I came back from my trip to Devon with a new (to me) sledgehammer and splitting grenade, which I put to work this afternoon. The grenade isn’t explosive but does make it possible to break down logs that have resisted previous attempts. You can see illustrations online, for example on the handycrowd website.
It isn’t completely amazing. Most of the logs that hadn’t yielded to my splitting axe in the past took several whacks with the sledgehammer and, for a couple of them, the grenade got properly wedged in and I needed to keep working until I could free it. On the other hand, none of the pieces I worked on defeated me (although, this evening, I definitely feel that I’ve been doing battle!)
The other thing I want to try with the grenade in a future session is splitting longer logs. I’m relying on hand tools and smaller logs, up to about 5″-6″ diameter, are relatively easy to saw into suitable lengths for my fire; once sawn up, they also tend to then be quite easy to split with an axe except for the very gnarly bits. Large pieces take a lot more effort to saw although it does get easier once I’ve gone deep enough to get a wedge in behind the blade. If I can use the grenade to crack open longer logs, I’ll need to do less sawing until I’ve got thinner pieces; I think a 10″ log split into say 3 pieces would probably take less time and effort to saw to length than sawing the full log several times and then splitting each segment.