Splitting wood is a labor intensive task, so any tools that can assist with this are of great value. The splitting wedge is a must for anyone working with wood, weather you are collecting firewood for the home or using a chainsaw to fell trees there are many purposes for a wedge. We will run through some examples of when to use a wedge and the types available.
Log Splitting Wedge Uses:
If you are out splitting wood for the fire, you have the logs cut into 12 in long lengths, these are 2-foot round or more. They are heavy to lift on to a log splitter so you can break them up by hand first with a wood splitting wedge. I treat splitting wood with a wedge as a challenge as to how few times I can fit the wedge to get the desired result, look for cracks in the grain, borer holes, defects in the wood, start there and drive the wedge in, then as it cracks chase the crack to the outside, it’s a good idea to have more than one wedge so if one gets jammed you relieve it with the other and continue.
If you have no cracks or defects go with the grain, align the wedge blade with the tree’s growth rings, 2 or 3 inches in from the edge once you have one side off the rest will follow as you work your way around the log making to look like a hexagon until you can split across the grain right near the middle.
How to split large logs with a wedge, and some of the issues you may come across.
The wedge won’t start:
This could be because the wood it so hard, there is no defect to start in or your wedge has to steeper starting angle. Go back to your school days and think of the physics of surface area if you are trying to drive a 2 in flat wedge in to the log there is all that surface area on the sides that will bind on the wood so start with a smaller one or a pointed wedge that widens up, get it started and then follow up with the flat wedge on the crack that you create.
Stringy wood will not split:
Sometimes certain types of wood or aged wood has long fibres which hang on, you can split the wood but the pieces don’t come apart. Pull the wedge out and follow by using a splitting axe and drive it down into the gap to cut all the fibers and free the wood. Always remember you can use your maul or splitting axe as an addition wedge if you get stuck. Use a sledge hammer or the back of the maul to drive the axe into the crack either to split wood or to relieve your wedge so you can go again.
The wedge jumps out:
Some wood will fight you all the way and even push the wedge back out after you have driven it in. If you have a wedge that is thinner this can help and then follow it up with the wider wedge, if you have a wedge with notches on the side these can act like a one way and drive in but resist coming out working like an arrow, they want to continue in the one direction. If the split opens up then closes move the wedge along to the area that is still hanging together. It’s a game of find the weakest spot and hit it there.
Chainsaw stuck in tree:
Some other uses for your wedge are when using a chainsaw to cut a fallen log you miss judge where the pressure is on the log and you jam the bar in the cut, if you have room drive the wedge in above the bar and open the gap enough to continue the cut or pull out the chainsaw. Only continue the cut if you are using plastic wedges as the wedge can drop out and onto your bar. One it will damage your chain and two, it can fly off and hit you, both options are bad.
Chainsaw stuck in log:
If there is no room above the bar to drive the wedge in drive it under the log, just bring it up enough to relieve the cut and free the bar. The wedge might sink into the dirt so use another piece of wood or your splitting axe and lay it flat on the ground then drive the wedge between the axe head and the log, the wedge will slide well on the steel axe and the surface area of the axe blade prevents it sinking into the dirt. There are a million ways to get yourself out of these situations be creative and use what you have around you.
Wedge used for splitting posts and rails:
Old fashioned but remember people use to make everything with wood from homesteads to fence posts and rails to stock troughs. If you have straight logs with good grain, you could split them faster than sawing them, lay down your 6-foot log and look at the grain on both ends, is there any defects along the wood that you can use to your advantage drive multiple wedges in along the length of the log and slowly work them all in until the log splits. Great for making a post and rail fence or just a flat side on a log so you can use it as a ramp or a bridge to cross a creek.
Well, I hope I have given you some ideas on what you can use your log splitting wedge for, the options are limitless. So, if you need one or two for the toolbox, please have a look at a few we recommend below, all the best and happy splitting.
Estwing E-5, 5 Lb Sure Split Wedge
Estwing is a well know and trusted American brand, this wedge is crafted in Rockford out of American steel. The starting edge has a reduced angle to assist with starting and then as the wedge drives through it then widens to complete a perfect split. This combo of angles makes this wedge very versatile.
- Made from American Steel
- Rated best seller on Amazon
- Dual angle wedge
- Wedge dimensions L x W x H : 8.88 x 2.5 x 1.75 inches
- Wedge weight: 1 pound
Felling Wedges with Spikes for Safe Tree Cutting
Very versatile set of wedges to assist in opening up a cut to stop the chainsaw bar from pinching in the cut. Assists in tree felling if the crown of the tree is unbalanced or wind is pushing the tree back on to your cut and grabbing your bar. 3 sizes so you have options available when you most need them.
- 2 off each size, 5.5 in, 8 in and 10 in
- ABS plastic so if the saw chain hits there is no damage
- Small dogs (one way wedges) to prevent wedge from pushing out of cut
- Comes with mesh bag for storage
- Bright orange or yellow to prevent being lost in dirt and bark
Edward Tools Classic Log Splitting Wedge
A great all round classic wedge for all your wood splitting splitting requirements it’s made from drop forged steel, yes after a couple of hundred hits the head will mushroom over but you can clean this up with a small grinder at the same time as you sharpen the cutting face. Handy wedge to have in the kit.
- Sharpened ready to go
- Can be hit with a hammer or maul
- Small dogs (one way wedges) to prevent wedge from pushing out of cut
- 3 pounds
- Lifetime warranty
Felled Manual Log Splitter Wedge Diamond Wedge
The 4 way wedge a useful addition to the kit as the pointy end allows you to start those though logs that have do defects drive it in the use the straight wedge to work your way to the outside. Don’t worry to much about the 4 way split it really dosen’t happen unless the wood is already cracking that way and if you fit it with anything it was going to fall into 4 pieces. But don’t think that this is not a very useful wedge to have.
- Made from heat treated railway steel
- Finished in orange so you can find it when dropped
- Notched to prevent it from retracting from the split
- Wedge weight: 4.1-pound
- Wedge dimensions 7-inch length x 3-inch width
Now you have got those logs down to a manageable size you might want the help of a new gas log splitter have a read here to review some of the best.