Now that it’s the season to use our woodburner I need to be sure to have a store of kindling ready. That means sharpening up the axe or hatchet and getting in some good exercise chopping. It also means gingerly holding bits of wood with one hand while I carefully swing the axe with the other. Or at least, it used to mean that. Now I get my kindling more easily and more safely.
As the photo shows, the Kindling Cracker is essentially an upside-down wedge axe blade, held firmly in place by a simple heavy metal structure. Place a block of firewood on the cutting edge and whack it with a mallet, or some other heavy thing, like another block of wood. The firewood is driven down onto the wedge and splits apart, without flying off in various directions as happens when you use an axe.
The Kindling Cracker was invented by a 13 year old Kiwi girl for her school science project:
Year 8 Norfolk Primary School student Ayla Hutchinson was looking for an idea for her school science fair project. It was during this time that she saw her mother, Claire Hutchinson, cut open her finger while chopping kindling with a tomahawk axe. Claire ended up with a nasty wound from her run-in with the axe, and Ayla was left with a cracker of an idea for her school project — a device or way to make chopping kindling safer.
She succeeded too. As the website says:
With a Kindling Cracker you will only ever need another piece of wood or a hammer to strike the wood, both are blunt instruments and it’s a lot safer for your fingers, which makes it the safest way in the world for you to cut kindling, you will be impressed with how much easier it is to cut kindling too.
My experience, after a few days use, is that it’s much easier and quicker than chopping with an axe or hatchet. It feels a whole lot safer too. The split pieces of wood are contained, rather than flying away.
My problem now is that my chopping block is very low so I need to find a way to raise it. It would be good to find a block I could attach the Cracker to permanently for even easier and more convenient use.
While the first blow, to start splitting the wood on the wedge, needs a bit of effort behind it (though not very much), subsequent blows don’t need to be very hard at all.
The product’s available in many countries, including the USA, Canada and Australia, and also in many parts of Europe, including the UK.
Here’s to another excellent Kiwi invention.
BTW: if you’d like to buy one from Amazon, please consider using my affiliate link.