How to Split Firewood Without an Axe

Updated January 17, 2018

The axe is a valuable tool for splitting firewood but it is not necessary. You can use several alternate tools to split large quantities of wood. The axe is a must-have for regular chopping and splitting, but a wedge, maul or gas-powered splitter is equally effective. You also must use a chainsaw to drop the tree and divide the trunk into cords that are short enough to fit in your fireplace.

Use a sledge hammer to tap the sharp end of a wedge into a wood round. Once the wedge has a bite on the wood, wind up and take a hard swing to drive the wedge through the round. Green wood may require several swings to slip the wood. Make several splits in large rounds to create split sections that are easy to manage in a fireplace.

Split firewood by swinging a maul to penetrate the wood.Drive the end of the maul through the round with a sledge hammer if it does not split on the first swing. The maul is similar to an axe in that it has a sharp bit and long handle. The main differences are the increase in width, and one end is changed from a bit to a flat hammer.

Start up a gas-powered splitter. Place one round on the bed and align the round with the bit. Push the throttle to drive the hydraulic arm forward until the wood is split. Retract the arm and repeat the process until all the rounds are split.


Two people will the speed of the hydraulic-splitter process. This will save gas and increase productivity.


Splitting firewood requires sharp blades and heavy equipment. Keep your hands and other extremities clear of the splitting lane. Be sure no one is standing within range of your swing with the hammer or maul.

Things You'll Need

  • Sledge hammer
  • Wedge
  • Maul
  • Gas splitter
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About the Author

Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can view his work at