Monday, December 7, 2009

Learning To Use An Ax

Oh...Gawd... today I learned how to better split wood with a "go devil" style ax! I have not done much log splitting in my life, being that I grew up in a tropical big city that only sees the icy junk we call snow like once every 20-30 years and also thrived on central heat for the rare chilly days. I remember begging my parents to put logs in the fireplace, just for fun. :)
As you can see in the very top pic, I have to stand and meditate before i swing the ax, getting just the right position before swinging. And I can tell ya, I was doing it all kinds of wrong.
See in the pic above, my hands are WAY too far apart at that point, but my legs are not. The reason I am standing so funny is because should I miss the log, I didn't want the ax to hit my leg instead... even the thought of the chance of some possibility of this occurring terrifies me more then the worst horror movie ya eva' saw X's a million nightmares.
Because my hands were so far apart at the end and too close together at the beginning of the swing, I could not get proper momentum going to crack the log...only getting a few dents...
Once ya give it a good wack and it doesn't split or crack, the ax kinda gets stuck in there - which can seem impossible to pull out, but if you hold down the log, and then pull the ax handle down to the ground in front it will roll back out.
THEN START OVA' !!!
Hells yeah! With the right amount of force, aim and hand placement (which is not really shown below, cause i slid my hand back down after it split), it gets alot easier. The hands start out on opposite ends of the ax in order to pull the weight up over head, and when coming down they slide to the bottom together.
The thing is, I used to use something called a "wedge" to split logs and I can say for someone my size (AKA tiny as hell) using a wedge is a little easier if ya' don't have the body weight to really slam an ax down. But it is never a bad idea to have some basic skills to work with, in case you are ever in a situation where all the easier tools are not available and ya need to make a fire. (Blizzard perhaps? Zombie Apocalypse? Peak Oil? Living out in the middle of nowhere and have no car to get supplies easily? Extreme poverty?)
BTW- the logs were from trees already dead on the property here. Supa' eco-nomical. :)
XoXo

19 comments:

Kittie Howard said...

You're far braver than I am...and a lot stronger...way to go, girl!

Anonymous said...

Is it really that hard to use an ax????

Gratuitous said...

I saw this awhile ago and was amazed. Watch until the end for one of those "wha? But of course!" moments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoAOYLMU1Wc&feature=player_embedded

Leslie wears organic clothing and plays in dirt said...

Kittie - Thanks! Not so strong, I wish i had a video camera, there's alot of missing the mark and bloopers. ;)

Anonymous - I suppose for someone who weighs about 100 pounds and is very small, swinging a man size/weight ax isn't that easy- also it isn't hard to use, but it does take some practice just like any skill. The person who was teaching me how to swing it correctly does a "pinwheel" style swing with his arm and it cuts really efficiently - but he started out swinging it the way I am in the post. As soon as i changed my hand position I was splitting logs easier. Do you cut your firewood yourself, and if so, what is your style that makes it easy for you?
BTW- are you remaining anonymous so that you can leave comments that are mysteriously bitchy...if so, give yourself a name.

Gratuitous!!! YAy! That video was really cool. It would lead one to believe the right tools are super important, but of course that old dude had about 140? pounds more body strength to slam into the log then I do. I love his bungee cord idea, that is one I am going to share with everyone. One of the tiring things about splitting wood is going back and forth carrying the AX while setting up the wood again...but the cord held them together till it was allllll done. :)

Gratuitous said...

Well, of course tools are key! Imagine trying to split wood with your hands, or, say, a sharpened rock. Even monkeys know it's a lot easier to strip the right-width sapling and lick it to get ants to stick to it.

I've been with small women who were efficient tool-users... and I was the tool!

Anonymous said...

I have cut firewood before - what is my technique? Put the ax above my head and swing - easy as that....

Leslie wears organic clothing and plays in dirt said...

Hey Anonymous -
Can you say truthfully how much you weigh? :)

Anonymous said...

I weigh somewhere between 175 and 375....;)

Leslie wears organic clothing and plays in dirt said...

Jus' for the record, the amount of pounds you weigh can have an effect on the amount of pounds a person is able to put into something - alot like a bow and arrow... when pulling back an arrow to shoot you are pulling back a certain amount of pounds of force to push the arrow forward - the less pounds one is able to pull the less far the arrow will go. That is why by law to shoot an animal with a hunting arrow it has to be a certain amount of "pounds" to pulled on the bow.

Anonymous said...

Blah, blah, blah.....

Gratuitous said...

Leslie, don't engage with this "Anonymous" guy, ok? The more he feels his intellect is threatened, the more stupid his comments will be. I'm a bit baffled why someone would want to participate in a discussion only to reduce it to the lowest common denominator - his. By the way, I hope he doesn't think that there's such a thing as truly "anonymous" on the internet. I wouldn't unless there was something threatening happening, but I could track down the source within 45 seconds.

Come to think of it, his style is strangely familiar...

Gretta said...

Dude, chopping wood is really hard. I never got the hang of it. I can build a mean fire, and carry/stack wood all day long but hells no am I going to chop it.

Anonymous said...

Gratuitous,

Why do you assume that I am a man or that I feel I have have any intellect?

Publius (aka Anonymous)

Gratuitous said...

'Tis true, I make the assumption, based on a rather "masculine" tone to your notes. Your vague weight (again, I assume it's the upper range, say 350), your brash and simplistic approach to swinging based on strength. Plus, I find it tedious to continually use the he/she technicality, but you're right, that would be more appropriate.

If you had zero intellect, you couldn't turn on a computer, much less type at all.

"Publius" is not "also known as" Anonymous. It means "public," used as a title prefix for a public servant such as a government position in ancient Rome. And, it is the masculine form in Latin! Nice word though, "dude."

Anonymous said...

BTW, I was not indicating that Publius means Anonymous. It was just me taking a name.

Publia

Gratuitous said...

Welcome to the world of non-anonymity, Pubica! Just kidding; I'm sure you're quite nice. Now back to the thread: I wonder if you took the time to learn or refine the technique of chopping wood, would it go significantly faster? Or to ask in another way, how much wood would a woodchopper chop if a woodchopper could chop wood... scientifically?

Blair said...

LOVE to see a woman chop wood .. :-)

Leslie wears organic clothing and plays in dirt said...

Gretta -
for reals ... i am a much better helper then chopper at this time. :)

Gratuitous-
I think practice does make it faster and easier - I am somewhat of a slow learner at first cause I have to get the hang of a tool before getting wild with it (like jumping in the air and swinging an ax down towards my own self!
also... LOL pubica.

Anonymous -
Gawd.

Blair-
Yeah baby.

Leslie wears organic clothing and plays in dirt said...

Just an UPDATE: :)
Bort sharpened the GO Devil Ax and I chopped a pile of wood a good 60% easier then before- also once i got less scared of chopping my own legs off i put good force into it- i even chopped some pieces that had knots in them...woo!
Practice + the right tools= easier.