What Log Cutting Tools Do You Need in 2018?

log cutting tools

Many homeowners have returned to natural firewood for heating their homes. It’s cheaper and can be much more sustainable than using electricity or gas.

If you’re using wood to heat you home, you’re going to need a few log cutting tools. With them, you can start saving money on home heating costs every winter. Also, they’re lots of fun!

Why Do I Need Log Cutting Tools?

Using firewood has many advantages. Being self-sufficient is one of them. Sure, you can get pre-cut firewood but it’s cheaper and there’s a certain satisfaction in cutting your own. Also, in an emergency. you wouldn’t need to rely on anybody to get the job done.

The right log cutting tools will make processing firewood easier and quicker. You can spend more time relaxing by the fire instead of outdoors chopping wood. Or waiting for your wood delivery guy to turn up!

You’ll also find that cutting firewood is great exercise (think “Rocky” in the Snow)!

Read on to discover the best log cutting tools and learn the ones you absolutely need.

Saws for Cutting Firewood

Your best friend for cutting firewood will be a saw, and there are several types to choose from:

Power / Chain Saw

A power saw will quickly bring the largest of trees down to the ground. It will get it sawed up into fireplace sized logs quick, fast and in a hurry.

Also known as a chain-saw, the power saw is an electric or gas powered tool and will require safety precautions and intermediate skills to use.

Power saws require an occasional chain sharpening, which you can easily learn to do yourself with a special file. The chain and spark plug will also need replacing occasionally too.

Power saws come in a variety of bar sizes and the diameter of trees that you typically will be cutting should dictate the size of bar you purchase. The most popular bar lengths are 16 or 18 inches for the average homeowner.

There are also various adapters that enable you to turn a power saw into a mill saw so you can mill your lumber from the trees you’ve cut down for building or selling.

Hand Saws

Hand saws are another option that can be used instead of a power saw and require no gas or oil to use. However, hand saws are much more labor intensive to use.

They do work well for sawing down smaller trees or pruning off dead limbs for burning in a wood stove or fireplace.

Hand saws come in a one-man or two-man (crosscut) variety and will need sharpening frequently.

Saw Safety Precautions

Before using any type of saw or ax, take a few moments out to implement a few safety precautions.

  • Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris and sawdust.
  • If you are using a gas powered piece of log cutting equipment (which are always loud) wear hearing protection.
  • Tuck in all loose shirt tails or other pieces of loose clothing so they do not get caught in the saw.
  • Keep hands away from a running power saw.
  • Be aware of where everyone else is so they are not struck by a falling tree.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when cutting tree so you do not fall it into a structure, auto or other tree and most especially on yourself.
  • Read all operating instructions for you log cutting tools before attempting to operate it.

Wood Cutting Axes

Once upon a time, a man and his axe could chop down trees, build and heat a home, fence in a pasture, build a barn and do a hundred other chores on the family homestead. He still can.

A sharp axe is one of the most reliable log cutting tools, but it requires a lot of man-power to use. An axe head is sharpened much like a knife is – just with a larger whit rock.

Single-Bit Axes & Double-Bit Axes

Axes come in single-bit (one sharp side) and double-bit (two sharp sides) types. The double-bit type allows you to switch to a new sharp side when the first side becomes dull.

However, there is a sharp ax head coming back at you with every swing so care must be taken when using a double bit ax.

Brush Ax

If your log cutting adventure will be taking you deep into the woods, a brush ax may be a needed tool. A brush ax is designed to make hash out of years of thick undergrowth and clear a path. This tool comes in several sizes and styles.

Check out our page on “Types of Axes” for more information on the many different kinds of axes.

Buschcraft Hatchets

Bushcraft hatchets are versatile all-rounders. When used with a big baton and thin wedges they can split even challenging hardwood like Hemlock and Cedar.

Perfect for Dads who fancy a bit of a challenge or when camping.

Mauls

A maul is often used when splitting wood by hand. A maul resembles an ax, but the head is thicker and heavier (like an iron wedge) so it splits the wood easier.

Wedge and Sledge Hammer

An iron wedge is sometimes needed to help a tree fall right where you want it. A “V” cut is made into one side of a standing tree, then a straight cut is made and the iron wedge hammered into it to make the tree fall.

A wedge is also a handy tool to have when splitting wood for the fireplace or wood heater. A wedge is placed into cracks in the wood then hit with a sledge hammer to help split the wood.

Sledge hammers come in a variety of sizes to meet any of you wood cutting needs. Some axes have a sledge hammer head opposite the sharp side, so the tool can double-up out in the woods.

Tree Climbers

These log cutting tools are only needed when a tree must be climbed and topped or have a rope tied around it prior to cutting. Tree climbers are strapped on over top of boots and secured in place on the feet and legs.

