1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Makin' kin'lin

Post in 'The Gear' started by LLigetfa, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    Damn... I forgot all about kin'lin and now my stash is getting low. A few years ago I got smart and split early enough to not freeze my fingers and made enough to last for years. Hopefully we'll get some mild weather in a week so I need to stop procrastinating.

    I've always just used my 2 1/2 lb axe but I want to try changing it up. Can't decide whether or not to get a small hatchet and if so what to look for. I've never tried using a hatchet before and my hatchets have grown legs ans walked away.

    My aim is not what it used to be so I find myself holding the wood up with the axe edge up to the wood and then dropping the works onto my chopping block. Of course I need to get my hand out of harm's way quickly. The weight and inertia of the axe head does the work. A smaller lighter hatchet would lack the inertia. Any suggestions on how heavy the head should be?

    What I'd really like to try is a shingle froe. This one from Lee Valley is a tad big.
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?cat=2,44728,45794&p=67231

    This little one on ebay is about the right size but the shipping from the UK would be steep.
    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Hand-forged-...e_RL&hash=item3ccc95e0f9&_uhb=1#ht_2017wt_906

    I suppose I could cut the Lee Valley one down to size a little at a time until it is just right, Goldilocks style.

    Anyone using a froe?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,147
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    I have never used a Froe. I use a Collins 2-1/2 axe. Have you ever thought about something like this?



    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...kw={keyword}&gclid=CJ7RsdP96LMCFYqZ4AodVnYARQ

    Might be easier on the arm and elbow over a long period of time, rather than swinging an axe if you make a lot of kindling each year. I have never tried, so I am just wondering out loud I guess. A guy I know says you can place the cutting edge of the wedge at any thickness you want and make your kindling whatever size you need.

    Attached Files:

  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
  4. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,151
    Loc:
    Central Ohio
    I've used my Fiskars X27, also my Fiskars X7 hatchet, and also a big bowie knife - a K-Bar Becker BK-9. They all work equally well. Probably my K-Bar I would slightly prefer, as I feel I can make kindling safer. Once I have a piece split as wide as I want the kindling 1-2" I just lay the knife across the top of the piece and tap the knife with another piece of wood - towards the end of the kinfe - to drive it down. It doesnt really use the weight of the knife at all, just the tapping action, and you dont hold the pice or have your hand under the blade that you have to pull out quickly, so in my mind its safer. However that knife was more expensive than the fiskars.
  5. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,744
    Loc:
    NW Indiana
    I've used an axe to make plenty-o-kinlin' just as you describe and then tried a hatchet & hated it. Too short & too light.
    Then I started used a large hatchet/small axe that was my grandfathers. Loved it. Used it for years on kindling, knocking off branch stubs... It was about 18" or more long & head about 1 1/2 or 1 3/4lbs. It broke recently & I'll be replacing with one similar.
    Re: the Smart Splitter, wouldn't you still have to hold the wood when making kindling? otherwise you're picking it off the ground after every stroke. Don't see what it gains you.
    I could see a froe being useful with the right wood. Make a bunch of shingles & then sliver them up with a hatchet.
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    I found out the head weight of the Fiskars X11 is 1.85 lbs. I wonder how well balanced it would be with the 17 inch handle when choking it up at the head? The total weight is 2.43 lbs so that makes the handle lighter than the head. I suppose I could stuff something in the hollow handle.

    I checked and supposedly it is in stock locally so I might go check one out tomorrow.
  7. glennm

    glennm Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    Messages:
    173
    Loc:
    S Ontario
    Electric splitter in the garage for me. I make kindling every day in minutes. One of my best wood tools!
    BrotherBart likes this.
  8. rottiman

    rottiman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Messages:
    1,102
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    X7 Fiskars works like a charm.
  9. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    399
    Loc:
    Foot Hills of the Berkshires
    Estwing Fireside Friend.....American made, fabulous tool. I use it all the time to make kindling. My husband does as well, but it is my job to do the kindling - great work out for me every Saturday morning. Weight is 4 1lbs I think. You can also source this at home Depot, it is in the hand tool section, not where the larger mauls displayed. I picked up mine at HD - around $34.


    http://www.amazon.com/Estwing-Fires...49659&sr=1-1&keywords=estwing fireside friend
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    I fear it'd be too light for my liking.
    Head weight: 581 g (1.28 lbs) , Total weight: 748 g (1.65 lbs)
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    That has some serious weight but the handle up by the head doesn't lend itself to my style. I choke up on the handle, holding it right near the head kinda like this pic of the Gränsfors.

