It’s that wood burning time of year.
Last year, I posted a basic primer for women who want to split wood (that’s part 1). If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend swinging an ax. It’s so satisfying and strength has little to do with it. The more you hone your technique, the less force you need to use.
This year, I want to cover a topic that I only touched on before:
How to hang onto the ax
When I started splitting wood, it took me a long time to get good. Why? I often got the ax plucked from my hands.
The ax was always taken with good intention. For a demo, a technique adjustment or help with a gnarly log, the person who took my ax appeared friendly and helpful.
The problem with getting my ax taken is that the only way I could get better was to practice. If I’m not holding the ax, I can’t practice.
We had two piles. The smaller, older, dryer logs in the foreground of this photo. And the bigger brutes in the back.
Here’s the thing, once I got a brute on my ax I couldn’t lift it up high.
There is nothing wrong with this. Some people can lift heavier objects than others.
However if I’d admitted at the time, I would have put myself in the ‘ax plucking zone.’ It’s that dangerous grey area where another person might be justified in asking me to hand over the ax.
My husband asked why I was only splitting one pile. I quickly and confidently said that I was leaving the brutes so that we’d have a good stash of night logs (whole logs burn slowly).
In retrospect, my answer was good. They will be perfect night logs. They could also dry for a year. If I was getting tired, I could have suggested that he do those logs later. I could have even told the truth, that I couldn’t lift those logs but wanted to keep going. Sometimes I snarl and pretend I have sharp claws.
Let me be clear, I didn’t have truth in mind. My singular goal was to say what I needed to say to make sure that I kept the ax.
And that’s my point, do what you need to do. That way you will keep the ax, get practice and be the best splitter around.