Heating exclusively with firewood is quite liberating. It’s about as caveman as you can get. Wood. Fire. Heat. (Well, if you’re using the proper kind of seasoned firewood you get heat. But that’s another post.) Processing your own firewood is seems so visceral, and lends itself to feeling quite accomplished when you’re done, and warm. But it can also lend itself to back and other sorts of pain.
This is our third winter heating completely with wood. But it’s the first winter I’ve managed to start acquiring tools needed to cut down logs into dimensions usable in our wood stove. Before this year, we’ve always ordered pre-cut cord wood from craigslist. We have a modern wood stove, but it’s pretty small. It can be too long or too wide.
Yes, I know there are wood splitters, gasoline, electric powered. Even hand powered wood splitters. But I want to start from as fundamental as reasonably possible – I want to do as much with human-powered hand tools as possible. That being said, I finally began learning how to effectively use a six-pound and eight-pound maul, with a few tricks – like using an old tire to hold the firewood together while you’re swinging the hand tool.
I’ve been eyeing piece of equipment for months and finally broke down and bought it the other day, because I unexpectedly drove by Northern Tool, which had it on sale. It’s a Kindling Cracker King Firewood Kindling Splitter — XL Size, I bought it from a Northern Tool store.
I was skeptical at first. How could it be? I’ve seen the youtube videos, read the manufactures information. But how could this rather simple looking device make my life easier? And was it worth the money – for the cost I could’ve bought a hand-powered hydraulic wood splitter.
First, I split a wheelbarrow full with the Kindling Cracker and a four-pound 16″ sledge hammer. Large pieces definitely took maybe a half dozen mashes, but smaller ones just one or two. I definitely would like a heavier sledge, maybe a ten or twelve pound, then each piece would be one blow. Even though it did take plenty of effort, it wasn’t the sort of work that made me break a sweat. It felt easy.
Then, just so I could fully appreciate the new tool, I went back to my old tire and eight pound maul, and split another wheelbarrow full. I was sweaty and got my workout warm up.
The Kindling Cracker King Firewood Kindling Splitter is definitely an easier tool to use for the job, it wins hands down. I look forward to many years use from my new tool.
Check out Northern Tool, they have them online with free shipping or go into one of their stores!