Preparing wood for the woodstove does involve a certain amount of brute force, applying raw strength to turn big lumps of wood into smaller pieces that can (a) shed most of their moisture content and (b) fit in the stove. However, you can get a lot further if you apply intelligence rather than ignorance to the exercise.
As the temperature has dropped, we’ve begun using our fire again and, consequently, I’ve resumed the transformation of logs and branches in the store at the far end of the garden into smaller, more burnable pieces. It’s hard labour which ever way you approach it but I’ve been reflecting on how you can keep it manageable by applying thought to the process.
For example, the effort required to saw a piece of wood down seems to increase significantly as the girth of the wood increases. A good solution is to use a splitting grenade and sledgehammer to break apart logs into thinner sections before sawing. Once you have a long piece with a wedge profile, it seems to then work best to start cutting on the wide side and work towards the thinner part so that, as the saw blade gets deeper there are proportionately less fibres holding the two sides together.
And, very importantly, don’t try to do too much at once. Half an hour here and an hour there is better than wrecking your body for a week by trying to make a full day of it. As long as you keep the supply well ahead of demand, there is no need to to work to the point when the fun of figuring out the best approach for each piece of wood ends up as drudgery.