Sharp spikes extend from the tree climbers at the inside of the foot and allow the person wearing them to climb a tree by sticking the spikes into the tree as he climbs upward.

Wood Splitters

Wood splitters make little logs out of big logs so you make quick work out of splitting fire wood. A wood splitter can be either manual or gas powered hydraulic and either one will make the task of wood splitting go much quicker than simply using an ax or maul for wood splitting. Check out our page, “What’s the Best Electric Log Splitter“.

Wood Chuck / Log Peavey and Cart

A wood chuck is basically a pole with a hook on one end that grasps a log and helps you to move it from point A to point B more easily by giving you leverage. If you plan on cutting larger trees, an investment into a quality wood chuck won’t be regretted.

Neither will investing some money into some type of cart, wheelbarrow or other wheeled device to help you move the wood before and after its been split.

Saw Horses

Also called sawbucks, a saw horse holds the logs up off the ground. This makes sawing them into smaller pieces of wood is easier.

Since they have a simple ‘X’ design, saw horses are a simple DIY project that can be made from a few logs which you have cut down.

 

What are Some Of The Best Log Debarkers in 2018?

log debarker

If you’re undertaking a woodworking project like making furniture or a log cabin,  you’ll probably need a log debarker.

Some masochists also debark logs for firewood. In their defense, insects can nest in between the bark and the wood (especially if you’re storing firewood over the summer).

People also use bark for mulch and kindling, though peeling it from a log is very time-consuming.

In this article we found some different kinds of debarking tools that could save you a lot of time.

Here is a summary of the ones we’ll feature:

Sale
Log Wizard Debarking Tool, Model# LogW-4000 [Lawn & Patio]
Goldec Int Equipment Inc. - Lawn & Patio
$202.50 - $2.55 $199.95
Sale
Timber Tuff TMW-08 Bark Spud, 24"
Timber Tuff - Lawn & Patio
$47.38 - $0.08 $47.30
Sale
Timber Tuff TMB-08DS Straight Draw Shave Tool, 8"
Timber Tuff - Tools & Home Improvement
$29.99 - $2.09 $27.90
Ox-Head 10" x 1-3/8" Straight Drawknife, OX3752500
Ox-Head - Tools & Home Improvement
$58.10

Last update on 2018-08-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Types of Log Debarkers

There are two main types of log debarker.

The first type fits onto the end of a chainsaw and uses the rotating head to power the tool. This provides a nice automatic shaver that can strip bark in seconds.

The second type, is the completely manual shaver tool, probably something that many of you are used to using.

These are tough work to handle but something many carpenters like, as it retains the natural beauty just under the bark.

Some other methods people use are air chisels, pressure washers (which are good for removing sap), and even pry-bars!

The method you should use depend on the results you are looking for. If you want quick results and are not too bothered about the appearance of the log, go with a chainsaw attachment.

If not, a barking spud or good drawknife is probably what you’re looking for.

3 Tips For Debarking Logs

1) Check Your Chainsaw Is Strong Enough

Always ensure your chainsaw is strong enough to handle the extra strain a log debarker will add.

Sometimes, bearings will quickly wear out on a cheaper chainsaw while using a log debarker.

2) Save Money For Sharpening Tools

Another thing newcomers to woodwork might forget, is that if you do purchase hand debarking tools, you’ll need to leave a little in your budget to purchase a quality sharpening block and oil.

Nothing is worse than working timber with dull blades.  We recommend sharpening at least every month if you’re a daily user.

3) Try To Debark In Spring

It’s also easier to debark logs in the spring when cambium (cell tissue) becomes active and the buds begin to break. This is why basket makers cut in the spring.

In the summer the bark beetles come out, and you’ll want your work done by then! The sooner you peel a log after it hits the ground, the easier it will be.


Here’s 4 quite different log debarkers for different preferences and budgets.

Log Wizard Log Debarker Review

This tool falls into the chainsaw mounted mechanical type of debarker. It’s been designed to attach to all chainsaws that are 65cc or under.

Log Wizard

We tested this debarker on pine softwood, striping the bark of trees that had recently been felled. We found it really did make light work of bark, stripping it off in one go and easily working through an individual log in double quick time.

The tool is reasonably easy to dismantle, although we feel you’ll be best to have a chainsaw dedicated to stripping if you’re regularly working felled logs. The blades can be replaced with standard 3 1/4 ones from most makes, including Makita.

We liked this price of the Log Wizard and also liked the ease at which is stripped wood. The only issue was the dismantling on the tool which could become a pain if you were using it frequently.

