View Full Version : Nearly lost a finger
i was somewhat careless this evening whilst trying to split kindling with my GB mini. i was holding the small sticks like a chef chopping veg. and neatly bought the axe down onto my finger. lucky i am better at stopping a blow than i am at chopping wood. still have all fingers.
Now to the point.
what is the safest most effiecnt way of reducing small kindling?
If the kindling is small, just use your knife and baton the spine.
after nearly doing the same i gently rest the axe on the top of the pieace then hit the top of the axe with my palm hope that make's sence :-D
I did the same thing with a fairly dull Gerber hand ax many years ago. Ever since I baton either a knife through the small stuff or baton the hand ax. Sometimes I just set the edge with a hand thump in the round to be split then lift the billet and ax together and bring down on the splitting stump. My gerber was so dull it bounced, but not so dull it did not cut my forfinger all along the bone...took stitches and forever to heal.
I carved this hawthorn mallet just for splitting...
This might be hard to picture. If I have a surface to work on, like a stump, I often hold the wood to be split against the axe edge, lengthways, a few inches above the chopping block and then bring them both down together. This is best when the wood is long enough to keep fingers clear of the edge :lol: It means you have pre-positioned the edge where you want the split to be, and you tend to use less force than you might when just swinging the axe. Doesn't work all the time though
My technique for splitting kindling from 4" square down to around 1/4" (or even 1/16" when the grain is straight enough) is pretty much as Schwert and Chris described.
I have some chopping blocks; pieces of trunk, between 18" and 30" in diameter, about 2/3 of that in length, stood on end.
I take a piece of wood that I want to split, and place it on end on the block and place the hatchet on this piece.
Now I give a little whack with the heel of my left hand on the back of the hatchet so it bites a little into the wood.
Or, if the piece is too uneven to stand, I lift the piece with the axe, and tap the two together against the block.
This gets the edge into the wood, by about 1/4", enough to lift the piece of wood with the hatchet and bring them down smartly. Whack!
This way, my hand is never below the level of the edge while the hatchet is moving.
You can do it sitting down, if your block is too low and your back starts to ache.
This technique is efficient and fast. I can make enough kindling in five minutes to light the kitchen stove and living room fire three times over.
Check out Ray Mears book Bushcraft ,theres photo,s of different techniques for splitting, chopping wood in it.
CHEERS STUART F.
Why don't you just hold it upright with another stick?
If the stick you want to split does not stand on its own take another stick, use it to hold you kindling to be in its place. Stick in your left ax in your right and slam it. The worst that can happen is that you:
a- mis it to the right, too bad
b- mis it to the left, you hit the second stick (but not your left hand!)
in any other case you hit your kindling and split or slice it.
yep, there's a choice of techniques. they're mostly based round a common theme. three elements: two stationary, one dynamic. simply line up your cutting tool on your work piece, then add the impact.
knife and baton. knife and thumping it with the palm of your hand, or holding the cutting edge still and hitting the workpiece onto it. all of these revolve round two things held stationary, and hit with a third dynamic baton/hand.
hatchet and workpiece held together, and brought down onto a chopping board/anvil. variation on a theme. that's two moving parts, one static
then you either hold your kindling with an extra tool and hit it with a hatchet, or hold your kindling with fingers, and let go just as the hatchet makes contact.
sounds complicated, but it could be explained in seconds if you were here. :shock:
Those are really great pics Schwert!