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2019 Axe Cordwood Challenge

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

  1. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Member

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    Is that your Russian axe? What does it weigh and what is the handle length?

    I didn’t make any progress and ACWC this weekend due to other projects. But I did get to work the axe a little bit.

    Did some heavy pruning/topping of some old neglected apple trees and thought the axe might be handy for the limbing. It worked, but way too many tangled up curvy limbs to make it efficient so I picked the chainsaw back up.

    Also did some invasive shrub/ undesirable tree control (hack and squirt method with herbicide). Choked up on the axe to make the necessary wounds. Need to get a proper hatchet for tasks like that. But it still worked fine.
     
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  2. DSW

    DSW ArboristSite Guru

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    Those log dogs are slick. I could have put those to use.

    That axe is beautiful.
     
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  3. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Yes, that is my Russian axe. I don't know how much the steel weighs, but the overall weight with the handle is approximately 3.5 pounds. The handle is 26". I needed to thin the handle down considerably, so that will have lightened the overall weight some, but if I were to guess the weight of the head is about 2lbs. NO info is given on the head weight, only the overall weight.

    Thank you, it is a unique piece for sure, but also a very effective cutting tool. The dogs I got from Sportsman's Guide, they are Czech military surplus dogs, got a set of four for hewing a while back and recently thought to use them to aid in bucking smaller diameter logs.
     
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  4. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Member

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    Between work and family obligations, and my never ending list of other projects and hobbies, haven’t made any meaningful progress lately. Need to get my butt in gear. It will soon be too hot to chop wood. One more chopping session should finish my first tree so I could at least post a pic of stacked wood.

    I’ll ask a question of you more experienced axe guys. Noticed the other day that my little craftsman boys axe bit isn’t aligned perfectly to handle. The heel is canted off center to the right of handle centerline if you were looking down at the head. Not much, maybe 1/8 inch. I suspect that’s not enough to matter. The last time I rehung and rewedged it I was in a twit and probably forgot to check.

    It wouldn’t be that hard to remove a little shoulder on one side and jump the head a bit further on to straighten it up. But then I’d probably have to wedge it again. And I have a tendency to fix things that aren’t broken so I’m trying to resist that urge here.

    Thoughts?
     
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  5. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Member

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    Thread seems a bit dead but I’ll post a quick update anyway. A whole lot of life happened already in 2019. But I finished bucking my first tree for the Cordwood challenge a couple months ago, but it’s been laying in the woods since. Just got it stacked up this week. Not great progress, but it’s a start. Actually fills more of the rick than I thought it would.

    As discussed earlier, this was a ornery, twisted up, knotty hickory tree. Not a question of IF you had a knot in your way, but how many. A few of the pieces are larger than I’d like because they WILL....NOT....SPLIT. Not with an axe. Not with a 6 lb maul. Not even stacked in a tire on a stump with a steel monster maul. I may try again later once the wood dries a bit.

    All that said, it was still tons of fun and I can’t wait to do more. Gonna pick an easier victim this time. Probably an ash tree. Its hot. So further progress may be a bit sporadic.
     

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  6. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    The thread might be laking in activity, but certainly not dead. The challenge is good until the end of the year. I hadn't chopped any wood in about 2 months, but busted out the axe again this past weekend to take down a small ash. Figured ease back into it. Since spring has broke, I have been busy working the land, and also split 5 cords of saw-cut wood by hand. Being out of commission from my surgery over the winter really put me behind, but I'm getting all caught up.

    Here's a short video I did over the weekend:

     
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  7. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Member

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    I’ve not chopped any ash yet, but based on its characteristics when chainsawing and splitting, I suspect the chips fly pretty good?

    One thing I learned chopping this tree...

    The sinew-ish nature of green hickory, it does not give up chips easily, even when the axe bites deep. They tend to sort of stack up still loosely attached in kind of an accordian fashion. An occasional stroke right in the middle of the notch will clear them if this occurs.
     
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  8. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Ash chops about as well as it splits and is sawn. When dead it can be much harder as is with most any wood that has been dry and dead for a while. Definitely not stringy and sinew like hickory, but it can be springy. A good narrow ground bit works best to throw big chips. The bark is easily removed, especially after the EAB has gotten to it, then it just peels off in sheets often. I plan to take down a dying 70 footer tomorrow with the Arvika.
     
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  9. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Taking down a 70' White Ash with my tuned 4.5 lb Arvika that has a 20° convex grind. This one is totally dead up top, was marked to come down over two years ago. Upon falling it I noticed that it has coppiced itself!

