Best Snow Chains for Tires for 2023 and Beyond

Best Snow Chains for Tires for 2023 and Beyond

When you live in an area that gets significant snow fall, you also have winter on the mind. You’re either in the winter season, or you know winter is coming in a few months.

With winter you have to worry about a few different things. You need to keep your home warm, you need emergency rations available in case you get snowed in, and you have to prepare you best for trying to get out and about when possible.

If you drive, that means you might want to consider getting some quality snow chains for your car or trucks as that will make your life much easier.

What to Look for in Quality Snow Chains

If you’ve never bought a set of chains for your tires before, it’s going to be very beneficial for you to have an idea of what to look for. And, to do that, knowing how they works is step one.

Tire chains are exactly what you think they are. They are a set of chains that wrap around your can or truck’s tire and make them look like they’re wearing a medieval set of armor.

However, while armor’s prime function is to protect what it’s on, the chains’ prime function is to improve your automobile’s traction. They do so by punching through snow to try and make contact with the road.

When a naked tire is sitting on too much snow, or snow that’s densely packed, and you hit your accelerator, your tires spin because they are actually making any contact with the asphalt. That’s the difference between tires with and without chains.

Next, you have to decide what product is going to be right for your individual needs as not all the option out there are going to be a good choice for you. You’ll have to choose between options like chains or cables, and deciding if a 1-year warranty is important or perhaps a 90-day warranty is good enough.

You’ll also want to make sure you find something that matches the body style of your automobile. A set that’s great for SUVs and trucks might not be so good on a compact.

Reviews of Our Top Picks

There are a lot of options out there, but here are the choices we feel are the best buys. They offer both quality and value.

Axe vs Hatchet: Know The Difference

Axe vs Hatchet

Hatchet and axes are the tools that have been used for centuries for chopping wood. Many people get confused between an axe and hatchet. Some people often use axes and hatchets interchangeably as both of them are similar in appearance while other also say that a hatchet is a type of axle. However, it is not so. They are completely different tools designed for completely different purposes. These tools are designed for varying workloads. Let us explore the nitty-gritty of axes and hatchets.

An axe is a handy tool that is used for chopping, splitting, piercing and chipping of wood. It is a wedge. The stone age axes originated as a simple stone tool that has a wooden handle around 30,000 BC. Copper bladed axes were seen in Egypt around 4000 BC. Then axes with bronze blades come in existence and eventually axes with iron blades originate. The axe generally consists of axe head with handle which is also called as haft or helve. An axe is basically a simple machine that reduces effort needed by the wood chopper. Depending upon the intended use axes are of different types and are available in different forms in the market. Depending upon the intended use width, angle and bit sharpness may vary. In general, the cutting type axes have shallow wedge angle whereas splitting axes have deep angle. Also, most of the axes are double bevelled i.e. symmetrical about the axis of the blade whereas some broad axes have single bevel blades. Nowadays, most of the axes have iron heads with handles made from hickory wood. However, there are some axes that also have steelheads. Axes are designed in such a way that they easily cut through the wood.

A hatchet is a small tool that is designed to chop the dense wooden logs with minimum effort. A good hatchet is designed in such a way that helps to cut the wood rapidly without pain. It is basically a single handed tool having a sharp blade on one side and is used for cutting and splitting the wood. Also, it is a versatile tool that can be used for hammering, splitting, chopping and throwing. Hatchet can be used for splitting woods with small and thin branches or twigs of trees in the bushy forest. The blade size of the hatchet ranges between 3.6 to 5.25 inches. This tool is highly suitable for light work and is a good alternative to axes that makes the work cumbersome. They are best suited for splitting small pieces of firewood and small branches. This single handed tool requires less space for working and hence can be used in such areas where use of axes is difficult. Sometimes you might mistake a hatchet for a camping axe. This is because the camping axes (also known as hand axes) are generally smaller than ordinary axes.

Axes are two handed tools whereas hatchets are one handed tools. The heads of axes are heavy wedge-shaped with the flat poll whereas the heads of hatchets are heavy and feature a V-shaped cut and a hammer like poll on the other side. Also, axes are longer than the hatchets. An axe is twice the length of hatchets.

The difference between these two tools can be explained on the following headings:

Design Wise

The Heads of axes are heavy wedge-shaped with the flat poll on the other side whereas the heads of hatchets are heavy and feature a V-shaped cut and a hammer like poll on the other side. Heads of axes are usually larger than the hatchets and feature a very slight taper. Heads of hatchets are more narrow and have a significant tapper than the axes. The metal wedge of the hand axe is made from heavy metal. The blades have sharp and tapered edges. Hatchets are more compact with heavier blades. The shaft of the hatchet is curved and shorter, which facilitates stronger grip on the handle whereas the shaft of the hand axe is longer and is not curved. Handle of the hand axe is made from strong wood or fibreglass whereas the handles of hatchets are made from metal, wood or fibreglass.

