Using your Log Splitter Safely

As more and more people are splitting their own wood to heat their homes with fireplaces and wood stoves, safety has become a larger concern. Follow these general guidelines for each type of log splitting method to safely work through your wood pile.

Splitting Wood Manually by Axe or Maul

Log Splitting Safety Tips
  • Safety gear is essential. Protective goggles and gloves should always be worn
  • Steel-toed boots are also a good idea. Never wear open toed shoes or sandals
  • Be sure to start with your log on a level, sturdy base
  • Larger logs should be split between the center and outer edge
  • Cut logs into quarters or eighths. Smaller sections become unstable and harder to hit
  • Dry wood is much easier to split
  • Inspect wood for nails, knots or anything else that could affect the path of the maul through the wood
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Hold the maul in front of you to gauge distance
  • Allow gravity to assist as you swing the maul down
  • Be sure that the maul hits squarely as to not deflect to either side
  • If the log needs to be split again, clear the pieces and reposition the log securely on the base
  • Clean your tool after every use. This cuts down on corrosion and keeps edges sharp

Splitting Wood with Machinery

Log Splitting Safety Tips
  • Again, wear proper safety gear. Goggles, gloves and proper footwear are paramount
  • Keep children and pets out of the area. Splintered wood can become airborne
  • Always read the instructions for safety issues specific to your model
  • Never use your splitter under the influence of alcohol or other mind altering substances
  • Only use you splitter with proper lighting, never at night
  • Be sure that your splitter is sitting squarely on level ground
  • Do not attempt to cut anything besides wood
  • Never operate a splitter in wet, muddy, or icy conditions
  • Use wheel chocks to ensure that splitter cannot roll
  • For gas units, only operate in an open ventilated area
  • For electric units, be sure that your extension cord can supply proper power
  • Inspect extension cords for nicks or other damage
  • Some Hydraulic systems have an air release valve that should be opened before use and closed after
  • Be mindful of how you hold the log. Never place your hands between the wood and the splitting wedge
  • Log splitting is a one-person job. Accidents can occur when two or more people are in the splitting area
  • Be sure to check hydraulic oil levels in accordance with your machine’s specifications
  • Clean all parts of the splitter after each use
  • Do not alter your splitter in any way, for any reason