Helpful Tips

How to Split Wood with a Wedge

Sledgehammer and a wedge

When you’re cutting up logs, if you want maximum leverage then learn how to split wood with a wedge. There are plenty of reasons to use this tool, especially if you have a lot of wood to split. I’ll go into detail regarding how to use one, how it can help, and just how much time it’ll save you.

Learning how to split wood with a wedge will help you take care of that woodpile in no time flat. The wedge is used for leverage, allowing you to insert the wedge in a crack in the wood and use a sledgehammer to forcibly split the log or wood block in half. This tool can basically cut the amount of time you spend splitting logs in half, however, if you’re new to wedge use this process can be very physically demanding.

How A Wedge Works

If you don’t have any experience with a wedge, then you’re probably doing your research to learn what you can about this device and how it works. This tool is triangular and rests on a portable inclined plane. Basically, it’s a metal wedge that’s driven into a block of wood using a sledgehammer.

Using a wedge can give the user a big advantage because of the ratio of its width to the length of its slope. Using a short wedge that has a wider angle is usually more efficient, allowing you to get the job done faster, compared to using a wedge that’s narrow and long.

Many new wedges are made out of forged steel, which will allow it to be easily tapped into a piece of wood for more efficient cutting and splitting.

Typically, you’d use a wedge to split a large block of wood that’s already been prepared. As I mentioned, this is a very basic tool, however, it’s also highly efficient when it comes to splitting and blocking wood.

The Best Way to Use A Splitting Wedge

So, how do you use one of these tools, exactly?

This method of splitting logs is very beginner-friendly. The first step is placing the wedge into an existing crack in the log. If there isn’t a crack, then you can simply drive the wedge into the log using a sledgehammer.

While using a wedge is easier than going at a pile of logs on your own, using this tool for several hours at a time can be very strenuous on the body, especially if you’re not used to working that particular muscle group.

Why Use a Wedge

If you have experience with large diameter blocks of wood then you know they can be very heavy and difficult to handle. Once you have your splitting wedge placed firmly into the grain of the log you can take your ax and start cutting. Once you’re finished, the block will be in smaller, more manageable pieces of wood that will be very easy to pile. When you’re splitting wood, keep in mind that it’s important that you use the proper technique. Never swing the ax uncontrollably. Concentrating on every swing will help you achieve a cleaner cut.

What’s the Right Swinging Technique?

Using straight, solid blows to hammer in the wedge is a proven technique that works for most users. If you end up getting all the way through and the log still won’t split, then use the wedge again along the same crack, however, make sure the wedge is placed closer to the edge of the wood. Keep in mind that a wedge will work best with large diameter blocks of wood and knotty pieces of wood. There are some instances in which a user will drive a wedge deeply into a log or block of wood and it won’t split. Instead, it will get stuck. To avoid this, make sure you keep some backup wedges on hand.

Recommended Use

If you’re new to wedge use, I recommend buying two. One of the wedges should be very wide so you can apply more force, while the second one should be sharp, which will allow it to easily sink into blocks of wood.

Related Questions

Is There an Easier Way to Split Logs?

Of course there is. If you want to fly through a large woodpile but you don’t want to put in the work, then the best log splitter can get the job done for you. These tools are simple to use and are available in a wide range of styles in a variety of price points. I recommend the WEN 56207 6.5-Ton Electric Log Splitter.

Can I Use a Wedge for My Wood Burning Projects?

Yes, if you’re working with raw material or a large block, then using a wedge will allow you to cleanly prepare your workpiece. If you’re new to wood burning and you’d like to learn more about this fascinating medium, click here to read my article on the best wood for wood burning.

Is a Wedge Better than an Ax?

Most people can agree that using a wedge is much easier compared to using an ax or even a maul. With a wedge, you’ll get better leverage. Using an ax will place non-stop strain on the arms. The maul is much duller than an ax and can take more energy and time to split logs. The wedge will deliver results fast and easy, cutting logs and blocks of wood down to size, effortlessly.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to split wood with a wedge will give you more power and cutting precision compared to an ax or a maul. The wedge is simply one of the best tools ever designed for cutting up logs. However, you’ll still need to use plenty of power and energy when splitting logs, which is why these devices aren’t the best choice for everyone. If you’re not sure whether or not a wedge is right for you, if possible try one out before you buy. A log splitter may be a better, safer alternative if you find yourself struggling to use the wedge correctly or simply don’t have the arm power.