Both firewood and kindling are of great value to those with a wood burning stove. Whether your fireplace is your sole source of warm during the winter season or it’s simply a backup, having logs and kindling ready to use is a top priority. How you get that firewood and kindling differs from person to person but, since you’re on this page, I’m willing to bet you’re the type of person who splits their own wood; or at least you’re considering it.
Necessity and innovation are responsible for bringing us many options when it comes to the tools we use in splitting logs and kindling. That’s precisely what this page is about; all the different tools and devices for splitting wood. Whether you’re a traditional kind of person in search of an axe or you want something safe and easy for your family to use, I’ve got you covered.
- Kindling Cracker XL King Firewood Splitter - Kindling Splitter Wood Splitter Wood Splitting Wedge Manual Log Splitter Wedge 4.8 out of 5 stars 1,394 $129.99 $ 129.
- The Kindling Cracker is a top-grade cast iron splitting head mounted inside a cast iron frame. To make a perfect piece of kindling, simply place a piece of firewood inside the iron safety ring and strike with a blunt instrument such as a hammer, mallet or even another piece of wood.
- Safe and Easy to Use The Kindling Cracker is a top-grade cast iron splitting head mounted inside of a 12in.H cast iron frame. To make a perfect piece of kindling, place a piece of firewood inside the iron safety ring and strike with a blunt instrument, such as a hammer, mallet or even another piece of wood.
- 1 13 Devices for Splitting Logs or Kindling
- 1.6 Hydraulic Log Splitter
13 Devices for Splitting Logs or Kindling
I won’t go into great detail about each device. Instead, I’ll give you some general information and pictures. I’ve already gone into greater detail about some of them so I’ll provide you with a link to another page where you can learn more if you’re interested.
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The Kindling Cracker is an awesome invention created by a girl named Ayla when she was just 13 years old. After her mother cut her finger splitting kindling one day, Ayla set out to create a safe tool for the task. It is a heavy-duty design, made from cast iron. The only real draw-back the limited size of logs you can place through the top ring. The diameter of the log needs to be small enough to fit through the top.
Having said that, I believe there are currently two different sizes for Kindling Crackers; one small and one large. Using one is simple; place a log through the ring so it rests on the curved cutting blade. Strike the end of the log with a rubber mallet until the log splits. Take each piece out and continue splitting the wood until you have enough kindling.
Since we’re on the subject of splitting kindling right now, it important for me to mention that I have a separate page in which I go over the top 5 best kindling devices. So, if you’re in need of a tool for kindling; don’t miss out!
Slide-Hammer Log Splitters
A slide-hammer log splitter a fairly genius device. It works like other slide-hammer tools, in which a weighted ring is attached to a pole. As you slam the weighted ring down, it generates a downward force. Then, of course, at the end of the tool is a wedge. As the force is directing the slide-hammer down, the wedge does the rest of the work.
I’ll admit it, I’m not the best at explaining how things work so I’m adding a video to this section so you can get a better understanding. Anyway, these manual splitters are great for several reasons. One, you don’t have to swing a sharp edge so it’s relatively safe. Two, it doesn’t require gas or electric so you can use it wherever, whenever. And three, there are very few moving parts so the chances of having a slide-hammer log splitter break on you are slim.
There are some drawbacks, though. They’re a lot of work. Much more work than using a standard splitting axe. Also, they’re kind of noisy. Definitely get yourself some earplugs if you’re going to be using one. If you’re considering this splitter, please check out my page on the top slide-hammer log splitters. In that post, I go over the best tools and make recommendations based on why you need one.
Stikkan Kindling Maker
The Stikkan Kindling Maker is in my top 5 best devices for kindling. It’s a clever invention that almost anyone can use. Simply bolt the Stikkan to a sturdy wall or tree, grab some logs, and start splitting. It has several steps in which you can move the log as you make cuts. Each notch allows you to cut farther into the log. Repeat the process until you have as much kindling as you need.
