People act like splitting logs is an annoying activity.
But let’s be honest… No one annoys you when you’re doing so. You look badass. And more importantly, it is an excellent way to release stress (hitting those logs hard with the axe is deeply relaxing).
Sadly, you don’t always have an axe lying around (or an electrical, hydraulic, or high-end mechanical log splitter hanging around to make the whole process a no-brainer).
That’s where a DIY log splitter could come in handy.
Building your own machine to split logs in half may not sound like a classy move, but it can save you TONS of time, LOTS of effort, and A FEW bucks when restocking firewood.
And guess what? We’re showing you FIVE ways to do that today. So read what we have to say!
5 Wood Splitting Tools for DIYers
So, what are we doing in this article?
First and foremost, understand you’ll find very rudimentary ways to split logs within this article. But you’ll also find a few not-so rudimentary ones as well.
Second, we’re keeping them simple because we want ANYONE to try them up. If you don’t have an axe or a complex wood-splitting machine – then you may want to follow our advice below.
And third, these are all cheap. These are not only do-it-yourself ideas but also PERFECT for anyone on a budget (or those who don’t want to buy additional tools).
So, you’re getting the whole package with our log-splitting tools down below.
Check them up:
1. The Sledge Hammer and Wedge Method
Grab the sledgehammer.
Place the wedge in the center of the log.
Now calculate the hammer path.
Rehearse the downward arc into the wedge.
Make sure it’s straight and stable.
THEN HIT IT HARD!
That log splits in half almost right away.
Love how relaxing splitting logs with an axe or maul can be? Then you’ll ADORE this method.
It’s pretty much the same thing but quieter, easier, less taxing on your body, and much more relaxing (it feels great to hit the wedge, not going to lie).
And that’s not all.
Axes are primarily for small logs. When it comes to splitting stump-sized logs and thick trunks, they tend to be insufficient. You may need a dozen axe hits to get the wood split. And that’s sometimes just not ideal.
To make it EVEN BETTER, the hammer-and-wedge method has another significant advantage: IT NEVER GETS STUCK.
Axes and maulers tend to be super-annoying when splitting logs because they get stuck (even with tiny logs). On the other hand, a sledgehammer and a wedge never get stuck. One is incapable of doing that. The other is design to get off the wood right away with a single pull (if it ever gets stuck).
In short, you’re getting the whole package.
Action, quietness, effectiveness, convenience, and cheapness.
What else do you need to split wood at home?
HINT: You can also use a maul if a sledgehammer sounds like overdoing it. But why would you use a wedge in that case?
Anyway, here’s a sledgehammer and a wedge to consider:
The Sledge Hammer: Wilton B.A.S.H Sledge Hammer
The handle is vulcanized to increase your grip. Thus, it will NEVER get out of your hands (a lanyard hole also helps with that).
And because you want MAXIMUM HITTING CAPACITY, the Hi-vis green head won’t let you down. Its drop-forged 46 HRC steel construction BANGS on the wedge hard enough to push it down into any log.
Lastly, the handle reduces vibrations from every hit. Because it’s made of steel, it will also NEVER break.
The Wedge: Estwing Sure Split Wedge
Forged steel will NEVER break regardless of how hard you hit it with a maul or sledge hammer.
This one is even better than that: it is weighted.
Every hit from the hammer will make it go through the log INSTANTLY.
And that’s without even mentioning the hand-sharpened edge. You won’t believe how fast it goes through logs.
Plus, it comes with small Sure Split fins that increase wood pressure with every hit. So THERE’S NO CHANCE for any log to survive an impact with this wedge and your favorite sledgehammer.
2. The Wood-Splitting Knife
It’s probably the first time you ever see a wood-splitting knife. And it wouldn’t be a surprise.
Even though North Americans use it, the tool comes from Europe.
Guess its original name? You probably can’t.
It’s called the Späntkniv. The origin? Sweden.
The tool is one of the simplest yet smartest ways to split logs.
Those small pieces of wood that an axe would be too much for (even more so a maul or sledgehammer/wedge combination).
What do you use in that case? This tiny yet effective wood-splitting knife.
It consists of a double-edged piece of metal in the middle. Two handles on the sides are welded firmly into that metal.
To use it, you push down HARD with your body weight.
Wood-splitting made easy. And fun.
NOTE THIS: Making one of these by hand is not much work. You just need to attach a second handle to the tip of the blade. The knife should be large enough (the size of a machete).
If building the wood-splitting knife sounds like too much work, then you can always get this one:
Directly from the source: this wood-splitting knife is made by a Swedish company called Morakniv. And it shows.
It is GORGEOUS. But more importantly, super-effective.
The 4.5-inch blade size is enough for splitting small logs with ease.
It’s made of carbon steel, stronger material than typical steel.
A combination of red ochre birch handles makes it gorgeous too (AND COMFY).