Length wise

Axes are generally longer than the hatchets. An axe is twice the size of a hatchet. A hatchet comfortably fits on one hand but the axe requires two hands for operating. The handle of hand axes measures 20 to 36 inches whereas that of hatchet measures 12 to 18 inches in length.

Weight Wise

An axe is heavier than the hatchets. Due to its heavy weight, it is best suited for heavy work. An axe weighs 3 pounds in weight whereas the weight of a hatchet may be 1 to 3 pounds.

Purpose Wise

Hatchets are smaller in size, weight, length and girth than the hand axes, so they are best suited for chopping small-scale wood. A hatchet is particularly suited for following work:

    • Splitting of firewood
    • Chopping the small branches of tree
    • Cutting the bushes
    • Felling the saplings
    • Suitable for hiking and hunting
    • Clearing trails

An axe can be used for several purposes. It is particularly suited for following works:

    • To cut down a tree
    • Splitting wood to make houses, benches, shelter and many other wood crafts.
    • Different sized hand axes are used for recreational purposes like axe-throwing.

Also Read: Splitting Axe vs Splitting Maul: Know The Difference

Similarities Between Axe and Hatchet

Due to the number of similarities between axes and hatchet, some people use them interchangeably. Both the tools are primarily used for cutting tools. Traditionally both tools have steel heads with sharp edges. Although they both are functionally similar but are completely distinct tools designed for different purposes.

Pros of Axe Over hatchet

Following are the advantages of axe over hatchets:

    • It is best suited for heavy work.
    • It can be used to perform work that cannot be done by using a hatchet.

Pros of hatchet Over Axe

The lighter weight of hatchets limits it to light work. Beside this limitation, it has following advantages over an axe:

    • It is easier to use, handle and carry.
    • It is more versatile than a hand axe.
    • It requires less energy for operating.
    • It is best suited for light work.
    • It is easy to store.
    • It is a one handed tool.

Which is Best for Splitting Wood: Axe or Hatchet?

Both axes and hatchets are used for splitting pieces of firewood. We cannot say which one of them is best for splitting wood. The choice axe or hatchet for splitting wood basically depends upon the type of work and wood type. If you have to split small wood, a hatchet would be best, whereas if you have to split heavy wood, go for an axe.

Final Verdict

This is all about an axe and hatchet. Both are the tools that are used for chopping wood. Most people get confused between these two tools and often use the term interchangeably. But in fact it is not so. Both of them are completely different tools used for completely different purposes. An axe has a heavy wedge shaped head with a flat poll on the other side. Hatchets are heavy and feature a V-shaped cut and a hammer like poll on the other side. Heads of axes are usually larger than the hatchets and feature a very slight taper. Heads of hatchets are more narrow and have a significant tapper than the hand axes. Axes are generally longer than the hatchets. An axe is twice the size of a hatchet. A hatchet comfortably fits on one hand but the axe requires two hands for operating. Axes are two handed tools whereas hatchets are one handed tools. Although both the tools are distinct in terms of their design, length and weight but both the tools are used for cutting the wood. Hatchet is easier to carry, handle and store and also requires less power for operating. An axe is best suited for heavy work and it requires more power for operating.

How to Replace an Axe Handle Like a Pro: Within 8 Steps

The axe is one of the implements made up of sharp-edged iron fixed in a wooden handle used for chopping, shaping, and splitting wood and trees. It is also used in harvesting timbers for daily life purposes

The wooden handle is an essential part of an axe fitted into the sharp wedged metal head at the top. It acts as a third-class lever, where the user’s shoulder acts as Fulcrum, and the effort is applied by swinging the axe handle. So, the length of the axe handle is the effort distance, and it decreases the amount of force to be exerted by magnifying the applied force. Thus the axe handle is the force multiplier that makes splitting the wood and timber quicker and easier. However, a too long axe handle is difficult to control as it can’t absorb the impact after hitting the target.

The most commonly used material for preparing the axe handle is Hickory and Ash. Some may also use Oak and Maple. Currently, Fibre-glass is also popular due to its high shock-absorbing capacity. The material of the handle also determines the ease of grip and efficiency of the axe. So, it’s essential to choose the material for the handle wisely to ensure durability and comfort to the user’s hand. The handle contracts and shrinks on exposure to very high or low temperatures. The moisture also makes the handle get swollen. Thus, you should give proper care and protect the handle from extreme environmental conditions.

The workability and efficiency of the axe starts decreasing when the cracking, swelling splitting of the handle itself occurs. Sometimes, you may hit the metal or concrete surface, missing the target. It produces a lot of shocks that the handle couldn’t bear, and then cracks or splits. The continuous exposure to extreme conditions also makes the handle slippery, very rough and challenging to grip. In those situations, replacing the axe handle will be a wise and intelligent decision to make. You should be well aware of the steps to change the old handle to a new hand. It will be a lot easier if you have the backups for the materials of the axe handle beforehand. You can then change the handle of your instrument in no time.

