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My mind is split between splitting tools 1475

No Life Club Posts: 2,869
My mind is split between splitting tools
« on: July 25, 2021, 05:29:48 PM »
I’m a multitool kinda guy. Ive been going camping for decades and have gotten by with a multitool and larger folding knives. 

Nowadays with the popularity of outdoor activities among those that never did anything of the sort before, and picked up the hobby after the COVID-19 Pandemic, the wilderness is a very different place.

The woods have been picked clean of all dead wood, branches, fallen limbs, and anything appropriately sized for kindling.  I now find it necessary to split rounds for kindling.  Regrettably, I dare say that a multitiool isn't appropriate for the task.

I'm really going back and forth between options for some sort of tool to purchase for this purpose.

I've been looking at mini hatchets.  What I like is that they seem to be good for splitting (depending on the edge geometry) and can also be used for finer work like trimming, and feathersticks... To a narrow extent.

Then there are the usual camp hatchets... the various options for which are dizzying. The options for sizes and shapes and prices are all over the map.   Not to mention that some come unsharpened from the factory to allow the user more flexibility.

Then there's fixed blades. The obvious choice here is a Morakniv, but which one?  The only one that tickles my fancy is the Eldris, and I suspect that's not a practical option, given my purposes.  A Companion HD might be good, but I'd want a squared-off spine.  But the long and short of it is - I don't want a long knife... I want a short one.  Whether it's in the kitchen, in the pocket, or in the wilderness, I always prefer a smaller knife. And then there's the issue that batoning is stupid.

  :ahhh

Perhaps the most important factor to understand here is that I don't want any of these.  :think:

This is far more out of necessity than of want.  I've been quite happy with the way things were, but life is a series of adjustments.

 :surrender:

So, I'm looking for ideas and suggestions on what I should (somewhat begrudgingly) get.

I want to keep my pack weight as low as possible, and real estate in my pack is at a premium. I don't want this to be a unitool, so splitting is a necessary but insufficient task and purpose of the tool. 

I realize this is a bit backwards... Asking what "must" I get.  But any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2021, 06:04:09 PM by ElevenBlade »
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 34,097
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2021, 05:57:44 PM »
First thing I'd ask is if you are setting up a "base" camp or are you moving around and carrying everything with you?

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
No Life Club Posts: 2,869
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2021, 06:05:32 PM »
First thing I'd ask is if you are setting up a "base" camp or are you moving around and carrying everything with you?

Setting up a base camp.  I do short 2-3 day camps.
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 34,097
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2021, 06:18:17 PM »
I'm very much a wood and steel kind of guy, but there is no doubt that the Fiskars X range offer a lot of quality for reasonable money.  Perfect IMO for someone who just wants to get the job done.  X5, X7 or X10, might suit your needs and still keep your pack weight down.

Honestly I get as much, if not more, use out of a good folding saw such as the Bahco Laplander.  However you'll know your terrain so I'll leave that up to you.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2021, 06:42:05 PM by Gareth »

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 34,097
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2021, 06:31:32 PM »
On a safely note; I'm assuming you're aware of the additional risk of short axes and hatchets over longer ones.  Happily I've never done myself any damage with one but I'm always aware of the fact I'm (potentially) throwing a lot of energy into a short, sharp piece of steel on the end of my arm and very near my own person.  :D

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
No Life Club Posts: 2,869
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2021, 06:42:10 PM »
Indeed, there's a certain risk with shorter handles, which I hope can be lessened with gloves and a lanyard.

I thought of a folding saw, but I'm not sure to what extent it can split wood, which seems to be what I need to do to get better fires going.

I like the Fiskars and Gerber hatchets. Are they just as good as the "splitting" heads?
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,134
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2021, 06:54:42 PM »
You can split logs using this technique with a folding saw :tu:
But chopping with an axe is a lot of fun and a good workout :tu:
It all depends on the size of wood you are splitting.
https://youtu.be/Fkl_yQe6l7A

Sent fra min M2002J9G via Tapatalk

No Life Club Posts: 2,869
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2021, 07:02:58 PM »
You can split logs using this technique with a folding saw :tu:
But chopping with an axe is a lot of fun and a good workout :tu:
It all depends on the size of wood you are splitting.
https://youtu.be/Fkl_yQe6l7A

Sent fra min M2002J9G via Tapatalk

 :like:

This would be very useful
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 34,097
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2021, 07:10:33 PM »
Indeed, there's a certain risk with shorter handles, which I hope can be lessened with gloves and a lanyard.

I thought of a folding saw, but I'm not sure to what extent it can split wood, which seems to be what I need to do to get better fires going.

