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How to Split Wood Properly

Getting splinters is no fun, but making them can be if you've got the right tools and the proper technique.


  • Step 1: Set your log Place your log on the chopping block, or if one is unavailable, on an area of ground hard enough that it won't absorb the blow of the maul.
  • Step 2: Study the grain Study the grain of the log for any crack or weakness toward which you can aim your maul.
  • Step 3: Position yourself Position your feet shoulder width apart and far enough away from the log that when you stretch your arms the maul touches the intended area.
  • TIP: Standing on a slightly elevated spot will add velocity to your swing.
  • Step 4: Hold the maul Place one hand against the head of the maul and the other at the base of the handle, and then raise it above your head.
  • Step 5: Focus Focus your eyes on the spot where you want the maul to strike and maintain focus on this spot until the maul has landed.
  • Step 6: Bend and swing Swing the maul, bending your knees as you do so. Allow the hand near the head of the maul to slide down the handle until it meets your other hand.
  • TIP: Aiming the maul to land near the edge of the log will make the strike more effective.
  • Step 7: Use the sledge hammer Use the sledge hammer and wedges when you encounter a knotty or exceptionally tough piece of wood.
  • Step 8: Repeat Repeat this process until you have the desired quantity of wood in the size you need.
  • FACT: In the Scottish Highland Games, felled trees are used in the caber toss, an event where an athlete lifts and throws an 18-foot, 150-pound tree trunk.

You Will Need

  • Wood
  • A chopping block
  • A splitting maul
  • A sledge hammer
  • Two wedges

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