Thinking about how to start the process?
No worries! In this article, we’ll be guiding you throughout the process with the very simple and easy steps for replacing the handle of the axe. Stay tuned till the end. We’re here to familiarise you with the problem and its solution to the problem you may face while using the tool.

Materials/Tools required

Saw or trimming machine, Sandpaper, Mallet hammer, Linseed oil, wooden rasp or file, wooden and metal wedges.

Steps of Replacing Axe Handle

Here are a few steps to replace your axe handle with a new one:

If you have wooden material as a block, you should first trim it to the shape and size of the handle you want. You can put the old handle on its top, mark the boundary with a pencil and then trim it using an automatic wood trimmer or saw. After getting the shape, you should again mark the top for its required width in between the hole of the axe head.

1. Now, slip the handle to the axe head to see how it fits. Remember not to bang the axe on the table, it causes the wood to split. What you’re gonna do is, get your mallets, hold the axe off the ground, and you hit the end of it.

2. After checking the seating of the handle, use sandpaper to the area with slick to get your handle seat properly. Repeat this process until you get the head to sit on your desired length.

3. Check if your wedge fits the handle width and trim it to make it as wide as the handle if it doesn’t.

4. Make a slot in the middle of the top of the handle to fit in the wedge. Use the diluted linseed oil on both the handle and the wedge to increase its adhesion and lubrication. You can wrap up the handle with a cloth or old bicycle rubber to protect the handle in the vise from the clamp’s jaws.

5. Open up the slot in the handle with the flat screwdriver, insert the wedge in, and now grab your mallet to tap it in. The wedge may split, but you should focus on driving it in there.

6. After getting the wedge inside, mark the extra portion above the axe head and trim it off.

7. Take the metal edge, make a little cut, and tap it in with a heavier hammer to insert it in.

8. The final step is sanding the handle to get the grains in position and coating the handle with linseed oil to seal the grain and protect the handle.

Where to get an Axe Handle?

You can get the axe handle from your nearby hardware and suppliers offline. You can also order the handles with the best quality online through different online shopping platforms like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc., by comparing their prices, quality, and general reviews.

Features of a Good Axe Handle

Though new or replaced, an axe handle should possess the following features to be called reasonable:

    • The quality of the wooden material is the primary characteristic of a good handle. So, you should always choose excellent quality material.
    • The fitting of the axe head to the handle should be firm and secure, and the gap perfectly covered by wedges.
    • The handle should be durable with a comfortable grip.
    • The length of the handle should be appropriate for the purpose it is designed for.
    • The handle should have good shock-absorbing capacity.

Can You Replace an Axe Handle By Yourself?

Yes, Replacing an axe isn’t a complicated process. You need some essential tools and quality wooden material. But one should use sharp instruments and wedges while replacing them, which adds to the potential risk of injury and wounds. So, you should follow all safety precautions, such as wearing protective gloves and eye goggles while trimming the wood to prevent injury. You can also get familiarised by watching the tutorial videos before starting the process. We can thus replace the axe by ourselves if we are well aware and skilled in using those necessary tools and handling the sharp metal head safely.

Final Verdict

Reading those simple steps, you may have already mastered the idea of replacing the axe handle in your mind. It may get a little hard to handle those tools for beginners, but as you go on, working with wood is fun and exciting. You will definitely enjoy the process and the satisfaction gained from it.

Shepherd’s Axe: Everything About Design and Uses

Ever heard of an ancient axe called Shepherd’s axe? You may not know its full details and history even if you have one. Here we present a complete guide on Shepherd’s axe’s design and uses, which has a long history. Let’s dive into it!

Shepherd’s axe is a longer and lightweight ancient axe used as a weapon of war for centuries by shepherds and warriors in Eurasia or Central and Eastern Europe. They are given different names depending on the region. You may know this axe as Rambha, Valaska, etc. They are polled axes that serve as a walking stick and a supplemental hammer. So, it’s a versatile tool: you can have an axe, a weapon, a walking stick, and a hammer from a single tool. The people from Romania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Czech Republic will have heard and known about Shepherd’s axe.

They are believed to have originated in the 9th century from the Eurasian region, somewhere in today’s Hungary. It started as a fighting axe. It was then migrated to central Europe between the 14th to 17th centuries during migration along the Carpathian and Dinaric Mountains. It was used in self-defence, and it is great for combat. Janosik Notorious bandit and his companions also used it. It is more associated with Slovak and Polish Shepherd and Hungarian warriors. They were also used by so-called highland robbers and there are actually documented cases of people being killed with these. So, we know that these were perfectly functional weapons in ancient times.

The shepherd’s axe used to be customised according to the owner and was believed to be representing one’s identity or the religious community. They were also used during ceremonial practices by the priestesses.

The shepherd’s axe is still in use in places like Poland, Slovakia, etc. In most of the places, they are kept for decoration, as a souvenir.

