There are a number of wood splitting tools that a carpenter can use. Some of them are bulky and power tools and some of them are lightweight and hand tools. And a hatchet is one of the most convenient tools that lies in the second kind.
Throughout this article, we’ll be crafting a complete guide on how to split wood with a hatchet and what to watch out for. We’ll be taking you through a basic guideline on how hatchets work, and then the steps that involve splitting wood with a hatchet.
Here we go-
A Basic Discussion on Hatchets
Hatchets are hand tools that come in two basic parts(more about axe parts)- the handle and the head. The head has an average weight of 1.25lb. Along with the handle, the average weight of a hatchet would be around 2 lbs.
When you are about to work with a hatchet, keep a sharp eye on these facts-
Ensure a good quality hatchet head
Make sure that hatchet head can cut well. It’s not only about the sharpness of the cutting edge, but it’s also about the geometry of the head itself. In case the head has a thick bit, it will give you a hard time in cutting the wood with it. So, better choose one with a thin bit and a good head geometry.
Don’t Negotiate about the handle
There is a wide diversity of hatchet handles if you look at the market. They can be of metal, they can be of wood, there can be a good variety of design as well.
While the handle is strong and heavy, it will provide more impact force and durability. But the drawback is, it will make the overall hatchet heavier. In case of lightweight metal hatchet handles, the cases are opposite.
Pick up one with a good balance point
Make sure that you are maintaining a good balance when it comes to your hatchet. There will be a balance point in each of the hatchets. Make sure that the balance point is friendly for you to operate.
Steps on How to Use a Hatchet for Splitting Wood
In this part of the article, we will be showing you the steps through which you’ll take yourself for splitting wood with a hatchet.
Step 1: Cut the wood into size
Hatchets are not that much of a powerful splitting tool. So, before taking your hatchet up in your hands, make sure that the wooden piece is able to be split. For that, ensure that it had been cut into proper pieces.
The wood that you are about to split might be around 12-30 inches in size. This will make it easy to store once you are done with splitting. Otherwise, the larger the logs will be, the harder it would be to split with a hatchet.
Step 2: Prepare the splitting surface
To split a log with a hatchet, you have to set a splitting surface that won’t bother you or the wood itself while the process is going on.
Instead of a flat surface on the ground, it’s better to be a larger block made of a solid material like hardwood, concrete, stone, etc. this block should neither be too large or too small. At least, make sure that the wooden piece that you are about to split fits quite comfortably.
While selecting the surface, also ensure that it gives you a proper height to cut the logs with the hatchet. The best case of surfaces that you can avail is from large tree trunks.
Once you are done with preparing the splitting surface, have a look at the area nearby. Make sure that there is no debris around it.
Step 3: Start Splitting with the axe
To begin with, the process of the actual spitting, swing the hatchet stand from the least distance of three feet. Take the hatchet in your strong hand to operate, and keep the other hand as an associate. Together, ensure that a firm force in being applied in the proper direction.
Make sure that your arm is holding the hatchet at the bottom part of it. And make sure neither the hatchet nor your hands are wet or sweaty. This will lead to terrible accidents.
Once done, make your first cut right on the middle of the log that we’re about to split.
Step 4: Determine the axis of cutting
While you are providing striking force onto the log, make sure that you are directing it in the right manner. Some of the logs are supposed to be cut lengthwise, some of them are meant to be cut widthwise.
Based on which type of wood you have, and what sort of end piece you want from the process, determine the right direction.
Once you are done, repeat the process for the next log and keep going until you are finished with the whole pile of wood.
Some Tips Before We Finish
The steps involve the core cutting instructions that we’ve to go through. Otherwise, here are a bonus set of tips for you-
- Don’t forget to wear enough number of protective gears.
- Keep yourself at a distance from where the strike takes place.
- Make sure that your palms or the hatchet handle are not humid.
- If you desire a better leverage from the hatchet, you should go for longer hatchets.
- Always make sure that your hatchet has a sharp cutting edge before splitting.
- Once done, wash of the head of the hatchet and protect it through the sheath it comes with.
- If you’re not experienced enough about aiming with hatchets, practice the target hitting on a test subject like a hardwood tree trunk, etc.
So, that was our guide on how to split wood with a hatchet and so on. Make sure that you don’t miss any steps and keep a sharp eye on the hatchet safety tips that we’ve provided in the latter half of the content.
Overall, ensure that you’re getting the best hatchet for splitting wood in hands.