By Lenny Pierce
If you’re from a frigid woodland state like I am, chopping wood was a permanent fixture on the list of household chores growing up. And unfortunately for us Northerners, as technologically advanced as society has become, there still remains no more practical way to make kindling than swinging an axe. But thanks to a simple twist of physics, this backbreaking task may have just gotten a bit easier.
A Finnish inventor with a name every bit as cool as you’d hope, Heikki Karna, has invented a revolutionary new axe called the “Vipukirves,” a Finnish word which translates to lever axe. In addition to capturing the mechanical advantage of the wedge, it also manages to utilize the effect of a lever.
Regular axes just use the wedge effect and need to be driven downward with enough force that the axe head can split a log along its grain. For anybody who isn’t Paul Bunyan, this usually requires a few swings (and maybe 3 embarrassing whiffs) to actually get the log to split. But the lever effect means that a single swing of the axe can create a split in the wood that is 8 cm wide …read more