I like the Fiskars and Gerber hatchets. Are they just as good as the "splitting" heads?

As I'm sure you know t's a trade off and really depends on what you think you'll be doing.  If you are going to saw and split rounds then a splitting head is going to be the way to go (but you'll notice the weight in your pack for sure).

On the other hand if you are going to be splitting longer, thinner branches then I think the chopping head will be more than sufficient.  For camping I've never bothered with a dedicated splitting head myself.

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 34,097
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2021, 07:48:52 PM »
This is a good way to use a lighter hatchet to split larger wood.  Happens to be with a Fiskars X7.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TkP-K9GUVk

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 34,097
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2021, 08:06:29 PM »
The one thing I'd avoid are these flat headed type thing;



With basically no "wedge" shape to the head you'll have a very tough time splitting anything.  Sadly the Mora camp axe falls into this category IIRC.  Not tried one in years but I was very unimpressed.  :-\

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
No Life Club Posts: 2,869
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2021, 08:13:39 PM »
This is a good way to use a lighter hatchet to split larger wood.  Happens to be with a Fiskars X7.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TkP-K9GUVk

Thanks for this... That is indeed a good method to avoid the edge geometry problem of a lighter head.  :cheers:
No Life Club Posts: 2,869
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2021, 08:15:46 PM »
The one thing I'd avoid are these flat headed type thing;

(Image removed from quote.)

With basically no "wedge" shape to the head you'll have a very tough time splitting anything.  Sadly the Mora camp axe falls into this category IIRC.  Not tried one in years but I was very unimpressed.  :-\

Very useful information... This one was at the top of my list.  :facepalm:

How is this different from a Fiskars (the heads of both are made by Fiskars)
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 34,097
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2021, 08:44:36 PM »
Very useful information... This one was at the top of my list.  :facepalm:

How is this different from a Fiskars (the heads of both are made by Fiskars)

With the flat type there is just no thickness to the head or "eye"; so no wedging or splitting action in which to drive the wood fibres apart.  They might be OK at chopping across the grain or limbing but then they also lack a lot of mass. :shrug:  They are a very modern thing and I suspect the fact they are far easier to manufacture has a lot more to do with it than any practical advantage.  Maybe I'm being cynical and others have a more positive opinion but I can't see any advantage to them.



Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 34,097
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2021, 09:03:23 PM »
Sadly these guys come to pretty much the same conclusion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJRKHDxVK2Q

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,134
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2021, 09:04:01 PM »
Thanks for this... That is indeed a good method to avoid the edge geometry problem of a lighter head.  :cheers:
Just remember to twist the piece of wood you are splitting and not the axe, in case it bites in to the "chopping block" :tu:

Sent fra min M2002J9G via Tapatalk

Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 34,097
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2021, 09:23:03 PM »
Just remember to twist the piece of wood you are splitting and not the axe, in case it bites in to the "chopping block" :tu:

Sent fra min M2002J9G via Tapatalk
:iagree:

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
No Life Club Posts: 1,156
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2021, 11:37:03 PM »

Dream. Wish. Leave nothing undone. Repeat.
No Life Club Posts: 2,869
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2021, 12:08:51 AM »
How about this?

https://www.buckknives.com/product/108-compadre-froe/0108BRS1-B/

Very nice, but it's like buying your own coffin.  I'd rather not have to use one and I'd certainly rather not spend money on it.   Frankly I'd rather be thrown out into the river or let the birds have at me.

This is a bit dear, as they say.  I'd like to keep it under $50 USD.

A hacking putty knife might do the trick... If they're still manufactured....
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,492
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2021, 12:22:06 AM »
Setting up a base camp.  I do short 2-3 day camps.
Do you walk to your base camp or drive?

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,492
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2021, 12:31:24 AM »
You can split logs using this technique with a folding saw :tu:
Ahh, you beat me to it before I could post a Ray Mears video.
Here it is anyway:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSOXU0rrqOM

This is a good way to use a lighter hatchet to split larger wood.
Same with you! (technique shown from about 1:30 in)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tUUctg6dfk

No Life Club Posts: 1,156
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2021, 12:34:03 AM »
Very nice, but it's like buying your own coffin.  I'd rather not have to use one and I'd certainly rather not spend money on it.   Frankly I'd rather be thrown out into the river or let the birds have at me.

This is a bit dear, as they say.  I'd like to keep it under $50 USD.

A hacking putty knife might do the trick... If they're still manufactured....
Then I’ve also heard of those

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Schrade-Froe-Fixed-Blade-Knife-SCHF64CP-/384176354160?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49286&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0

Dream. Wish. Leave nothing undone. Repeat.
No Life Club Posts: 2,869
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2021, 12:37:18 AM »
Do you walk to your base camp or drive?

