Split a log with minimum tools?

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by NevadaBlue, May 9, 2019.

  1. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Inspired by @WILL ’s bench

    80C14F56-2234-493E-AA56-13DEF50E829E.jpeg

    In his auger kit thread, I have an idea and a question.

    I am taking my brace and bit to the Oregon GTG next week and would like to make a ‘chair’ thing similar to the bench. Shorter log...

    The wood will likely be fir, finding a down log to cut looks like it will not be a problem, hopefully straight grain.
    Question is, how to split the log in half with minimum tools? Will a wooden wedge, saw, axe be enough? I’m trying to decide what tools to take along in addition to the brace and bit and saw.
     
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  2. HannahT

    HannahT Firebug Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    I saw a video by TA Outdoors where they split a log with just an axe and some wedges, if I'm remembering right. It was their viking house build video.
     
  3. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've done it with a hatchet and wedges. There used to be a website where a guy split a log a couple of feet in diameter with a GB mini. It will take many and various sized wedges and a lot of patience. But it will work. With wedges it's like the line, 'give me a lever long enough and I'll move the world'. Give enough wedges and you can split anything, little by little.
     
  4. Enzo

    Enzo Supporter Supporter

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    You could pull it off if you just brought a heavy knife. Whittle a wedge and a baton. Use the baton to hammer the blade into the log, outlining and creating weakness where you want it to split. Then, taking an end of the log, baton the wedge into it slowly and evenly. Use several wedges if the log is big enough.

    Although it’ll be more effort, it should work. And it’s pretty much as minimalist as it gets. Probably won’t be fun though, and you’ll have to get lucky with the grain.
     
  5. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    A lot depends on the area and wood. Splitting dry cedar with a hatchet and wedges....no problem. Splitting oak, in Florida, that’s still a little green.....problem.
     
  6. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Yes, primitive... I have split lots of wood with steel wedges, but I thought it might be fun to try a short log with wooden wedges.
     
  7. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    LOL

    Splitting gnarly dry cottonwood with a 24 ton hydraulic splitter can be ‘a problem’ sometimes too. But, the hydraulic splitter will cut the log crosswise if I need to. :p
     
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  8. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    Hey Nevadablue you’ll be surprised how well wooden wedges split with the right wood. Anyhow, I would suggest a saw, hatchet, fixed blade, SAK and auger. Also, I'd consider a 3 legged chair to save some work.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  9. Zunga

    Zunga Bushmaster

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    @NevadaBlue I was going to suggest dry cedar given a choice. But @WILL beat me to it. Plus it is lighter and easier to handle. If it's coastal Oregon then red cedar should be as common as grass. Have fun buddy!:dblthumb:
    Cheers Jim
     
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  10. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Lifetime Supporter

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    I've done this a few times too.

    As long as you do not use a hydraulic splitter, I think you will find a way. @NevadaBlue
     
  11. southron

    southron Supporter Supporter

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    make a baton, some wooden wedges if wanted, maybe a hatchet if ya think ya may need to smooth a board, or cush, but the estwing fireside maul / hatchet thing is essentially a handled 4# wedge. can be used as a basic maul, or put it down once to open fracture lines, then beat it in with a bato / wooden maul ya make first with it.

    I have mauls, and this is on my list of things to get. If I remember right it's under $20


    Also the maul has a hammer on the other end to drive wooden wedges if that works for ya.

    just seems a all around handy tool



     
  12. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    My grandfather split cedar for fence rails. He used an ax and a one-man crosscut saw to cut "gluts" from green dogwood.
    A few of them driven into a split he started with the axe would pop a cedar open quickly.
     
  13. MAD Punty

    MAD Punty Supporter Supporter

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    You'll need about 4 wedges, probably, but yes.

    They'll work a little bit better if you grease them with something, or use a piece of soda can aluminum around the point to reduce friction.

    I will put out a word of warning about using fir....fir can look straight as a board on the outside, but under the bark it could be a corkscrew grain. You can't really judge fir until you see under the bark.
     
  14. Bonekrakker

    Bonekrakker Not a chiropractor Supporter

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    I have the fireside friend and it's a beast. I use it all the time. I think it'd work fine for this
     
  15. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Thanks! My new (old stock) auger bit is 15/16”. Do you think that is big enough for chair tenons?
     
  16. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    Can't say for sure as I've never made a chair with a 15/16ths. If it makes you feel any better, I've sesn video of a young man who successfully built a functional ladder with a 1" auger bit.

    https://www.facebook.com/ShawnWithTheWild/
     
  17. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Thanks! What size did you use for the benches you made @WILL ?
     
  18. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    Inch and a 1/4 (size #20). I know guys build them with 1" bits so you're probably fine. Just use less rake than I did.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  19. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I also do. :)
     
  20. Outdoor Time

    Outdoor Time BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    You could use a froe to split with. Or that is one option.
     
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  21. Outdoor Time

    Outdoor Time BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    If you don't mind me jumping in here a chair or bench with three legs is a great idea. Not because it is less work but a chair with three legs will not rock on uneven ground like one with four legs will. Now I will shut up.
     
  22. Sawdustdave

    Sawdustdave Supporter Supporter

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    The Schwartz made a three legged stool, used perhaps a 3/4" auger and then a Lee Valley taper to form the leg holes. If the openings for the holes go all the way through I suppose the taper isn't necessary, but the taper does stop the legs from moving "higher" into the leg socket. Guess a shoulder on the leg tenons would stop that. Bottom line, I'd say your auger bit is fine.

    As for splitting, all I know is what I've watched Peter Follansbee or Roy Underhill do on YT or TV. No help to you there.

    Have fun, whatever you do!
     
  23. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Heed the call. Supporter

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    It seems like where I live gnarly cottonwood is about the only thing we have. I just end up splitting little chunks off of it with my tomahawk or hatchet I never get clean splits.
     
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  24. Code of The West Survival

    Code of The West Survival Scout

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    It is a simple but the same time it is a very difficult question.
    Will an axe be enough?
    What kind of axe?
    Splitting axe? Carpenter's axe?
    It is really difficult question...
    If you are an experienced woodcrafter, you will be fine with just an axe.
    If not...you will need more tools. At least saw and axe.
     
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  25. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker LB 42 Supporter

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    I am very eagerly awaiting an ongoing trip report about this.... including (I hope) the road trip....
     
  26. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    There's a video on YouTube called "Happy People" about Siberians in the Taiga where a man splits a log with wooden wedges and makes a pair of skis. Interesting film, at least I found the traps interesting.
     
  27. Code of The West Survival

    Code of The West Survival Scout

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    It has many parts. If you saw one... you need to watch them all.
    The idea of that series is to show how simple life can make people happy.
     
  28. bush-hunter

    bush-hunter Supporter Supporter

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    You can do it use the force..;)
     
  29. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I am taking two cameras and my iPad, so I will document the road trip. There is some amazing landscape (moonscape?) between here and there.

    Also, I found my splitting maul today and it is in the truck. Just in case...
     
  30. Bushcraft-kelso

    Bushcraft-kelso Am are Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Wow I like that! I'm on the market for benches for the bushbox
     
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  31. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I am considering cheating... If I have time before I leave, I will cut and split a couple of logs to take along.
     
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  32. bush-hunter

    bush-hunter Supporter Supporter

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    @NevadaBlue you are my favorite bushcrafter and nomader what I have said you are very good at making it work. So forgive a man going thru withdrawal and make us proud on your trip.
     
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  33. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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