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2019 Axe Cordwood Challenge

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Multifaceted, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. DSW

    DSW ArboristSite Guru

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    That was the goal but it broke about halfway in. I taped it up as if you were taping an ankle for sports and it worked pretty well. I could no longer split with it as that was shearing off the tape as well as once I got deeper into the notches it would pull the tape back and the whole thing would be floppy. From then on I was splitting with my Fiskars splitting axe. I then picked up an axe from an antique shop and went back and forth between the taped Fiskars and that.

    I like the Fiskars. Lotta vibration and I'm not overly sensitive to that sort of thing. The vintage axe is just too light and thin.
     
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  2. Ben Scott

    Ben Scott New Member

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    Maybe see if you can find something vintage thats heavier. Other than that council tool, rinaldi and hults bruk have good axes
     
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  3. DSW

    DSW ArboristSite Guru

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    Yeah, wooden handle and heavier head would be nice. Hults Bruk would be nice but that's out of my axe budget. Never heard of Rinaldi. I was aware of Council tools but didn't know they were so accessible and affordable with current stuff.

    Definitely something to look into for anyone wanting to take up axes.

    Got my replacement Fiskars yesterday.
     
  4. Ben Scott

    Ben Scott New Member

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  5. DSW

    DSW ArboristSite Guru

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    Couple of shots I don't think I posted.


    This is what you do once you become an "axe man" :)

    IMG_20190208_162518416.jpg

    Not sure how he feels about the cordwood challenge but I know how he feels about being petted.

    IMG_20190222_121305560.jpg
     
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  6. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Nice!

    More wet weather this weekend again, no chopping or wood cutting for me. I'll probably only need one more decent sized tree to complete my 16' rick.
     
  7. DSW

    DSW ArboristSite Guru

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    I got a chance to use my replacement Fiskars. That's an old friend right there.

    Split this

    IMG_20190301_1819099361.jpg


    And this

    IMG_20190301_172049357.jpg

    Axe does really well splitting on this type. Some of it was starting to get too big or knotty and a splitting axe/maul or saw would be better.

    This was taken last night and if anything it's better than when I was bringing wood in but it's definitely one of the things I would have tried to avoid by stretching my challenge out.

    IMG_20190301_172308381.jpg
     
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  8. DSW

    DSW ArboristSite Guru

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    I know we have a reviews thread but it might be handy to have an axe list for the thread. Something in one spot so a guy/gal can reference it. Might be especially useful if it has some budget friendly and accessible options. For the people who want a work ready axe but may not want to spend a lot and may not be ready to rehab their own vintage axe. Just a thought.

    I know Multifaceted and Ben Scott could really give some detailed opinions.

    Even if you really only have experience with one or two, like myself, it's pretty easy to say what you like and dislike that may help others.
     
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  9. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Most new axes are not going to be work ready off of the shelf, more so is the case for an antique that needs restoration.

    A good budget and that is both easily acquired and wielded by the user is the Council Tool Boys Axe. They're roughly 40 USD new, but will require the bit to be properly ground in order to work efficiently. The factory grind when sharpened will cut, but not effectively, and will probably tire out whoever is swinging it before any actual work can get done. Grind geometry and sharpness are not mutually exclusive.

    For something that is ready off of the shelf, look into the Fiskars chopper, they seem to have decent edge geometry and are quite sharp from the factory. They will be slightly more than the Council Tool. If you want to spend a little more coin, look into the Hults Bruk Kalix - which has the same weight steel and handle length as the Council Tool, but will be twice the price of the Fiskars (Roughly 100 USD). The Hults Bruk will have a good working grind geometry and comes decently sharp from the factory, like the Fiskars.

    In all honesty, for anyone on a budget - buy a cheap hardware store axe, a bastard mill file, and a bevel gauge - then file the bit thin (18-22 degrees to start) and sharpen it to a working edge and you'll be ready to work without having to shell out the coin for a "premium" axe. A cheap axe will have softer steel that will require more frequent touching up, but theose touch-ups will be easier to do than with harder steel, and thus will be good practice in maintaining your bit.
     
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  10. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Greetings Cordwood Challenge Friends:

    Saw this site/thread referenced in one of the YouTube comments (maybe one Ben’s videos). Been looking for a way to stay connected to the other participants. I’m not a facebooker, so had planned on posting some short YouTube videos. I might still do that, but discussion board thing is more my speed.

