Firewood processing tools

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Firewood processing tools

Postby MontanaMarine » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:33 am

Curious what works for you as a good balance of performance and weight, for feeding a stove the size of an SXL, give or take.

I'm not new to woodstoves for the home, we burn about 5 cords per winter that I process with a chainsaw and hydraulic splitter. But I am less than a year into having an SXL stove for a 6-man tipi.

Here are the tools I've been using; a Fiskars X7 hatchet (24 oz), Gerber 6" saw (5 oz), and a Mora knife (4 0z). Total is about 33 oz.

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I'm thinking I could increase production and save a few ounces with a stronger saw (Silky 8-9" with large teeth, about 8 oz, and less of a chopper/splitter...maybe a Gerber back paxe II at 16 oz? total weight about 24 oz, saving 9 oz in the pack.

I'm thinking the smaller hatchet wouldn't be a serious chopper, but useful for batoning SXL size wood with it's wedgy shaped head. Also good enough for feather sticks, and many lighter chopping/cutting chores.


Anyway, curious to hear what tools you all use as your wood prepping tools where you are feeding a similar size stove, and trying to keep weight down.

Thanks, Shane
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Re: Firewood processing tools

Postby kevin_t » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:01 pm

I have been thinking a bit about this myself. The Silky I used in the BWCA sure worked well. I am thinking that or a Sven but probably a Silky. I would probably use a solid knife for splitting .. but not sure on that. Hatchets always weigh a lot, although I found a decent one on a backpacking trip last fall ... so I have one. Personally, I lean better saw less or no hatchet in my current thinking. I wish you could find a silky that would work as a bone saw as well .. because for wood a good Silky beats the Wyoming by a long shot (which is what I currently use)

There is some chatter on our Facebook groups on that if you want to check it out.
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Re: Firewood processing tools

Postby MontanaMarine » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:49 pm

I have also been mulling the option of leaving the hatchet behind, and have a knife capable of batoning wood size for the SXL. Maybe something like a Becker BK-7...I don't know. Still looking at options that are useful, with an eye on weight.


Shane
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Re: Firewood processing tools

Postby swisski » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:59 pm

Good thread Shane.

It all depends on what I'm doing, but I have 2 tools that I use for processing firewood when packing in and using the stove. I did quite a bit of research to try and find that right balance of weight/packability and function.

The first one is the Wetterlings Backcountry Axe. This one comes in at 2.4 lbs. with 19.5" handle. While this is probably considered much to heavy for most, it's a solid tool that I can't see myself without if I'm going to be burning a lot. The handle is just long enough that you can also use 2 hands with it if desired, but works easily one handed, and the head is well shaped in that it works quite well as a splitter.

The second is the Bob Dustrude Quick Buck saw. It is a foldable, compact bow saw that uses a standard bow saw blade that you can get at any hardware store. Comes in 21", 24", and 30" models and weighs in right around 16 oz. This thing is awesome. Simple concept, well designed, light weight, and is a complete workhorse.

With these two tools, we can ensure camp stays toasty warm. All that being said, I rarely carry both. For example if I'm packing in for hunting, I may carry the saw, but it's hard to justify the axe, I like to keep it light as possible. And in all honesty, if I'm not taking the axe, I'm probably not taking the saw either. Sometimes I'll take my saw and my buddy will take his very similar model axe/hatchet he has. It just depends on the situation, distance, and the amount of comfort we're looking for. Plus when hunting we are basically gone all day anyhow and there is no need to process a whole bunch of firewood. That being said, on those trips when the girls are with us, or we're just out for a good time to get away, I definitely look forward to processing the firewood and gathering a nice supply to keep the stove going.
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Re: Firewood processing tools

Postby swisski » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:06 pm

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Re: Firewood processing tools

Postby MontanaMarine » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:15 pm

Swisski, Good info.

I also have a light, and heavier, kind of loadout.

