The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Chopping block sweet spot

how high should a chopping block be?

Increasing the height of our firewood chopping block by several inches really helped the process.

I guess the optimal height might vary depending on how tall one is and what size logs are being cut, but for me the sweet spot is easier to hit with the chopping block as high as the middle spot between the ground and your knee.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Mark...I saw somewhere that mounting a small tire on the chopping block and standing the wood on end in the hole of the tire would help contain the fire wood after it is split and help prevent back strain from bending over too much. Have you ever tried this?
Comment by zimmy Sun Jan 8 17:39:25 2012

I clearly need an FAQ page for people who ask about tire chopping blocks and scythes. :-) Here's what I said two weeks ago on the former:

"A few different folks have suggested the tire method to us. We haven't tried it yet because I suspect we're more efficient with the two of us working together than Mark could be with just a tire. But that does sound useful if splitting wood alone."

Comment by anna Sun Jan 8 20:31:11 2012
Yeah.....I've heard of that and agree it would save some time and energy by decreasing the bending over, but Anna and I have a system where she does all the setting and picking up while I get ready for the next hit. Someday I might try the tire method just for the sake of experimentation.
Comment by mark Sun Jan 8 21:55:48 2012
I wonder if you missed the wood and hit the tire how much bounce-back that would cause- Might be dangerous. I saw on youtube a guy doing it with rope to the same effect. He had twenty or thirty good sized pieces inside a circle of rope on his concrete driveway. Then he started wacking them with a fiskars splitter. It was pretty low, I think he would hurt his back doing it too much, but man, it was fast!
Comment by Eric in Japan Sun Jan 8 22:48:35 2012
Safety is an excellent point. I always forget how dangerous it is to split wood until I see someone other than Mark do it. Mark's become such a pro it looks safe and effortless, but it really isn't either....
Comment by anna Mon Jan 9 16:30:23 2012

Hey. You might want to try a foot higher. After I split my block last winter I got a higher block ( almost waist high)..then I have a table to the left where I stack a pile and on the right I have the barrow..when I split now the left hand side stays on the block ( blocked by the wood that is going to be chopped) and the split wood on the right side falls right into the barrow. I then reach over and grab another piece of wood without the end of the table-load I do have to pick up 5-6 pieces that managed to hit the ground.

I find the waist high cuts down on the possibility of hitting your own foot as the arc stops at the waist so there is not tendency to swing towards yourself as you are prone to do when the block is lower. I don't usually post on here cause usually you guys have everything figured out but I thought I would add my 2cents today! hehe ( also in regards to wood rotting..when you cut down your first you should use the first one as a dry stacker to keep the rest dry until you want to burn..saves it sitting on the ground to rot

Comment by eagergridlessbeaver Fri Jan 20 15:29:47 2012
Eagergridlessbeaver --- That sounds like a very smart setup for your wood splitting. No stooping is a major plus!
Comment by anna Sat Jan 21 08:18:46 2012

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