Monthly Archives: December 2014

How to chop firewood

At Old Mill Wood Yard we sell high quality, seasoned firewood throughout West Wales, Carmarthenshire and Swansea. It is already chopped into sizeable pieces to fit into your wood burner or open fire.

However, if you wish to chop your own firewood then it is important that you know what to do in order to do it safely.

Preparation is key when you chop firewood. You need a good axe, with a sharp and undamaged blade. This is much safer than using a blunt axe. Use an axe that is heavy, but not so heavy that you can’t handle it.

You need to be wearing good footwear, gloves and eye protection.

Choose a spot that gives you plenty of room to swing the axe and enough space that if the logs fly off they will not do any damage. You also need to make sure that you can see if anyone will approach you, so you can stop in plenty of time.

The ground should be flat, if possible use a chopping block, so you don’t damage the axe, but still get some resistance to make splitting logs easier.

Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, so if you miss the log you don’t swing the axe into your leg. This will break it.

Hold the axe in both hands and get used to moving your top hand from the head of the axe to join your other hand, this is the most effective way to swing the axe.

Look at the best place to hit the log. Avoid any knots, as these are very hard to split. Place the axe on this spot to help you visualise when you swing.

Move the axe up over your head, moving your bottom hand down towards the axe head. Hold it firmly, but keep your bottom hand loose enough to slide up the axe handle as you swing.

Swing the axe down quickly, moving your hand up the axe handle. Focus on the spot you intend on hitting. Let the axe do the work, it is much more about technique than strength. Ensure that as the axe hits the wood your body is totally relaxed to absorb the movement. If the axe hits when you are tense you can injure yourself and you’ll soon be exhausted.

It is advisable to watch someone experienced before you try, so you can see the movement. Then they can help you for your first few attempts. However, stand well back when someone else is chopping wood as bits can fly off very quickly.

To stay safe don’t chop firewood if you already have a back injury. Keep any limbs, fingers, feet etc well clear. Don’t be tempted to hold wood in place while you chop. Instead balance it on the chopping block. Keep your feet wide and chop in the middle. It is very common to miss and you don’t want the follow through to hit your leg.

It doesn’t take long to get the hang of chopping your own firewood, but it is hard work and if not done properly it can be dangerous.

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