If I'm going out with my wife, or multi-day outing, I pack heavier. Like the 6-man, SXL stove, and want to be able to prep more wood. A better saw is something I clearly want/need. And a useful splitter, either hatchet or big enough knife.

If solo or day hunting, I just recently replaced a BT2 with a Silvertip. I don't even have a dedicated woodstove for it (yet). The SXL might work with a shorter pipe, but seems awfully excessive. I pack the Silvertip even if I'm not planning to stay out, it's insurance for an unexpected night out, or sudden weather change. In this situation I still want some tools for a small warming fire, but a small folding saw and Ka-Bar are enough for shelter building and prepping some campfire wood.

I suppose like most I will end up with a few different edges and saws for different situations.

I like the looks of the Gransfors Bruks Mini Hatchet. Only about 13 oz, but looks like it would cover a lot of ground.



Shane
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Re: Firewood processing tools

Postby Akicita » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:42 pm

MontanaMarine wrote:I have also been mulling the option of leaving the hatchet behind, and have a knife capable of batoning wood size for the SXL. Maybe something like a Becker BK-7...I don't know. Still looking at options that are useful, with an eye on weight.


Shane


Exactly what I am using. . . Silky Gomboy 240 medium tooth with a Becker BK-7. . . In the right area I can process 3 days/nights of fuel for my SXL in a matter of an hour or so with this combo. Combo saw and knife come in under 2lbs. . . As I recall around 1 pound 10 ounces.
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Re: Firewood processing tools

Postby Camber » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:01 am

I have one of these, and it would work well as a dedicated splitting knife. Not very heavy either.

To be fair though, the sheath it comes with it crap, and the handle ain't that great either. But a little duct tape and some cord to wrap the handle with would make both way better w/o a lot of work or weight.
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Re: Firewood processing tools

Postby MontanaMarine » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:08 pm

Appreciate all the info.


I've been looking over some knife designs with batoning as a big part of it's use.

The Ontario RAT-7 has some things I like. Specifically the flat spine with minimal drop near the point. I like the overall size/weight too, very similar to the BK-7.

The swedge on the BK-7 looks like it might chew up a baton to some degree, maybe a non-issue though. I have a couple USMC KA-BARs, they have a fairly sharp swedge, not sure how the Bk-7 compares in that regard.

The BK-9 and Bk-7 both have a flat saber grind. That looks like it would be inherently stronger than the full flat grind on the RAT-7.

The BK-9 looks like an awesome tool, but it's fairly large, and getting heavy. Seems like overkill for splitting typically 3-5" diameter stuff.

Then the Gerber Back Paxe II. It looks like a little splitting wedge with a handle. Might be a great little batoner for SXL size firewood.


Shane
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Re: Firewood processing tools

Postby MontanaMarine » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:57 pm

Well I ended up ordering a couple new tools, and they showed up today. A Silky saw (Super Accel 210, large teeth), and an Ontario Rat-7 knife.

I went out and did some quick cutting/batoning to see how they would do. Seemed to work well on 4-5" diameter stuff. It was only about 10F outside, so probably things a bit frozen.

The little saw blade is about 8" on the toothy part. Weight is about 7.5 oz. It blazed through the small log I put it to, about 4.5". Very happy with it. No comparison to the Gerber sliding saw, made the Gerber look like a bad joke.

The RAT-7 batoned well on this roughly 4.5" size wood. The knife has a 7" blade and is 3/16" thick and flat along the spine. Seems like a tough knife. The micarta scales are nice, and fit perfectly. I'm not really a serious knife junkie at all, and this is my largest knife. About the same length as a USMC KA-BAR, but built heavier overall. Specs say it weighs 12.5 oz.

I see a larger Silky in my future, for big production, and a tool around the property for cleaning up trees, probably a Bigboy or maybe a Katanaboy. Seems a great product.

A couple pics with the Silky Super Accel 210, and the Ontario RAT-7, with a Mora for scale.


Image

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