If you haven't taken the time to make a homemade splitting block for yourself, now is the time.
I put it off for years which seems kind of silly because they're extremely easy to make and they make splitting firewood safer, easier and much faster.
A block to split your firewood on serves a couple of different purposes.
First, the block raises the wood off the ground which prevents your sharp axe from digging into the dirt and ruining the edge.
Second, the elevated wood allows your splitting axe or maul to contact the wood at a perpendicular angle which reduces the possibility of a glancing blow that can cause the axe to strike your legs or feet.
Finally, by adding an old tire to the top of the block it creates a padded "buffer" around the block which helps control your axe and it keeps the wood contained upright inside the tire. That's right, no more bending over after every strike to set up your wood!
So now that we've explained why you need a splitting block, let's look at the best way to make one yourself that will last for many years.
The first step is to locate a good log that's large enough to accommodate a tire and one that is larger than the rounds you'll be splitting.
I find it's easiest to cut a block specifically for this purpose as opposed to finding a log that will work. Cut the block at a height that's comfortable for you to split on. This block was cut at approximately 14 inches tall which works well for me.
Try to cut the block as level as possible on both sides. This will save you a lot of frustration in the long run. You'll want a nice flat surface to split your firewood on.
Next, take an old tire and place it on top of the block. This was an old SUV tire from a Dodge Journey that fit the block perfectly.
I used a couple of 3 1/2'' screws with a washer to secure the tire to the top of the log.
You don't need a lot of screws, just 2 or 3 will work. They're simply holding the tire in place to the top of the block.
The washer around the screw prevents the screw head from pulling through the tire wall.
He's a completed view of the homemade splitting block. As you can see it's very simple but it makes a huge difference when splitting firewood with a splitting axe or maul.
Depending on the size of the logs I'm splitting, I like to add 3 or 4 at a time. The tire keeps them upright and most importantly, they don't fall over after the first strike.
I find it's easiest to move my body around the tire and strike the wood in a clockwise type direction.
By moving around the block, it prevents your axe handle from striking the other rounds.
As you can see from the photo above I was able to split all 3 rounds at one time and the remaining pieces were still upright meaning I never had to stop and readjust the wood.
Once the wood is split, you can simply grab the upright pieces and add more rounds.
If you have an old tire laying around, you should consider using it to make a homemade splitting block.
If you don't have a tire, pretty much any tire shop would be happy to give you an old one they have laying around for disposal.
Sometimes it's easy to just split a piece of firewood that's resting on the ground, but you'll find it's worth the extra time to construct a block and split your firewood using an old tire that's attached to the top of it.
It's much safer, it's definitely easier on your back because you don't have to stand up the firewood after every swing, and it faster....much faster. So go ahead and give it a try, you won't be disappointed!