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How I make kindling

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Backwoods Savage, Sep 21, 2009.

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  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    After being asked a few times via PM and also in posts I have finally gotten around to making a little kindling this afternoon. This, as usual, is made from soft maple. But this wood is not green so it doesn't split exactly the same but it wasn't too bad.

    I've shrunk the pictures so as not to take up too much space and hopefully the mods will leave it here in the woodshed where it belongs because this is more than just pictures. I hope it explains some of how I split wood and make kindling. I also did time some splitting, so everyone can see that splitting wood with a small splitter does not have to be slow. So, let's get started:

    This is the first block of soft maple I split today. Notice that bark is coming off so it certainly is not green wood.
    [​IMG]

    This picture shows how far down I take the ram. Then I raise it and the block just falls apart.
    [​IMG]

    Now to save time, when splitting this is as far as I let the ram rise. You can let the ram raise all the way but it takes more time and is unnecessary. Also, notice that I now have only half of the log. Simply put, it is easier to handle than to do the whole thing at once.
    [​IMG]

    Now we start the slicing.
    [​IMG]

    Now that we have some slices, we simply turn the whole shebang.
    [​IMG]

    And complete the making of some kindling.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And it is complete.
    [​IMG]

    From that small log, I got 23 pieces of kindling. Naturally I could not time it because of the taking of pictures. However, I did time a couple others that I did after the picture taking session. It took from 13-45 seconds to complete turning a log into kindling.

    I'm sure most of you fellows also get lots of logs about the size that I started with here and split them into 4 pieces. So, I made a couple that way (and one was an elm) and the shortest time it took me was 8 seconds and the longest was 13 seconds to turn from a log to 4 splits. Simply put, I put the ram down only far enough to break the block and start the ram raising while I quickly turn the log and immediately start the ram down again. Two quick hits with the ram and you have 4 splits.

    This shows that even with a relatively small splitter (20 ton) you can still split wood fairly fast by paying attention to how you are doing the splitting and handling the wood. And it also shows the doubters how that dull wedge will still make kindling pretty darned easy.

    I suggest some of you fellows give this a try and post how you did with it. I along with others are very interested. If someone has a faster and easier way, please post it.

    As for the doubters and the nay-sayers, I'm sure they will gladly be posting also. lol


    WARNING: Because I posted so you can see how long it takes to make kindling or turn a log into 4 splits, I'd surely hate to see this turn into a speed contest. Please do not start this and then see if you can beat those times that were posted. That is not the reason for posting them! The only reason I mentioned the time factor was because of some things I've seen written in previous threads about how much time it takes to do things.

    From my wife: Guys, don't get stupid and lose a finger or two.

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I'm ambidextrous, but why would it matter? The lever is on the right so the right hand has to be there. However, to be more specific, like most intelligent people, I am left handed.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Good observation. I've been accused of juggling some books. Does that count?
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    nice work Denis do you have enough wood to be doing that? (sure going to make it burn faster) I think being on any farm you learn to use both hands if not you will have one side of you body giving out and someone telling you to get going. Very nicely done!
  5. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Dennis, my wife would agree with you.
    I must be in the minority. I'm one of those odd ball right handed intelligent folk. :)

    Dave
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Well, I must admit that this thread is not going the way it was expected to go.
  7. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    I do the same thing. I do a log like that about every 40 or so. That way there is a few small ones in the pile. I also have a small spliting axe that I usually split a few bigger ones down when I need it. Great post!
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Obviously your machine steel welded wedge is very different from my one piece cast wedge. Mine is much more blunt and has a single steeper angle while yours is much thinner and two staged (starts out thin and then goes wider).

    My wedge is so blunt that it crushes the fibers at the start. A round smaller than 2 inches is at risk of getting crushed rather than split. Go to your set of drill bits and pull out a 3/16" bit. Now go compare that with the cutting edge of your wedge. Also, what you call kindling is about three times bigger than mine.
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    LOL

    Bookkeepers tell me that their books are very important. Too important to have just one set which is why they keep another set of books. It's a real juggling act keeping straight which set of books to show to who. %-P
  10. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    That's cool! Good job explaining it!

    I spent a lot of hours kneeling in front of a log splitter (not mine, helping an old uncle with his for many years) and he never got the idea for me to start making kindling with it for him. Thank goodness. He ran the lever while I did the rest. I still have all my fingers!
  11. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    I'm pmbidextrous and the wife loves it when i split wood! :kiss:
  12. rustynut

    rustynut Feeling the Heat

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    Now what do I do with all these beat up books I keep dropping ?
  13. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    Hell I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
    Nice post Backwoods Savage. So i guess not many people use those Walmart log starters? Dont kill me, Im new to this. relatively new that is. Those starters get very pricey after a few months. Heck, i just noticed that they went up in price yet again. $10.90 for a box of 24 starters.
  14. kbrown

    kbrown Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the post Backwoods. I was out using mine Sunday and started doing something very similar; works great. I will use a similar technique to four-way split some splits. Good point about no need to raise the wedge all the way; saves time and keeps your mind on what you're doing. I will also pick up the junk after splitting to use for kindling. Keep the tips coming; regardless of the hecklers! :lol:
  15. mn_jon

    mn_jon Member

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    i must say you get the nicest looking kindling I've ever seen. You should see the crap I use to start the stove :) For the small bit of extra time you spend splitting, I'm sure you make it up when trying to get your fire going. Nice work.

    jon


    ps don't you have like 50 cords of wood ready? I would imagine you only need 4 pieces of kindling a year :) enough to start it once in the fall ?
  16. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    How does someone NOT know how to make kindling?
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Thanks KatWill. We don't use many log starters here. First, kindling is used only for brief time periods in spring and fall. Second, soft maple lights pretty darned easy and that is why we use it for kindling.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Actually we normally make the kindling when doing the normal splitting. Any time I come to a nice log that will make good kindling I simply make it then. When stacking the wood I like to put kindling in the ends of the rows; nice and easy to get at when needed and fills the cross hatch stack on the ends.

    lol, no, we don't have 50 cords. More like 25 right now. And my wife also picks up the crap after I split as there is always some slivers and chips. When she isn't looking I dump a bunch in the stove rather than use it for kindling. lol
  20. mainemac

    mainemac Member

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    Thanks Dennis

    Now I can explain to my wife that I need a splitter!

    Tom
  21. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    Very nice writeup with pics. You can really see how a splitter makes that job 10x easier. Nice work.
  22. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    sure looks quicker than using an axe like I do. I do not use much kindling at all, I use 1/4 of a firestarter. I mainly use kindling when I am adding wood to a warm stove that has been allowed to go a little too long without tending. I will try your method next time I am using the splitter, although I think mine will take longer :)

    Thanks for the detailed info and pics.
  23. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice write up of your process. I am sure it will help many understand the simplicity.

    I can do it in one stroke of the ram: :coolsmile:

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  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Yes Jags, I'm sure when that stuff dries it will work well, but I'm betting you still have to let the ram go all the way down to split that stuff. We have some here that looks just like it.
  25. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Or even drop in another log, just to continue the cutting of the strings. ELM! :coolmad:
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