Today, we’re going to look at how to chop wood safely. First off, you need to establish a safety zone around where you are chopping. When the wood splits, it can kick off to the sides. Plus, you need to be aware of what’s going on behind you so that you don’t hit someone with your backswing.
Next, you’ll want a wide stance. This way, the ax will go between your legs on your follow through. If you miss, you want the axe blade to go between your legs and not into your foot. If you get tired and sloppy, that’s when injuries occur. A poor stance results with a follow through that ends at your foot or shin.
To gauge your distance from the wood, put the blade of the axe on the wood and shake hands with the axe handle. You don’t want to feel like you’re having to reach or bend forward to make contact with the wood.
If you’re too close, you risk hitting the wood with the axe handle. This will hurt your hands and potentially knock the wood back into your feet and legs.
As for swinging the axe, you can bring the axe straight overhead, and then straight down. Let’s watch again. Straight overhead, and then straight down. Or… You can bring the axe off to the side, and then straight down. Around and then down.
Now, I’ll go full speed. As the wood tumbles off to the side, you see why creating a safe zone is important. Thud! That one didn’t split quite as easily.
With pieces this size, I’m splitting the wood into quarters. First, I cut it in half, and then I cut each subsequent piece in half again. Bring the axe blade straight down on top of the wood. Does that count as one hit? If you can pull it apart with you hands, I think that counts as just one hit. Notice my wide stance. Plus, I’m centered on my target. Take your time and stay safe.