    A huge chore bucking on a hill with rocks and all kinds of poor footing...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Trx250r180

    Trx250r180 Saw polisher

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    Did you have to thin the Arvika a lot to make a chopper out of it ?
     
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  11. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    I had to thin it out quite a bit, nothing too crazy, but lets just say that I've got about 6-7 hours of grinding, filing, and shaping the steel alone. Not to mention the time I spent thinning out and contouring the handle to my liking. Still not quite where I want it, but it's getting close. This hard dead ash is the Achilles heel to the Arvika's chopping prowess with my tuning. None of my axes performed well in this tree, only the Arvika was able to get the job done because of the weight and length of handle, but even with that, I spent probably twice the amount of time I would have processing a green tree with an axe. Deadwood is a B!tch! Good thing this is the final haul. After this I will be over a full cord of axe-cut wood.
     
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  12. Trx250r180

    Trx250r180 Saw polisher

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    Split about 3 cords with the axe head you sent ,is close to the Arvika in performance ,i like it as a go to when doing firewood. Have not found a big enough tree to pound wedges with it yet.
     
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  13. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    It was a big boy alright, given the weight and wedge shape I bet it makes a great splitter.
     
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  14. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Member

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    Dropped about a 60 ft white ash yesterday evening, taking advantage of a few spare minutes and some cooler weather. It’s roughly 10” DBH. Still using my craftsman boys axe. This tree was living but crowding a couple much more desirable trees....white oaks.

    Went pretty well, but I need to shake the rust off after very limited chopping last 2 months. I’m still reasonably competent at bucking but feel like I really suck at felling. Chips are small and looks like a beaver went after it. Need to work on that. Any tips from y’all?

    Missed the intended drop zone by 10-15 ft. Didn’t really hurt anything but should have paid more attention. By the time I realized my notch was off line, it was too late to correct it completely. I just got in a rush.

    Got the tree limbed and did a couple bucking cuts just for fun before it got too dark on me. The small end of the tree chops beautifully. The one bucking notch I did at the butt end, I can tell the big wood will challenge my abilities with this small axe. Chips don’t come easy.

    Will try to post some pics tonight. Felt good to swing again.
     
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  15. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Sounds like you got a good days work in, now you can just buck the logs at your leisure. Do you have a slightly heavier axe perhaps? The boys axe will do well, but a 3.5 pounder will require less speed and as many strike to remove chips in the bigger logs. Keep at it, there's still plenty of time.

    Here's my stack as of the other day. Still have about a 14' log to finish bucking and split, but it's the upper section of the trunk so should go more quickly.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Member

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    I like the rainbow stripes of the different wood in your stack.

    I’ve got a 3.5 pounder in the works. Got a vintage Plumb Rockaway-type thing (the version with phantom bevels). Had it for a while now, was grinding it with a belt sander, sander quit on me, just now getting back to it. This son of a gun is hard....my best file won’t touch it. Time will tell if that’s a good thing or if it’s just hard and brittle.

    Also have a 3.5 double that I split with.... that I could probably try for felling.
     
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  17. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Thanks, the stratification does look neat, especially with the older pieces in contrast with the freshly chopped and split.

    Yeah, a slightly heavier axe can be useful when needed. I typically prefer my lighter axes (2.25-2.5 lbs) but heavier really helps with the bigger stuff. More energy to swing, but less swings to throw chips. In a big log that's an advantage. For smaller stuff a heavy axe requires a to much energy to do light with, not efficient.

    For improving your felling, start with a few overlapping angled cuts from the top to start your notch, followed by flat cuts. Try to keep your flat cuts near the ends of your overlapping overhand chops working upwards to remove chips. Rough it in, then don't be afraid to choke up on the handle and make short-strike blows to tidy up your face cut notch. Just like felling with a saw, it's important to have a clean face cut to direct your fall.

    After that, the back cut just keep it above the face cut notch while leaving enough hinge or holding wood as per usual. On the back cut, I tend to start in the center and move left to right with alternating overhand and underhand chops, stopping every few strikes to watch the top or listen for movement.

    Good luck!
     
  18. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    I am so close I can taste it! Already over a cord, but I just want to complete this stack. Chipping away at it when I can in my limited spare time:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    I'm done - what a great feeling. 1.17 cord of wood, all cut with an axe harvested from our property.



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. JW51

    JW51 ArboristSite Member

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    Nice work, Multifaceted! I bet that does feel good.
     
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