Ty Learns Stuff: Chopping Wood
I'm from the great state of Texas, so I've never needed to chop wood to prep for winter. Since we're currently experiencing what will likely be 2 weeks of fall up here in Montana, and I have a wood burning stove for the first time in my life...I asked my friend Eli to show me how to chop wood. Here's what I learned.
Don't hit yourself in the face with your axe.
This is apparently a thing that you want to avoid at all costs. Eli, my chopping teacher, literally told me not to do this. You know what? I'm glad I didn't.
Here's the thing: wood is kind of weird. If you swing your axe wrong (at an angle or backwards or something like that), it can bounce off the log you're chopping and come back up towards your pretty face. Which is bad. Axes and faces do not mix.
How do you avoid hitting yourself in the face with your axe? Make sure you're hitting the wood with the "bit" of your axe. That's the sharpened part. See tips #2 and #3 for some guiding principals on how to succeed at hitting the wood with your bit.
Use your eyes to aim for the right spot.
According to Eli, swinging an axe is like baseball. "Well sort of, idk. I've never played baseball" said Eli after claiming chopping wood is just like baseball. Ok Eli...
As someone who has played baseball (up until 8th grade, thank you very much), I can tell you that looking where you want the axe to go totally helps. It's sort of like when your coach yells at you to "keep your eyes on the ball" but you keep letting those strikes fly past you because you're frozen with fear.
The type of chopping we were doing, our main goal was to split wood into more manageable pieces. This will help them burn evenly and fit into our stove. It also helps you to stack them up all cool-like. Since we're splitting logs, it's kind of crucial to hit the log in the right spot to make it split. This step is hard, and really requires tip #3 to get it right every time.
Just like anything else...practice and you'll get better!
So when I told Eli I wanted him to show me how to chop wood he was just like "uh sure dude, we can do that". As it turns out, Eli is completely self taught at chopping wood, and he's really good at it. Why? Because he chops a ton of wood. All the time.
It sort of sounds like you can just go for it when it comes to chopping wood and learn tricks as you go. Just make sure you pay attention to tip #1 and #2 and you should be good to practice chopping wood!
It's actually a ton of fun. It's a great form of exercise and a really good way to spend time outdoors. Personally, I really enjoy exercise that's productive. Picking up boxes of bongs, riding my bike to work, etc. Chopping wood to keep things cozy when it gets cold out is a great way to chill outside and prep for winter.
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