Splitting Large Logs with Black Powder

Thoughts on using black powder or chain-saw jigs for splitting fat logs down to manageable saw-milling size. August 26, 2008

I have read that you can split large logs using black powder. Can anyone tell me when you cut the hole with your chainsaw for the powder charge do you cut the hole in the center of the log or closer to the end of the log? Also, if the log has a 48 inch diameter would you put your charge to a 24 inch depth? Will sawdust work to pack the hole shut or is there something that would do a better job? Would this work on large cottonwood logs? Any help is appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor R:
Here is an article to check out.

Splitting Big Logs

From contributor S:
A local guy has a wedge that he packs with black powder and then inserts it into the log. The wedge is in two pieces, so when the powder goes off the parts separate and split the log.

From contributor B:
My bar in the picture below is 42" and I also have a 52". If your bar won't go through, set it so that it goes halfway through and make the cut. Rotate the log 90 degrees and re-attach it so that you cut out a quarter, then rip it in half again until you whittle the log down into quarters for quarter-sawing. It’s not near the fun of blowing them to smithereens but a lot more accurate, thereby wasting less wood and probably less chance of losing body parts.

Click here for full size image

From contributor A:
I have a Husky 3120, that I use a 60" bar with. I set the log up so I cut straight down on both ends. After I do this, I climb up on top and saw the two ends cuts together. This is all free hand, no attachments. On a 12' log I might be off 1/2 to 3/4 inches on the center cut. If you have the correct chain for ripping, I find it easy and fast to do.