Tomahawks and tactical blades are what comes to mind when one thinks how to split wood with a hatchet. It is also a maul by a far definition or another name. Primarily used for splitting wood, Hatchets may also be used in many other scenarios as well, that’s why they fall into the survival blade category. It’s not odd to see someone use a hatchet for self-defense, hunting, and other tactical & survival situations.
How to split wood with a hatchet in Six steps
Splitting wood can be a fairly easy process, but technique is key. When it comes to splitting wood with a hatchet, a couple of steps should be carefully followed to keep your hatchet in good working condition.
Step 1-Preparation Selecting a well-balanced hatchet, which is strong and sturdy should be taking into consideration. Also set your wood aside in a nice pile making it easy to pick up and split.
Step 2-Cut the wood to size Make sure the wood is cut to size. The wood to be split should be around 12- 15 inches, which makes it easy for storing. Also , make sure the edges are flat, so that your can easily set the logs on tip of the splitting surface. Try to keep you logs between 12-15 inches because the larger your logs are, the harder it will be to effectively split them.
Step 3-Setting a splitting surface When it comes time to split the wood, it is smart to set up a splitting point. This is usually a larger block with a flat surface. Note that the block should neither be too high nor short, around 6 inches from the ground is a good height. Also, make sure that the splitting operation is not done on concrete or the ground. An effective and standard point is a larger tree trunk with flat edges or bases for setting and placing the firewood.
Step 4-Set up the Splitting area While setting up the splitting area, make sure to have a good footing and no debris within the workaround area. It is increasingly easier to trip or fall over something when you’re swinging a hatchet. So be mindful of your surrounding and make sure you have everything picked up from your work area.
Step 5-Wear protective gear After all is set, put on the right gear for the job, from protective glasses, gloves down to protective boots, preferably steel-toe, make sure you have the right attire for the job. If you are a beginner its good to have someone around when splitting the wood. Doing it solo is discouraged.
Step 6 – Swing the Hatchet Stand at least three feet away from the placed log and swing with your strong hand. Make sure you aim for the center of the wood and swing straight down instead of swinging at an angle. Hatchets can easily injure you because of their small size, if you miss the wood you can mistakenly hit one of your body parts. Depending on how sharp your hatchet is the wood should split fairly easily; do note if you are splitting wood you should try to go for a longer hatchet for better leverage. Place another log on the splitting area and repeat the process.
Top 3 Hatchets to Look for
1. Hults Bruk Tarnaby Hatchet This unique hatchet comes with a sheath and has some unique Swedish embellishing as its decorative elements. The hatchet’s head is made from Swedish steel and has been struck multiple times to increase it’s density, thus resulting in a more durable hatchet. The head is also designed in such a way that there is a tampered zone to protect the hatchet and make up for a sharp edge after sharpening. The hatchet can be used for light operations such as light clearing, and garden work, but is an all-purpose hatchet. The head weighs around 1.25 pounds, with a handle length of 15 inches and is shipped with a user manual.. The Hults Bruk Tarnaby handle is linseed oil treated. Key Features -Lightweight hatchet -Tampered hatchet head -Made of durable steel metal -linseed oil treated wooden handle -Small compact size. You can check this hatchet out on Amazon
- Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch Axe Handmade In Sweden, 415 This is a hatchet popularly considered as a camping or scouting hatchet. It comes with a sheath that has been treated and made of vegetable tanned leather. It also comes with a manual. The hatchet weighs 1.3 pounds and has a handle that is 13.50 inches long. The design of the Gransfors Bruk Hatchet is that it has a small head with a long handle, this is to give the hatchet more power. It is thus small in size and not hefty when carrying it. The sheath shape is designed to cover the edge and top part of the pole, this will ensure that it doesn’t tear or cut part of the rucksack you intend to carry it in. You can grab this popular Hatchet on Amazon
Key Features -Small and comfortable to carry
-Light in weight hatchet
-Comes with a sheath made of leather
-Use for camping and scouting
-Made of durable metal
3.Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch, 378501-1002 With a lifetime warranty, you can be sure it is a sturdy hatchet. The Fiskars X7 Hatchet is sturdily designed with a refined blade-grinding skill that provides a sharp edge for sleek cuts. The design has been perfected such that it gives a balanced power-to-weight ratio which increases the swing speed to multiply the power exerted. The hatchet is ideal for chopping small to medium-sized firewood. The blade stays sharp for long and has a low-friction coating. The hatchet is designed with Fiber Comp handles that are inseparable from the heads. The handles are almost impossible to break. The hatchet dimensions are 16.5 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches (L X W X H) and it weighs about 1.38 pounds. Key Features -Fiber Comp handles-Virtually impossible to break -A balanced power-to-weight ratio for powerful swings -Low-friction coating to ensure the blade stays sharper with each cut -The design incorporates a refined blade-grinding skill -Comes with a lifetime warranty. Check prices on Amazon
How to sharpen a hatchet
Step 1 Start by putting on appropriate protective gear. This is to prevent mishaps when sharpening.
