This is a great time of year to be getting logs prepared for next winter as any wood cut during the winter will take less seasoning before it can be burned efficiently than if it is cut in the summer.
Having recently been fortunate enough to have a truck full of freshly cut logs dropped off by a local tree surgeon I decided to buy one of the Roughneck log grenades to reduce the effort of getting it all split. At just under £13.00 online they aren't expensive and are a great time saver if you have a large quantity of wood to get through.
It's an unusual design with a flared body designed to split the log into a minimum of 2 pieces, sometimes 4 if your particularly lucky but I wouldn't count on it. The pieces can then be split further if needed using a standard axe or maul (I find a maul much simpler with the extra weight doing half the work for you).
Using it it very simple and safe. Place it in the middle or the log to split and give it a couple of gentle taps with a sledge hammer to get it to stick in. Once in place stand back and give it a proper thump with the sledge and job done. I tend to have my logs quite short so the most I have to do is hit the grenade twice before it has done the job.
All in all this saved a lot of time and back breaking work so I'd happily recommend this to anyone with a log fire or wood burner. Admittedly it's not as much fun as using an axe and you don't look quite as butch and outdoorsy tapping it into the log as you do when swinging a maul, but for the effort saved I can live without doing my lumberjack impression (and it means I don't have to wear the obligatory high heels either).
To begin my review of this product I must tell you that we have a log burner in our lounge and a friend of ours, being a gardener, used to bring us logs of various sizes when he had cut down trees for people. Sadly he has moved to a different part of the country now so no more free wood from him then!
Anyway I chop and saw as much of the wood as I can as hubby works away. I find that I can cut through the small branches with a bow saw but when it comes to the thicker logs I have to resort to other measures. With some of these I can hold the small axe on the top of the log and hit it with the hammer until it breaks through into the log and splits it in two.
I have also found a neat little tool to help with this process and that is a Roughneck Wood Grenade Log Splitter which is currently on sale at Amazon for just £9.99 with free delivery.
The log splitter is 17.8cm long and just over 5cm wide in either direction. As it is made from solid metal it is a heavy piece of kit weighing 3.5 kilograms. One end of the splitter is a point and the other end is a sort of solid cross shape - see the picture at the top of the review as it is difficult to describe! From each of the four sides of the cross the metal drops at an angle down to the point so the whole thing begins with a point and gradually gets wider as you get nearer to the top. Each side has a row of notches along the edge to prevent the splitter popping out of the wood as you are using it - believe me if it fell out onto your foot you would know about it!
To use the splitter you just need to stand it with the point in the middle of cut end of the wood and the flat end at the top. You then hold the splitter steady and hit the flat end with the hammer. The splitter will gradually force its way into the wood and split it across the grain.
I find the splitter easy to use although it depends on the type of logs that I have as to how much strength I need to force it into the wood. On occasions I have ended up getting it stuck in the wood - neither being able to remove the splitter or split the wood! Then I have to leave it until hubby gets home so that he can remove it for me!
I would recommend this splitter although I don't use it as much as the axe and hammer as it is heavy and I do tend to be a bit accident prone - I have already dropped a log on my foot and broken my toe!
Hubby uses it for more easily than I do and he splits logs with no problems.
Garden Hand Tool Category: Cutting & Pruning / The explosive force in splitting logs. Extremely effective wedge with patented diamond head design for making easy work of splitting logs. Forged iron, heated, treated and hardened. Use with a sledge hammer or splitting maul. Features: Forged Iron Construction.