BATONING of ax and processing of wood - setting fire


If possible, you should split firewood while kneeling so as to eliminate travel of the axe if you miss the log. This will clear your legs of possible contact and keep you in a much safer position than standing. To accomplish this, kneel in front of the anvil and adjust your position so that when the axe head is in the middle of the anvil, your arms are outstretched. In this position, the axe may strike the ground (although this isn’t desired), but it can never swing into your legs or feet. Never use a knife for a job that can be accomplished by an axe, but be mindful that the smaller your firewood becomes, the more dangerous it becomes to process with a heavy implement.

 Another way to split a plank of wood is to lay it horizontally on the anvil instead of vertically. This will create a smaller margin for a miss and allow easy splitting to kindling size. Remember when splitting any wood that it will tend to fly left or right of the anvil; these areas should be cleared of persons or gear before starting. Once you have processed the wood to smaller than wrist-size pieces, you can use a compound anvil for the final splitting of longer pieces. Place the desired piece onto the anvil horizontally; once you’ve made them strike and the axe has penetrated through the wood into the anvil, leave the axe stationary and pull the wood to one side to complete the split.


You should be able to process an 8" diameter log that is approximately 12" long into 88 pieces of kindling if necessary, or into any derivative that is needed from that. Use pieces at least 2" in diameter for fuel sources, and pieces no bigger than large #2 pencils as kindling. Remember that harder and green woods will burn longer but softer deadwood green woods will burn longer, but softer deadwood will take flame faster, so a combination may be necessary for a good fire lay, depending on your conditions.


For purposes of making slats, planks, or shingles, fashion a large baton so you can use the blade of the axe in place of a froe (a froe is a flat metal cutting the blade attached to a handle; it’s used with a baton to make thin splits of flat plank wood when making shingles). As with the tomahawk head, this will allow you to use the axe head in a more controlled fashion as a wedge for splitting off these items from a heavily grained hardwood or cedar
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