wood heat

Splitting Kindling

IMG_20151107_112210016.jpg

Its fun revving up the saw and felling a tree.  Its relaxing to rhythmically swing a maul.  Its delightful to hear the wood crack and pop as it splits.  The neatly stacked rows of seasoning wood are a proud accomplishment.

Kindling is the one wood heat chore no one seems to like.  Its time consuming.  It can be dangerous.  The meager mound of kindling feels like a weak victory compared to tenacious, stacked cord wood.

At least, that’s how I felt.  I was never quite sure what to do with it.  I often gathered sticks and sometimes the wood bits from splitting.  When I tried splitting wood down to kindling size, it felt like it took forever.


I took a regular piece of wood, probably 20 or 22″ long and attempted to split it down with a hatchet.  I would smack the end hoping to start a split.  If I was lucky, I would plant the edge in the wood where I could beat it through with a small long.  If it went right, I would end up with really long pieces of 0.5 to 1″ wide kindling.

In desperation, I turned to the Internet.

Sure, some guys did the exact same thing I did.  Some even used their log splitter.  What a waste of gas that must be for so many little splits!  Wranglerstar made a kindling splitter from a rod and a regular metal splitter.  Its fine but still so slow.

Finally, I found an idea I liked.  I already had a couple old tires setup for splitting wood (I mostly use a gas powered splitter now).  I stacked one tire upon the other with a small wood round in the middle.  The tires are tall enough to keep the wood up and together while the round gives a more solid base.

I filled the tire with shortest pieces I could find.  Kindling is easier to work with as shorter pieces.  In the future, I’ll make sure I cut as least a few rounds only 12 to 14″ long for future kindling.

Picking knot free pieces will make this much easier as well.

After filing the tire, I used my “super splitter” ax maul hybrid thing (True Temper Super Splitter)
.  Its a 2 or 3 pound ax that spreads like a maul to force wood apart.  A regular ax would do but I think this was more efficient.

After just a minute or two, I had a tire full of kindling.  I pulled out everything I was happy with and threw the few big ones back in with more wood to split.  I repeated this four times in 30 or 45 minutes.

This method was far quicker, easier, and safer than anything I tried before.  It also gave me enough kindling to last most, if not all, of this winter.

The finished product is baking in the sun.

Drolet HT-2000 Update

IMG_20151103_021214412.jpg
 Since I’ve used this stove a few times, I just wanted to show how you could load the wood in a North-South orientation.  This wasn’t even full but it still burned all night and kept the house warm.
Lighting the stove has been very easy with a little kindling on top of the wood.  It drafts very, very well (I have about six feet of single wall pipe in the house and another nine feet of double wall pipe for a chimney).

I’ve smelled smoke only once in the house.  It was my fault.  Open the damper completely (set it to 4 or IIII) and wait just a moment before opening the door.  Even with the door open, the draft is strong enough that smoke doesn’t come in the house.