The Best Ways to Keep Your Wood Stove Stoked
Keeping a fire piping hot when it’s cold outside takes a little planning and the right tools.
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They say firewood warms you twice: once when you cut it, and again when you burn it. When it comes to splitting wood, the old adage of work smarter, not harder definitely applies. Using the right tools and proper techniques can make keeping your wood stove going much less arduous. Here are some tips to make this chore easier on you, and your back.
Cutting wood on the ground is a good way to dull axes, ruin chainsaws, and guarantee a trip to the chiropractor. Once you’ve felled a tree, or found worthy deadfall, use a timber jack to lift it off the forest floor. Cutting will be easier on you and your tools. As a bonus, the added leverage the jack provides helps move the heaviest logs.
When it comes time to split, forget the fancy boutique axes and pick up the heaviest maul you can swing. Because of the wedge-shaped head, mauls split wood much more efficiently than axes—especially when dealing with tough species like oak or hickory. The hammer face on the opposite side is perfect for driving splitting wedges, which can be necessary with some knotty pieces.
You could use fire starters impregnated with chemicals to get your stove going, or you can use good old-fashioned kindling. Splitting pieces of dried wood down to the diameter of your thumb creates kindling that goes up in a hurry and provides enough of a blaze to easily get larger pieces burning. Make more than you think you’ll need and keep it next to the stove, so you’ll always be ready to start—or restart—a fire.