USING THE LOGMATIC
1. Select a hard surface such as a road, driveway or hard standing, or a couple of breeze blocks (side by side), or a large round about 20 cm high, as a soft substrate will absorb the shock, and the Logmatic will not be so effective.
2. Place a piece of ply board on the hard surface or on the breeze blocks, this will save the blade from damage.
3. Hold the Logmatic by the lower handle. If held only by the upper handle the lower shaft and axe head will slide down and could cause injury.
4. Place the log and still holding the Logmatic by the lower handle position the blade on the log.
5. Hold the lower handle with one hand, move the other hand to the top handle, lift it and give it a smart jab down to 'bite' the wood and key the blade.
6. With the blade now biting the log, move both hands to the upper handle raise it and then jab down with a smart stabbing motion with both hands, and the log if it is straight grained will usually split. Do not raise the upper handle so far that it hits the backstop.This could jerk the blade out of the log and then it could slide down out of control and possibly cause injury.If the log does not split lift up and jab down until it does. If you are hitting a knot then reposition the blade to avoid it. At the point of impact loosen your grip so as to avoid the shock of impact. To obtain maximum force the handle should be held completely vertically.
7. When splitting a large round. Place the blade about 3 inches from the edge. The split will sometimes not go all the way, the leaving a join at one end. In which case simply take the blade out and reposition it at right angles where the split ends, and split off, thus separating the split from the round. * See drawing of kindling splitting technique.
It is advisable to wear ear defenders as the striking bar hitting the top of the axe head gives a loud clang.
NB. Log splitting is with the grain, the Logmatic blade is not designed to cut across the grain.
Firewood can be split and stored at any time of the year. Firewood needs to be dry to burn well and give a good heat output, less than 20% moisture content; this can be checked with a moisture meter. It is far easier to split freshly cut ‘green’ wood than seasoned wood although this depends on the type of wood. Seasoned wood will begin to crack and these cracks can be exploited by the placing the blade of the Logmatic in them.
Ideally wood should be stored in dry conditions indoors, however this is seldom practical and a woodpile has to be made outside. The wood should be kept off the ground so that there is airflow underneath and the logs are kept dry. Pallets are a cheap and excellent solution. The logs are piled up on top of them and topped with a tarpaulin or piece of corrugated metal to keep the rain off.
Various studies such as by the Finnish Institute have found that the best burn is achieved if the pieces of wood are split into fairly small pieces. This is fine for wood burning stoves as the rate of burn can be regulated by the damper. However for open fires larger logs may be preferred as they will smoulder for hours.