For sake of argument (weight) I'll say it's a walk.

It's a short walk with a lot of equipment.  It's a half dozen friends that aren't particularly avid campers, so I'm afraid I might also be schlepping in bundles of firewood from a nearby farmstand.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,492
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2021, 12:47:09 AM »
For sake of argument (weight) I'll say it's a walk.

It's a short walk with a lot of equipment.  It's a half dozen friends that aren't particularly avid campers, so I'm afraid I might also be schlepping in bundles of firewood from a nearby farmstand.
I think in that situation I would take a proper hatchet/tomahawk. It will be worth the weight.
Especially if y'all are relying on a fire for warmth and/or cooking - those thin things I would only take for a 'what if?' backup situation (and even then I wouldn't personally, I would rather take just a folding saw and a decent knife).

No Life Club Posts: 2,141
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2021, 06:58:30 AM »
IMO, if you anticipate getting a fair bit of use out of it, a hatchet or small axe will be worth its (significant) weight.

There are lighter options out there, and more refined options, but I’m a fan of Estwings for their near indestructibility.  I’ve seen too many wood and even plastic/composite handles crack, splinter, come loose, or otherwise fail.  The hole in the head for the handle on that style of axe also can create some thinner metal spots on the sides and back of the handle, and I’ve seen that crack and break on cheap hatchets as well.  With regard to Estwings, I believe I’m up to the 14” and 16” campers axes, the 12” sportsmans hatchet, the fireside friend splitting tool, and a tomahawk.

The tomahawk design is more of a weapon than a wood tool, and its weight and balance reflect this purpose.  Also, the spike on the back doesn’t serve much purpose for me; I prefer a flat back that can be used to hammer tent stakes etc.

The 12” sportsman’s hatchet is the lightest of the others, but is so small it’s kind of a pain to use. The 16” is a sweet tool and easy to use with either one or two hands.  The 14”
Is easier to pack, and the head is a bit wider I think.

The splitting tool is really a two-trick pony (splitter and hammer), and at four pounds is not something you want to lug around in a pack.

All this to say, my recommendation is to look at the Estwing campers axe, in either the 14” or 16” size.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,134
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2021, 07:07:11 AM »
Ahh, you beat me to it before I could post a Ray Mears video.
Here it is anyway:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSOXU0rrqOM
Same with you! (technique shown from about 1:30 in)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tUUctg6dfk
Thanks for sharing :tu:
Haven't seen those yet.

Sent fra min M2002J9G via Tapatalk

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,197
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2021, 10:21:43 PM »
I use the Stihl Woodcutter Forestry Hatchet for everything--cutting small limbs and trees, splitting wood, driving wedges for the big stuff I had to get a chainsaw to cut. About ten bucks cheaper than the ubiquitous Estwing, but much better. It's got a longer handle too.  These are made by Ochsenkoph in Germany, and less than half what their own axes cost.

However, the downside is no scabbard or mask, aside from an easily lost rubber cover (which I lost in a week's time). And


https://www.stihlusa.com/products/hand-tools/axes/woodforesthatchet/

Thread Killer 2019 Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,200
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2021, 11:04:26 PM »
I like the Fiskars X-7 hatchet for general uses including processing firewood, but a folding saw might be more useful for less weight.   Personally, I prefer a machete to an axe but I camp in the Everglades.  I wouldn't recommend it for hardwoods.  If you really want to go minimalist, some people bushcraft with a wood chisel.  I haven't tried it but I see the logic in it.  It weighs the same as a small fixed blade knife. It only has about an inch of edge at the tip that has to be sharp, and you can split, scrape and pry with it.
No Life Club Posts: 2,869
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2021, 11:12:31 PM »
 :hatsoff: :hatsoff:

Lots of great options.  I like the stop cut and whack method.  I'll review some of the mini-hatchet videos next - mainly to convince myself that they're not the greatest idea.  because it do like how they look  :facepalm:
No Life Club Posts: 2,869
Re: My mind is split between splitting tools
« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2021, 11:15:03 PM »
I like the Fiskars X-7 hatchet for general uses including processing firewood, but a folding saw might be more useful for less weight.   Personally, I prefer a machete to an axe but I camp in the Everglades.  I wouldn't recommend it for hardwoods.  If you really want to go minimalist, some people bushcraft with a wood chisel. I haven't tried it but I see the logic in it.  It weighs the same as a small fixed blade knife. It only has about an inch of edge at the tip that has to be sharp, and you can split, scrape and pry with it.

One of my friends wants to bring a machete and a chisel.  That just might work.   :think:

 

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