For many of us, splitting wood has nothing to do with lowering the heating bill. It's that satisfying thunk! And the look of the fire in the evening which provides satisfaction of hard work done well.
But there are few things you need to know before going ahead and harnessing your inner-lumberjack.
First up, make sure to wear protective clothing from head to toe
Whenever you are working with a chainsaw you should wear face protection and safety glasses to protect your face and eyes from flying wood chips. If you are using a petrol chainsaw, you will also need ear protection, such as ear plugs or ear defenders. For those with more sensitive ears, you can always consider a cordless chainsaw – they are so quiet that they do not require ear protection. You should also protect your hands, legs and feet properly by wearing appropriate cut protective work gloves, chainsaw trousers and boots.
Next, you need to choose a type of firewood
This really depends on how often you use your fireplace. Soft woods will heat up faster, due to their higher resin content. This also means that they burn more quickly so you will need to add logs to the fire more often.
Hardwoods on the other hand, take longer to heat up but burn for much longer. This makes them well suited if you use your stove or fireplace for longer periods of time.
Make sure the wood is dried out before burning it (lots of smoke is never a good thing for you or your poor neighbours).
Now, let’s talk about cutting up the firewood.
It’s always best practice to start with one metre lengths, which are much more manageable.If the trunk is on a fairly firm surface, you can cut the trunk to length where it is. However, before you start sawing, make sure that it cannot roll away. Small pieces of wood can be used to hold it in place.
So, once you have your one-metre lengths, you will now need to be cut into smaller pieces.
Smaller logs also dry more quickly and you will definitely want dry logs for your fire. Damp logs will smoke and cause soot – not ideal in your living room!
- Place your one-metre log horizontally and securely on the ground.
- Next, cut the log down the middle along its entire length. Don’t try and cut all the way through the log – this could result in you cutting into the ground and blunting the chain. Leave approximately 5-10 centimetres of the log intact.
- You can then prise the log in two using a splitting hammer.
Now, wait…. Two years.
Once you have cut your own logs, they will need to dry for around two years before they can be used on the fire. Make sure that you stack your logs so that the air can circulate between them. Then cover them with a waterproof tarpaulin to protect them from rain and damp weather.
A short history of wood chopping:
Throughout Australian history, woodchopping and sawing competitions have been common occurrences in the bushman's workplace and camps. The first formal competitions developed around the mountain ash forests of Tasmania, where the Tasmanian axe had been developed for cutting hardwood, which included the toughness of the stringy bark and peppermint trees. It is these hardwoods that have contributed to Tasmanians being at the forefront of world champions, even until the present day. Man's desire to be competitive and beat his mates was the driving force behind the emergence of the sport of woodchopping. It is one of the few sports that evolved from daily work or an occupation.