General Features

The shepherd’s axe is not just a very great tool but also a very wood weapon. The axe is designed to give you a perfect reach, and you can do many things with it. The sharp bottom also helps you attack the enemy or trees from a long distance. Since the length is longer and the grip may be uncomfortable due to its thin and weak material, you need to wear gloves or safety tools to reduce the back impact on your hands.

The shepherd’s axe, carrying a long history, is adorned with beautiful ancient traditional designs and stamps. The axe head is small, length is long, thin, and lightweight, and Sycamore is used as the wooden material here. The small metal butt is fitted perfectly so that it can be used as a walking stick.

The head is well made, like how a hammer bit is shaped at the end. The handle is beechwood which is usually not chosen for the axes. It might not be as efficient as Ash and Hickory, but it is still suitable for the axe. Its handle tapers down the bottom, forming a sharp end. So, it gets thinner, and the material to absorb the vibration after hitting the target decreases. You may get a little hand shock because of this traditional design.

You can find the length of the shepherd’s axe longer than typical axes. The primary purpose of this axe in ancient times was to use it as a weapon during the war and to chop small branches. Based on the purpose, the length was increased to get a good reach and used as support while walking to the war zones. The axe is thus more extended than a metre’s length.

As we know, the principle of the axe is based on the third-class lever. The length of the axe acts as an effort distance which multiplies the force applied. So, the impact from the object you hit from this axe may sometimes be uncontrollable and challenging to grip the tool.

This axe is very lightweight; designed for long-distance wars and small trees. Its lightweight nature is what makes it applicable to walking sticks and hammers. It works amazingly in smaller branches. In more giant trees, the pressure applied by this light axe may not be enough to produce a significant impact.


As we mentioned earlier, Shepherd’s axe is versatile. You can get your many tasks done with a single axe. The primary uses of this axe include:

    • Chopping small branches: It can split small branches in a minute.
    • Weapon during the war: One of the main reasons it was developed was to use it as a weapon during the wars.
    • Walking stick: The long length and perfectly fitted axe head is designed to facilitate a walking stick.
    • Hammer: The back of the axe head can also be used as a hammer.
    • Attacking the target from a distance: The pointed end can easily get attached to the target when thrown in technique from a distance.


After going through the details of Shepherd’s axe, you can determine the possible pros of this tool. It can be listed in points as:

    • The Shepherd’s axe is an ancient history-carrying tool. So, it is historically very significant to identify the evolution of today’s modern tools.
    • The versatile nature of this axe lets the user get the advantages of a war weapon, axe, walking stick, hammer, and a source of entertainment.
    • Its design and principle paved the way for modern-day tools.


Along with the pros, you can filter out the drawbacks of this axe. It may be:

    • The thin handle induced an uncomfortable grip and less area to absorb impact.
    • The impact force was greater to the extent it couldn’t be controlled because of the long and thin length.
    • It was not suitable for the big trees and woods.

Can Shepherd’s Axe Be Used For Splitting Woods?

Yes, if it’s for the smaller branches. But for the larger and giant trees, they may not be better choices. Splitting the more extensive woods with a shepherd’s axe will take much longer. It’s not that it can’t be used, but the time and effort you put in while using Shepherd’s axe for the more extensive woods may not be worth it. So, it won’t be an intelligent choice for more giant trees. But if you are looking for wood splitting in smaller branches, you can go for Shepherd’s Axe.


You may have now acknowledged this long-shaft axe’s pros and cons. It was one of the significant tools centuries ago. Modern tools have now evolved to be a lot easier and more efficient. You can see these axes mainly in the museum and conservation centre. But you can still see it being used in many places in modern times.

Best Camping Knife: 5 Great Options

Camping is a great way to get out and experience nature. You can rough it in the outdoors with friends, family, or alone and enjoy the peace and quiet of the woods. However, camping is not necessarily easy. A lot of your experience will vary depending on the gear you bring, and unless you’re a survivalist, you’re probably going to want to pack up! One of the most important things to have with you in any outdoor living is a camping knife. They have a variety of uses, including self-defense, cutting wood for fire, or even meal prep.

Are you planning a camping trip but don’t know what knife to choose? Do you need one with survival tools, or just a straight blade for cutting? How big does it need to be, and what should it cost? These are all questions that new campers may not know. Fortunately, we can help!

In the following piece we’ll go over what to look for when buying a camping knife, as well as some of our picks. Happy browsing!

What to Look for in a Quality Camping Knife

Depending on what you need it for, you have some choices for a camping knife.

Price – Your first consideration will likely be your price range, as knives can vary greatly in their costs. Generally, a higher-quality knife will last longer than a cheaper option, but unless you plan to use it regularly, you may be able to get away with a cheaper knife. For most good-quality camping knives, you can expect to pay between $35 and $250, depending on your requirements. This is the range our recommendations will fall into as well so you can be confident in our picks.

Folded or Straight – Next, you can decide if you would prefer a fixed blade or a foldable blade. Fixed blades are generally stronger when full-tang (metal entirely through the handle), but need to be kept in a sheath for protection. A foldable knife opens itself up to damage because the knife needs to fold to work. If it rusts or it doesn’t open, you may have trouble using it. However, they are safer and more convenient to carry.

