talkFestool  

Go Back   talkFestool > Woodworking Machinery and Tools > Hand Tools

Hand Tools Hand tools, clamps, measuring, and all that other stuff

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01-28-2010, 09:38 PM
NedYoung's Avatar
Founding Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA
Posts: 317
Default Making Firewood--Opinions?

It's hard to believe that we've been up in the woods for 9 years and only in the last month got a decent woodburning stove. The Norwegian Jøtul is a delight after the oversized and ineffective fireplace. I'm suddenly much more interested in laying in firewood.

I'd like to hear your experience/recommendations for firewood splitting by hand. By hand because I'm cheap and could use the exercise.

Not cheap about tools--this is after all talkFestool.

Is there any difference between a maul and a splitting axe? As far as I can see, they're the same but in the second case the marketing guys were afraid you wouldn't know what a "maul" was.

Two needs: halving or quartering logs, and reducing some of it to kindling.

Various pines & cedars, some oak, all fresh cut. Probably a good bit of orange wood, a by-product of the sad decline of So Cal orange groves.

Let the opinions begin...
__________________
Posterous should be along shortly. Preposterous is already here!

Last edited by NedYoung; 01-29-2010 at 01:36 PM. Reason: The old fireplace wasn't "infective", just didn't work well.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 01-28-2010, 11:22 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Greene County Missouri
Posts: 47
Default Re: Making Firewood--Opinions?

Ned,

I've been heating primarily with wood for the last 5 years. I bought a small electric splitter when we first moved to our place in the country. After the first year, and following a few threads on various forums on wood burning and country living, I became a little disenchanted with it, and decided that I would kill it, and then get a "real" splitter. 5 years later, it is still going strong, splitting on the order of 5 cord a year. I've come full circle and harumph at the nay-sayers who giggle at my tiny little quiet splitter. While there are some big trunks that I have to split with a maul, it does the lion's share of the work. It is as fast or faster than big gasoline engine powered models and I don't have to listen to it or take care of it.

Here's a link to one very similar to what I have:

Mantis Garden Tools

The exact one that I have is no longer available, but this is roughly the same and I like the cart idea and the vertical orientation. I bought one of the Mantis units for a friend's father for Christmas, and got it for under $400, so don't buy direct from Mantis -- find a dealer.

I know you said you weren't interested in a splitter...that you were going to do it manually. Unless you're a much better man than I, or treat your stove as a novelty rather than a heat source, that won't last long. Believe me, even with a splitter, you're going to get a workout. There are always trunks that a splitter won't handle, and everything that gets split has to be stacked.

For manual splitting, I have a good sized maul with a plastic handle (love the plastic handle). I also have a wedge and a sledge. There are times when the wedge works better than a maul, but DO NOT use a wedge and sledge until you're well practiced at swinging a heavy hammer. A wedge that is set in a round and struck a glancing blow can become a deadly missile. The maul works best on stuff that is going to give up quickly. But the gnarly, twisted chunks are better attacked with a wedge.

We have a Buck stove insert. This time of year it gets filled 3 times a day, and it is just about time for #2.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2010, 01:16 AM
Wonderwino's Avatar
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Grew up in Peekskill, NY; Now living in Northwest Kansas
Posts: 2,890
Default Re: Making Firewood--Opinions?

An old Monster Maul. I could only find the "Mega Maul."

Bailey's - Steel Handle 14.5 lbs. "Mega" Mule Maul=

The best way to use it is stand the log in an old tire and just whack it to smitherines. If you can find a tire that is just slightly larger than the log, it works better. Your split pieces will stand up to be split smaller without too much difficulty. Great exercise, too.
__________________
Water separates the people of the world; wine unites them.

"If you have good manners and are well spoken, you can be welcome anywhere." -Mom, 1959
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2010, 01:18 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Bourbonnais
Posts: 66
Default Re: Making Firewood--Opinions?

