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Axe mavens--do you try to "deadeye" your whacks in the cracks, if you need them?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by OldLumberKid, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. OldLumberKid

    OldLumberKid Feeling the Heat

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    Like most, I guess, I've enjoy some stubborn rounds every now and then, that take a whack or few to split.

    So, axe folk — if it doesn't split first time, do you try to "deadeye" the axe blade right into the crack that was, hopefully created by the first whack? (Assuming, of course, you burly tree splittin' types even need a second whack or third or fourth, fifth etc. etc.)

    I'm new to this, so I decided to give aim a bit more concentration — but not too hard — and the results were encouraging. Again kinda like playing golf where you have to get it on a dime, but with this, it's even a finer target you're aiming for.

    Also, and right handed folk ever notice a tendency to be an inch to the right (if you're not really paying enough attention to the aim) or the reverse if you're a lefty?

    Below is part of a sequence of a few strikes.

    The first created the crack;
    The second and maybe another, not shown, created some other marks
    The third went right down the first, and split the length.

    [​IMG]

    And then two strikes later ...

    [​IMG]

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  2. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    Something that size I would try and split in one swing.
    When you make a big crack like that you have two choices for swing number 2, hold back so that your swing just splits it and run the risk of the head not going through and just getting stuck in the log or line up for another big swing in the same spot and run the risk of that thing just bursting in half and the axe coming through the swing with a lot of momentum that could come through towards your leg if you're not being careful.

    What length handle do you have on that?

    I like to line up my swings like a golf shot, lining up the spot and trying to come back down through it.
    I spent yesterday morning splitting these guys with my Fiskars X27 36" splitter, looks like what you have.
    2013-01-22 09.31.24.jpg
    The biggest one in the back there was over 30".
    Those big ones I start at the end closest to me and just try and make a straight line all the way across. Usually by the time you get a nice line across you hear that melon breaking sound and one more good whack and she falls in two...
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  3. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    I think the inch to the left or right tends to be more related to eye dominance than handedness. As for hitting the same crack twice, if it doesn't go in one or two cracks, I try turning it 45 degrees and seeing if it's more prone to come apart in the other direction. Then again I don't have the same strength as a guy would. I try to use cold to my advantage and split when the wood is frozen and likes to fly apart.
    albert1029 and OldLumberKid like this.
  4. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    I go by feel. If the maul bounces back, I try another angle. If it goes in with a deep thud, I try again, and expect to split the whole piece in another swing or two. I also look for cracks before I start, and try to split along those. I should mention that most of what I split is oak, not exactly the toughest wood to split!
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  5. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    The answer is Scots Pine - oh, wait, this isn't a 'name this wood' thread.

    Second, I'd try to find a much wider and somewhat shorter round for your chopping block. Part of the reason for a chopping block is to catch the head of the axe if it goes right through the wood. This is particularly important when you're aiming for the near edge of the round and the axe passes though heading in the direction of you, the person swinging the axe. Having the axe hit wood instead of dirt is safer for you and easier on the axe.

    Finally yes, I try to hit the same place twice, three times or whatever it takes. If I hit different spots on the log I tend to get multiple partial splits in the log and end up no closer to actually splitting it than i was after the first swing..
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  6. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    If I don't think it's going to split in one swing, I use a wedge!

    TE
  7. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    I don't really have a formula that I use for splitting. Bigger rounds get a wedge. Knotty rounds get saved for a later date when I have need to rent a splitter. If I make good contact and the round doesn't split, I move 1/4 around and do again. Sometimes I'm lucky to get most of it split that way and it just falls apart into logs. Other times I have to pull it apart. Regardless, I'd rather have a few swings with the fiskars than attempt wedge and maul.
  8. wh401

    wh401 New Member

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    Depends on the wood. Anything about 10" diameter and under will usually with one wack of the Fiskars. If you go above than I'll start off with a wack at the top, a wack at the bottom, and then finish with one in the center and it'll usually split. If that doesn't work, or the fiskars bounces back, or the round is just huge, (like 20"+ diameter,) then I go for a maul and wedges. By that point it's usually split into a smaller manner that the Fiskars will make quick work of it. Lately though I've been splitting Hickory that's been in rounds for about 6 months. It's nasty stuff so I've resorted to using the splitter instead.
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  9. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    I never need more then one hit to split a round. Sometimes is splits by itself when it sees me coming, so there never is a second swing. Oh sorry I thought I was chuck norris for a minute.