Size – Now that you’ve narrowed your choices down, you can consider the size of your knife, including the blade and handle. For most camping knives, 8-12” in total with a 3-5” blade is the recommended size to be able to perform most actions comfortably. Larger and heavier knifes are better for chopping, while smaller and lighter knives are easier to maneuver so be sure to consider what you need it for.

Materials – Your blade can be stainless or carbon steel, both with their own benefits. Carbon steel can become sharper more easily and is more durable than stainless steel, but rusts more easily. Your environment and intended use will determine which is best for you.

Your handle should be made of a sturdy yet comfortable material so that it doesn’t hurt your hands from use. Rubber is often used to cushion the handle, as well as bone for sturdiness. You want something that is comfortable, provides great grip, and looks good (primarily the first 2).

Reviews of Our Top Picks

Now that you know what you’re looking for, we can review some potential choices to consider. We’ll give you the good, the bad, and what you need to know about each.

How to Fell a Tree in the Direction You Want [ Within 14 Steps ]


Tree felling is the purposeful removal of standing trees in a way that it falls in a specific desirable direction. It is the art of aiming at the right point, at the right angle, in the right direction. The limbing and Bucking process follow the felling of the tree. Limbing involves cutting the side branches of the felled tree, whereas bucking involves splitting the wood into appropriate lengths.

The tree felling is done with the diseased, old trees on the verge of falling or in the way of any infrastructure or roads. The tree dies, and thus spreading of the disease can be prevented. Otherwise, the whole area may be infected if that diseased tree is not dropped. Also, the natural falling of the old, weak trees may fall upon other healthy trees and disturb them. The whole orchard or the jungle could get affected by the falling of trees in the wrong direction. So, the primary purpose of learning about the felling of trees in the right direction is to promote the judicial removal of trees without any disturbance to others in the proper direction.

The principle of the felling of trees lies in the proper angle cut at the right point and right direction. The tree should be downed in a proper direction where there is no disturbance, and the limbing and bucking process can be carried out efficiently. Cutting it at the wrong angle may not only hinder other trees but may even cause injury to the cutter or the person cutting it. There is a dim chance of survival if you make a mistake in falling the tree in the wrong direction and happen to be under the dropped tree. So, you should immediately cut the trees leaning toward the roads or buildings, falling off of which may cause severe damage.

Tree felling is an artistic skill one needs to master. You can’t just cut at any angle and drop it down. Finding the correct angle, the correct point to aim, and the proper direction to drop is an art. You should make a slanting cut and a straight cut on both sides of the tree, and the major point to consider is the thickness of the hinge you need. The hinge is the gap between the front notch and the back cut. It is what drops the tree in the right direction and determines the force at which the tree falls. It controls the momentum of the tree. According to the rule of thumb, the hinge thickness should be 10% of the tree DBH(Diameter at breast height), and the length should be 80% of the tree DBH.

Now, you can tell why felling the tree in the right direction is essential to learn. In this article, we’ll be getting you acquainted with the steps of felling the tree in the proper direction and the things to consider while doing that. Let’s get started!

Steps of Felling Tree in Direction You Want

Let’s have a look at the steps involved in the felling of a tree in a desirable direction:

    • First, you should know the reason for felling the tree. When you know the reason, you can target the direction and make the notch accordingly.
    • After choosing the direction to drop down the tree, determine the notching point, and length on the tree to be left as a base.
    • You can cut slightly or wrap the tree with a wire at the decided cut point.
    • Choose which notch to make according to the tree size and the instruments you have. The cut should be made at the point straight to the targeted direction for dropping the tree.

There are different types of notches to make in the face cut. They may be the Humboldt, the Gapped face, the Conventional face cut, the Bore cut, the Sizwill, the Open-faced notch, etc. Here, we’ll be talking about the conventional face cut, which is easier and applied by most people.

    • Then we put a notch on the front part with a flat cut at the base and an angle cut of about 45 degrees above it.
    • Then you make a back cut, which should be above the front notch base. You’ll lose control if it’s below the notch bottom.
    • Leave a hinge of thickness according to the tree size. You should at least leave 10% of the tree diameter breast height.
    • After making the back cut, move to the escape route and observe the tree felling.

Note: If there are other healthy trees in the direction you think the tree may fall, you can use a rope to change the direction of the tree falling. What you have to do is tie and make a knot with rope on the upper branches of the tree and then join it to the other tree’s base in the direction you want the tree to fall. As the cut is made, the tension on the rope increases and the tree falls in the proper direction.

These are the simple steps you can follow during tree felling. Here are a few points to consider while doing this:

    • Before you make a back cut, make sure you have an escape route. The exit path should be completely clear. You can exit at a 45-degree angle to the falling direction.
    • Wear a helmet and other protective devices to avoid any kind of misfortune.
    • The flat wedge cut should be horizontal to the direction the tree is leaning. We’re not going to do any activities against gravity.
    • You should give a cut from the opposite side of the tree’s diameter that is way bigger than your saw blade.
    • The flat cut shouldn’t go further than the angle cut.
    • You may also need to put pressure on the tree through an axe.


