How to Split Firewood With a Knife

How to Split Firewood With a Knife


Not a lot of people have an axe with them as they are hiking or moving through the wilderness with their bug out bags.  This usually comes on the heels of encountering one of the more unexpected challenges that tends to crop up out of nowhere:  How to cut firewood. 

There would undoubtedly be plenty of wood to burn out there in the woods  But, there’s always the chance, often precipitated by a dose of Murphy’s Law, that the wood you find will either be too big or too small.  Let’s take a look at how your can use your survival knife in order to cut wood into pieces that are more manageable.

Getting Started


Ideally, you will have a pair of work gloves on you. If not, consider wrapping your hands with t-shirts or big socks to protect them from blistering.  Put on your glasses, sunglasses or goggles for eye-protection out of an abundance of caution as well.  You will also need a proper surface to use for splitting the logs.  You can use the ground, create a space sandwiched between some tree stumps, or any other way that you think is best for keeping the log as still and secure as possible while it’s being split.

Keep in mind that the length of the knife blade needs to be bigger than the diameter of the log by at least an inch or two.  You will also need an appropriate log to use as a club for splitting the wood as well.  It will also need to be sturdy and have enough heft against the knife without splitting or reverberating too much as it strikes.

Putting the Log in Position and Splitting


As mentioned before, its essential that the log is resting securely in place.  You want to minimize the chances of it falling down, sliding out or causing the knife to shoot out when you start whacking the log.  Once it has been secured in place, take the knife and place it blade-down across and against the log.  Center it so the tip of the knife extends an inch or two from the opposite edge.  When working with longer knives, place it over the log so the handle of the knife is about an inch back from the wood. 


Hold the knife firmly against the log with your non-dominant hand while taking the club in your dominant hand.  Give the club a good swing and allow it to fall onto the top of the edge of the knife.  Make sure that you are putting enough weight on the handle to hold the knife in place as it is being clubbed.  Wiggle the knife back and forth and up and down, trying to split the wood further as it keeps getting hammered into the log.  Keep repeating until the wood ultimately splits. 


You can also have someone else hold the knife while you split the wood as well.  This may be a more efficient option for dealing with logs that are not easy to split.  In any case, all you need is a little leverage, stability, heft, strength and patience in order to use your survival knife to split logs.  Remember this idea the next time you want to make a fire, and get in some practice.  You never know when you will need to use this skill during a real survival situation.

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