Ned,

Nice stove the reviews for it are very good, I have been heating my home with a wood stove for around 5 years now (Hearthstone Heritage soapstone stove) and basically asked the same question you are asking now. I tried by hand and that soon got old, got a small electric splitter that got old to so I eventually got a 20 ton gas splitter and have not looked back since. If its your primary source of heat you will get through a lot of wood in a season (I am nearly through my fourth cord this year with probably another cord yet to burn before the weather turns milder ( I burn 24/7 and is my primary heat source) that's a lot of wood to split by hand or using a small underpowered electric splitter. My advice to you would be to bite the bullet and but a good gas powered splitter your back will thank you and it will also save a ton of time.

Colin


If your brave you could try The Stickler ....Look here

Last edited by Admin; 01-29-2010 at 01:21 AM.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2010, 02:03 AM
TahoeTwoBears's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA - Minden, NV
Posts: 1,446
Send a message via ICQ to TahoeTwoBears
Default Re: Making Firewood--Opinions?

Ned,

Been there, done that. Sherry and I heated our home for years with wood. In fact, it was the only source of heat in our home for 20 years. I used to work in the woods, climbing trees, topping and falling them to keep the power lines clear. Interesting work, but I could see that everyone I worked with was gimpy from some sort of accident. I could see that it was dangerous work in the long term, so I jumped into firefighting. That was a lot more fun.

I had access to tons of wood, and learned to love a splitter. I used the splitting maul and wedge system for too long. Sherry bought me a small splitter and like everyone else here I never looked back. Still have the splitter. I don't use it as much anymore, since we got natural gas into the neighborhood. Towards the end of our exclusive wood heat process, we started buying wood. We'd get together with neighbors and friends and order 13 cords (a semi truck load) at a time. We got plenty of exercise just stacking the wood, digging it out of the snow, moving it, and restacking it on the porch and eventually into the house/stove. I loved the single point of heat since it made a nice place to get warm. It also provided a great place to cook when the power went away. Happy warm.

Mike
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2010, 02:50 AM
AkTom's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Soldotna, Alaska
Posts: 380
Default Re: Making Firewood--Opinions?

I burn about 10 cords a year. I bought a cheap canvas tent/carport/boat cover to put my wood in. Untill I decide where I want my permanent wood shed, it will do fine. I fastened the legs down to pallets that I scrounged. Now I have dry covered wood. I do need to occasionally shake the snow off the roof. Keeping your wood off the ground is very nice. I split some wood by hand for fun, but most of it is done with a friends gas splitter. I have some friends who use a small electric and are happy with that. I love my Jotul also.
Tom
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2010, 03:25 AM
MichaelKellough's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: The northernmost end of the southernmost county of New York
Posts: 4,525
Default Re: Making Firewood--Opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderwino View Post
An old Monster Maul. I could only find the "Mega Maul."

Bailey's - Steel Handle 14.5 lbs. "Mega" Mule Maul=

The best way to use it is stand the log in an old tire and just whack it to smitherines. If you can find a tire that is just slightly larger than the log, it works better. Your split pieces will stand up to be split smaller without too much difficulty. Great exercise, too.
Can you believe they used to run commercials on TV for Monster Maul like everyone needed one?
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2010, 06:35 AM
AkTom's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Soldotna, Alaska
Posts: 380
Default Re: Making Firewood--Opinions?

If you decide to do a lot of hand splitting... wait till it's about -20* the wood does split a lot easier when it is nice:sdrool: and cold. No, seriously.
Tom
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2010, 12:29 PM
TahoeTwoBears's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA - Minden, NV
Posts: 1,446
Send a message via ICQ to TahoeTwoBears
Default Re: Making Firewood--Opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AkTom View Post
If you decide to do a lot of hand splitting... wait till it's about -20* the wood does split a lot easier when it is nice:sdrool: and cold. No, seriously.
Tom
and you'll be so much more motivated..........
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 01-30-2010, 01:50 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: MI
Posts: 185
Default Re: Making Firewood--Opinions?

My father always said burning wood for heat is the most efficient as it warms you 4 times with the same piece of wood - when you cut it, again when you split it, yet again when you stack it, and finally when you burn it.

You just can't get that kind of free heat with gas or oil :-)

Fred
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:12 AM.