    It depends if it bounces back, then I look for a different sweet spot.
  10. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    1. You split that at a 90 degree angle to what you should have. You always split straight with any knots or limbs unless you are positive that they don't protrude or warp the wood into the path of your swing

    2. I don't get everything in one swing like chuck norris up there, but I find that practice has made me pretty good at striking with pretty danged good accuracy considering the size of the tool and the speed that I swing. Split enough and you'll see what I mean.

    3. Just because I hit the same spot multiple times, doesn't mean it's necessary. just get it close enough and it'll work.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Danno beat me to the punch on where to split that thing. As for where to swing on the second one, it depends upon the size of the log. Most times on the large logs I'll make the first hit on the far side and the second hit either on the close side or mid-way. Some wood though will split better on the sides rather than down the middle. Trial and error will show you which is best. If all else fails, use hydraulics.
  12. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    For sure you'll be more likely to split your rounds in one whack if you put the camera down and use both hands. ;)

    Sometime I prefer if the rounds only split part way through, and they don't fly off the chopping block. The next chop I'll do at 45 deg. to the first one, and sometimes, if I can do it just right, I'll get 3, or even 4, splits out of the round in just two chops, without ever having to stop and stand any wood up again. Sometimes.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    And I always hated using a chopping block. Give me Mother Earth and all is well. Having that log low gives you a greater power stroke and that means better splitting. However, if you are a Lumber-Jack, you are strong enough that it doesn't matter. You can even do it one handed.
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  14. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Split it where it lies.
  15. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Danno - regarding your first point - I would have split where he did. Are you saying try to go right through that knot on the first swing? I would have split that piece in half, then that half into thirds (?) and gone around that knot. Maybe your way is easier - I have never tried that. I just wanted to make sure I understand what you and Dennis are saying.
  16. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Yup, you got it. I'd have made two mirror pieces with half a knot on them if that makes sense. I'll try to find one in the stack soon and take pics.
    Backwoods Savage and red oak like this.
  17. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    I would have done just as red oak suggests. Split off the good half, then split around the knot avoiding it if possible. If the knots un-avoidably large, I split all the straight grained wood away from it, then split down the center of the knot. The first split is the hardest, it doesn't seem like the time to tackle the knot.:confused:
    Woody Stover and red oak like this.
  18. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Bookmatch in other words.
  19. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the reply - I actually have a piece that looks pretty similar to the OP that I was going to split tomorrow. I'll try as you suggest.
  20. OldLumberKid

    OldLumberKid Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for all the great replies. You folks are a great group.

    I'm def in the search for a wider chopping block. There have been a few times I've gotten lazy and let the round creep toward the front, leaving no protection from an understrike. I discovered the hard way on day 1 that an understrike is going to hit the ground about a foot in front of me with the X27 and the legs spread well wide.

    I'll give mother earth a try when I'm a bit more comfortable with it. It should be frozen hard enough not to have too much sponginess.

    For fun, here's a pic of a completely different round that had a beyotch of a knot. this one pt up a real fight.
    Apols in advance if you saw it in another thread.

    I am going to work on Schlot's technique. I've heard of folk starting down a log and it splitting, but walking into a room and it splitting...now that's pro ;) But first I'm gonna practice staring down the dog, and see if he takes me for a walk.

    [​IMG]
    schlot likes this.
  21. Senatormofo

    Senatormofo Member

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    If I encounter a nasty hunk to split, I'll turn it over and try the bottom. My last resort is to lay it on its side and plow the X27 through it. Surprisingly enough, this works pretty well sometimes. One way or another, the X27 usually prevails!
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  22. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I like splitting wood, not making ax marks. If a hard wack to the nearest edge doesn't do it I will wack the furthest edge in line with the first wack.
    Then, if anything, I will turn the log 90 degrees and repeat. That is as far as I go.

    Wedges? Never. Way too much like working. 3 or 4 wasted wacks at the most and into the splitter pile.
  23. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

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    I would have turned that over in the first place. Crotches and knots always seem to split better when angled down from you. There really is no force from your strike that will be applied to the end of that cutoff. Turn it over and force is applied all along the structure. IMHO
    Thistle, Fifelaker and red oak like this.
  24. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Tree top towards the ground splits easier 90% of the time....Sometimes you get an extra tough one that makes no difference.I will either bludgeon it into submission or break out the 288XP.Nothing it wont go through in 30 seconds or so.
    basod likes this.
  25. Redlegs

    Redlegs Feeling the Heat

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    So I have only been heating with wood for just a few years and I am still gaining experience, but it looks like a lot of forums users are really into this Fiskers thing. Don't mean to steal a thread but whats the big deal with them?

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