How To Chop Wood

Woody Jackson | Last modified on January 5th, 2022

There are many ways to chop wood. There is no one universal way that everyone has to be taught. Many different people have their own methods, and they’re all valid and effective in the right situation.

How To Chop Wood Guide

Each person has their own preference for things like which tool they use, how they hold it, as well as how best to crack the wood into pieces of a certain size at an appropriate angle for firewood or construction needs.

So, how to chop wood? The most popular method is to use an axe or wedge. Below you can find a step-by-step guide about how to do this correctly.

Chopping Wood With An Axe: 5 Main Rules

The axe is one of the oldest tools still in common use today. It can’t compete with a chainsaw when it comes to felling trees, but for splitting logs and producing kindling, there is no better tool. You don’t have to learn complicated techniques before using an axe; all you really need are five basic rules, which are easy to remember.

Prepare Tools

Before you do anything else, you need to make sure that your axe handle is properly attached to the head of the axe. A loose or badly attached handle will make it very difficult for you to use the axe correctly and safely.

Always wear appropriate safety gear when handling tools. This is the most important rule for any power tool or manual tool.

Chopping Wood With An Axe: Prepare Tools

When you are swinging an axe, it is an extremely dangerous situation and it’s easy to be distracted and to lose track of what you’re doing because you can become so focused on the task. You need to wear proper safety gear so that your arms, hands, face, and head are all protected when things aren’t going as planned in the wood chopping process.

Position Your Chopping Block

The chopping block is the surface where the wood will be cut into pieces. Chopping blocks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all primarily serve one purpose: to level out the piece of wood that is going to be chopped up with an axe. You can choose a chopping block based on what you want to do with your firewood.

Chopping Wood With An Axe: Position Your Chopping Block

You should always position the chopping block so that it’s directly behind the axe and at a 120-degree angle. This angle is the most efficient for chopping wood, and if you angle the block forward, or if you angle the block horizontally, or if you angle the block down from above, then your axe won’t be able to get into materials as effectively.

Position Your Wood

Position your wood so that its grain runs parallel with your body. The wood grain is a fibrous structure running through most wood materials. When you chop wood, you are cutting into the wood grain.

Chopping Wood With An Axe: Position Your Wood

You can see this if you hold a piece of wood up to the light and look down the length of it. The grain will be visible down the length. What you need to do is make sure that your axe always runs parallel to your body when chopping wood so that it doesn’t go off at an angle and cause unnecessary damage to yourself or your equipment.

Grip The Axe Properly

Always grip the axe handle near its head, connecting with the blade. This way, you always have control over how much force is applied with every swing of the axe so that you don’t accidentally lose control and hit something with too much force and cause damage or injury. Your thumb should be positioned on top of your index finger so that it stabilizes all four fingers when chopping wood together to add extra force to your strike.

Swing The Axe

Always lift your axe in an arc and then swing it in an arc from left to right when chopping wood. This will give you more power, provide more safety, and reduce fatigue since chopping wood can be hard on your muscles when done correctly.

Chopping Wood With An Axe: Swing The Axe

Never swing an axe when you are holding onto the block of wood. If you lose your grip on an axe, let it go and throw your body weight to the side to avoid getting hit by its blade. 

Always carry a spare handle with you and remember that all axes are only as strong as their handles, so make sure they’re well maintained.

How To Split Wood Without An Axe

Chopping wood is an excellent way to clear the land of unwanted or dead tree stumps, as well as just to gain skills as a wood-chopper. If you are in a situation where you have no axe and no proper chopping block, then you can still split wood. Often this will be the case when you are on a camping trip far away from civilization. If you find yourself in such a situation, the best method for splitting wood without an axe is to break down the wood in order to get the right size pieces.

How To Split Wood Without An Axe

Each piece of wood needs to be taken down so that it is as small as possible without being too small, but not so small that it will be too difficult to split. Make sure that you are using a stick that is straight and has a sharp edge. It is best if you can find some sort of wedging device in order to help break your material down into smaller pieces for splitting.

How To Split Wood With A Wedge

If you have access to a wedge, this is the best way to chop wood. The wedge can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used in combination with an axe for splitting apart logs and 

How To Split Wood With A Wedge

Using the wedge consists of two basic steps. The first step is to place the wood you want to split on top of another piece of wood so that it’s positioned where it needs to be to split well when you swing your wedge into it. The second step involves positioning the woodblock and striking with force at an angle towards the wedge you have placed in your wood.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways to chop wood. There is no one universal way that everyone has to be taught. Many different people have their methods, and they’re all valid and effective in the right situation.

Each person has their preference for things like which tool they use, how they hold it, as well as how best to crack the wood into pieces of a certain size at an appropriate angle for firewood or construction needs.

FAQ

What Is The Best Way To Chop Wood?

Wood experts have learned that the best way to chop wood is by first cutting the log into the appropriate lengths. They then take a sharp axe or hatchet and strike one end of the log with a downward motion, forcefully chopping it in two. This works because logs are typically much thicker at one end than at the other, so hitting them with an axe on their thickest point causes them to split in half cleanly.

What Tool Do You Chop Wood With?

A hatchet or ax is the most common wood chopping tool. The process of chopping wood is repeated over and over until the log becomes a pile of firewood. Sturdy eye protection should also be worn during this process to avoid getting hit by falling limbs or splinters.

Is It Better To Chop Wood Wet Or Dry?

In general, it is better to chop wood dry. However, there can be a benefit to cutting down wet wood in some very special cases rather than just drying it out.

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