A shingle froe is an extremely handy tool that most people don’t know about. The fact is, they’re not used very much nowadays because their original intended purpose was to help make wooden shingles. That and nowadays we have power tools. The cutting edge faces the bottom of the tool. Simply place the cutting edge on a round of wood and use a rubber mallet to hammer the froe through the wood. It’s definitely a labor-intensive device but one that, in my opinion, is well worth the money.
Splitting Maul, Axe, & Hatchet
I know you’re all aware of what an axe is. But the fact is, this page wouldn’t be complete without them. Since they don’t need explaining, I’ll try to share some helpful information that not everyone knows. Like how there is a difference between a splitting axe and splitting maul. You see, a splitting axe is thin and light-weight, weighing around 4 – 5 lbs. A splitting maul, on the other hand, is big and heavy, weighing 6 – 8 lbs or more.
A splitting axe is typically used to cut the bulk of your firewood. If you happen to run into a knotted, stubborn round of wood that your axe cannot handle, that’s when you reach for your splitting maul. As for a small hatchet, well, they’re more suitable for splitting kindling.
Swinging an axe can be dangerous, which is why many people opt for safer methods. Anyway, check out this page if you want a great splitting axe. If you need a splitting maul, click here.
Hydraulic Log Splitter
Using a hydraulic log splitter is probably the easiest way to split logs. They’re either manual, electric, or gas powered and they are some of the most expensive items on this page. Their prices vary greatly depending on the product.
The manual hydraulic log splitters are the cheapest of the bunch. They utilize hydraulics but you’re the original source of power. How they work is usually by two handles which extend upward from the cutting end. Simply place a log on the splitter, between the wedge and hydraulic extension arm. Pull the handles one at a time to push the arm towards the log. With enough time, the arm will extend far enough to split the log on the wedge.
Most of the hydraulic log splitter work the same way aside from their source of power. Electric ones are nice because they make the job even easier. All you have to do is load the log and push some buttons. They cost more money, sure, but they make life easier and usually they can handle slightly bigger and tougher logs.
You can use these just about anywhere, so long as you have room to store it and gas to run it. Many of these devices can produce 7-tons to 25-tons of force and more, making them a great option for splitting almost any kind of wood. I would be oversimplifying things by saying they’re lever operated but that’s typically how you extend the arm which pushes the log into the wedge.
One of the cool things about gas-powered hydraulic log splitters is the wedge; you can get an “X” shaped wedge. So, instead of splitting the log into two pieces, you can split them into four pieces. This is yet another way to save time and work.
Kindling Wood Splitter
A splitting wedge is a cheap and handy tool to keep around for knotted hardwoods. It’s something you can break out when your splitting axe can’t do the job. You’ll need a mallet to strike the end of the wedge; another option is to use the hammer poll end of a splitting maul.
Kindle Jack Jr. Firewood Splitter
This device is very similar to the Kindling Cracker but it doesn’t have the protective ring above and around the cutting edge. It’s essentially an axe blade you bolt to a round of wood. The cutting-edge points up. You set your log on the sharp, cutting edge and strike the log downward with a hammer. I don’t recommend these for people with young children.
Northern Tool Kindling Cracker Video
Homemade Log Splitters
People are innovators and where there is a need for a time-saving device, there is usually someone willing to make it. These homemade log splitters range in design from things similar to the Kindling Cracker to full-blown hydraulic systems. One guy even attached a wedge to a car wheel which is probably really dangerous. My favorite is the one in the video above. It’s simple yet effective.
So, if you’re the type of person who likes to make their own gadgets and you’ve got the means to do so, I recommend spending some time on YouTube. Search for other homemade log splitters to get some ideas but please, be careful.
Model Tested: Extra Large
Over the years, I’ve split a lot of wood and chopped my share of kindling. I’ve used an axe, a maul, a sledge hammer, and wedges. For kindling, my go to is a hatchet, and I have them in several sizes and designs.
These days, I’m thinking seriously about going hydraulic for wood splitting, but I haven’t finalized that decision yet. Before I invest in a power splitter, I want to see how much wood we burn in a winter, how much it costs me to buy it, and what size and quantity of firewood I can harvest on our land.