You’re getting everything with this piece. And for a decent cost.
It’ll make your wood-splitting jobs a lot more enjoyable, for sure.
3. Hacking Knife and Mallet
Splitting wood by hand is not an option, especially if you have a hacking knife and a mallet at home.
How’s that possible?
Easy, you use the knife as the sharp edge.
The mallet is brute force.
Place the knife horizontally in the area where you want to cut the log, with the edge pointing down the log. Grab the handle securely with one hand (wear gloves if possible).
Then hit the blade with the mallet, just hard enough to make sure the knife goes into the wood.
You can keep hitting until the blade digs into the log and there’s nothing to hit.
At that point, the wood should be almost split. A bit of brute force with your hands and arms should be enough to split it once and for all.
If not, you can keep using the knife down with your hands. If a portion of the blade hangs loose on the other side of the log, you can hit that section with the mallet to push the knife down.
The log should split in half in no time.
KNOW THIS FIRST: This process is a bit dangerous given you’re using a possibly sharp knife. To avoid accidents, wear gloves and be always well-aware of where you’re placing your hands.
Here’s a hacking knife and a mallet you can use:
The Knife: KA-BAR 200038 BK3 Becker Tac
This is a 7-inch fixed knife (PERFECT FOR THE LOG-SPLITTING JOB).
It has a serrated chisel blade (EVEN BETTER FOR THE JOB).
It’s made with 1095 Cro-van steel (THAT WILL NEVER BREAK SPLITTING WOOD).
And you get a black grivory handle (THAT DOESN’T MIND GETTING HIT WITH A MALLET).
To put the cherry on top, the blade has a 15-degree angle (FLAT ENOUGH TO CUT LOGS SMOOTHLY).
This would be a perfect knife for the job.
The Mallet: Estwing Dead Blow Hammer
Mallets are easy to pick.
Does it have a no-slip handle? Yes, a vinyl grip.
Is it anti-vibration? Yes, thanks to the polyurethane construction and Dead Blow Technology.
Will it wear down fast? No, thanks to the steel core, making it almost unbreakable.
What kind of logs can you break with it? ANY LOG. A 53-ounce mallet is heavy enough to help you push that knife into any log.
There’s nothing to get away from with this piece.
4. Band Saw Method (Or Table Saw)
There’s not much to explain about this one.
As long as the band saw blade is longer than the diameter of the logs you want to cut – there shouldn’t be a problem.
How’s that possible?
First, you need to push the logs against the blade (when the saw is turned on). So look for an object you could use to move such log, preferably made of wood so you can prevent accidents.
Then just place the pieces of wood horizontally on the benchtop. Push it gently towards the blade. Let the bandsaw get the job done.
You’ll have your logs split in two without making much of an effort.
Obviously, this would be a solution for woodworking enthusiasts or those lucky enough to already have a band saw at home.
CONSIDER THIS: This brief guide is for benchtop band saws. But if you have a portable band saw, it will also work. In that case, try to secure the log with clamps before cutting.
Here’s a portable band saw to consider:
Cut those logs effortlessly with an 18-TPI blade.
This band saw makes that possible with a 20V battery-powered motor.
You can work in dark environments thanks to the LED Work Light.
And with the soft grip back-handle, operating the saw won’t be much of a problem.
What made us so sure to recommend it is the 2-inch diameter capacity. Small logs with this diameter will be a piece of cake to split in half with this tiny and practical machine.
5. The Chainsaw Technique
Last but not least: USE A CHAINSAW!
What’s a more practical way to cut logs in half than this?
You exert no effort. The logs get cut in half, almost like butter. And you can do it at any moment (not at midnight, though, you don’t want to wake up your neighbors).
The process is as easy as it sounds:
- Place the log in a stable area. Secure it with a clamp or similar device.
- Turn on the chainsaw. Cut the log in half.
You may not even have to cut the log entirely. As soon as you reach half the log, it will split in half almost automatically (most likely).
Does any other alternative sound as easy as this one? Probably not.
WHAT TO KNOW? You will probably make a HUGE mess using a chainsaw. The sawdust will cover the surrounding area, making it hard for you to see while cutting. Apart from that, it’s top-notch.
If you don’t have a chainsaw at home, you can get this one:
You’ll have an 18-inch blade to cut logs.
That means ANY KIND OF LOG.
Small, large, fat, thin, soft, hard, WHATEVER.
The blade is powered up by a 15-AMP electric motor.
And because it is an electric saw, the noise is almost none (well, not that quiet but still quieter than a gas-powered chainsaw).
In short, all those logs will crack against the power and size of this chainsaw blade.
Put These Ideas to Work NOW!
Did you find a DIY log splitter idea worth checking in our list?
They all work neatly. Are decently safe. And don’t require much effort on your part.
Ready to put them to work? GET TO WORK THEN!