How to Split Firewood Correctly

One of the most basic skills necessary for survival is splitting wood. With this guide, you will learn how to split firewood correctly and reduce your work load in half.

If you want to split firewood by hand, you will need a sharp blade and a lot of patience. The first step is to find the wood that you want to split. You can use your hands or a stick to feel for knots in the wood. Once you have found the wood, lay it on its side and make sure that there are no knots in it. Next, take your blade and start cutting down the length of the log. Make sure that you keep an even pressure with each stroke so that the blade doesn’t slip off of the log. If you cut too deep into one end, just turn it around and continue cutting from another angle until all of the pieces are separated. Read more in detail here: how to split firewood by hand.

Old man splitting firewood in the forest.

Note from the editor: This is a guest post that first published in the Art of Manliness Community.

I’ll admit it: splitting wood has nothing to do with saving money on heating. That gratifying thump is one of my favorites! witnessing that large recalcitrant piece of wood do what I want gives me a sense of power. The sight of a fire in the evening is very appealing, particularly if the wood was not purchased at the store.

Here’s how to channel your inner lumberjack and carve some firewood with your own two hands.


What You Will Require

A maul or an ax, for example. A maul is more powerful and has a broader head than an ax, making it better for splitting wood. An ax, on the other hand, may be used for minor wood splitting chores. Also, remember that the key isn’t sharpness; you’re splitting wood, not cutting it or even chopping it (a frequent misconception).

Wood. Seasoned wood splits more easily, but I like to split the wood when it’s still green so I don’t have to stack it again.

Illustration of firewood log.If the wood has nails, don’t use it. It’s not worth the danger of hurting your ax or, more importantly, your eye if that nail flies. And don’t bother if it’s curvy. I’m not a safety expert, but dealing with odd conditions is a common cause of mishaps.

Skip it if it has a knot in it, particularly if it’s green. You’ll be trying to get through it all day. The only exception is if you can identify a line across the middle that does not come near to a knot. The knots won’t get in the way then. (As indicated on the right, the grain or breaks in the wood define the “center.”)

Split it along the middle.

Place the item on its end, preferably on a cutting block. If not, just place it on the ground and hold it up as required to maintain it upright. The ax is meant to be dulled by driving it into the ground, however I’ve hacked into soil numerous times and the ax still cuts.

Man cutting off the firewood with axe.Now position yourself so that when you swing with straight arms, the blade lands in the middle of the wood (picture on left). Choose the side that is closest to you. The reason for this is because if you miss on the side closest to you, the blade will fall to the ground. If you miss on the far side, though, the ax handle will strike the wood. If you do it too often, you’ll have to purchase a new handle. (It also hurts your arms.)

Standing with your knees spread a bit, bring the ax straight back over your head, and swing it straight forward, making sure there’s no one or anything you don’t want to be struck by flying wood, a flying ax, or anything else… Allow the velocity and weight of the ax to perform the job, rather than your physical power.


Man removing axe from log while placing his leg on log.Every time, I attempt to hit the same spot. This is something I never do. It makes no difference. It’s not an issue if the wood has a somewhat jagged edge. You’ll get your ax trapped in the wood and have to wrestle it free (right); this isn’t an issue.

It will eventually split with a lovely crack! Then, with a few gentle taps into the fracture, separate any residual strands of wood that are joining the pieces of wood.

If the piece is larger, you can still go for the center, but cutting chunks off the edges till you have something manageable may be simpler.

What You Will Receive

Pile of firewood is being displayed.

Those bits you fashioned too little… are your crowning achievement, since they’ll assist you in starting the fire. Split wood, particularly little ones, burns more readily.

It’s time to build a fire now that you have a woodpile full of fuel.

Bonus Suggestion:

If you’re splitting a large piece of wood, here’s a time and energy-saving tip:




The “how to split logs with a wedge” is the most common way of splitting wood. It is also the safest way to do so.

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