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By Bernie Weisgerber

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You must make a very large V-notch to chop all the way through from just one side. You also risk hitting your cutting iv SIDE VIEW Figure 92—Size the notch to close halfway through the log if you can chop both sides of the log. If you can only cut on one side, the notch will have to be much larger (drawings by Frederic H. Kock). 43 Using Axes On a large log you increase the size of the notch by chopping out one side. Always remember your high, low, and middle technique for placing ax blows. Make three forehand swings, high, low, and middle, followed by three backhand swings.

On logs that are small enough to be rolled over, SECOND CUT T he advantages of chopping two Vnotches in a log instead of one large V-notch is simply a matter of ease of chopping. Chopping two smaller Vnotches is easier and takes less time than cutting one large notch. most common mistake is to make the V-notch too small (Figure 92). This pinches the middle of the V-notch before you reach the center of the log. You will quickly find that chips will not clear from a notch that is too wide. If a very large log is bucked, you need to make your notch narrow and then widen it out; the chips won’t clear if you start the notch much wider than 10 to 12 inches.

In the long run, it is important to learn to chop well both righthanded and left-handed. Being ambidextrous can save a chopper a lot of trouble in everyday work in the woods, particularly in limbing. brush or sharpening wooden wedges, use a onehanded grip at the ax’s point of balance near the head. For splitting wood, cutting saplings, or sharpening stakes by yourself, use a one-handed grip, with your hand about halfway down the handle. Your spare hand should be nowhere near the ax blade during these operations!

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An Ax to Grind: A Practical Ax Manual by Bernie Weisgerber


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