniques. Note that there are no big ugly knots in his wood; that makes things a little more complicated. (At the risk of being picky, he really should be wearing gloves too.)

I was particularly pleased to see he was using a short-handled axe rather than a hatchet. The added reach lets you set up a much safer working situation. The added heft lets you focus on control (i.e., let the axe's weight do the work; your job is to "steer" and determine where the sharp end will come to rest).

Hatchets have their place, but I find it's often necessary to add force during the swing, and that significantly lessens control; combine that with the short swing radius and it's easy to get in trouble. If I have to use a hatchet, I sometimes kneel down to create a safer swing radius.

The sideways splitting technique has limits in terms of the size of wood block it can handle. Also, as he shows, there can't be any length of "overhang" where the wood sits on the block or log that's underneath, because that creates a fulcrum and lever that can flip the other end into your face.

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#262841 - 08/25/13 07:17 PM Re: saw or axe [Re: quick_joey_small]
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 999
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
Found it!

It's made by Portland Saw. EZ Cutting Wood Saw Model 97962.
Manual for pictures.

It's only good for smaller pieces and works better if you ignore the manual. Use a small stick to turn it into a bow saw.

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