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Fire Which axe to buy
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,118

    Which axe to buy

    So I rented a cottage. It has a nice big fireplace. The owner dropped a big Cedar last year so big rounds under other Cedars along the driveway. This wood is well seasoned(dry). I've made some preliminary cuts with a hatchet and can smell the sap-oil within, this is very good wood.

    I told him that I would only burn Presto logs in it, but he doesn't know what to do with the rounds because of their size.

    He just doesn't want me to start a bonfire-I know that is his concern; It's mine as well.

    The rounds are 24" diameter and about 12" vertical.

    So I'm looking for the right axe to make the right cuts, maybe around 4" at the triangular width.

    Can anyone recommend the right axe for the job? I think it might come out to about 1 and 1/2 cords if I do it right-and good exercise through the Autumn.
    I'd rather be paranoid, prepped and wrong than be irrationally happy, frivolous and screwed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    2,683
    What you want is a splitting maul, and possibly a splitting wedge to go with it. Cedar splits pretty easy, unless there are a lot of knots. Especially if the rounds are only 12 inches long.
    Was known as dairyfarmer but sold the cows.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Maidenhead
    Posts
    29,156
    Agree with above. Not an axe but a maul. The head weight is more than for an [6-8 lbs] axe and the bevel is designed more for splitting than straight cutting. The wedge section of a maul head must be slightly convex to avoid jamming and it cannot have the elongated "hollow ground" concave-section that a cutting axe may use.

    What is the lake of fire? What is it's purpose? Is the lake of fire eternal hell? Is there any hope of escape for those cast into this lake?
    http://bible-truths.com/lake1.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    2,683
    Hfcomms' picture just reminded me. Splitting mauls come with two different handle styles. The one pictured above has a relatively small diameter into the head, the other has an axe style handle where the handle is more oval into the head. I've broken 'a few' of the small diameter handles. Sometimes the rounds move out of the way and the handle hits the round. Or the wood splits funny and the handle hits the round.

    The last one I bought has a fiberglass handle, it has taken a lot of abuse.

    Was known as dairyfarmer but sold the cows.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    3,100
    FOr cedar just get a cheap maul. Just be aware that cedar burns fast and hot. It makes fantastic kindling. I cut cedar logs to about 10" and have my son split them into finger size pieces. Couple of thoe and the fire lights right up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,118
    Thanks for great responses.

    I decided that I should burn a creosote log to clean the chimney because it was cool and damp after our thunderstorm last night.

    After a bout 2 hours I added some small Ceder kindling to boost it. It burned great for 20 minutes then the smoke alarm went off. The flue was opened correctly.

    I did the same thing 4 hours later and the house is pretty full of smoke.

    I'm wondering if I should ever do anything other than presto logs now that I see how smokey it gets.
    I'd rather be paranoid, prepped and wrong than be irrationally happy, frivolous and screwed.

  7. #7
    When's the last time thechimney was cleaned and inspected (by a pro, unless you know what you're doing?)

    Summerthyme

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Great Northwet View Post
    Thanks for great responses.

    I decided that I should burn a creosote log to clean the chimney because it was cool and damp after our thunderstorm last night.

    After a bout 2 hours I added some small Ceder kindling to boost it. It burned great for 20 minutes then the smoke alarm went off. The flue was opened correctly.

    I did the same thing 4 hours later and the house is pretty full of smoke.

    I'm wondering if I should ever do anything other than presto logs now that I see how smokey it gets.
    Dirty chimney or cap. Or chimney system was not put in right. Also don't overlook that perhaps the house is to air tight or exhaust systems like the dryer, kitchen hood, bath vents, or HVAC systems removing air and killing draft.

    All fuel burning appliances, especially wood stoves need good draft. It can kill you if not right.

    As to the right axe... any will do especially as suggested above BUT the young man to work it is needed the most.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Great Northwet View Post
    So I rented a cottage. It has a nice big fireplace. The owner dropped a big Cedar last year so big rounds under other Cedars along the driveway. This wood is well seasoned(dry). I've made some preliminary cuts with a hatchet and can smell the sap-oil within, this is very good wood.

    I told him that I would only burn Presto logs in it, but he doesn't know what to do with the rounds because of their size.

    He just doesn't want me to start a bonfire-I know that is his concern; It's mine as well.

    The rounds are 24" diameter and about 12" vertical.

    So I'm looking for the right axe to make the right cuts, maybe around 4" at the triangular width.

    Can anyone recommend the right axe for the job? I think it might come out to about 1 and 1/2 cords if I do it right-and good exercise through the Autumn.

    a whole lot depends on the wood species - cedar isn't oak by any means - but you want to buy to handle more than this one single occasion >>> we are prepping here ....

    splitting maul as mentioned previously several times - will probably do effective damage to 24" diameter cedar rounds - but you might also want to buy a sledge hammer and a wedge or two - some people will sledge the splitting maul but that will eventually mushroom and you get wacky swings ....
    Illini Warrior

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Great Northwet View Post
    Thanks for great responses.

    I decided that I should burn a creosote log to clean the chimney because it was cool and damp after our thunderstorm last night.

    After a bout 2 hours I added some small Ceder kindling to boost it. It burned great for 20 minutes then the smoke alarm went off. The flue was opened correctly.

    I did the same thing 4 hours later and the house is pretty full of smoke.

