Take down any trees lately? Then you know it’s time to chop the timber into usable logs! Splitting logs is no easy task, though. To avoid as much effort as possible, you’ll need the right tools. One option is to use a wedge and sledgehammer. But how do you pick the right wedge for the job?
Whether you plan to use the wood in your fireplace or fire pit, or expect to give it away or sell it, it’s a huge plus when you can get the wood chopped and stacked.
Of course, a hammer and wedge are just one option for splitting wood. A chopping axe is another great choice. Or, you could invest in a log splitter. It’s a lot more expensive, but will save you lots of labor!
If you’ve never split wood before, we suggest that you check out our how-to article.
Splitting Wedge vs. Felling Wedge
Before ordering a wedge, be sure you’re getting the right kind! Felling wedges are not designed to split wood. Instead, you use them when chopping a tree down to hold open the gap where your saw or axe is cutting. Their design and material can support weight, but not for the high impact of splitting.
A splitting wedge, though, absorbs the impact of being smacked with a sledgehammer and the resistance of a log. Its edge and angle help pull apart the wood as it’s forced through.
Be sure to read and select your tool carefully. Using the wrong tool can be ineffective – or even dangerous.
Traditional vs. Diamond/Torpedo Wedge
A traditional splitting wedge has a wide “blade.” The tool widens toward the top to force the log apart as it’s hammered through. The edge isn’t sharp like a saw, but it’s durable enough to start the task. And this style works great for splitting a log in half. On the other hand, it can be tough to start the split in the center of the log.
More recently, the “diamond” wedge has become popular. It has a single point that widens into perpendicular blades, like a cross. This helps split it into quarters. Since the tip is a point instead of a line, it’s easier to start right in the center of your log.
Material and Size
Forged steel makes up almost all wedges, although some modern ones use hardened aluminum. Most weigh between 3 and 5 pounds; 4 pounds is the most common. This provides sufficient durability and force to split through the wood.
Wedges typically measure 7 to 9 inches from end to end. Length is a big aid in making the job easier since a longer wedge allows you to cut further into the log.
How Many Do You Need?
You can get by fine with a single splitting wedge, but having a second one can be helpful. That way, you can insert the second one while the first is holding a partially-split log open. They’re usually not too expensive, either, so it can be worthwhile to buy two!
Let’s have a look at the top wedges in the two major categories!
Top Traditional Wedges For Splitting Logs
This 5-pound wedge is our top recommendation across the board. In addition to a great weight, it’s also nearly 9 inches long.
The “wings” are a unique design features that help accelerate the splitting process. They rapidly expand the angle of the split.
The lead edge is 1 ⅞” wide.
Another 5 pound wedge, this one is just about an eighth of an inch longer than the Estwing above.
This widens to about 1 inch at the top. That’s pretty narrow, and if you’re trying to split larger logs, it might go slower than you’d like.
Otherwise, though, it’s a good tool that will help you split cords upon cords of wood.
The 60° bevel of this wedge helps you get a quick start in your timber. It then switches to a more “normal” rate of taper which will help split the wood quickly and effectively.
It weighs 5 pounds and is the longest wedge on our list, at 9.5 inches. It’s also 2 inches wide, making it a great tool for creating a deep split!
Top Diamond Wedges
Collins is our favorite diamond-shaped wedge. It weighs four pounds. The four wings have a nice taper that will help your wood quickly split into pieces.
Its point is easy to align and, in most logs, will start quickly. It’s an adjustment if you’re used to a traditional wedge, but you’ll soon get used to it.
Trust us, this piece is much sturdier than it looks in the photo. When we first saw it, we thought it was a rubber toy! Instead, though, it’s a quality wedge that splits wood well.
It weighs 4 pounds. It’s 7 inches long and 3 inches wide, so that once it gets started, it quickly wrenches the wood apart.
Yes, it is orange, but that’s just a paint job. It’s made of forged steel.
This Truper diamond-type wedge weighs 4 pounds. It has a unique design that helps it split the wood into sections easily. The point is relatively easy to start and will soon penetrate most logs.
This wedge is very long, at 9 ⅞”. The blade is a nice 3 ⅛” inches wide.
Just a word of caution – this listing has various options, set by buttons. There are several traditional wedge options in different sizes. Be sure to choose the “SUPER Wood Splitting Wedge” for the diamond-type model.
A splitting wedge along with a great hammer make a great combination for turning logs into firewood. Both the traditional and newer diamond styles have their benefits. Fortunately, neither is too expensive. Splitting logs is still tough work but a good wedge or two will definitely come in handy. And when you’re sitting in front of the fireplace next winter, you’ll appreciate it all the more!