cutting wood

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 2, 2011
Hey all. I have a large hickory tree at my disposal and am going to cut a few logs off for chunks. How do you go about it? Do you need to avoid cutting it with a chain saw because of the bar oil? Also, hickory is hard as can be to split? Any tricks of the trade for getting it into small enough chunks for my propane vertical smoker?
Use food grade oil instead of bar oil. cut it in rounds that once split will fit into the pit.
yeah i found out that if you cut it in bout 3" thick slices off a log it is easier to split....once slpit it is the size chunks we use in smokers....i had smow body give me some hickory already split into bout 2" to 3" splits that i cut into 3" pieces with my miter saw for bout 3" x 3" blocks perfect for my smokin.........bob

I am cutting up some pecan and had a lot of trouble splitting the wood after cutting into 12 inch lengths.  I decide to buy the correct tools for the job and my wife calls me the "splitting fool" now.   I added a 12lb maul and a power wedge.  Not sure how to explain it but the power wedge looks like a 4 sided pyramid that comes to a point.    I tap it into the center of the wood with a 3lb hammer then swing away with the maul.  Once I get the round piece of log split I can use either my axe or maul and standard splitting wedge to finish the job.   You want to split the log pieces like you are cutting a pie leaving wedge shaped pieces.   Once the splits are a manageable size your cut them anyway you want to any size you want.    I tried for weeks to split that pecan with a wedge, a 5 lb maul and an axe.   A large maul and power wedge are the secret, plus you either good dry wood or fresh cut wood.  If you don't split once the tree hits the ground and the wood is still green you may have to wait until it gets really dry to try and split it.

Great exercise, ten minutes of swinging the maul and I'm tuckered out. 
Do not use any oil in your chainsaw but the bar and chain oil recommended by the manufacturer.  If properly used a chainsaw will not contaminate your wood with oil.
Do not use any oil in your chainsaw but the bar and chain oil recommended by the manufacturer.  If properly used a chainsaw will not contaminate your wood with oil.

I agree with this statement. I also use my old saw for this type of work cuz it has a manual oiler....I just oil it before the cut and let most of the oil fling off before the cut. If you do get a little on there...big deal some people inhale way more than that on the freeway on the way to work. I have never really noticed much (or any) oil on the ends. If there is a piece that really shows some oil I reserve it for the wood stove or trim it with my chop saw. I like that splitting wedge thing as described above. And yes some woods split better wet than dry....maple splits way better when green, oak however does not. I let my apple dry for a year and a half before I even attempted splitting it and in splits just fine. So you need to know how hickory will react, I cant answer that cuz I have never split any. Good luck, it is way better than paying $10 a bag for it.
This weekend I'm going to make a table that will hold my old Mc 610 on a pivot to cut smoker wood into 1/2" pieces and generate tons of sawdust in the process. I've been using vegitable oil in this saw for a year now just couldn't take the chance of bar oil ruining any smoked meat. That bar oil does end up in the sawdust. I'll post pictures if it turns out

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