cutting firewood

Cutting Firewood Without Power Tools

The grid is down and you are out of fuel for your chainsaw and it is time for cutting firewood.  Hopefully you have stocked a few simple hand tools that will make your life a lot easier.

Anyway you look at it cutting firewood without power is hard backbreaking work.  But if you haven’t stocked the right tools, it will be even harder and more time consuming.

First, you need a good axe or two.  I recommend  both a single bitted and double bitted axes.  Preferably, have a couple of each type.  Along with these axes, you need the files and stones to keep them sharp.  Axes are not hard to sharpen.

cutting firewood
A double bitted axe
cutting firewood
A splitting maul







Since the steel in an axe is softer than a knife, you can start sharpening with a bastard file.  Simply support the axe head on a workbench or cutting block, and file on each side, following the original contour until the edge is sharp.. The edge can be dressed with a bench stone. Don’t try to move the axe across the stone, support the axe head and move the stone across the axe.  Be careful not to cut your fingers.  If you’re using a double-bit axe, keep one blade slightly thicker for rough work.

In addition to good axes, you want good wedges and a good splitting maul.  Try to find some good US made ones.  These often show up in garage sales.

cutting firewood
A buck or bow saw
cutting firewood
A two man crosscut saw





For small logs and limbs, say less than about 4″, a bow or bucksaw will work.  Just make sure you have extra blades and the appropriate sharpening tools.  This should include files and a saw set gauge and a setting hammer.

Depending on the size wood you will be cutting you may want a one or two man crosscut saw.  These can be used to cut larger sized logs.  Don’t forget the sharpening tools for them.  I would recommend that you have at least one.

cutting firewood
A sawbuck

In addition, you need a sawbuck to lay the wood on so that it is off the ground when you cut it.  These are easy to build.

Now we have just touched on this subject, it is something that you really need to experience to understand.   If you have these tools take them out and try them, it will save you a trip to the gym.  Lehman’s stocks most of the tools you need for cutting firewood, but you can often find many of them at your local hardware.  I have also seen them for sale in antique stores and of course garage sales.


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