Chop your firewood - like a pro'



Today I'd like to share something called "laying chopping technique". In short terms, it means you lay your piece of firewood on the chopping block and work your axe through 5-15 cm of wood. To make this work, one might need some hacks. You'll find my hacks below, and some tricks to get your axe loose when it's stuck in wood full of twigs.

I like this technique since it's both safe and effective. The edge of your axe won't even come close to knees, arteries, fingers etc. The technique requires less energy than "standing chopping technique" and you don't have to balance and hit a piece of wood, ever diminishing, falling over 9 of 10 ... well, you get it. ;)

You'll need:

  • An axe, a sharp one!
  • Firegloves (normal working gloves of leather)
  • Something to cut against. A chopping block, fallen tree or simply another piece of firewood.

This technique works fine, both straddling by the chopping block and kneeling by a fallen tree. When teaching the technique to children, I ask them to sit down. Less running around with the axe that way. Some grown ups would need the same instruction, for the very same reason.

I start of, "reading" the wood. I check for twigs and if possible, I choose to start splinting in the further end from the twig.

I fasten the axe in the further end of the wood. It's usually enough with 1-2 cm.

I squeeze the shaft and wood together. If it's a larger piece I hold both the shaft and wood with both hands. Is it a smaller piece, like in the photo above, I hold the shaft and wood together with one hand and balance the axe with the other. Make sure not to leave your thumb between the shaft and the wood. It hurts like f*ck getting that squeezed!

Then I slam the further end in to my chopping block. I usually lift the axe and wood piece to the hight of my forehead, and then I drop it towards the block. Or well, of course I'm still holding on to everything, but I let the weight  of the axe do the work for me.

Once the axe is through the further end, I bend the axe from side to side. Sometimes I splint the whole wood piece in one go. Sometimes I coax the axe out and fasten it in the crack, more to the middle of the woodpiece, work it through and bend once more.

When the axe is stuck I take a slim, preferably wedged, piece of firewood and put it in the crack between the end of the piece and the axe. Then I wiggle the axe upp and down until it's loose. If it's hard to move the axe, I just slam the wedged piece further down the crack. The thought is to have the wedged piece widen the crack, rather then you fighting to get the steel out.

I don't say that firewood with twigs are impossible to work with. They simply needs a different approach. If I've got twigs in both ends of the piece, I fasten my axe in the middle of one of the twigs, work it through, bend a little and if it doesn't do the trick I get my axe out of there, repeat the same thing in the other twig. And repeat until I've splinted it all.

And finally. You're through!

Have you used this method before? Or do you have more cutting wood-hacks you'd like to share? Please, share in stories and tag @tracelessintiveden, let's help more people to feel more safe using an axe!

Chop in peace!


Photografer: photo 1, 4-12 Erik Stormark @erik__storm