Splitting wood is one of the least favorite tasks of woodstove owners, and even for people who are just chopping for a decorative fireplace or pit, it gets unfun very rapidly. The repetitive motion and high amount of energy required are demanding, and the concussive force from blow after blow can really set a pair of shoulders aching. As if that wasn't bad enough, you have to wrench the axe out of the wood if it doesn't split on the first try...and there's always the risk of injury.
The basic shape and design of the axe hasn't changed in, well, millennia, as attested to by archaeological discoveries from around the world. At least, that was true until an enterprising Finn decided to rethink the way we chop wood.
The result is the Vipukirves, an axe that allows people to work smart, not hard. In addition, it's safer to use than a conventional axe, and the design will turn heads even if the speed of your wood chopping skills doesn't. The Vipukirves may just become a must-have in every woodshed and handyman's truck.
What differentiates it from regular axes, and how does it work? The design is uniquely weighted, so that when you swing down, the axe acts as a lever. This transfers more force, essentially ejecting a piece of wood from the side of a large wood round, or cleanly cleaving through a smaller piece of wood. That ejection, by the way, happens at a pretty high velocity -- the axe's designers warn that the working area should be clear to avoid injuries.
When the user strikes down, the weighted axe automatically turns to the right, levering the loosened piece of wood away from the rest of the log. It drops to the left, leaving the axe in place for the next strike. This innovative design is far more reliable than conventional axes, which can sometimes be a little hairy to work with.
Users need to keep both hands on the handle for safety, control, and best results, but if they follow the basic Vipukirves directions, they'll get a high performance woodcutting experience. That might sound like a funny thing to say, but if you've ever had to chop a cord of wood or more, you know it's no joking matter. Anything to make wood chopping easier and safer is a great development in our book, and this design is intended to address common safety issues like axes bouncing back and striking the foot, as well as uncontrolled swings.
Interested in seeing it in action? The manufacturers have a few videos on their site so people can check it out. For landscaping crews, this axe could end up being a great investment thanks to the increased efficiency and safety it offers, and the same goes for you!
Katie Marks originally wrote this story for Networx.com. It is reprinted with permission here.