On a day in February we ventured into the woods with 6 of our clients. They had all signed up for our Lumberjack Day. The winter took us by surprise with a blanket of snow that morning. Thick heavy snowflakes. No better reason for lighting our Fältovns and brewing some coffee.
My plan was to teach everyone how to chop logs for their stoves at home. Stoves we had built and I designed. We were going to use our axes as our grandparents had done. Although some brought high tech axes with fibreglass handles, the methods remain unchanged.
I draw great satisfaction from working in the woods. Preparing logs for the fire with a handmade axe. The sound of logs splitting upon impact and the resulting pile that will be food for my stove after 2 years of seasoning.
Creating energy with some of your own. I like the simplicity of that. It makes chopping wood more than just a hobby.
With our coffee drunk, I started with safety instructions. How not to injure yourself with an axe that can be a dangerous tool if handled incorrectly. After all, battles were fought with them. The biggest safety issue is what will catch the axe? Where will the axe fall if you miss the log?
Then we addressed basic techniques, like the hip swing and hitting the target. Methods that split logs with the minimum of effort. My grandfather used to say “use half the strength and never miss”.
After a morning with 6 highly motivated students creating growing piles of freshly chopped logs for the winter of 2019 with limbs intact, it was time for lunch. All three Fältovns burnt at full capacity and the smell of bacon and eggs filled the woods. Lumberjacks love bacon and eggs.
The afternoon was reserved for more chopping and refining techniques. The almost forgotten method for splitting logs in a kneeling position was demonstrated and immediately made sense to everyone. As well as splitting narrow logs placed horizontally on the chopping block.
And off they went, splitting and splitting like they had never split before.
And that’s why it was such fun.