How often do you chop firewood while in the bush?

woodsrunner

Les Hiddins
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If in winter i'll carry a buck saw and a boys axe for felling, bucking and splitting smaller standing dead trees.
the rest of the time i'll just scrounge for wood....i almost always carry a large blade of some sort in the event there is some minor chopping and splitting involved...woods
i should add that winter evening temps here in montana, twenty degrees below zero is normal with occasional fifty below zero....place that on top of an average five feet snow pac and you'll understand the need for an axe...i don't buck logs for fun, but rather out of dire necessity...woods
 

pap11y

Richard Proenneke
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i should add that winter evening temps here in montana, twenty degrees below zero is normal with occasional fifty below zero....place that on top of an average five feet snow pac and you'll understand the need for an axe...i don't buck logs for fun, but rather out of dire necessity...woods
Thats seems like a very worthwhile reasoning for me :) Not having to dig our wood out of snow makes a big difference here..

Its great to get your perspective given the difference between our environments..
 

Taplow

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I agree with the general consensus here - I don't need to chop wood but it's fun! I use my GB hatchet for carving but not really for fire prep. In fact in about 25 years of hiking in NSW I've use a saw two or three times.
 

WildMind

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I only find myself chopping down dead stumps appropriate size for a campfire. This will usually be away from the campsite due to the pillaging of available wood. I think bushcrafting YouTubers as great as they are, do do some excessive chopping in their videos just to demonstrate their tools and skills.
 

Le Loup

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One thing I've taken note of while watching bushcraft/hiking/camping/outdoors type videos online, particularly the real life overnighters and multiday treks people post, is just how often I see people chopping wood for the fire. And how much time and energy they spend doing it.

While I really like having a hatchet with me in the bush, and there are times I use it to chop firewood.... I actually don't use it all that often when it comes to firewood.
I've noticed there are many trips where I don't chop a single piece of timber, yet I still have a raging fire.

That's probably because I will collect small sticks, etc. rather than split timber for kindling, and once it's going well I'll lay larger pieces across the fire to let it burn in half, then lay the halves on the fire.
I do spend time snapping sticks, and stomping on logs to break them. But that's usually far less work than hacking through it with a blade.

Often I see people in videos splitting wood into smaller pieces when I'm not sure that's even necessary.
I feel like it's more common to see people spending ages splitting firewood, than it is to see someone collecting sticks or laying a large log across the fire and let it burn through.

Maybe some people are just having fun playing with their cutting toys, so any excuse to chop something will do.
If that's the case I see no problem with it, considering most bushcrafters should be fairly well stocked with food energy to be able to afford to waste some playing with their bushcraft toys.
But I'd rather get a nice fire going then sit down and enjoy it, than chop wood unnecessarily.


Obviously there are some places where you have no choice, because all you have is a few logs, where all the sticks and small stuff was burned by other people.
I do tend to go to some of the less populated bush locations so I don't usually have that much of a kindling shortage.

Also the "chopless" approach isn't necessarily feasible with a hobo stove, or another cooking method where it doesn't work to just lay a big log on and let it burn through.

There is a downside to my approach too... There's typically a few long logs sticking out at least one side of my camp fire. That is a bit of a safety hazard in the dark, but compare that to the inherent risk of using a hatchet or axe and I'm guessing the risk of tripping over is probably a safer option than the risk of a hatchet ricochet (I've had a few close calls, close enough to draw blood but without any major damage, even when I thought I was being careful).

Curious to know the approach other people take, how much time/energy you expend on preparing firewood, or whether you get away with not chopping any at all.
Are you in an area where there is no kindling?
Do you use a hobo stove which means you need to chop up the wood so it fits?
Any other reasons you have no choice but to chop firewood?

Or do you find you rarely need to chop firewood at all?
I have never had a need to cut/chop firewood whilst camping in the bush. I do carry a trade axe/tomahawk, but I use it for shelter construction, trap making, hammering in stakes, recreational throwing & defence & hunting if needed.
Keith.
Tools of the trade 002.jpg
 

sinkhole

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Reminds me of an old aboriginal mate of mine from Pine creek. We were yakking one night about fires, and he laughed and said" You whitefellas always burn too much wood.. too much work to collect". He was a master of cooking a feed on three sticks and a gum leaf!

I've got an two axes, a hatchet and an X7 hand axe, but I honestly can't remember the last time I used either to actually cut wood for a fire in the bush. Never used one up north, never use one camping down south. I'm a fan of the campfire axe myself, mentioned above. Let the fire burn the log in two, then feed.
 

