When to split the big stuff

by Lyle
(Alexandria, VA)

I just had a 50', storm damaged maple taken down in my yard. I had the crew leave the wood in 18" lengths. Some pieces are more than 3' wide. It's freshly cut and won't split at all. I have a good splitting maul but the wood justs absorbs it. If I want to use the wood for firewood this winter. Should I just rent a hydraulic splitter and get to work now, or will the wood split better with a maul in a few months?

Thanks in advance for any info!



I recommend splitting the wood as soon as possible, especially if you are planning on burning the wood this winter. Even if you get it split and stacked in early summer, you may be cutting it close on having it properly seasoned.

There are a few different ways that you can approach the splitting problem.

The first is to continue to whack at it by hand but buy some steel splitting wedges that can be pounded in with the back of the maul. If you work a couple of these in on a line, you can get the wood split. It's still a lot of work, but it's doable. Just be sure that the wedges are firmly into the wood before using full swings as they can have a tendency to bounce out otherwise.

The second method is to half or quarter the big pieces with a chainsaw. This will make the pieces smaller so that they can be split efficiently with a maul. Because you are cutting with the grain of the wood in this method, I recommend using a ripping chain on the saw. Ripping chains are filed specially for cutting with the grain of the wood and are much easier on the chainsaw. Below is an example of a ripping chain. Before you buy one for your saw, consult the numbers on the chainsaw bar to get the proper size and number of drivelinks (DL) that you need to order.

As you suggested, my final thought is to rent a hydraulic splitter for a day. This is certainly the easiest, but most expensive option. If you are having difficulty splitting even the small pieces now, you should probably go this route.

Some people claim that wood splits easiest when it is fresh, others claim the exact opposite. In my experience, most wood species split best when fresh but the difference is usually negligable.

I hope this helps!

-Firewood Matt

Comments for When to split the big stuff

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 30, 2015
your distinguished NEW
by: Anonymous

I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept.co2 cannon mancheste for online

Oct 29, 2015
thanks for posting this NEW
by: Anonymous

Certainly a fantastic piece of work. It has relevant information. Thanks for posting this. buy car decals stickers for online

Oct 16, 2015
Split NEW
by: 5bestessaywritingserviceukreviews.blogspot.com

Hello. Matt already gave you advice. But I'd like to add. As fast you split it faster it'll be ready for winter burning. As you can understand smaller –∑pieces get drier faster.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a Firewood Expert!.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Share it with your friends! Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.