How to take a tree apart

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Tool Test -

1 Fell the tree.

2 Many of the branches are at about per­fect height for cross-cut­ting, so turn these into fire­wood-sized pieces, work­ing from the tip to the trunk.

3 Cross-cut the tree into two or three large pieces that are easy to ro­tate and ma­noeu­vre, then whack a split­ting axe or stan­dard axe into the end of one of these; the axe forms a han­dle that en­ables you to ro­tate the log. An­other good tool for ro­tat­ing logs is the time­tested cant hook, a large pole with a piv­ot­ing hook on one end.

4 Buck the log into 30 cm pieces that al­low for easy split­ting. Yes, shorter pieces mean more cut­ting, but they are lighter, eas­ier to han­dle, and split much more eas­ily than longer pieces. Cut as close to the ground as pos­si­ble with­out the risk of get­ting the saw in the dirt. Once that hap­pens, you’ll have a dull chain.

5 Use the axe to ro­tate the log, per­mit­ting you to fin­ish the cuts made from the op­po­site side.

6 Since you’ll only have a neat ar­range­ment of logs like this once, split them now. In many cases, you can flip them up­right with your boot and split them be­fore they even know what hit ’em.

From here, it’s all just mop­ping up. Af­ter you hike the split pieces on to the bakkie, go have some lunch. Op­tional, but rec­om­mended: an im­pos­si­bly cold beer.

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