    I'm wondering if I should ever do anything other than presto logs now that I see how smokey it gets.

    wouldn't burn anything until a pro sticks his camera up that chimney .....
    Illini Warrior

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,118
    More good responses, thank you all. Owner is in Europe and won't return for 2 more weeks, but you all have inspired me so I'll just keep working on it. There are also other rounds on the property, based on what is growing here, I'm guessing Hawthorne and Maple and I think they are denser woods. I have lot's of experience with fire making with Cedar, Doug fir and the like, not much with harder woods.
    I'd rather be paranoid, prepped and wrong than be irrationally happy, frivolous and screwed.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Green County, Kentucky
    Posts
    11,041
    Quote Originally Posted by mecoastie View Post
    FOr cedar just get a cheap maul. Just be aware that cedar burns fast and hot. It makes fantastic kindling. I cut cedar logs to about 10" and have my son split them into finger size pieces. Couple of thoe and the fire lights right up.
    Yes, I was also going to mention that cedar burns hot and fast. When we lived on the Oregon Coast, we used cedar for kindling -- and ONLY for kindling. You'll want to just use it to start your fires, then burn hardwood or your presto logs. Split it, then use a big knife to carve shavings off the sides of the pieces to make fuzz-sticks -- those are great for starting fires. This is also the wood used to line cedar chests to keep clothes moths out.

    As for your smoke problem, you need to get a chimney sweep out there to clean and inspect that chimney before you use it. It may cost a bit, but it's well-worth doing to avoid the risk of burning the place down. If it still smokes after that is done, the chimney may not be tall enough to draw properly. (They also draw best once they are warmed up -- no matter what you burn, it's going to smoke a bit until it's warm enough to pull air up.) What you are burning shouldn't have a whole lot to do with the smoke problem, and, in fact, if the cedar is dry, it's one of the less-smoky woods to burn. It just burns up faster than a hard-wood.

    Kathleen
    Behold, these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him.
    Job 26:14

    wickr ID freeholder45

  13. #13
    "use cedar for kindling -- and ONLY for kindling"

    If you have to buy fat-wood it costs a packet so don't waste it if you were lucky to get it on the cheap. I bought some and I cut the sticks into small pieces for my backpack stove. The chip I have needs heat to get it on the go.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,118
    Thanks everyone for tolerating me. I finally figured it out.

    There is a little knob at the bottom left that controls airflow into the fireplace-it was turned off.

    Now I have had 2 wonderful little fires over the weekend. I found that burning as far back in the fireplace as possible helps to move the smoke up the flue better.

    Thanks for advice on Cedar-I have a lot of it.
    I'd rather be paranoid, prepped and wrong than be irrationally happy, frivolous and screwed.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Green County, Kentucky
    Posts
    11,041
    Quote Originally Posted by Great Northwet View Post
    Thanks everyone for tolerating me. I finally figured it out.

    There is a little knob at the bottom left that controls airflow into the fireplace-it was turned off.

    Now I have had 2 wonderful little fires over the weekend. I found that burning as far back in the fireplace as possible helps to move the smoke up the flue better.

    Thanks for advice on Cedar-I have a lot of it.
    Is there a screen on the fireplace? Cedar tends to pop and spit as it burns, and can pop embers out onto the floor and start a fire if you aren't careful. Though if you are keeping the fire far back in the fireplace, that will help somewhat, too.

    Kathleen
    Behold, these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him.
    Job 26:14

    wickr ID freeholder45

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,118
    Yes Kathleen, it appears to be a fairly heavy steel mesh type that would block all of the sparks, a lot like chain mail for warriors of the long past. Thanks for asking anyway.

    Now it's going to turn much colder and I have my ducks in a row, so to speak(I think). I should be able to do things well enough.
    But lot's of things change as the weather turns so we'll see.
    I'd rather be paranoid, prepped and wrong than be irrationally happy, frivolous and screwed.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    17,035
    What i would do is rent a log spliter. If your not able to lift the rounds yourself make sure you get a tilting log slitter. Which means one that will rotate to horizontal as well as vertical. Depends on where you are what it will cost. But it is well worth the money spent. If it is one cedar you should be able to split it in a day! You will thank me later.
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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,118
    I ended up buying a 4 pound Truper. Definitely less than a maul, but I'm not trying to split whole rounds. It takes apart half rounds into 5 equal size sticks in about one good chop each once I got the hang of it-which didn't take long.

    I've chopped into one of the big rounds and just found that it will take longer to get through it and darn good exercise too.

    So that's where I'm at now. Plenty of wood stored and plenty left to cut and temperatures dipping below freezing tonight for the first time this season.

    Thank you everyone for the advice.
    I'd rather be paranoid, prepped and wrong than be irrationally happy, frivolous and screwed.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Farvana
    Posts
    13,541
    Quote Originally Posted by summerthyme View Post
    When's the last time thechimney was cleaned and inspected (by a pro, unless you know what you're doing?)

    Summerthyme
    Yeah, call the chimney sweep since this is new to you house. I say that because when we moved into our new house called the sweep and he was ASTOUNDED at the amount of creosote in there and stated that we most likely would have had a nice fire. Well worth it in my opinion. And I also wouldn’t burn that cedar straight. Use it only to light fires. If you want, you could sell small bundles of it to pay for the chimney sweep. Stuff is like gold!!
    The Operative: “The path to peace is paved with corpses. It’s always been so.”

    Malcolm Reynolds: “So me and mine got to lie down and die so you can live in your better world?”

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