Back around 1853 a young man from Ohio named Dietrich VonContact developed a method of cutting kindling that would revolutionize the wood cutting and lumberjacking world – the Contact Method. Later Dietrick went on to create Contact Lenses, but that is a story for another day. (By the way, that is all false).
The truth is that the contact method for cutting firewood has probably been since a few thousands years ago when the first cutting tool was invented. The discovery process probably went something like this:
- I need to cut that small piece of wood into little tiny pieces
- I have made 15 swings and missed everytime, the last swing was perilously close to exploding my shin.
- I wonder…..
- Let me get the axe head started in the wood then maniacally bang the wood on the ground until it splits.
- IT WORKED
- But my axe head is in buried in the ground – maybe I try to not swing maniacally, just normally. And maybe I try to put another log underneath.
Thus the contact method of splitting firewood was probably invented.
The contact method of cutting firewood is a great way to take a small log and turn it into kindling. You will need a hatchet or an axe (If you use an axe choke up on the handle so you get better control). Finally, you will need wood. That is all you need! You might, however want somewhere to chop it and some protective clothing and eyewear (depending on how lucky you feel).
Now to the nitty gritty.
- Take the wood and set it on something stable (like a chopping block – a piece of wood that is big and stable to chop on).
- Then grab you hatchet.
- Take a piece of wood and set it perpendicular to the ground resting on the chopping block.
- Rest the bit (blade) of the hatchet and rest it on the top of the wood.
- Then lift the wood and the hatchet simultaneously – keep them together or risk severing a finger!
- Then drop the wood and hatchet down simultaneously. Your goal is not to split the kindling in one blow. The goal here is to get the hatchet’s bit buried part way into the wood so you can remove you hand from the wood.
- Once the hatchet is buried part way in the wood and you can remove your hand from the wood you can swing with some more gusto.
- Typically lifting the wood 8″-12″ will provide enough energy to split off kindling.
- Repeat until you have all the kindling you need (or want).
Overall, this is a simple and fun activity. Always play it safe – it is easier to take two wacks at a piece of wood than to take one whack that will cost you one of your limbs!
Got any tips or hints – comment below.