Millions of people in the USA cut firewood to warm their homes in the Winter. Although we live in a modern world filled with gadgets and power tools, there’s still a lot of value in rolling up your sleeves, putting on some work boots and getting stuff done the traditional way — with our hands. Unfortunately, far too many people expect a tool or an app to solve all of their problems. We’ve forgotten how useful we can be if we’re prepared to do the work.
Origins of the Log Splitting Wedge
This short article is focused on the tried and true log splitting wedge. It’s a simple device that’s been around for a very long time, and it’s still as useful today as it was when it was first invented. If you look at the earliest hand axes, they are essentially the same shape as today’s log splitting wedge. It’s quite incredible how little has changed, other than the obvious refinements of shape and the use of steel but the similarities are quite uncanny.
The earliest hand axes have been dated as early as 1.76 million years old. Amazing isn’t it. These Acheulean handaxes are between 300,000 to 500,000 years old and all we’ve really done to improve upon them in the modern age is add a handle and made them from steel instead of stone.A log splitting wedge is ideal for circumstances when a regular axe just isn’t good enough to split logs. Axes are fantastic for soft wood and smaller logs but if you need to split hard wood and large logs then you’ll definitely want a log splitting wedge by your side — and perhaps more than one depending on the size of the wood.
If you’ve never used a log splitting wedge before it’s quite easy. You take your log splitting wedge and place it in an existing crack in the wood if one exists or, if no crack exists then simply hammer it into the log using either a sledgehammer or the back of a maul.
It’s simple to do but it is taxing on the body if you’re not accustomed to doing it. Plus, be careful with how you swing your tool of choice. As in most activities involving tools, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with. Here’s a good video to show you how: How to use a log splitting wedge.
Log Splitter for Bulk Wood Splitting
If you need to split a lot of wood on a regular basis then you should seriously consider buying a log splitter. There’s a certain tipping point where splitting wood manually will either just take way too much time due to the quantity of wood you have to deal with or it may just be too physically demanding for you to do so.
You have to really consider your circumstances and decide what’s best for your needs. I know I said that splitting wood manually is a useful activity and skill to have but on the other hand, modern tools can help us become far more productive and reduce our chance if injury if we exercise proper safety procedures. Let’s face it, your body will be limited as to how much wood you can split.
I’ve included a couple recommendations for log splitters at the end of this article, but for now — here are four great log splitting wedges for homeowners.
Truper 33040 | Log Splitting Wedge
The Truper 33040 is a 4-pound wood splitting wedge with a drop forged head and heat treated for maximum durability. Perfect for splitting firewood for homeowners. This design is what is referred to as a grenade splitting wedge because the four ridges create a split in all 4 directions as opposed to the more traditional flat design that splits wood in only two directions.
This is the best all-around log splitting wedge because it’s more efficient than the older style wedges, but sometimes a more traditional wedge is useful. It really depends on the situation.
Estwing E-5 Sure Split | Log Splitting Wedge
The Estwing E-5 Sure Split log splitting wedge is also a popular and features a unique design well-suited for splitting wood quickly and relatively easy. Weighing 5 lbs, it has a fast taper head that makes it easy to lodge in the wood. As you can see in the photo it as double-fins which help it split the wood even further as it moves through the log. Total length is 9-inches.
Estwing products are made in America.
Ludell 11605 | Log Splitting Wedge
The Ludell 11605 is what you’d call a traditional log splitting wedge. This is basically the same design that was first invented by our ancestors. One might call it a classic. It’s inexpensive and effective for basic wood splitting. Weighs 5 lbs.
This is a heat treated wedge for greater durability, forged from high quality steel. Has a rust resistant head. It’s basic but it works.
Ames True Temper Torpedo | Log Splitting Wedge
The True Temper Torpedo uses the modern efficient four-way design. Traditional wood splitting wedges are far less effective than this particular design. This wedge is 7″ long and weighs 4 pounds which allows it to take repetitive pounding.
This Torpedo Wedge really digs into the wood making it easy to split wood. Yes, it’s a good sign when tool does what consumers expect it to do. Beyond all of these fact one of it’s most distinguishing feature is the red color, and to be honest, I think it looks great. I know it’s irrelevant but it does look sharp.
- Sends strike force in four directions for improved log splitting.
- Forged steel makes it more durable.
- 7 inches in length.
- Weight: 4 lbs.
Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 | Log Splitter
The Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 is an excellent compact electronic log splitter that any homeowner can use. It simply plugs into your home outlet and can be used inside or outside because it’s an electric. This is truly a workhorse and works surprisingly well for such a portable log splitter.
This is very well rated product on Amazon with a 4.4 rating (out of 5) from over 55 reviews. At the end of the day I’d trust the average opinion of many people rather than just one voice. This is a fantastic log splitter for around the home and it will save you a lot of time and wear and tear on your body. Well worth it.
If you’re tired of splitting with an axe, then this is exactly what you need. Easy to use and much easier on your body.
- 15 Amp motor. Plugs into any electrical outlet.
- 4 tons of RAM splitting power.
- Will split a log up to 20″ long and 10″ in diameter (12″ most woods).
- Consistent, safe cutting motion time after time.
- All steel construction for a long working life.
- Strong packing to eliminate shipping damage.
The Power of a Log Splitter
A splitting wedge has its limitations. If you go through a lot of firewood in the winter you might want to upgrade.
If you have a need to split a high volume of logs then you should probably consider a log splitter — electric or gas. For most homeowners an affordable electric wood splitter is the best option. Either way, we tell you everything you need to know in our in-depth article.
Champion Power 92221 | Gas Log Splitter
The Champion 92221 is a powerful heavy-duty 22-ton hydraulic log splitter that’s durable, reliable, and portable. Engineered to be towable, take it wherever you need to get to work. A great machine if you need to split wood on the run or you require a relatively fast splitter at a reasonable price.
Well suited for farm owners and business owners.
- Powerful 196cc 4-stroke, single cylinder, air-cooled engine.
- Cast iron sleeve.
- Highly efficient skewed wedge & log strippers to aid in removing log from wedge.
- Automatic cylinder return.
- 2-stage pump operates at 11-GPM at 3500-PSI
- Towable up 45 mph.
- CARB compliant.
When it comes to splitting wood there’s not shortage of options for you. For the average homeowner who only requires a small amount of firewood to cut throughout the year then a log splitting wedge is the ideal tool to use. But, if you have to split large amounts of wood on a regular basis then I strongly recommend you go with a log splitter. Trust me, the money you spend will saved in time and after all, time is all we really have.
Happy wood splitting!