How to Chop Wood Effectively

Processing firewood: this is how you saw and split correctly

When it comes to firewood, it is important to plan ahead, because the wood should dry for about two years before it is burned. You can also buy billets that are ready for use, but if you do the sawing and splitting yourself, it becomes cheaper - and chopping wood is also a sporting activity in the season with little gardening. Beech provides ideal firewood. The cheaper spruce or pine wood is also well suited for closed stoves, but less for the open fireplace because of its resin and the associated flying sparks. Birch wood is popular here: it burns with a bluish flame and smells pleasant.

Splitting fresh wood

When you have received or fetched the wood, you should first chop it up and then stack it to dry. On the one hand, fresh wood is easier to split, and on the other hand, small logs dry faster than large ones. The safest way to shorten the long logs to a length suitable for the oven is with a so-called rocking circular saw. The risk of injury is significantly higher with table saws. Working with a chainsaw is also dangerous. Protective equipment such as chainsaw protection trousers and face protection is necessary here. A chainsaw course should also be completed, in which one learns how to use the device safely and how to properly care for the engine and chain. It is usually offered by the regional forest office.

The right ax length

If you chop a lot of wood, you should use an ax suitable for your height in order to be able to work optimally. You can check the length with a simple test when you buy it: grab the ax with one hand just behind your head and stretch your arm out horizontally. If the stem reaches to the armpit, it is the correct length (photo on the right)

Log splitter

The best way to split the wood is with a splitting ax. Its wedge-shaped blade effectively breaks up the wood. But you can also chop wood with the narrow blade of a universal ax. The chopping block should be so high that the ax is horizontal when it hits it. For ergonomically optimal work, the handle must be the right length. Of course you can use a classic model with a wooden handle for chopping, but the light axes with a handle made of almost unbreakable, fiberglass-reinforced plastic are becoming more and more popular. If you want to shred a lot of wood, you can also get a motorized log splitter that splits the logs with hydraulic power.

Tools for sawing and splitting firewood

Chainsaws: gasoline, cables or batteries

Anyone who primarily uses the chainsaw to chop firewood at home is best served by an electric saw with a cable. The devices are low-maintenance and relatively inexpensive. The cable is annoying when working in the garden, a cordless saw is much more flexible. However, the devices are more expensive and you need a replaceable battery for longer uses. If you often work with a chainsaw and even cut your own wood in the forest, you should use a classic chainsaw with a gasoline engine. Ask your specialist dealer (Motorist) for advice on which device is best suited for your purposes. He will also help you maintain the engine and sharpen the chain.

Electric saws like the Stihl MSE 170 C-Q are less complicated and do not emit any exhaust gases. Petrol chainsaws like the McCulloch CS 410 Elite are powerful and independent of the cable, but more demanding in terms of handling and maintenance

Burn only dry wood

Damp wood heats much worse than dry wood, and when it burns, poisonous carbon monoxide is produced. For this reason, firewood should dry in a firewood store for one to two years until the so-called wood moisture content has dropped to below 20 percent. You can quickly determine whether this value has been reached with a wood moisture meter. Since the logs dry faster on the outside, you should split one or saw it open and measure it at the new cut surface.