Save On Your Heating Bill: Chop Wood Chapter 4
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Save On Your Heating Bill: Chop Wood Chapter 4

Everybody has their own beliefs about the best axes; here are several examples.

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.

The axe you select as your tool of choice is important. Everybody swears by a different style, and there is a brand out there for each type of style. I'm a relatively small individual (5'7" and 140 pounds), and I prefer a 4 pound splitting axe (I got a RockForge from Home Depot for about $35). The splitting axe has aggressive side wedges that push the wood apart, and it is light enough to use with a lot of speed and accuracy. The light weight enables you to keep going for quite a while, too. Other popular brands of splitting axes include Fiskars and Gränsfors Bruks (an expensive Swedish brand that also makes historic Viking style axes, interestingly enough).

Larger splitting mauls can weigh 6 or 8 pounds. Some people prefer this weight, as it transfers a great deal more energy to the wood. I use a maul to smack stubborn, large pieces, but not for every swing. Mauls generally have a less aggressive wedge, and the weight makes the instrument more difficult to place accurately.

The typical American attitude: is a maul too heavy? Let's make it twice as big and see if anyone buys it! Yes, it's been done, and by more than one company. Bailey's is a current production brand. See the title picture; a "Monster Maul" is basically an unrefined, sharpened boat anchor that looks like a metal wedge of cheese. These items can weigh 12 to 16 pounds! Good luck with that... I've never purchased such an instrument, and I would rather not rip my arms out of their sockets.

Probably the most unique thing to come out of centuries of logging on this continent is the Chopper 1 Axe. This is a specially engineered axe with spring loaded levers. The device was invented in 1977, and revived recently by popular demand. The website claims that this splitting axe transfers the downward force into a sideways force, thus causing the wood to explode apart. Online forums rave about this axe, and I have yet to have the opportunity to try one, although I am eagerly awaiting receiving one for Christmas! You can pick one up for about $80.

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Comments (1)

My husband bought one of those Chopper axes but I could never use it. I hope you get one and that you enjoy it. :)