Here are some quick tips for the fastest and most effective ways to chop wood for your stove.
Rising energy costs are leaving many people with a choice. They can continue to pay increasing heating costs or find a different way to heat their homes. More people today are turning the beauty and comfort of a wood burning stove. If you have been toying with whether to buy, now is the time. Even if you have never split a log in your life, it is an easy task to learn. If you want to cut your heating costs and get exercise as well, cut your own logs for your wood burning stove. Here are some tips on how to chop wood.
When chopping wood for your stove, you will have to have the right tools for the job. Some people fail to realize the need for a quality axe. An axe is not just a hatchet, but a longer version. You will need that extra length and leverage to get the best split on your wood. An axe allows you to get more force from each swing to split the log faster. A hatchet or smaller cutting tool will be a lot more work. In addition to a quality axe, a large stump or other wood based cutting area will help as well. Wood absorbs the force whereas a metal surface will bounce back. Wood is a safer option.
The traditional method of chopping wood with an axe is the way to go if you want to use this task as your workout. However, power tools can help alleviate the stresses of chopping wood. A chainsaw can be used, but always use a lot of caution. Proper eye wear with both the axe and chainsaw should always be used and it also advisable when using a chainsaw to always have someone else with you close by. You never want to have an accident in a remote location. Other tools such as an automatic wood splitter may be employed, but unless you intend on selling the wood you chop, you will find it difficult to recover that initial large investment.
Stand Wood on its End
Wood burns in a specific way and its bark acts as a great protector against fire. Great for the tree, not for the wood stove owner. Wood must be split along its grain to break up that protective barrier. Stand each log up on its end when splitting for the best results. Bring your axe around over your head and down onto the log. The higher you can swing the axe, the more help from gravity you will have. It may take a few shots to get your aim exactly right, but aim at the middle of the log. This is the sweet spot that allows the log to split completely. It takes practice, but is a satisfying task once completed.
Once your wood is split, it is time to stack it. Wood must be allowed to dry after it has been split. It must release about 80% of its original moisture to burn properly in your wood stove. Stack wood in a shed or covered area but allow for enough air to circulate around and between the wood. Wood that remains in an enclosed area will produce mold and mildew instead of drying out. Stack wood with the bark facing up to allow for maximum drying.
A wood burning stove is the best way to heat your home all winter long and even if you are new to chopping your own wood, do not fear. Practice makes perfect and the fact that you chopped your own wood for your family will give you a great sense of accomplishment as well as excellent exercise. Happy Chopping!