Timber Tuff Bark Spud Review

Okay, we’re looking at a totally different type of tool here. This time, we’re reviewing a barking spud.

For those of you who don’t know, a barking spud is something that’s used to gently pull back the bark of a tree. They’re also known as “Log Peelers”.

Bark Spud

The bark spud is perfect if you’re looking to get your hands dirty and want to strip your logs in a more refined way, with a finish to match.

Spuds are better than draw knives for thicker bark such as Eastern White Pine, Poplar and similar, thicker-barked trees.

Whilst using this spud, we found it to be extremely well made, easily putting it into the category of craftsman’s tool. It has a nice wooden handle (No plastic here!) and the tip is made from toughened steel.

The handle and tip are jointed very well and should last for many years before being replaced.

As far as dimensions go, it’s 24″ long and 2 3/8″ wide, about right for this type of tool and easily held in your hand. It’s also 3lbs so there is enough heft to help cutting but it’s not overly heavy.

Obviously, you can’t compare this tool with a mechanical bark stripper. However, it’s an effective tool if you want to achieve a more sympathetic job or need to use your debarked logs in a decorative setting, such as a bridge or decking construction.

Timber Tuff 8 Inch Drawknife Review

Another all manual tool, this time we’re sticking with the stripping rather than peeling bark off with a good drawknife – again from Timber Tuff (no bias but they are leaders in this field!).

Timber Tuff

The Timber Tuff drawknife, has an 8 inch blade, 5mm thick at the top of the wedge and has a 30 degree angle, suitable for most people.

As with the barking spud, we’ve picked this one for quality too, as it offers a good quality pair on handles that look somewhat inspired by old Stanley tool of decades past, something I remember my father using.

During our test, it performed admirably, although as with all hand carpentry tools you’re mileage will vary depending on the training or experience you bring to the table.

What we can say though, is that the little Timber Tuff will certainly power through most barks and does leave a nice pleasant finish.

As for maintenance, the steel is HRC 30 rated in strength so if should last fairly well between sharpening. Of course as with all hand cutting tools, you’ll have to invest in a decent sharpening block and oil to keep this blade working at it’s best.

We recommend this as as log debarker if you need to be a little gentler on your timber as your stripping it.

It’s perfect if you’re building garden furniture or you have smaller construction jobs that require nicely finished debarked timber.

Timber Tuff make drawknives for 5″ all the way up to 13″ so you can size accordingly.

Ox-Head 10 Inch DrawKnife Review

Ox-Head have been making axes, hatchets and other blades for around 250 years, so they bring a heck of a lot of skill and experience to the table.

oxhead drawknife

The OX3752500  is another drawknife, this time of the 10″ variety. It is made one one solid piece of steel.

You can expect it to last for 3 – 4 hours of hardwood use before it’s needs sharpening. The contoured wood handles are mounted well so there’s no blade play or wiggle.

When this knife arrived we needed to give it some attention with a grinder or stone to get it hair-shaving sharp. So you need to be mindful of this, but to be honest it’s not uncommon for blades to arrive in this condition. The reason is the workman can put on the type of edge they need for specific tasks.

We used it to shave the bark of an oak limb. Once we got the hang of it, the bark came off it sheet. We also noticed it cuts through logs and branches stumps pretty easily too.

One thing woodworkers will really appreciate is you can use this tool to round and square-off posts to give that classic hand-made look. Overall, this drawknife was a lot of fun!

On the negative side, it’s be better if this knife came with a sheath. It’s also not stainless steel so on the plus-side it holds an edge better but you need to keep it oiled.’

 

What’s The Best Electric Log Splitter in 2018?

electric log splitter

If you run a wood fuel fire or have a lot of trees to maintain in your garden, an electric log splitter will make your work a lot easier!

After extensive research, we put together a list of the best electric log splitters available in 2018. Scroll down to find the reviews!

Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter, 7-Ton
Boss Industrial, Inc. - Lawn & Patio
$449.00
Pow' R' Kraft 65556 4-Ton 15 Amp Electric Log Splitter
Magneto Power - Lawn & Patio
$399.34
Sale
Powerhouse Log Splitters XM-580 9 Ton Electric Hydraulic Horizontal Log Splitter, Red/Black/Silver
Powerhouse Log Splitters - Lawn & Patio
$499.00 - $239.00 $260.00

Last update on 2018-08-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Size Log Splitter Do I Need?

Most splitters are measured in tonnes, the higher the weight, the easier it will split logs. For most farms and homesteads, they range for 4 tons – 10 tons. The rating will not only limit the size of logs you can cut, but also the type of wood that you are dealing with.

Another reason you might want to purchase an electric splitter with a higher weight rating, is that you deal mostly with wet wood as opposed to dry.