    Anyway, my name is Nathan. I live on some wooded property in MO. I’ve been into axe stuff for a little over a year now and excited to take on the ACWC. I’m close to having my first tree processed. Bad, wet weather and family/life commitments have made my chopping sessions few and far between. Definitely enjoying it. Getting familiar with the tool, the technique, the exercise.....all good stuff.

    And although it’s not the fastest way to get it done, my woods need a lot of strategic thinning to be better timber and better habitat. So I’m accomplishing something that matters.

    I’ll post a better update about my gear, goals, trees, etc. a bit later. For now just wanted to introduce myself.
     
  11. DSW

    DSW ArboristSite Guru

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    Good deal.

    Post it on up when you get a chance.
     
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  12. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Looking forward to seeing some more progress. I'm likely to get back out this weekend now that we've had several days without rain and the ground is far less sloppy.
     
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  13. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Been a muddy mess all winter here. Seems like it’s rained two days out of three for as long as I can remember. I’m not a fan of cold weather, but actually found myself wishing the ground would just freeze.

    Daffodils are blooming now.....just need more sunshine.
     
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  14. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Same here, the wettest, muddiest winter that I can ever recall. Wettest year as well, its unreal.
     
  15. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Lurker

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    8FC6A208-472B-4E19-AD93-D75D0CB6C5B9.jpeg 8B053CA7-92FA-4D7D-9AC9-B5DE3ED1516D.jpeg Got out and did some chopping and splitting this evening before supper. Forgot to grab a pic of the tree before it got dark, so I’ll just post some pics of my axe for now.

    After several different cheek-filing sessions, the axe is chopping beautifully. Conforms to the “Axe to Grind” gauge in all but maybe the middle third. Just a little thick there yet.

    It’s a Craftsman boys axe. $30 on eBay including an original Sears handle that had been seated, but kerf never cut. The wedge work looks rough because I’ve rewedged it probably 4 times. Gives it character I think. Handle is slim and lively.

    Tried to split this evening as I separated each round working from butt end of the tree. Took the 6 lb maul and still struggled. This tree is a gnarly hickory, about 10” DBH and 40 ft tall. Son of a gun to split.
     
  16. 95custmz

    95custmz ArboristSite Guru

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    Looks to be a gnarly axe head crack just below your hand in the pic.
     
  17. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Gouge from a hacksaw whilst trimming the wedge.
     
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  18. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    @JW51 — nice little axe you got there! Personally, I favor my light axes over the heavier ones. The heavy, big axes definitely have their place and get used, but for most of what I do a 2.25 lb axe on a 28" handle is a perfect balance for me. Keep at it, there's still PLENTY of time left in the year, hopefully mud season will soon end and we'll have a productive spring!
     
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  19. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks @Multifaceted. Yeah, it’s amazing what a little axe is capable of. I don’t have a huge frame of reference, but the steel seems pretty formidable. There’s no avoiding knots in this particular tree, and the edge holds up well. It will wear a bit, but I’ve yet to roll or chip it. Can’t say the same for my first attempt at a boys axe. It was kind of a wedge shaped Mann head and ended up being really soft.

    I have an old Plumb Rockaway under construction at the moment, roughly 3.5 lbs. Curious what a larger axe on a 30-32 inch haft would do for me. This will be my first full size single bit. Gonna be a lot of work, both head and handle, so the little Craftsman will see plenty of duty in the meantime.
     
  20. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Work is ramping up production and spring is here, so while the days are getting longer, my day-to-day is becoming busier by the hour. I was, however, able to get some swinging time in yesterday. Almost completed my two ricks of axe-cut firewood.

    Smallish sickly Black Cherry with some white fungus growing in the upper branches and has been bleeding sap profusely and making a mess.
    [​IMG]

    Definitely a lighter axe, but the edge geometry really bites into the wood, you just need to keep consistent acceleration with your swings and it will remove wood chips quickly.
    [​IMG]

    Because I am a glutten for punishment and really like to put my axes to the test, I used ONLY this axe to process this 30' tree. Bucks very well and makes clean cuts for the notches.
    [​IMG]

    Here is where the hardened poll came in handy - I used it to drive in these old surplus log dogs so to keep the the logs from rolling while chopping on a hill.
    [​IMG]

    Here I used the stump as an anchor with the dogs. Just be mindful of glancing blows or you'll put the bit right into some nearby steel! Here you can see the janky notch that was giving me a fit dancing around on me during chops before I secured it with the dogs.
    [​IMG]

    All in all, not bad for a late afternoon's axercise before heading in to prepare dinner for my wife and I.
    [​IMG]
     
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