    [​IMG]
  12. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    190
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley - Northeastern MA
    My Fiskars X25 does a good job. I grab a smaller split, start the X25 and then let both fall onto my large splitting round. Sometimes I'll take 2 - 4 splits and bungee cord them together and then whack them several times with the X25 until I have a bunch of kindling. I like your froe idea as it seems to save a step and allows you to size the kindling at the same time.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    Here is a video of using a froe with the bungee method. Whack off a bunch of slabs and turn it 90 degrees and repeat.

    Realstone likes this.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    One tool I've yet to try is my Sandvik Swedish brush axe.
    [​IMG]
    Last time I made kin'lin I wasn't wearing gloves and had a mishap where my axe went through the wood before I could get my hand out of the way. When setting the blade, it is a fine line between getting it in far enough to hold but not so far and fast as to go through.

    With my Sandvik having such a narrow blade, it might hold with less effort and if it were to go further than expected, the wider flat hoop portion should stop it. A sideways twist should open up the split enough for the hoop to fit through.

    A safer way would be to keep my hand away from the path altogether and to set the blade where I want it and then strike the poll of the axe or the hoop of the Sandvik with a wood or rubber mallet. I've always considered striking the poll with a steel mallet to be a crime of abuse as it tends to deform the eye and mushroom the poll. With the Fiskars not having an eye and the head purported to be hardened steel, perhaps it would just be a minor misdemeanor.
    albert1029 likes this.
  15. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    399
    Loc:
    Foot Hills of the Berkshires
    I would be afraid of hand injuries this way. I wear gloves and some pieces do fly and hit my hand as the handle is short. I don't swing over a shoulder - just come straight down, starting with my upper arms close to my ears and I stand square in front of the chopping block - neighbors get a kick out of the stance, but it gets the job done.
    albert1029 likes this.
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    Once I get a straight grained piece of wood down to about 4"X4", I don't swing my axe anymore. That is when I choke up on the head, splitting the 4X4 into four 2X2 pieces and then each 2X2 into four 1X1 pieces.

    I had a good look at the X11 and really liked it. Was all set to buy it but made the big mistake of bringing the wife along. SWMBO choked on the price and said I have to wait for it to go on sale. I grabbed a smaller 1-1/4 lb hatchet with a 14" fiberglass handle for now but I think it will end up being "her" hatchet.
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    30,463
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    albert1029 likes this.
  18. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    16,168
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Cheap hatchet + softwood slabs/left over pine boards + time in the wood shed = all the kindling I could ever need or use.
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    I like the sound of cheap but I also appreciate quality. Often those two are mutually exclusive.

    I found this article on making your own froe from a chunk of leaf spring. It is not as thick at the top as a real froe but then I am looking for a sort of mini-froe.
    http://traditionalskills.wordpress.com/tag/leaf-spring/
    I may go visit some auto repair shops to see what I can find.
    f3cbboy likes this.
  20. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,513
    Loc:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Recently put a bunch of really dry soft maple in a car tire and went to town with a medium axe.
    Fun and productive!
  21. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    16,168
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Nothing wrong with quality tools . . . but for what I need my cheap hatchet to do . . . just chop up some kindling on occasion -- not bust up several cords of wood or chop down multiple trees or hack into a horde of zombies -- the cheap hatchet has done the job admirably . . . and I've had it now for years.
  22. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    399
    Loc:
    Foot Hills of the Berkshires
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    Ja, but it won't go vertical. BWS can make all his kin'lin with his splitter vertical. I went looking for his how-to but found this instead.

    [​IMG]
  24. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,890
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Regular axe like everyone should have. Just hold onto the handle way up by the bit and use it like a really heavy hatchet to split kindling. As my wood quality has gone up, my kindling size also has gone up. I only use four pieces now instead of 9 and then straight to full sized splits. No super cedars either, they work great but I'm just too cheap.
  25. DTrain

    DTrain Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Messages:
    242
    Loc:
    Stow, MA
    Just made a whack of kindling yesterday. Peavey mfg. Froe. As easy as it gets. A nice tool to add to the collection anyway. I also think it takes less effort to use, less force than an axe or hatchet. Less chance of whacking yourself .

Share This Page