Tree felling looks easier at the surface, but it takes a lot of patience and hand stability to fell a tree. You should be familiar with the use of a saw before using it. The improper handling may get the saw stuck inside in case of bigger trees. But it’s a fun process, to observe the tree, make a cut, and then drop it in the proper direction. As a beginner, You can’t go for other notches than conventional one. Making different notches and deciding the direction and hinge thickness is an art you can slowly master. So, be calm, work out for hand stability, and use the instruments properly to fall the tree in the right direction.

Filed Under: Axes

Axe Throwing: Fad or Trend?

if you live near any major metropolis in the U.S.A., you almost certainly have seen at least one if not quite a few indoor axe throwing ranges pop up throughout the last year. They’re also becoming more prevalent in smaller cities and suburbs too.

For example, one of the larger businesses, Bury the Hatchet, has ranges in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Kansas.

But, what exactly are these ranges about and is all of this just a fad that will slow down in the coming year, or will this new fun activity continue to grow?

What is an Axe Throwing Range?

These indoor ranges where people go with friends and colleagues to blow off some steam are exactly what they sound like. They are basically indoor areas with wooden dart-like targets set up that you hurl axes at.

In a way they are a cross between a dart board in your local pub and a batting cage at a sport’s complex.

Here’s what to expect should you decide to visit one.

Friendly to Novices and Pros Alike

Believe it or not, there are professional axe throwing competitions. Walking into a place where there are bladed objects getting thrown at high velocities can be intimidating. Adding to the fact that it’s not necessarily a casual passerby that is doing the throwing and it might be someone training for a competition doesn’t make taking that first step inside any easier.

But, fear not. Most axe throwing establishments are extremely friendly and welcome new customers on the daily basis. They will take their time to explain how everything works, and they even give lessons on throwing techniques and safety.

Won’t Break the Bank

To be perfectly honest, spending the evening at a range isn’t the cheapest way to spend your evening. However, it’s not going to put you in the poor house either.

Of course every business has its own pricing, but a good assumption in that you’ll pay around $30-50 per person for a 2 hour session. When you compare that to the price of seeing a movie, it’s a pretty decent value especially considering it’s active and not passive entertainment.

Most ranges are B.Y.O.B. friendly as well, so you have your favorite suds with you without getting hit by bar prices.

More Hatchet than Axe
Although some of these businesses market themselves as axe throwing ranges, you are more likely to end up hurling a smaller hatchet through the air than a full-sized axe. While the idea of going full Holllywood and tossing a giant axe across the room hitting a perfect bullseye might be fun, a full-sized maul can have have a head that weighs in at 8 pounds on its own. You don’t want to launch that over your head too many times.

You’ll much more likely be tossing something that’s single bit and is a bit smaller, much like this Fiskars X11 model. Though, many places only use hatchets with wooden handles.

In Summary

Axe or hatchet throwing is growing all over the country. It’s a fun activity for those who are serious and those who just want to try something new with a few friends. It’s also comparatively priced to other entertainment activities.

Whether it’s a fad or not is hard to say. It’s most likely going to hit a saturation point and then start to recede in popularity a little. But, as long as there are enthusiasts willing to pay, the cream of the crop as far as ranges go will surely do well.

Filed Under: Blog

How to Split Wood with a Maul

It is a few degrees below zero, so you want to get a fire started. To your disappointment, the firewood pieces you collected will not fit into your fireplace. They are simply too large.

Logs are often too big to fit into conventional fireplaces. You need to split them, and a splitting maul will do the job.

Discover how to use this tool to chop wood, and prepare yourself for the task. Make it easier by following a few precise steps.

Should I use a maul or an axe?

A splitting maul, also known a blockbuster, sledge axe or go devil, is a heavy, long-handled axe used for splitting cumbersome logs. It has a head that typically weighs about 8 pounds.

You may wonder why many professional loggers split wood with a maul and not an axe. For many reasons, it is the perfect wood-chopping tool.

The head of the maul is V-shaped. This design allows it to exploit cracks in wood fibers and separate them with precision.

Axe blades, which are thinner than maul blades, tend to jam in wood fibers. If you look closely at a maul, you will notice that it has slightly convex shape. It has a wider head as well. These attributes prevent it from jamming in wood logs.

That means splitting axes can get the job done, but mauls are a much more specialized wood spitted tool.

Preparation for Splitting Logs

Get the wood-chopping process off to a good start. For it to succeed, you must make thorough preparations.

1. Cut your wood to an appropriate length

The shorter logs are, the easier it is to chop them. Most fireplaces accommodate wood pieces of between 16 to 20 inches. Make sure that you cut your wood to a suitable length for your fireplace.

