How To Split Wood By Hand: [Using Wood Splitting Tools]

How To Split Wood By Hand

Heating your home with firewood is definitely cost-effective. The only downside is that you’re going to be required to put in more work to keep your home heated.

After all, you’ll need to go outside in the summer and chop down trees. Then, you’ll need to split the wood and make it small enough to fit inside of your fireplace.

If you don’t have a good wood splitter, you’ll need to do it by hand. Unfortunately, this is one of the toughest ways to split wood. Below, you’ll find out how to split wood by hand the easy way.

Numerous Methods

Ultimately, there are numerous ways to split the wood. The difficulty of the process will depend on what you’re using at the time. Also, the type of wood you’re dealing with can make a big difference.

If you’re working with harder wood, you’ll need to use more energy. Below, you’ll learn a great deal more about some of the best ways to split the wood by hand.

Using A Splitting Wedge

How To Split Wood By Hand
Splitting Wedge

Splitting wedges are very affordable and easily accessible. You can purchase one from any hardware store. Even better is the fact that they’re actually going to make splitting your wood somewhat easier. Instead of slamming the axe against the wood repeatedly, you’re going to be working in a meticulous manner.

You just need to place the wedge onto the wood. It is best to cut the wood into pieces that resemble a pizza pie. Use a hammer to force the wedge to penetrate through the wood’s surface.

Continue hitting the wedge over and over. Eventually, the wedge will force the wood to split open. You may need to pull the wood apart with your hands. Either way, this is a great way to get the job done right.

Cons Of Using A Splitting Wedge

There are a few cons of utilizing a splitting wedge to slip your wood. For starters, this is a very time-consuming method. In fact, it might be the longest method of all. After all, you’ll need to drive the wedge through the wood with a hammer.

This will take a long time. It will also require a lot more energy on your end. If you’re looking to get the wood split much quicker, you should try using a splitting axe or chainsaw.

Using A Maul

How To Split Wood By Hand
Splitting Maul

Using a maul is another good way to split the wood. This type of axe is going to be thicker than the others. It will also feature a wedge shape. Therefore, it works almost identically to the mall. The only difference here is that the splitting maul is much bigger and heavier.

Therefore, it is going to require more strength on your end. The good news is that the splitting maul will definitely get the job done faster. If you slam the maul into the wood with enough force, you may be able to split it with a single hit.

To get the most out of your maul, you need to use its weight to your advantage. With a little bit of practice and patience, you’ll eventually learn how to master this process and that will make things much easier.

Cons Of Using A Splitting Maul

The biggest downfall of using a splitting maul is the fact that it is so heavy. Older individuals may not have the strength needed to force the maul into the wood. If this is the case, you may need to use one of the alternative methods. You should also remember that it is common for the maul to get stuck in the wood.

This will require you to act according. You can pick up the maul and wood. Then, you can slam it down on the surface. Or, you can use a hammer to finish beating the maul into the wood. Either way, this can complicate and slow things down.

Taking Advantage Of A Splitting Axe

How To Split Wood By Hand
Splitting Axe

The splitting axe is very similar to the maul. However, there are some minor differences. The splitting axe will be much lighter. It is also going to be slightly smaller in size. Therefore, you’re not going to be able to use the axe’s weight as much. Instead, you’ll need to rely on brute force.

Still, the splitting axe offers a handful of benefits. Since it is lighter, you can bring it down into the wood with more velocity. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the axe getting stuck in the wood so much.

It is really a toss-up between the splitting axe and the maul. Some people will prefer the maul and others will like the axe.

It is up to you to decide what is going to work best for you.

Cons Of Using A Splitting Axe

Using a splitting axe is definitely one good way to split wood. However, it is not the perfect solution to the problem. After all, this method is going to require a lot of strength on your end. If you do not use enough force, you’re never going to be able to get the wood split.

It is somewhat common for the axe head to get stuck in the wood. However, it is not going to be nearly as common as the maul. Another problem with both the axe and the maul is the fact that the head may come off at some point in the future. That would render both tools useless.

Despite some cons here and there, a splitting axe is still a good option. As long as you’ve got the energy to get it done, you’ll be able to split the wood with a single hit or maybe two.

Using A Chainsaw

How To Split Wood By Hand

There is no better way to split hard, heavy wood than with a chainsaw. It is extremely difficult to split these woods with a maul because they are so strong and have a lot of tough fibers.

The BTUs produced by these woods is much higher than that produced by softer woods. So, it only makes sense to utilize more hardwoods to heat your home than softwoods.

If you invest in a high-quality chainsaw, you will discover that splitting wood is a breeze. Just crank on the chainsaw and drive the blade into the wood. Continue doing this until your firewood pile is filled to the max.

Before you invest in a new chainsaw, you should know if this is the most suitable wood-splitting option for you. Woods, especially hardwoods, can do a lot of damage to a chainsaw blade. So, when you pick up your chainsaw, be sure to purchase an extra blade.

You will also need a couple of gallons of gas, which will need to be mixed appropriately with 2-cycle engine oil.

Cons Of Using A Chainsaw

Just like any type of outdoor equipment and power tools, a chainsaw has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include time efficiency, affordability and effectiveness. The downsides include less control and more risks are involved in the splitting process.

Splitting a lot of wood will eventually take its tow on the chainsaw blade. So, you should expect to spend some money and time into replacing it. Fortunately, you can save some money by investing in a portable chainsaw sharpener. Some machine shops also offer this service for small fees.


Ultimately, there are numerous ways to split the firewood. Nevertheless, some methods are going to work much better than others. If you have no choice but to do it by hand, you should definitely try one of the methods mentioned above.

You should use the method that best suits your strength and stature. This will ensure that you’re able to get the job done right without injuring yourself along the way. Either way, you should work slowly. Do not put too much pressure on yourself. If the maul is too heavy, put it aside and go with the splitting wedge.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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