What got me started on this? My friend David from Rossie shared a link to a NY Times article about Norwegians’ passionate interest in splitting and stacking wood the correct way–except “correct” seems to be open to interpretation. I suspect this is true around here, too.
I split–or “chopped”–firewood for many years. I used a chainsaw for a few years when I was younger and then decided I was too accident-prone to safely operate a device that could easily remove more than the kind of limbs that grow on trees. So I left the chainsaws to others and stuck with the other half of the process. I’ve always liked chopping and stacking firewood–well, mostly. Gnarly, damp, unfrozen elm? Not so much.
I’m no lumberjack, but I’m not afraid of an axe or maul. I only hit myself on the head with an axe once–splitting wood mid-winter in our low-ceilinged basement. This is probably where it makes sense to share the how-to article , better yet, this one from Mother Earth News, a magazine I was for sure reading back when I first picked up an axe.
If you’re going to chop wood for any length of time, conserving your physical energy is important. It’s hard work. Here’s a trick that lots of people use:
Or even easier, you can sell out, as we recently did, and use an engine-driven log-splitter. I have to admit, after years of using an axe, the log-splitter is like getting running water instead of pulling buckets out of a well. Log-splitters pretty much deal with anything–including long, damp, gnarly elm.
As for stacking wood, well, you can check out the link to the Norwegians above and let me know what rules you follow or how you go about stacking. Of course, there’s an art to it, I mean ART, like this amazing construction by sculptor John Van Alstine whose “woodpile” was featured as our Artwork of the Day last fall:
Everyone has their own ideas about splitting wood and I’m counting on you to add tips, warnings and tales of the wood pile. And, oh yeah, how’s your woodpile holding up this winter?