How to Split Large Logs With a Log Splitter – Complete Guide

This is a very common question I get from people online.

When using a log splitter to split large logs, there are some things you need to take into consideration, the most important being the power of the splitter.

It is wise to use techniques that don’t require you to use a lot of body strength and risk hurting your lower back and end up with a painful hernia.

How to split large logs with a log splitter? In order to be able to split large logs with your log splitter, you will first have to cut them into smaller pieces that the log splitter can handle. This is most commonly done by using a chainsaw, and a log jack to make your life a bit easier. 

Yes, there are many tried and true methods that can be employed to make neat cutting jobs of large logs. Keep these tips in mind before starting the process of turning massive logs into blocks of firewood.

The process of splitting large logs with a log splitter

You have to take the appropriate steps when splitting large logs instead of just jumping in headfirst. The process begins with cutting monstrous logs into halves prior to splitting them into smaller pieces.

The best type of log splitter to use is the horizontal/vertical model. This unit enables the user to pivot it into a vertical position and from there roll the log into place without having to lift the log. As stated above, it is crucial to avoid heavy lifting as much as possible.

Using a log jack

When cutting your logs into smaller pieces, I suggest propping them up first. Trust me, I can tell you from personal experience that cutting logs on the ground means dirt dulling your chainsaw blades. That’s just expense of time and money you don’t need.

Getting back to propping up logs, the ideal way to do so is by using a log jack, as this requires a minimal amount of physical effort and strain.

If you don’t know what a log jack is, check out this video for a quick demonstration:

It’s a really handy tool to have if you are dealing with huge logs all the time, and it isn’t overly expensive either.

Prepare your logs for further processing

After successfully getting all your logs cut, you can go ahead and let them sit. Aging your logs is a good way to make sure they are high quality and ready to be split. Splitting dry wood is much easier than moist wood.

Letting them sit out will remove most of the moisture in the logs and let them dry up in the sun. There is also an added benefit of the wood being lighter to carry.

Now, once the log has been split down by half, it is easier to lift/maneuver onto the splitter. Then it’s just a matter of cutting that half into quarters.

Depending on the size of the log, you may find that even after cutting, the pieces are still too large. The only thing you can do is continue to cut away at them.

A handy device to have around the yard or inside the building where you’re cutting is a log cradle. Log cradles catch the halves as they’re being split. A log cradle not only saves time, but it also preserves your back as you don’t have to continually bend over to lift fallen pieces.

If you have medium-sized logs that need to be split into quarters, you may not want to spend a lot of time on each one if you have a high volume of cutting to do.

Methods for cutting large logs into smaller pieces

Splitting large logs is no different than many other activities many of us do in our daily lives by virtue of the fact that since we’re busy, we want to things to go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Before cutting your logs into smaller pieces, you can use a firewood marker to measure them instead of an old-fashioned tape measure and chalk. The firewood marker is considerably more accurate.

To do this, insert a can of surveyor’s paint and roll it down the log. This method does perfect marking. Plus, you’re not bending over and risking a back injury.

If you don’t know what a firewood marker is, check out the video below. It’s easier to explain that way.

Like most other products, you can buy it on Amazon.

If you have a large property, another convenient item to have is a tractor. Many folks use a tractor to haul their logs in from the forest. Many modern wood splitters are designed to fit on the back of the tractor. Again, anything that will save you steps in terms of time and physical effort is what you want.

Safety tips

When loading those enormously heavy logs, ensure that your hands are far away from the crush zones. Failure to do so will lead to crushed hands, a trip to the hospital and having to delay splitting your winter firewood.

Your splitter could be electric or gas-powered. Regardless of the type, when you switch on the motor keep your hands free of the equipment while the shunt drives the log into the wedge and splits it.

These precautions are largely common sense and log splitter owners should already be aware of them before operating their machines.

Some more things to consider

It is well-known knowledge that wine tastes better when it has been aged. To have quality firewood that splits easier in the splitter, let it age for a while. Many homeowners cut their wood in late spring or early fall.

Allow it to bake in the heat of the sun, which takes the moisture out of it. It’s is easier to split dry, seasoned logs as opposed to heavier freshly – cut green logs.


When it comes to splitting logs, there’s just no easier way to get the job done than with a log splitter. Gone are the days when all physical tasks have to be done manually.

However, not even a log splitter can handle all sizes of wood. In some cases you have to cut them into small enough pieces that the log splitter can handle.

I hope this article was able to aid you in this task.

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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