Save On Your Heating Bill: Chop Wood Chapter 3
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Save On Your Heating Bill: Chop Wood Chapter 3

Chopping wood can save you money.

By the teachings of Karl Marx, the consumer is always at the mercy of the means of production. This concept is especially apparent with utilities, where users usually only have one or two choices of supply. Astute observers will notice that electricity and natural gas costs rise in the winter when their usage increases for the purpose of providing heat (basic supply and demand). Although, conceptually, the individual will always be at the mercy of the market, using your fireplace can drastically reduce your utility bill during the winter.

Chopping wood requires practice. I took my first swings at pieces of wood when I was about 15 or so. I was not very strong, and I made very little headway. The technique develops over time, and you can learn how to conserve your energy. The most effective way to chop wood is to place your stroke accurately. If you can get within an inch of where you want to be, then the force behind your swing will go to greatest use. It has taken me years to get good at chopping wood. You don't need to be particularly large; I'm 5'7" and under 140 pounds currently. You will have to develop some tough hands, though.

Wood chopping is good exercise. Consider the old adage, "He who chops his own wood heats himself twice). Most of your work with wood chopping will probably be done with a 4 pound or so splitting axe. The light weight and aggressive wedge is very accurately and makes good use of force. Occasionally, you may need a larger maul to bash a particularly stubborn piece.

When placing your shots, apply some technique. If you are starting with a larger round, don't waste your time by trying to split the middle at first. Work around the outside and take small pieces off. When you have reduced the mass of the round, it will be easier to split. Also consider what you are swinging at. Is it pine? Some pieces of pine barely need to be touched in order to fly apart. Does it have knots? Place the knot on the bottom if possible, and place your stroke where it will pass either beside or directly through the knot. Some knots will split right down the middle (pine does this often), and others will leave you with your axe stuck in the wood. Naturally, cured dry wood is much easier to split (especially for hard woods).

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Comments (1)

I was never very good at it, but I used to love to chop wood. I needed your advice then!