The winter season is quickly approaching, and everyone is looking for a solution to keep their houses warm. Unfortunately, that involves splitting the firewood and leaving them to dry least you have your house full of smoke while using wet logs.
Nonetheless, using a splitting wedge is not the most uncomplicated process. Worst, this task is prone to deadly accidents. We will be digging deeper into some hacks on using splitting wedges safely and more efficiently in this concern. So let’s get into it!
Are Splitting Wedges Efficient?
Are you skeptical if you should learn how to use a splitting wedge? Then we understand your fears. No one wants to spend hours dealing with some log or even have injuries on a task that would have been different. So to help you make the correct decision, let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of using a splitting wedge.
Advantages of Using a Splitting Wedge
Primarily, splitting wedges are brilliantly designed to help you do more in a short time and with little effort in comparison to using an axle. In addition, they have increased strength and better sticking ability, enabling them to cut through the wood fibers and split them open easily.
Additionally, they make cleaner splits than an axle. Let me explain that. When using an axle to cut through a tough section, you will have to swing at the same place for several rounds, which results in ugly splits, not to mention extra energy is needed. Fortunately, with a wedge, you will easily cut through the wood in a few rounds preventing extra mangling, which gives ugly-looking splits.
Disadvantages of Using Splitting Wedge
On the flip side, why should you avoid using a splitting wedge? Even after tirelessly researching it, we have only one reason you should avoid using these tools. This is it,
These tools are heavier than axles; hence more energy will be needed when lifting them. Although, this heavyweight gives them a better sticking ability, making them cut through faster after landing on the wood.
Types of Splitting Wedges
Splitting wedges have different construction designs, which you need to look at to prevent accidents while using them. They are categorized according to their material and design shape.
Classification According to the Construction Material
Most heavy-duty tools are made of steel material because of their high strength and resistance to breaking forces. Steel splitting wedges thus have the longest longevity and are the best for big-sized wood logs.
However, these tools are not suitable for wet areas because they are prone to corrosion. Additionally, while handling it, you need to be more careful because their accidents are pretty deadly.
Most people choose aluminum-made splitting wedges over steel material because they are resistant to rust. Also, they are lighter than steel wedges, giving the users more control to prevent accidents while using them.
Lastly, in this category, we have wedges made of ABS plastic. They are the lightest, which means the user is less prone to accidents. However, in most cases, they are not the best for splitting wood, and instead, they are used as felling wedges.
Classification According to the Design Shape
Traditional Splitting Wedge
Traditional splitting wedges have a 3-sided web shape and wedges which easily stick in the wood. Thus, it easily cuts through the wood than other designs giving it cleaner cuts. Also, because of its ability to adhere to the wood, there are safer than the diamond design. However, as a result of its 3 pair design, it is not suitable for knotty woods.
Diamond Splitting Wedge
These splitting wedges were invented to deal with the knotty woods. Thus they have a slimmer design than the traditional wedges to cut through the wood knots. However, they do not easily stick to the wood compared to the traditional wedges making them more prone to accidents.
Universal Splitting Wedge
If you want to save the extra cost of purchasing a felling wedge, you should consider a universal splitting wedge. These tools can be used to fell a tree and have a well-sticking wedge to cut through the wood logs.
How to use a splitting wedge
Step 1: Get the tools and materials.
Getting all the needed equipment before you start working helps save time and ensures you are well prepared for a smooth working experience. To divide wood with a splitting wedge, you need;
- Splitting wedge
- Safety glasses
- Chopping blocks
Get all those working equipment before you start splitting the blocks.
Step 2: Wear safety gear.
We always advocate for safety in all our working manuals to prevent the users from accidents. We advise that you have safety glasses to prevent the wood chips from damaging your eyes for your security. Similarly, wearing work boots and gloves will avert wood chip cutting through your skin.
Step 3: Set up the working place
Next is to set up the working area. First, place a chopping block or a wide chunk of wood on the ground. Then, place the log to be chopped above this block and ensure that it is stable.
The chopping block absorbs the force of the splitting wedge and prevents it from bouncing back. It also gives the wedge a landing point in case it misses the wood chopped. Consequently, it prevents it from damage.
Step 4: Cut the woods into the shortest possible length
To effectively split woods, they need to have a shorter length. Thus, if you have long woods, you should use a cutting tool such as a chainsaw to cut them into smaller portions.
Step 5: Identify the weak points of the wood
Cracks are the weakest parts of the wood, and they naturally occur on the wood after drying. Therefore, identify any cracks on the wood as the point you will aim the wedge when splitting. Also, look for the most stable position of the wood.
Step 6: Hit the wedge
Once you have identified the most stable position of the wood and placed the cracks facing you, it is now time to split the wood. First, raise the wedge in an upward motion at a relatively slow movement. Now, bring the wedge down towards your target point at a somewhat faster speed.
Step 7: Look for cracks
If your wood did not split, you can look for any new wider cracks and redo the process’s hitting.
Step 8: Use a steel wedge without a handle
If the wood is impossible to cut through, place a wedge inside a crack and use a sledgehammer to hit the handless wedge through the wood until it cracks. If the crack is wide, you can now use a wedge with a handle to cut through.
Most people prefer using a wedge over the axle to split woods because it is more energy-efficient. Nonetheless, if you want to break the wood with a wedge and prevent injuries efficiently, observe several things. Also, it would be best if you were mindful of the different types of wedges to make the correct choice.
For instance, you should use a diamond splitting wedge to split knotty words. Fortunately, we have looked at the various types of splitting wedges, and even better, we have explained how to use a splitting wedge.