What Log Cutting Tools Do You Need?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.