Step 2 Clean the hatchet head with sandpaper or steel wool, this is to remove any rust on the hatchet
Step 3 Proceed to clamp the hatchet. Horizontally clamping makes for easier filling while vertically gives a finer edge.
Step 4 Select a coarse, single-cut and slightly tapering file. A mil file is used in filling hatchets.
Step 5 Watch out for the hatchets bevel. Depending on the shape, some may have a convex edge while others the point is more triangular. Knowing this will help when filling as you will want as much as possible to file in-line with the existing shape of the blade.
Step 6 Start filling the hatchet with a steady motion.
Step 7 Similar to the step above, you may need to repeatedly file along the fan-shaped area. This is to create the desired shape of the hatchet head, for instance, if it was a convexly shaped edge.
Step 8 Once you feel a burr on the side being sharpened, switch to the other side, until you fill it on the un-sharpened side. Continue in this fashion, switching the side and this may create an even sharper edge.
Step 9 Measure the edge of the bevel since this will enable you to know whether more filling is necessary.
Step 10 Proceed to hone the edge with a whetstone. This is so as to remove the burr.
Step 11 For a finer touch on the edge, you may then use a finer whetstone for honing or hone using a leather strop.
Step 12 Conclude the process by protecting the metal hatchet from rust. Machine oil and beeswax can be used for this process.
What should I look for in a hatchet?
Not all hatchets are created equal some may be bigger, sharper, and heavier than others, while others may be a lot smaller and more powerful. Different manufacturers produce different types of hatchets. Let’s take a look at what to look for in a Hatchet. These include:
- Weight: This depends on the type of activity being carried out. For instance, an 8 ounce might make cutting down a tree easier, but considering having to carry it around, it will be heavy.
- Price: This may be a confusing factor. Prices for Hatchets generally range based on their different classes. It is safe to say that a higher priced hatchet may not always be the best quality. All the same, it is better to select the right one for the specific job
- Sharpness: Forget about stainless steel. Go for real metal, as these will last longer and when it comes to sharpness, the hatchet should be able to last a long time without being sharpened. Thus, no need to carry around extra equipment.
- Sheath: When it comes to carrying the hatchet around, it should be done safely. Also, the hatchet should have a good grip to avoid ricochets.
- Size: The hatchet should be a comfortable in size and easy to carry around. Hatches are usually medium to small and should not weigh much.
Detailed above are the things one ought to consider when planning to get one. One key factor is the maintenance of the hatchet. Proper maintenance will ensure a longer lifespan of the hatchet. Since it is mostly used for chopping and splitting logs, you won’t necessarily have to worry too much about the blade getting blunt. These Hatchets are designed, with metal, that ensures they stay sharp for a very long time. In case the hatchet starts getting blunt, above is a guide on how to sharpen it. Also, detailed above are among the best and most recommended hatchets to consider if you are planning to get or replace one.