Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Camping/Splitting firewood
Unless the log you wish to split has been sawn and has a flat end, it will be very difficult to split it. Steady it on its end, and make sure it can stand on its own. Instruct everyone to clear away from you, and do not swing the axe if anyone is near. Grip the end of the axe handle with both hands, and gently lay the blade of the axe on the top of the log, on the edge nearest where you are standing. Fully extend your arms when you do this, and back up if necessary. Spread your feet apart by about the same distance as your shoulders are wide, and make sure your footing is firm. If you are right handed, slide your right hand towards the head of the axe as you draw it towards yourself. Take aim, and draw the axe over your head, bringing it down mightily as your right hand slides down the handle. The right hand should meet the left about the same time the axe strikes the log. Note how the axe strikes the wood farther away from you than where you were resting it at the beginning. This is why you should aim for the edge nearest you. If you overshoot the log, you will bring the handle down on the edge of the log and damage the axe. Do that enough, and you'll need to replace the handle.
When splitting a log, try to divide it into two equal masses. If you try to split off a smaller segment, the split will run out, and the piece you remove will be smaller on one end than on the other.
To split a small piece of wood (less than 10 cm in diameter), place the blade of a hatchet on the end of the log, raise the log and the hatchet together, and bring them down sharply on another log or a rock. When they strike the second log, the hatchet's momentum will drive it into the log. Raise the pair again, and strike repeatedly until the log splits apart. Do not steady the log with one hand and strike it with the other. If you miss the log and hit your hand, you will cause an unnecessary emergency.