Cut the pieces flat and square, because you need to stand and split them. Crooked pieces of wood will raise the difficulty level of your task.

2. Prepare a chopping block

Get a chopping block ready. Most loggers use a tree trunk. To avoid dangerous recoils, it is important that it is at the right height. Chopping blocks that are six inches off the ground are ideal.

Try not to split wood on the ground. You will exhaust yourself faster because you will have to lift the maul higher for each and every swing.

3. Keep safety in mind

Wood chopping involves some risk. Do all you can to prevent accidents.

Ensure that the area where you want to split wood is not slippery. There should be no hanging debris that may entangle your maul or axe.

Also make sure to wear proper gear. Wear gloves to prevent splinters and put on a pair of safety glasses and work boots as well.

If possible, enlist help. Have a partner to chop wood with, as he or she can assist you if there is an accident.

Using a Maul to Split Wood

Now that you have made all basic preparations, you can get to actually doing the splitting. Splitting wood with a maul is a straightforward process. These simple steps will raise your chances of success. Plus, find out what measures to take if the wood does not split.

Steps to Follow

1. Place the wood in the center of the chopping block

Put the wood in the middle of the chopping block, making sure that it is stable. Chopping wood on a shaky block will cause accidents. You could inadvertently strike your leg, or send wood pieces flying into the air like missiles.

2. Examine the wood thoroughly

Have a close look at the wood and identity hairline cracks. Then, aim in the direction of the cracks so that the wood splits easily.

Different woods break differently, so have a strategy in mind. While oak splits in the center, maple comes apart at the end grains.

Look for places where someone has cut the wood before. These places will likely be crooked or distorted, so it will be hard to cut through them.

3. Take aim

After you have determined where you want to split the wood, stand and rest your maul in that area. You may want to make an indentation as a guide.

4. Chop the wood in an up-down direction

Move the maul in an up-down direction instead of swinging it. Hold it with your weaker hand gripping the end of the handle. Support it with your stronger hand. Bend your knees slightly and lift the maul above your head. Slide your strong hand close to the weaker one.

5. Splitting into smaller pieces

Cut the wood into smaller pieces of about 6 to 8 inches. Place the chopped pieces in progressively smaller stacks to facilitate air circulation.

6. Repeating the process

Go through this process until the wood splits completely. Patience is the name of the game. You will cut the wood efficiently if you use the proper technique.

What to do if the Wood Does Not Split

Do not feel discouraged if the wood does not split on your first try. Wood can be tenacious, and it usually takes several attempts before you can cut it into smaller pieces.

If the bit of the ax remains in the wood, remove it by pulling and twisting. Do not use side to side force as you may break off the handle.

For harder wood, you may choose to turn a maul into a wedge. After driving the maul into a log, hitting its blunt end with a sledge will complete the process of parting the wood.

Things to Remember and Avoid

Splitting wood with a maul or an axe is not rocket science, but it can be dangerous if not done properly. Also, here are a few extra tips for beginners to help you get the most of of your chopping experience.

What to Remember

1. Err on your closest side
When moving your maul, err on your closest side. If you miss on the side that is close to you, your tool will hit the ground. If you miss on your far side, the handle of the maul will hit the wood. The repeated impact may destroy the handle. Constantly having to replace mauls or axes due to broken handles is not picnic, and can hurt your wallet too.

2. Swing a bit ahead of the spot you are aiming for

You should always move your maul such that it is slightly in front of the area you are targeting. Due to your swing having an arc, you’ll be more accurate by aiming a little bit above the center.

3. Age the wood

When possible, store the wood for a year before splitting it. It will start to develop more cracks. Seasoned wood fibers are more malleable than green wood fibers.

4. Moisture

Certain types of wood split faster when wet. Birch, beech, and black oak come apart quickly when they have a little moisture.

What to Avoid

1. Do not use brute strength

Do not use sheer force to split wood or you will tire yourself. Accumulate speed and let the momentum and weight of the axe or maul do the work for you.

2. Do not split wood in unsafe conditions

Trying to handle a maul on slippery or uneven surfaces is a very bad idea. You do not want to bury an 8 pound maul head into you leg.

In Summary

Splitting wood is a relatively simple process. With a little preparation and the right tool, you can be splitting logs and making your own firewood in no time.

Just make sure to always follow safety protocols and you’ll have a a fulfilling and fruitful wood-splitting experience, and if this just seems like way too much manual labor, consider getting a gas or electric powered log splitter instead.

Filed Under: Blog

How to Start a Fire in a Fireplace

If you are like a lot of people, one of your favorite things to do is to spend time sitting by a warm and cozy fireplace fire. This is made even more special when you do it with someone you love.
And, what could be more relaxing than getting done with a hard day’s work, sitting down in a comfortable chair, and unwinding next to a glowing hearth?
If you have never started a fire in a fireplace (and no, gas doesn’t count), this guide will get you up and burning in no time.

