Wood splitting wedge edges

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slowworm

Full Member
May 8, 2008
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381
Devon
I've been splitting a fair amount of wood recently and all the wedges I've got, both new and old, struggle to initially bite into the log. Their secondary bevels (the last 5-10mm of the edge) seem to be a rather steep 45°. Now I know you want the main part of the wedge to be thick, to force the parts of the log apart, but a sharper edge would bite more easily and make the initial starting off much easier. Is there any reason why splitting wedges don't have a better edge, i.e. is there any reason for me not to sharpen them with a file?
 

Mesquite

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Mar 5, 2008
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Apart from being easier to chip nothing at all to stop you putting a better edge on them.

A lot of the older splitting wedges I've seen have had a much sharper edge to allow them to bite as you said.

What you can do to help is to start the split with an axe first. Just a single blow then put the wedge in and start bashing away :)
 

Alreetmiowdmuka

Full Member
Apr 24, 2013
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Bolton
When ive seen logs split on TV etc their always seem to be an old axe head handy that's driven in with a hammer.maybe an option


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
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Get a proper maul. Start the split with the blade, insert the wedge into the crack or hole created by the mail, turn the mail over and pound the wedge(s) in with the hammer face of the mail. That way you aren't trying to start the crack with a wedge.


If you look at the third tool from the left, starting splits, then pounding in wedges is exactly what this tool is designed for

Trad Axes by British Red, on Flickr
 
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Tommyd345

Nomad
Feb 2, 2015
369
1
Norfolk
Get a proper maul. Start the split with the blade, insert the wedge into the crack or hole created by the mail, turn the mail over and pound the wedge(s) in with the hammer face of the mail. That way you aren't trying to start the crack with a wedge.


If you look at the third tool from the left, starting splits, then pounding in wedges is exactly what this tool is designed for

Trad Axes by British Red, on Flickr

Forgive my lack of knowledge, what is the first and second on the left? What's their job? Love the collection though :D
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
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Tool on the left is a Peavy hook and timber jack. Its used for rolling tree trunks if you remove the bit on the top right of the tool.

129608.jpg


The tool next to it is used to Spike and lift or drag logs rather than bending over to pick them up and wrecking your back

It has many names iñcluding a timber pick, sappie or hookaroon

They are basically tools to help me move biggish tree trunks now I am old :eek:

Hope that helps?
 
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slowworm

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May 8, 2008
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I do now have a splitting maul, which does help, but I still need to use wedges on logs without starting a split with an axe/maul. For example, splitting a large log in situ before cutting up (that makes them easier to move about). I find a wedge is easier to use where room is limited and it's more accurate if I want a split in a certain place.

I'll try filing off a wedge and see how I get on, I have several.
 

ged

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
I would definitely sharpen up the wedge. Consider something vaguely scandi style, which is easy on a grinding wheel, rather than convex.
It will locate the wedge more securely, and start the split more easily, but it will be a less robust edge.

Don't hit axe heads with hammers unless you're sure what the materials are.
Hitting two bits of cast iron together can be dangerous because chips of iron can fly off at very high - even supersonic - velocities. You could easily lose an eye, or puncture a major blood vessel.
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
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I do now have a splitting maul, which does help, but I still need to use wedges on logs without starting a split with an axe/maul. For example, splitting a large log in situ before cutting up (that makes them easier to move about). I find a wedge is easier to use where room is limited and it's more accurate if I want a split in a certain place.

I'll try filing off a wedge and see how I get on, I have several.


Aah if you want accurate I suspect you are splitting for planks or workpieces rather than firewood? One thing I have found useful in doing that { as well as sharpened wedges) is a 4 pound club hammer. I hold the wedge in one hand and give the wedge a few smacks holding the club hammer in the other hand. Then drive it in with a sledge.
 

sunndog

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May 23, 2014
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derbyshire
Great idea. Especially useful when using a log splitter.

It was yourself that mentioned a hatchet/pickeroon tool for using on a log splitter a while back.
I keep a rough hatchet handy for chopping through stubborn fibres......having a hookeroon on the other end of it would be an awsome time/back saver
I reckon those old firemens axes should be of decent enough steel too
 

bushman762

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May 19, 2005
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British Red, if you have the time could share any advise on firewood splitting wedges please? I had a couple of old steel ones that I lent to my father, I knew they were in his workshop as I called often and had my eye on them, but sadly on his death they walked! so after a few years I find myself wanting to replace them and would value your input on the quality, design, material etc and would my money be better spent on the more expensive versions? thanks meantime
 

dnarcher

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Jul 21, 2016
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No one going to mention a froe? The tool, not the haircut of a toolDefinitely the tool for controlled splits. I think the long handle to lever helps. I also have an 18 inch mini sledge (from Wickes) that is a really useful tool.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
I buy logs, posts and 24" blocks of western red cedar. I have been splitting those radially and tangentially for my wood carvings for some 15 years now. The size, the shape and the accuracy are things that matter.
If there are no natural cracks to follow (weakest places), then I will drive in a dull hatchet to start a crack. The wedges are WRC and those get pounded in on both edges of the hatchet crack. That's usually on a fairly exact radial line.

Because my custom froe has a bevel only on one side, it is ideal for facing wood blocks to get rid of dirt, weathering and the like. Like as not, I can pound in some skinny wedges behind the blade if needed.

I have family in the logging business. They tell me that the wedges of any material have to have a dull edge so that the wood splits open just in front of the tool. If the edge were sharp, it would cut in and stall, the split not going as needed.
 
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Nice65

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Apr 16, 2009
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British Red, if you have the time could share any advise on firewood splitting wedges please? I had a couple of old steel ones that I lent to my father, I knew they were in his workshop as I called often and had my eye on them, but sadly on his death they walked! so after a few years I find myself wanting to replace them and would value your input on the quality, design, material etc and would my money be better spent on the more expensive versions? thanks meantime
A couple of basic and cheap steel wedges is all you’ll need. I still have one large and one small that my dad used when we were splitting Elm (doesn’t like splitting) after the Dutch Elm disease wiped out one of our native trees.

They’re just steel wedges, there‘s no secret to them. Don’t wind a chainsaw in near them ;)
 

bushman762

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May 19, 2005
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Thanks for that Nice65, thats what I had previously. I was wondering about all the advertised twist designs if they were really that much better and also if the more expensive ones were better by the increased cost?
 

slowworm

Full Member
May 8, 2008
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Devon
I've got one of those wood grenade/twisty things but find it often just gets stuck. Three normal wedges seem to work best for me, one to start and the other two to carry on a split in a stubborn log.

I've not found much difference in quality, although I've not spent a fortune on my wedges. I've got a couple of new ones but most 2nd hand, oftem picked up for pennies in a box of 2nd hand tools. I just make sure the tops of the wedges aren't burred.
 

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