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Fast & Efficient Firewood for Small Stoves

Fast and Efficient Firewood Chopping

Firewood can be a major chore!  Most small stoves will not accept the traditional 16" logs, so unless you can hire someone to cut wood specific to your stove, you'll have some splitting on your hands.

We recommend 6-8" logs for our Dwarf 3kW, 8-10" logs for our Dwarf 4kW, and 10-12" logs for our Dwarf 5kW.  A standard 16" log cut in half will fit any size of Dwarf stove.

Nick's Method for Splitting Firewood

Check out this simple hack for making easy and fast work of firewood for you small wood stove. This method DRAMATICALLY reduces the never ending bending over and standing up rounds that comes with splitting wood.

  1. Cut log or traditional round to desired length.
  2. Bind the bottom of the round with some type of strap.
  3. Split round by chopping in the middle.
  4. Un-bind round and stack armful of split wood.

Tools for Cross-Cutting Firewood

Cutting firewood to length requires a different tool than splitting wood.  The best tool for the job will depend on your living situation, storage space, whether you're on- or off-grid, and other factors.  Here are some tools the Tiny Wood Stove team uses.

Chainsaw

Nick lives in an off-grid tiny house with ample down firewood on his property, and uses a gas powered Husqvarna chain saw to cut firewood rounds.  Stihl is the gold standard brand for chainsaws, so if you can find a good deal on one at a pawn shop (or if money is no object), that's the way to go.

Pros for a chainsaw include quick cutting, portability, and ease of use for breaking down lots of firewood.  Cons include the need for fuel, maintenance, and storage space for a specialized tool.  If you're living off-grid your own on land, a chainsaw might be the best choice for you.  If you're traveling full-time in a van, a chainsaw is probably not worth the trouble.

Chop Saw

While moochocking in his in-laws' driveway at his home-base, Dan uses his Dewalt miter saw to break down bulk cordwood.  A chop saw makes quick work of a large stack of firewood.

Pros include speed and ease of use.  Cons include the large size of the tool and the need for electricity.  It's a great option if you have access to a wood shop, but not something I'd generally take on the road.

Sawzall

Elizabeth uses a reciprocating saw to break down firewood for her bus.  She has a large solar array, so a corded sawzall isn't a problem to run.  A cordless sawzall could also be a good option for a quick job.

Pros include compact size, relative ease of use, and overall safety compared to other methods.  Cons include the need for electricity.  This is a good option if you already have the tool, or for travelers who have sufficient electricity to power or charge the tool.

Bow Saw

For travel, Dan uses a 21" Bahco bow saw with ergo handle and the dry wood blade.  It's a manual tool, so it takes some work, but the sharp blade makes fairly quick work of a pack of cordwood.  The ergonomic design and the hand guard make the Bahco saw far superior to collapsable saws.

Pros for the Bahco saw include small size that packs flat, and no need for electricity or fuel.  A manual tool is probably safer than a chainsaw, but the blade is sharp and it's possible to give yourself a nasty cut with the Bahco saw if you're not careful.  Cons include manual effort required.  But you've always wanted muscular forearms, right?

Tools for Splitting Firewood

Cutting firewood rounds into logs, or cutting logs into smaller fuel or kindling requires a chopping tool different from the saw used to cut wood to length.  Here are some splitting tools the Tiny Wood Stove team uses.

Fiskars Splitting Axe

Nick uses a small Fiskars splitting axe, which is a great value.  It comes sharp and holds an edge fairly well.  It's available in a full sized 36" option or a shorter 17" handle that works great for travel and kindling.  A full sized axe can be a bit unwieldy for cutting kindling, but holding the handle closer to the head can help with control in more precise tasks.

Pros include affordable price and ease of use.  Cons include the chance of accidentally injuring yourself, and the manual labor required.  But, as they say, chop your own wood, it'll warm you twice.

Gransfors Bruks Splitting Axe

Dan uses a Swedish handmade artisan splitting axe to break down wood while living full time in his vintage Airstream.  The Gransfors Bruks comes sharp enough to shave (though Dan won't), and requires a bit of TLC to keep the edge.  Do you need an heirloom quality tool to cut firewood?  Probably not.  But what better excuse will you ever have to buy one?

Pros include ease of use and hipster credibility.  Cons include high cost and hipster credibility.  And the chance of accidentally chopping off a finger.

Splitting Wedge

Elizabeth uses a splitting wedge and a hammer to break down her firewood.  At some point, somebody realized that swinging around a heavy chunk of sharpened steel was not as safe as keeping the sharp bit relatively stationary and hitting it with a hammer.

Pros include compact size and safer use.  Cons, occasionally it can be a bit fiddly to use if the wedge gets stuck in a log.  Helps to have two wedges if you're breaking down rounds.

What are you using to break down firewood?  Love it or hate it?  Got any tips? Leave a comment below.

3 thoughts on “Fast & Efficient Firewood for Small Stoves”

    1. Hey John!

      The strap prevents the split wood from falling to the ground. Typically when splitting you have to bend over and pick up these chunks. If you bind them then you can keep hacking at the round to get as many chunks as you want. I’ve seen people strap or bind 6-8 rounds in a similar manner then just chop away, un-strap and you have all your split wood without having to bend over and set it on end each time.

      Hope this helps!

      -NICK

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