Saturday, 23 September 2017
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Chopping block for splitting wood

Wood- splitting is much more than a chore. In rural areas it’s a special kind of pastime, rooted in tradition and experience. The debates about what the right firewood, perfect chopping technique and the right tools can go on for hours if you find the right company. But on pretty much all sides there is an agreement that picking the right chopping block is the necessary first step for any woodworking project.

axe and chopping block
photo: jimorama.com

Why is this the case? Well chopping block provides many benefits – but the most important one is safety. If the wood is on an elevated surface that means that the axe is further away from your feet. It’s also a good way to make sure the axe could never hit a rock (which can be pretty dangerous). And finally well chosen chopping block can prevent a lot of back pain and help you chop more wood in one session.

So, let’s get to work.

Before you start with the chopping, you should first cut the larger logs to size. Getting Boss Industrial ED8T20 Electric Log Splitter is one of the best investments i made. It reduces what could be weeks of hard work to just one weekend and it’s practically effortless. It doesn’t take gas or pulling to start it , you just plug it in (it comes 5.5 cord length) and it can split two logs at time which obviously cuts the working hours in half.

Similar tool for smaller logs is Grizzly H8171 Hydraulic/Electric Log Splitter. With it you get almost the same cutting power, but it’s much easier to store and move around (it comes with wheels and easy pulling handle. Afterword you can store it in your garage and you want even know it’s there until you have to use it again.

Now, when you’ve done slicing the logs it’s time to chop the wood to nice fireplace size pieces. It’s best if you use two different chopping blocks for this. One should have a perfectly flat top and the other should be cut at 10/15 degrees angle. Soon enough you’ll have a piece of firewood with an angle base, that just won’t stand on a flat block and the other one will come handy.

The best way to choose to chopping block is to find a piece of wood you could never use as firewood (too large, too knotty with ugly rounds). Elm tree is the perfect choice if you have one laying around. Sugar maple is the second best.  It should be between 12 and 16 inches high (if you go shorter than that it will split way to fast). In  terms of diameter – it should be a bit wider than the wood you’re chopping (minimum of 15 inches). Of course if your woodshed is next to an old stump consider yourself lucky The twisting grain of the root flares makes for a durable, split-resistant surface that can last a surprisingly long time and can never flip over

Cool tip

chopping wood cool tips
photo: leveraxe.com

One more tip (you can go on without it but i find to be a timesaver). Find an old tire, slightly larger than the diameter of your chopping block. Screw the tire to the top of the block using 3 inch lag bolts. And now you have the perfect chopping that will hold the wood in place after you spliced it. The wood pieces will support each other so they don’t fall apart. That means no more looking around for lost firewood – it’s just chopping in easy and smooth motions.

Choosing and setting up the right chopping block would make your job easier and safer and once you do it –it’s done with for a long time.

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