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Splitting Wood the Right Way

Sitting beside a warm crackling fire with hot chocolate is the best way to spend a cold winter evening. Firewood is the most economical source of fuel for warmth in the colder climatic conditions. Splitting the wood is an important task to make the larger pieces of wood usable and gets seasoned quickly. Splitting wood is all about the right technique and it becomes easy on practice. Below are some tips for following the proper method to split the hardwood efficiently and safely.

Safety is the priority-It is crucial for the person to cover himself with full sleeve shirts, sturdy trousers and closed toed strong shoes or boots to avoid any cuts on the hands or legs. Gloves protect hands from blisters and glasses would protect the eyes from splinters.

The tools required- Splitting wood becomes easy depending on the type of wood, the right set of tools and some technique. Slightly dry wood with straight grain is easier to split than fresh green wood with knots and crotches. Choosing a safe place with a stump or chopping block about 6-8 inches above the ground is essential so that it does not put a strain on the person’s back. Making use of a splitting maul or wedges would make the job simpler. The splitting maul is blunter, heavier and wedged axe with a sturdy handle to help in splitting wood. Splitting Wedges can be useful when the Wood has to be split across the grain.

The technique- The shorter the log, the easier it is to split. Usually, the logs are 16-20 inches long, and the ends of each piece should be flat to make the splitting easier. While using the splitting maul, the log should be placed on the chopping block in a stable and steady manner. The person needs to hold the maul tightly above the head, aim and swing it with a strong action till it makes a crack in the log. Repeated swings with the force of gravity on the same place would split the logs. The person can pull out the axe a bit out of the log if it is not hit on the right place and repeat the action again to get it right.

Wedges are particularly useful for knotty pieces of logs. Depending on the size of the log, the wedge is placed on the log like a big nail and tapped on the log till it stands independently. With straight and strong blows with a sledgehammer, the wedge is pushed inside the log along the grain until it splits. If there are connected pieces of wood, it can be split into smaller parts with the use of an axe or maul.

Once the wood is split they need to be stacked in a way that air circulates it to promote seasoning before they can be used in the stove or fireplace.  

How to Trim a Beard the Right Way

Trimming is an essential part of the beard grooming regimen for the 21st century man. And here is how to do it the right way.

Battle the frizz

Just as the hair on your head is so much easier to control when its well conditioned, so too for your beard. Wash your beard with a gentle diluted shampoo or a special beard wash. Be sure to ready your beard for a trim by keeping it soft using a good beard oil as a leave-in conditioning option. Once it is softer, you will find it easier to run a comb through it. Get yourself a special made-for-the-beard comb which won’t catch on the fine hair on your face.

Arm yourself with the tools

Beard trimming is serious business and your beard deserves its set of dedicated tools. That includes a good quality trimmer. Keep your beard groomed after the trim by snipping away strays with a good pair of trimming scissors. Get a large mirror, ideally a three way one so you can get a good view of all sides.

Pick a style

You will need to let your hair grow out depending on the style you are gunning for. A short goatee may need a different waiting time than a fuller look. Pick between a structured look and a more natural one.

Set the boundaries

Make a mental note of where the perimeter of your beard will be. A handy pointer from the pros is to aim at one inch below your jaw line in the neck area and to keep close to the smile lines all the way to your sideburns on your cheek. Don’t make the mistake of trimming too high up, the results can be disastrous. Err on the side of going lower.

It's showtime

Start off with some shave oil to ready your beard for the trimming. Comb your hair to smoothen it for easy trimming. Use the longer plastic guard on your electric shaver/trimmer so that you don’t trim off too much in the first go. Fine tune with a smaller guard later.

Then hold your beard trimmer near the neck and start shaving following the jaw line. Repeat for the other side ensuring they are equally balanced. Follow the direction of hair growth as you shave away the hair. Now follow the smile lines to trim the hair on the cheeks. End the trimming with some after shave balm and that all essential beard oil and you’re good to go!



GRAND OPENING: Big Tree Beard Co.



Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 12:00 am

Blake Maxey is catering to a customer base that might need a little pampering, but typically fails to get attention from mainstream retailers.

In January, Maxey officially opened online business Big Tree Beard Co. The company specializes in scented oil that Maxey says moisturizes beards and skin. He uses jojoba oil — which some people use to treat acne and dry skin — and mixes it with scented essential oils.

Maxey initially created the product for himself, but decided to turn it into a business when friends kept requesting the beard oil.

“It helps with itching, it can help with dry skin,” he said. “It nourishes the skin and beard and makes it soft and smell great.”

He sells beard oil in three scents: sweet mint, citrus lavender and backwoods, which he describes as a “cedar, woodsy type of smell.”



Prices: One fluid ounce of beard oil costs $18, which Maxey said would last between two and three months. You can also buy all three scents for $45.

© 2015 Columbia Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Essential Beard Grooming Products for the Stylish Man

A well groomed beard is the hallmark of a dignified gentleman. If you want to get it spot-on, be sure you have the right collection of beard grooming products in your cabinet.

Beard wash

Don’t strain the delicate hair of your beard by lathering it up with the strong shampoos meant for your head. Stock up on some beard wash that’s made for the gentleman who likes to keep a clean beard. And remember, you must always condition after you have washed your beard. If you don’t have a special wash, you can substitute with a very mild soap or shampoo, used in small quantities and greatly diluted. The key is to keep it light, and avoid an overdose of chemicals. Something that has natural cleansers like lime can clean out dirt from pores and prevent pimples.

Beard oil

A beard oil is a conditioner for your beard - one that can be left in to give you glossy looking, dandruff-free and soft beard. The best time to use a beard oil is just after you have showered. This is when the pores are still open and the skin is moist, allowing the oil to do its best work. The oil really does work like an elixir for the hair and keeps the skin beneath the beard soft as well. It also helps ease any itchiness that you might experience while growing out a beard.

A good comb

No, the one you have for combing your hair doesn't count. You will need a comb meant for the beard. Pick a handmade comb. A saw cut style usually works well. If you must use a brush, choose one that has natural animal hair and not a nylon one.

Beard balms

Hair styling wax meant for use on the beard is lighter than the kind for mustaches. These can help you style your beard any way you like, offering a gentle hold that keeps the look in place. Most of these waxes also have some natural conditioners in them.

Beard Trimmer

Thankfully for bearded men, manufacturers of men’s grooming products have recognized that we need dedicated tools. Pick up a beard trimmer and you will be able to use its relatively tiny head to shape your beard as you choose. They are also far gentler on the skin and take the risk out of trimming your beard. And there are less chances of trimming off more than you want too!

Shaving tools

When you need to shape your beard into the style you desire, you will need to arm yourself with a good shaving cream and a good razor blade. A good light fluffy cream that doesn't clog up the blade is a good idea. Also invest in a nice smelling aftershave lotion that has natural oils to moisturize when you are done.

*All of Big Tree Beard Co. oils and balms are lightweight and won't weigh down your beard or feel greasy. They will help moisturize the skin underneath your beard, soften your facial hair, reduce itching, and create the conditions for healthy beard growth(not to mention make it smell great)!