Know How to Chop Firewood

Chopping firewood can be a daunting task unless you know which tools and methods to use. The best way to chop wood puts less strain on your body while maximizing the amount of wood you can chop during a session.

Gather Your Gear

Wood is easier to chop manually when you have the right supplies. All of the following tools can be helpful when splitting wood:

  • Chopping block
  • Splitting maul
  • Sledgehammer
  • Wedges

If you do not have a splitting maul and sledgehammer, it is also possible to chop through wood with a good heavy axe or hatchet. These heavy, bladed tools can be harder to use and are less accurate than a maul. If you plan to chop firewood frequently, it is a good idea to invest in the most effective tools. Personal protective equipment such as impact-resistant safety glasses, gloves and steel-toed boots can also protect against the most common causes of injury.

Set Up a Surface for Chopping Firewood

A chopping block can simply be a tree stump or large block of wood that is short and wide. This essential component absorbs the force of every blow, increasing the effectiveness of your swing and keeping tools from becoming damaged. You may also find it helpful to set up one or more logs inside the opening of a tire on top of a chopping block. Containing the split wood can spare some effort in picking up and resetting wood.

Maintain the Proper Stance

The correct wood-chopping stance is squared-off, directly facing a log with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step back a half step and place the maul head on the spot you plan to strike with your arms fully extended at waist level. Your dominant hand should be under the head of the cutting implement and slide down, increasing force as you swing. Your other hand should grip the handle of the axe near the bottom. Raise the maul over your head and bring your arms straight down, driving the maul or axe through the wood. Allow the weight of the tool and gravity to do the brunt of the work

When chopping firewood, swing for the center of smaller logs and nearer the outside of larger logs. If your maul gets stock in damp or knotty wood, pull it out and strike a log again or drive wedges into the wood with a sledgehammer. You can chop firewood most efficiently with the right tools, set up and stance.