But kindling is another story. After looking into a number of alternative ways to split kindling, I spent a little over $100 to buy the HA Kindling Cracker XL. This handy device is made in New Zealand but sold here in the U.S. in stores and online.
My chief reason to buy this device is that I wanted something my wife could safely use to split wood into kindling if I was not around. Keep in mind that we are talking about a woman who has never used an axe or a hatchet and doesn’t own a pair of steel-toe boots. The Kindling Cracker seemed like just the thing.
Easy and Safe
We found the Kindling Cracker to be easy to use. Just set it down on a firm surface, plunk a log into it, and smack the log with a small sledge hammer or another piece of wood. The force drives the log into the fixed blade, splitting it into two pieces. Repeat with the smaller pieces until you have your desired kindling size. (I have a handy 4-pound sledge, but I bought smaller 2.5 pound hammer for my wife to use.)
The main safety feature is that you are swinging a hammer, not swinging a blade. I don’t see how you could chop off your toe, slice your foot, or drive a blade into the your ankle while using the Kindling Cracker. The blade is fixed in place, so it does not move. Even if it falls over, it won’t cut you. The only way you could cut yourself is if you reached into the device or perhaps fell into it, and if you are that clumsy, you probably shouldn’t be chopping kindling.
The godfather the game 100 complete savegame. A secondary safety feature is that the very same ring that protects you from the blade also keeps the wood from falling onto your foot. Everything happens within a small, confined space.
When I split a big log, the log stands up by itself and I use both hands on the maul to swing its blade down onto the log. To chop kindling, I do this on a smaller scale, but the piece of wood I am splitting into kindling usually does not stand up by itself. That means, that when I split kindling with a hatchet, my left hand usually holds the piece of wood and my right hand brings the hatchet down to split the piece of wood into kindling.
You can see the problem with this approach: It is possible that I might strike my hand with the hatchet. I have not done so yet, but it could happen. The Kindling Cracker eliminates this problem by holding the kindling in a fixed position, so your hand is then nowhere near the danger area. All you need to do is strike the wood, driving it onto the blade or fixed wedge, instead of vice versa.
Can you hammer yourself while using the Kindling Craker? I guess so. If you aren’t careful, have bad aim, or are clueless, you could conceivable swing the sledge hammer in a way that might cause you some blunt trauma, but this is better than slicing open your hand or foot with a hatchet or axe.
I was surprised when I read it was cast iron because I think of cast iron as somewhat brittle. And it is, compared to wrought iron or forged iron, but it is apparently tough enough to hold up to this application. I have yet to see if it rusts. I expect it does, but I also don’t expect that to reduces its performance.
Kindling Cracker Lowe's
Use the Kindling Cracker Safely
Youtube Kindling Cracker Video
Finally, do take some safety precautions, such as wearing eye protection, using work gloves, and following the directions. And keep in mind that logs with straight grain and no knots will always split easier than those with knots or strange shapes.
So far, we like the Kindling Cracker. I’m rating it a solid 4 out of five, which is recommended. I will consider revising upwards after we see how long it lasts and how the cast iron performs over time. I’m going to have my daughter use it and test it on a few other folks. I also want to see if “virtually maintenance free” means it does not rust and how often we need to sharpen the blade. So more to come in the future. I think there is real potential here to upgrade this to a five.
- Safer than swinging a hatchet or axe
- Easy for unskilled people with no wood-cutting experience to use
- Can be permanently mounted in place for regular use
- Quickly chops logs into smaller and smaller pieces
- Heavy! This makes it awkward to move, and you will want to order it from somewhere that offers free shipping
- For ergonomics and to reduce back strain, it needs to be mounted on a large log so you can swing the hammer at a comfortable level
Here’s a video of the Kindling Cracker in action. You can see that the user drives the piece of wood onto the blade, which then holds it in place. In my opinion, this is the safest way to use the Kindling Cracker.
Note: Pete purchased his HA Kindling Cracker from a major online seller at its standard sale price. He has received no promotional or financial benefits from the manufacturer, the seller, or anyone else in return for writing this review. This review is based entirely on his personal experience and opinions and was not influenced by any third party.
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