Learn How to Keep the Smoke from Filling Your Home or Cabin

Step 1: Check to make sure your chimney is clean and free of blockages. Dirty chimneys are not only troublesome, but they can be dangerous.

Before the weather starts to cool off and you start lighting fires, have a licensed chimney sweep check out your chimney to make sure it is free of soot and other things that can start fires and cause smoke to back up into your house. Even if you have never used your fireplace, it’s a good idea to have a chimney sweep check it out to make sure there are no leaves, bird nests, or other obstructions that can cause problems.

Step 2: Open the damper. It’s almost a rite of passage, but if you want to avoid having your home fill with smoke, make sure you open the hamper fully before you start a fire. Otherwise, this is exactly what will happen.

Step 3: Prime the flue. If you have a chimney that is on the outside of your home, the flue needs to be primed before you start your fire.

When you get started, the air in your flue will be cold. When you open the damper, the cold air will fall and go into your warm home. To prevent this, you should first open the flue, then light a small roll of newspaper and hold it up to the opening of the damper to warm up the air in the flue. When you start to feel warm air coming from the flue, you are ready to start your fire.

Step 4: Build an ash bed. A nice hot fire is dependent on a lot of different factors working together. One of these is oxygen.

To encourage an efficient flow of oxygen, which will make for a hot fire, you should build a 1-2 inch bed of ash in the hearth. If you have disposed of all your ask, take from your outside barbecue.

Be sure not to make this bed too large. One to two inches of ash is plenty.

Step 5: First, make sure you’re using a firewood good for indoor use.

Next, start to build your fire. There are many different ways to build a fire, but if you are looking for a fire that will be clean and last for a long time, the upside-down fire is best.

Unlike most traditional fire lays, the upside-down fire is built with the largest wood you have on the bottom, with the smallest on the top. Your fire starter, which is made up of newspaper balls and other things that are quick to light, are put on the top of the smallest pieces of wood.

Since the warm air created goes from the top it doesn’t pass through the cold logs below, creating a cleaner and hotter fire. And since your fire burns from the top down, you won’t have to load wood on as often as other styles of fires.

In Summary

Follow the steps above and you’ll have a warm and comfy fire in no time. After that, all you have to do is to enjoy your evening by the hot fire. The food, beverages, and company are your responsibility to provide.

Filed Under: Blog

How To Use A Magnesium Fire Starter

When it comes to surviving in the wilderness, whether you are just camping or are stranded, an emergency magnesium fire starter can really come in handy. These emergency fire starters are basically rectangular magnesium blocks and since magnesium tends to be highly flammable, a fire can be started by taking advantage of this property of the element.

Since pieces of magnesium have to be shaved off from the block, usually these fire starters contain a built-in blade or knife. The block also has flint on one side that is used to generate sparks in order to ignite the magnesium shavings.

However, if you have never used a magnesium fire starter before, you may face some difficulty in using it effectively and safely the very first time, so keep reading.

How To Prepare The Fire?

    1. Before you can start a fire, kindling and tinder (no, not the app) will be required. Items that can be used for this purpose include dead branches, dry bark or grass, paper, and twigs.
    2. Choose a designated spot where the fire will be started and that is where the tinder should be placed. Keep in mind that you will be creating sparks using your emergency fire starter and those sparks will ignite this pile of tinder.
    3. Using the blade or knife that is included with your emergency fire starter, scrape off some magnesium onto the pile of tinder by holding the block tilted at an angle. Without these magnesium shavings, you will not be able to ignite the pile of kindling and tinder. If your fire starter does not have a built-in blade or knife, which is rare, you can use just about any blade or knife that you might be carrying with you.
    4. Make sure that the small shavings of magnesium are falling directly onto the pile of kindling and timber below. Shave an amount of magnesium that would equal the size of a standard coin.

How To Start The Fire?

    1. As mentioned, every emergency fire starter has a flint portion.
    2. Again, hold your fire starter at an angle, with the flint side towards you. Create sparks by forcefully dragging or sliding your blade or knife across the flint.
    3. Keep the flint with your blade or knife until you manage to create sparks that light up the magnesium and proceed to ignite a fire.
      Once the fire has ignited, you will have to maintain it in order to ensure that it keeps burning steadily.
    4. As soon as the magnesium shavings have ignited, blow on them gently so that the flames of the fire may spread throughout the pile of kindling and timber.
    5. To fuel the fire and ensure that it keeps on burning steadily, some additional kindling and tinder should be placed on top.


    • Before you actually find yourself in a situation where your survival will depend on the use of your emergency fire starter, you should practice using it in your backyard or any outdoor location.
    • While it may make sense to slide the blade or knife against the flint towards the pile of kindling and tinder, you should do the opposite, i.e. slide the blade or knife towards yourself. This way, the sparks created will ignite the magnesium quicker.

Keep all of the above in mind and practice. Hopefully, if you ever find yourself in dire need of starting a fire, you should face no trouble effectively and safely using your emergency magnesium fire starter.

Filed Under: Blog