Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Splittin Wood

Since it warmed up a bit today, in fact it warmed up a  good bit all the way to 40 degrees as a matter of fact, it was time to work outside again. The wind was still pretty chill though so I kept the wood furnace going at a good pace and decided it was just cold enough to make splitting another load of wood enjoyable.

I kinda have a ritual with splitting wood. I start at the bottom end of the "Needs Splitting" wall because that is where I put all the real pain in the ass logs that are too heavy for me to either lift or maneuver around once I get em off the ground. I roll these big ones out and do the vertical split on them before I get started taking em all down to burnable chunks. I got about six really large pieces out before I got to the point that there were smaller logs on top that needed to be cleared. At that point I switch to the horizontal split and just go to town.

Whenever I bring in a new load from the woods the real PITA logs get dumped back on this end. That way if I make myself start there I won't end up with a whole bunch of huge PITA logs to split at one time. It's far too easy once I have the splitter running to just grab the easiest stuff first.

I am always amazed at just how much split wood one of these PITA logs actually splits out too. The stack you see to the left there gave me almost a good third of a bed full after I got em split down. Then I had to work on the smaller stuff from the top to free the other PITA pieces.

Another reason I do it this way is it gives me a good mix once it has all been split. Today's load contained a fair amount of Oak, Locust, some large Boxelder pieces, a bit of Elm and even some Pine that I am not exactly sure where it came from. Burning straight Oak or Locust sometimes requires too much air flow as the large pieces tend to not dry as well as they should and still retain some moisture in them after being split. I suppose if I had more time to devote to it I should really be splitting for next year but everything else works out so well doing it this way I don't mind a little extra planning to get the burn right. Also around here a split section of already dead wood can lose a lot of it's BTU's in a year when the winds are dry.

Usually I let the "Needs Splitting" pile build up all Winter and use it whenever it is too wet to get out and cut or they are predicting a snowstorm at which point I fill the truck bed up with split wood and tarp it and use it for weight to get around with. After the snow is cleared I just burn it off the back of the truck and start the process over again the next time. This year however I have been cutting up mostly dead Oak trunks and am short small pieces to burn outright so I am making a few more splitting runs than I normally do.

I can't help thinking every time I split up one of those big. knot infested PITA logs though that without my trusty woodsplitter I may not even bother with them. If I had to use a wedge, maul and hammer it would take hours to get one of them monsters busted up.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. I broke down and bought a log splitter about 10 years ago, (and sold it 3years ago when I started migrating south for the winter) but for the previous 25+ years I really enjoyed splitting some nice ash with a good single bit axe, preferably when the wood was lightly frozen. It's poetry once you get a good rhythm going. The nasty, knotty elm...not so much. I remember once burying 4 wedges in one horrible piece of dead elm that absolutely refused to split, eventually had to throw the dang thing on a bonfire to get the wedges out. lol

    1. NS - Exactly. If I only had to split wood like you see in the movies I would never have bought a splitter but I hate seeing wood go to waste because it's too difficult to split. Oak, Locust, Hickory, and the easiest to split around here... Walnut are fine until you run into those embedded knots. Elm, Cedar and heaven forbid Blackgum are the absolute worst and in some cases are impossible to split without motor powered assistance.

      I been thinking about buying one of those electric ones for smaller stuff though.

  2. I laugh at the actors on TV splitting wood with a double bit ax, little pine limbs most likely by the way they fly apart. I have had some nasty pieces that 3 wedges wouldn't split, I have learned to cut the tree up to avoid most of those and will just leave the real bad ones in the woods as it takes too much time and wears me out. It would be nice to have a splitter just to bust those suckers up though.

  3. I split with a maul but some stuff is impossible. I've got that saved for use with my dads log splitter that runs off the tractor.
    That one of the reasons I'm starting a small coppice up. The idea being you cut it before its big enough to need splitting.

  4. I know this will be hard for you to believe...but back in the day, I use to help my dad split wood for our fireplace. He would let me do the little stuff. Was fun times.

    Anytime you wish to head due east there is plenty of wood here you can split.. : )


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