The ability to fell and limb trees, block logs into sections, and split those blocks into firewood is a basic necessity for hunters. Knowing how to correctly wield an axe, chainsaw, or bucksaw and build a shelter in the wilderness, can set you apart from the rest on your next camping trip.

Below are three timber craft skills that you need to master in order to get through the hunting season.

Choosing the Best Tree

It doesn’t take a physicist to understand that a tree will fall in the direction of its lean. However, those new to timbercraft may not realize that the fall direction of an upright tree is determined by the side that bears the heaviest branches.

As a rule of thumb, it’s safest to avoid trees with extreme leans and focus on those that stand almost perfectly upright. Remember to never cut against the direction of the lean and fell trees that support sizable dead limbs.

Limbing and Blocking the Tree

Once you have the tree safely on the ground, it’s time to begin the process of transforming the tree into usable firewood.

The first step of this is removing the branches and limbs leaving you with only the bulk of the tree. Branches typically grow in an upwards direction, so you’ll want to start from the bottom to get the best possible angle. This approach will also ensure you have ample room to stand as you won’t be surrounded by branches.

When making these cuts, you’ll want to stand on the side of the trunk opposite to the limb your attempting to remove.

The length of the blocks depends on the size of your wood stove, but these pieces rarely exceed two feet in length. You can use a variety of tools for making your blocks including a chain saw, a bucksaw, and an axe.

The Splitting Process

While an axe can be used to split blocks, experts recommend utilising a heavy maul as it’s both safer and easier.

After setting the firewood block in a tire or on a chopping block, take hold of the maul at handle’s length away from the block.

You’ll want to bring the tool above your head and drive it in a downwards motion aiming for the center of your wood block. Swing easily, letting the weight of the maul do most of the work for you, and only exert energy once you make contact with the wood.


For more on hunting techniques, please read my latest post: “7 Exciting Tips for Fall Camping”