The Hults Bruk Bjork Splitting Axe is a lightweight axe with a 30″ long handle that’s good for splitting soft woods or dry wood with a straight grain. It’s perfectly good for around the house and splitting seasoned wood, but doesn’t cut it for splitting freshly cut green wood or wood with knots and twists in it. Think maple.
I spend a fair amount of time harvesting firewood from the National Forest (with a permit) where I live and I heat my cabin exclusively with a wood stove. I mostly burn ash, beech, birch, and maple. This past year I harvested and split about 4 cords with a friend, all by hand. We cut up downed trees with chain saws and split it on the spot before hauling it home in a trailer to dry. They say firewood warms you many times and that’s the truth. You don’t need a gym membership if you have a decent wood pile.
When I’m harvesting green wood, I usually split it with a 36″ Fiskars x27 Splitting Axe that weighs 5.4 pounds and has a 4 pound head. It does a great job, splitting meaty 75-year-old rounds with ease. The Hults Bruk Bjork has a much shorter handle (30″) and lighter weight, with a total weight of 4.7 pounds and a 3.4 pound head. It doesn’t pack the same wallop and it takes many more swings of the axe to split the same amount of green wood than the Fiskars X27.
But the main difference between the axes is the head shape. The Bjork has a narrow head that gets stuck in green wood and is a pain to remove, while the Fiskars has a wedge-shaped head that rarely gets buried and blasts the wood apart. The difference doesn’t matter as much on seasoned wood or a low moisture, straight-grained species like ash, but it’s very noticeable with green wood. I also suspect that the shorter length of the Bjork is a secondary factor, since a longer and heavier axe like the Fiskars X27 is probably traveling faster when it hits the wood.
The Hults Bruk Bjork is still a nice tool if all you have to do is split seasoned wood, including wood that’s been dried by a reseller and delivered to your house. It has a nice hickory handle and the head holds an edge well. I use the Bjork at home to chop kindling from seasoned wood and it works fine for that. But it’s not the right splitting axe for green wood, fresh from the tree.
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