Wet wood still has much of it’s strength from when felled, meaning it will take much more force to split it apart. Dry wood in contrast, is much more brittle and will sheer with relatively little force required. This is why dry logs are so easy to chop by hand for your log burner!


Electric Log Splitter Reviews

Our team of reviewers got to grips with 5 of the best electric log splitters on the market today. Here are their findings.

The Boss Industrial ES7T20 Review
(7 Ton)

The Boss is a really nice, industrial grade log splitter that really does pack a punch. It’s rated at 7 ton which is more than enough for cutting recently felled wet wood.

Boss Log Splitter

The really great thing about this log splitter is the one handed operation of the machine. You can actually split your logs with one hand that’s how easy it is to use.

As for the power it produces in everyday work, it’s pretty good and splits most wood, even dense woods such as Elm can be split pretty easy using the Boss Industrial.

We think this electric log splitter will make the perfect choice if you who have a considerable number of trees to maintain, or need something decent for creating log fuel.

TR Industrial TR89130 Review
(5 Ton)

The  TR Industrial TR89130 is a great value cutter seeing as it is rated for 5 tons. It comes with its own stand for splitting wood and can split logs up to 12 inches in diameter.
TR89130 Log Splitter
It doesn’t have the one handed operation of the Boss Industrial, yet it does have it’s own wheeled stand, making it quite nice to use from a standing height.

This is probably the main selling point of this log cutter, we loved that you can cut wood without bending down each time.

The power is pretty good. We found that most dry and wet woods could be split, however, sometimes the machine would have a little trouble cutting wood with heavy knots in it. Still, the motor is rated at 1800W so it’s a more than capable machine.

Overall, we were impressed by the stand, reasonably pleased with the power and because the stand is foldable, it’s quite easily stowed in the back of a car or truck.

Pow’ R Kraft 65556 (4 Ton) Review

The Pow 65556 is a neat entry into the more budget end of the home log splitter market.

Even so, it offers up a 1500W motor, up to 10 inches diameter capability (Although it does say 12 inches for easy to cut woods) and is manufactured from steel – keeping the durability up there with the best.

Pow R Kraft Log Splitter

This electric splitter does only offer two handed operation, which could put some people off. However, we found during testing that the Pow’ R Kraft was quite easy to use and had enough power to get through most woods, wet or dry.

This splitter is great if you’re using it for logs under 16″ in diameter and less than 20″ long. For bigger sizes (and tougher wooods like hickory) you will need something with a bit more power.

Still, the price of this Pow’ R Kraft reflects this, and if you don’t need industrial power it’s a great choice.

YARDMAX YS0552 Electric Log Splitter (5 Ton) Review

The Yardmax YS0552 packs a lot of punch for the price. A 5 Ton splitter, this can handle logs up to 20.5″ in length and 10″ in diameter.
Yardmax Log Splitter

Something we really love about this one is it’s good to go as soon as it arrives. There isn’t any complicated assembly required, it works off a standard power mains and you don’t need to buy any hydraulic fluid for it. Just plug it in and get to work!

The really surprising thing (for the price) is the thought that has gone into this design.The assembled stand height means you don’t need  to bend over as with other splitters and the attached log tray also helps save your back. This makes it ideal if you’ve previously been using an axe or a maul and need something reliable to take over.

Another great feature that makes things easier (and safer) is it has a self returning stroke arm. Just remember to keep the vent valve open.

The only drawback with the Yardmax is pretty hefty at 100 lbs. If your wood pile is up hill it will probably take two to get it there. It does have 7″ wheels so flat surfaces are less of a problem.

For the price, we have absolutely no hesitation in saying this is the best electric log splitter for the money in 2018.

Powerhouse XM-580 (9 Ton) Review

We finish our round-up with a real industrial powerhouse. (Excuse the Pun!)

This Powerhouse log splitter is an extremely solid beast with a motor that could easily rival gas log cutters for power.
Powerhouse XM-580
At 9 Tons weight rating, this is an absolute beast when splitting wood. We found that it cut through all types of logs without any hesitation at all. Even hardwoods and dense timber was no match at all for the Powerhouse cutter and given the choice, it’s what most of our testers would use on a daily basis.

The sheer power is also matches on the quality side too. The frame, power buttons and levers are absolutely solid and the wheels so give it a degree of manoeuvrability. Even some of our testers who swore by gas log cutters were impressed and this splitter has given them some pause for thought.

Again, as you’ll probably guess, the main downside is the price. Yet we would rate this machine as so good it almost falls into low end commercial cutting, such is the quality of the machine.

If you have the cash, lot’s of wood to split and you want the best electric log splitter, this is the one!