How to Chop Wood Without an Ax


Successful camping means the creation of a heat source when the sun goes down. That means you must know how to build a fire.

You can’t build a successful fire without wood. 

Most campgrounds offer a firewood resource which allows you to take seasoned, dry wood to build your fire. If you’re camping on your own, however, you may need to make your own firewood.

What happens if you don’t have an ax? You can still chop wood for the fire you must make. Here’s what you’re going to do. 

#1. Use a Wedge and Hammer

If you own a wedge and a hammer, then you can split logs this way rather quickly. Take the wedge, then place it on the end of the wood you’re breaking. Then drive the wedge using the hammer. Most will split on the first or second try for you. Look for longer wedges for best results. Small sledgehammers tend to produce better than other hammers. 

#2. Use a Saw

It’s not cheating to use a saw if you don’t own an ax. Although this method of log splitting creates more splinters and debris (think sawdust), you’ll still get the wood into usable pieces. You can “rip” some lines into the wood, then split them the rest of the way with a wedge and hammer if they’re too big to saw through with your equipment.

#3. Use a Kindling Cracker

This method of chopping wood came about because of the creativity of a teenager in Australia. It is a device which looks similar to those round vegetable choppers you see on TV for cutting down your prep time. Use a hammer or another piece of wood to create an impact on the log, then it splits just as if you’d hit it with an ax.

#4. Log Splitter

If you have the money, then an electric log splitter will make fast work of your pile. This option does cost about what you’d pay for a month of rent or your mortgage payment, so a manual log splitter might be a better option.

#5. Plasma Torch

If you have welding equipment at home, but you don’t own an ax, then your plasma torch can help you cut the logs rather quickly. You’ll have scorching on the wood if you use this method that may reduce its ability to light in the future. You must also take care not to ignite the wood while using this method.

Now let’s get back to reality for a moment. The price of an excellent quality ax is less than $50 at more retail locations. Hatchets are available for even less. Although some households avoid owning an ax because of the risk of chopping body parts, there are injury concerns with every equipment option used for splitting logs.

Unless you can afford a log splitter or don’t mind using a saw to take care of your work, an ax is your best option when trying to split wood. 

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