Randall

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I found a good video on hand saws, and looked for a relevant place to post it. Here looks like it will fit the bill :) I, like most of you, have viewed cutting wood more for other things, not firewood. A splint, or poles for a nylon army stretcher I carry (it also doubles as a survival type sleeping bag), or a short pole for one end of a hoochy when you just can't find two trees that'll work, basic cooking implements for an open fire. Traditionally the saw on a SAK has suited my meagre needs. Anyway, the saws
saw review and a good sawing technique
 

Redtail

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Having recently purchased an Adventure Sworn bucksaw, I'm keen to use it in the Aussie bush for firewood.
In the past I've used a Bahco or a similar sized Opinel.
Cutting dense, dead logs into fire-sized pieces is quite satisfying.
 

Kindlling

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They must have a reason surely over seas , for battoning logs , or surely somebody would have noticed it was a waste of time by now :)

I took the handsaw "builders type" ,down and cut a eucalyptus branch that had fallen, up into pieces today, to dry quicker "greenness" , and some exercise.
although if out Bush that would be in a permanent situation to dry green wood to be relevent.

It was also raining , so it will help with that drying too ,

While I was at it I threw some gum leafy sticks in, brought them all back and set up the fire and a good little feeder stack for it.

Making the most of having damp enough conditions for a fire to cook in the camp oven a roast Using what fell down in the wind and cleaning up and getting a great feed.
 

Randall

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Having recently purchased an Adventure Sworn bucksaw, I'm keen to use it in the Aussie bush for firewood.
In the past I've used a Bahco or a similar sized Opinel.
Cutting dense, dead logs into fire-sized pieces is quite satisfying.
When I was a kid (bit of a cliche for me) bushies used to carry bow saws - they were, and often still are, known as bushman's saw.

26002

Re the whole battoning thing with knives, we discussed this in another forum. It's mostly driven by Americans on youtube. Forest in America (and europe too) is much softer wood than what we have in Australia. It's also to do with the whole "bug out bag" concept in the even't of the zombie apocalypse or some other disaster - a knife to do the duty of a knife, axe and saw. However, for those of us not cutting firewood, a folding woodsaw and useful knife (a sak even) are probably much more realistic here. Unless we get a zombie apocalypse too šŸ˜²
 
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Kindlling

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Closest I could imagine , realistically is scurvy as a "zombie Apocalypse" ,

the symptoms seem quite similar reading about the early Australian explorers.

Maybe keep vitamin c tablets "in your bug out bag" .

Serious stuff :)

Before becoming zombie , pack a saw.
 

Randall

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Closest I could imagine , realistically is scurvy as a "zombie Apocalypse" ,

the symptoms seem quite similar reading about the early Australian explorers.

Maybe keep vitamin c tablets "in your bug out bag" .

Serious stuff :)

Before becoming zombie , pack a saw.
I've always had real food, even on two week plus hikes. It might mean rationing to a carrot one day, and an apple the next. If you wrap carrots in a wet tea towel and keep them in a plastic bag, they start to sprout, so they're fresh. Those dehydrated meals have no nutrition - empty carbs. After a week, my hiking companion would become very jealous of my apples - I never shared :ROFLMAO: You're right, of course, for the bug out bag concept. I'm not one of those, although I understand the reasoning. I'm more of an emergency kit person; just a few essentials that will be used sooner or later. It includes a nut bar that covers me when I don't get to eat because I'm out longer than expected - you know, the more realistic things.
 

Kindlling

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That's a good idea. On a serious note I actually keep rice in the plastic vitamin jars in my pack. Rice packs small and light and could be a life saver.
Another favourite is salted peanuts for the salt, and density and protein.


Here is a vid of some energetic aboriginal women getting serious use of an axe out bush.
 

Randall

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I make my own scroggin - salted and roasted peanuts with natural sun dried sultanas. The sultanas are a relatively quick hit, the fat in the peanuts is a long term one.
 

barra650

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I make my own scroggin - salted and roasted peanuts with natural sun dried sultanas. The sultanas are a relatively quick hit, the fat in the peanuts is a long term one.
Now there's a coincidence , last night for some reason I made up a mixture of peanut butter and sultanas . Just felt like something sweet on a couple of crackers .
 

Randall

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Now there's a coincidence , last night for some reason I made up a mixture of peanut butter and sultanas . Just felt like something sweet on a couple of crackers .
You've taken it too far :cautious: That's something my girlfriend would do too
 

Randall

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They must have a reason surely over seas , for battoning logs , or surely somebody would have noticed it was a waste of time by now :)
I've been looking at some of this bloke's youtube videos. He's pretty realistic and basic. In this one he does put his knives etc to a realistic use, which includes battoning to demonstrate making a bow drill
 

T.C.

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Another saw user here. That or I break the timber up in tree forks.

I used to love using axes but after suffering devastating injury from one I find the risk is too much when out in the bush.
 

Randall

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Another saw user here. That or I break the timber up in tree forks.

I used to love using axes but after suffering devastating injury from one I find the risk is too much when out in the bush.
I feel for you. I can't imagine any injury with an axe being fun. And injuries can be a real set back.
 
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