How To Split Wood

| Last modified on January 27th, 2022

Chopping logs has never been easier, and there is no skill required to do it. The hardest part is choosing the safest location to do the work. To split wood in the right way, you will need a splitting tool and some experience. Then you need to set the wood in place and then swing the ax. 

There are three main types of timber-splitting tools: an ax, which works well for small branches but not so much for logs; a maul or sledgehammer, which can be tricky unless you have a lot of experience; and a wedge (another type of ax), which requires less force than an ax but more than a maul.

How To Split Wood

Before you start your work, make sure to wear protective eyeglasses and other equipment to prevent injury. Chopping wood is a messy business, so it may be a good idea to wear gloves. If the logs you are dealing with are too heavy for you, have somebody help you lift them onto a chopping block, where they will be stable while you work on them.

How To Split Wood: Step-By-Step Guide

Choose Splitting Tools

The tool you select will depend on the size of the logs you are splitting and your physical strength. A maul or sledgehammer is necessary to split thicker logs that call for more power than an ax can afford. Either one will work for smaller logs as well, but you may still need help to lift them onto a chopping block. 

A wedge is another option, especially if you want to pull the wood apart rather than split it in half with a blow from an ax or sledgehammer. Wedges can also be used to split thick logs into thinner sections that would otherwise require more force than you could apply manually with an ax or sledgehammer.

Choose Splitting Tools

Cut Your Wood To Length

Chopping a log into sections is the next step. If you use an ax on a larger piece of wood, make sure to split it into smaller pieces to reduce the effort required with an ax or wedge tool. You can also use logs that are longer than 6 feet (2 meters), but you will most likely need to shorten the log manually with a chainsaw before using it.

Set Up A Chopping Block

If possible, put two chopping blocks on the ground as close together as possible and parallel so you can stand between them when you chop. Put wood shims between the blocks if necessary to hold them apart if they won’t stand independently. Then, lay a couple of logs on top of each block while they are still flat on the ground. 

Some people prefer to place the logs upright on blocks before laying them down, but this method might work better if you have to work in a confined space like a garage.

Choose A Safe Location

Choose a safe location at eye level if you will be chopping from above the wood rather than directly underneath it. The safest place to work with large timbers is on an elevated platform that allows you to stand up straight. You can also split smaller pieces in a standing position with an ax or wedge if one log shifts out of place and falls over, causing an accident that could injure yourself or someone else nearby. 

Wear The Appropriate Protective Gear

Safety goggles are recommended if you will be splitting wood with an ax, maul, or sledgehammer. Broken glass fragments from a wedged log might be thrown by the impact of the blow when you hit it, so don’t wear glasses made of this material. Steel-capped work boots can protect your feet from sharp edges on logs that have been split into smaller pieces.

Wear The Appropriate Protective Gear

How To Split Wood With An Axe

An ax is a tool used to shape, split and cut wood. There are many different axes, and the type you choose will depend on your personal preferences and what you plan to use them for.

  1. Make sure that your ax is sharp before using it.
  2. Find a piece of wood that has already been cut and simply strike down into the log.
  3. Always remember that swinging an ax can be dangerous.

How To Split Wood With A Wedge

A wedge can be used to split wood just like a saw, but it is much easier and safer. A wedge will split wood into smaller pieces which can then easily be cut with a tool of your choice, such as a handsaw.

The best way to split wood with a wedge is by weighting one end of the tool. You can do this by placing a rock or something heavy on the end that you want to hit with the maul, then holding it in place with your foot and swinging it down onto the log.


What Is The Best Tool For Splitting Wood?

The best tool for splitting wood is a wedge. The purpose of a wedge is to get the woodcut in half down the grain, making it easier to split. You can use the point of a wedge as a pick to lift the split logs out of place and get them out of your way, or you can use it like a crowbar where you push it into one side of the log and pull on the other side with your hands. 
A sledgehammer would be an excellent choice for those who have ample time because they help generate more force than just your hands alone could provide.

Is It Best To Split Wood Wet Or Dry?

When splitting wood, it’s best to do it dry. In wet conditions, splitting wood is more difficult because of increased friction between wood fibers caused by moisture present in a fresh log or freshly cut log.

Can You Split Wood With A Chainsaw?

That’s right, you can split wood using a chainsaw. No splitting wedges are needed to use your arm strength or any special bending skills to break the wood apart. You just have to keep the chain saw running and guide it with your hands. A chainsaw will split wood as long as it has enough power and speed.

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