Monday, December 10, 2007

Splitting Wood and Keeping your Fingers : )

I visit and read a lot of knife forums. I was reading a post over on Blade Forums about a guy that was camping with some non-camping friends. He got up before the rest of them, and decided to start a fire and get things going. The only problem was they either had a little rain, or a little dew that cause him to have to split wood with an ax.

Splitting wood that is large enough to stand up on its own is easy enough. In this particular posting, the guy was splitting small pieces. There are several reasons to do that (more on that later). Once pieces can not stand up on their own, you need to revise your technique. This particular guy ended up chopping the tip of his finger off!!! YYYYEEEOOOWWW! When his friends woke up, he was passed out on the ground from blood loss.

The video below shows a very easy, but little used technique (at least I have never seen others use it) for splitting wood that is too small to stand up on its own.

There are several reasons for splitting wood this small:
- I carry emergency tinder with me, but it is saved for just that...emergency. So, without the aid of firestarter, newspaper, etc, small wood starts easy.
- For a small cooking fire, especially a lunch fire. Small pieces allow you to control heat better. It also gives you a fire that will die quickly after cooking so that you can get on to other activities.
- Wet wood! This is probably the most important one. When it has rained heavily, or even snowing, dry wood can be hard to find. Seasoned wood that gets wet will usually only be "wet" for the first 1/4 to 1/2 inch or so. Getting to the center of the wood will get you dry wood. With a properly made feather stick, and small split pieces of wood, this means you have all you need. Tinder and kindling all in one package.

If you have not been able to start a feather stick with a ferro rod, I encourage you to try. It is much easier than you think. I included a feather stick at the end of the video.

For all you gear junkies out there, the ax used here is a Gransfor Bruks Small Forest Ax.


At April 23, 2008 at 9:09 PM , Blogger Darrell said...

Actually helpful. Thanks. I recently picked up a smaller Wetterlings axe and, given I'm new to this space, I've been hacking around with it and exploring sane and safe, yet efficient, methods for accomplishing pretty much what you demo'd. Good to see other methods.


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