You pretty much describe what I do except that I do use a 1/4 of a Super Cedar. The frugal side of me ordered them in the 100ct volume for the lowest price and I pestered Thomas for a further discount. 400 easy fire starts is good value for the money IMHO. If it were easy to use a full one and forgo kin'lin altogether, I'd be in there like a dirty shirt. A regular axe generally has a fairly blunt angle to it and as such better suited to being swung. Specialty carving axes and hatchets tend to have a thinner edge of the wedge and are easier to "set" and control. My problem is worsening with age. There was a time I could hit the same spot dead on with my swing. Now I'm lucky to hit the round. Someone watching me made the comment "Wow, you're like lightning". "That fast and powerful eh?" I asked with pride. "No" he said, "never hits the same place twice".