CategoriesArticles Reviews Tips & Tricks

Stihl vs. Husqvarna – Who Reigns Supreme?

The battle of the chainsaw titans – Stihl vs. Husqvarna – sparks a relentless debate among woodcutters worldwide. Choosing between these chainsaw giants often perplexes users, each brand boasting distinct features.

This guide aims to navigate the chainsaw landscape, empowering users with insights to decide the ultimate wood-cutting companion.

Decoding the Wood-Cutting Giants and Their Strengths

Stihl and Husqvarna chainsaws display unique traits, each catering to specific needs:

  • Performance: Stihl’s prowess lies in raw power and torque, ideal for tackling large, dense hardwoods. Conversely, Husqvarna prioritizes cutting speed and fuel efficiency, excelling in lighter tasks and swift limbing.
  • Ergonomics & Handling: Stihl’s sturdy builds offer control for seasoned woodchoppers but may overwhelm beginners. Husqvarna focuses on lightweight designs with innovative features like vibration dampening, ensuring comfort and ease.
  • Maintenance: Stihl may require more frequent upkeep, demanding regular sharpening and occasional adjustments. Husqvarna, generally needing less maintenance, features sealed bearings and quick-adjust tensioning systems.
  • Price: Stihl often comes with a premium due to premium materials, while Husqvarna offers a wider range of prices, appealing to both budget-conscious and professional users.

Top Chainsaw Models by Stihl and Husqvarna


  • Stihl MS 881: A monster chainsaw reigning in raw power, effortlessly tackling massive trees. With its hefty price and weight, it’s suited for professionals and seasoned woodchoppers.
  • Stihl MS 261 C-M: A versatile mid-range option striking a balance between power and weight, perfect for homeowners and occasional woodcutters.
  • Stihl MSA 120 C: A battery-powered wonder, offering quiet operation and zero emissions, perfect for light trimming tasks.


  • Husqvarna 572XP: A lightweight powerhouse boasting impressive cutting speed, a favorite among professionals and large-task enthusiasts.
  • Husqvarna 435 II: Ideal for small jobs and firewood prep, catering to beginners and casual users with its fuel efficiency and intuitive design.
  • Husqvarna 540i XP: A cordless beast delivering professional performance with exceptional cutting power and long battery life.

Which one to choose between Stihl and Husqvarna

Picking the champion chainsaw involves understanding your requirements:

Heavy-duty logging or large firewood processing? Stihl’s raw power and torque may be your answer. Landscaping, limbing, or quick firewood prep? Consider Husqvarna’s cutting speed and efficiency. Prioritize comfort and ease of use? Husqvarna’s ergonomic designs and innovative features may fit your bill. On a budget? Husqvarna’s varied price points offer versatility in choice. Seeking zero emissions? Explore battery-powered chainsaws from both brands.

Remember, specs matter, but hands-on experience is invaluable. Visit local chainsaw dealers, test various models, and select the one comfortable and suitable for your needs.


Which brand is more reliable?

Both brands boast reliability and durability; choose based on features and performance aligning with your needs.

Are gas-powered chainsaws always better?

Gas chainsaws offer power for heavy-duty tasks but produce emissions. Battery-powered ones are quieter, emission-free, ideal for small jobs and convenience.

What safety precautions should I take?

Wear protective gear, use proper cutting techniques, and never operate alone. Regularly maintain your chainsaw for optimal performance and safety.

How often should I maintain my chainsaw?

Regular maintenance is essential. Sharpen the chain after a few uses, oil the blade, and inspect for wear and tear.

Where can I learn more about chainsaws?

Online resources, local dealers, and safety courses offer valuable insights and techniques.

Final Word

This detailed guide provides insights to help both seasoned woodcutters and beginners choose the perfect chainsaw for their needs. Prioritizing safety and comfort while balancing performance and budget is key. Armed with these insights, anyone can become a wood-cutting champion.

Remember: Choosing a chainsaw is about understanding needs, prioritizing safety, and finding the right tool for comfort and budget. With this guide’s insights, conquer timber titans safely and efficiently.

Bonus Tip: Sharpen your chainsaw regularly for effortless wood-cutting and reduced accidents.

Happy wood-cutting!

CategoriesArticles Reviews Tips & Tricks

Best Hatchet for Kindling in 2024

The allure of a crackling fire draws us in, but before the magic, mastering the art of kindling preparation is essential. Enter the humble hatchet, the unsung hero in the realm of fire-starting.

Selecting the right hatchet for kindling is the linchpin between effortless firewood prep and a frustrating battle with branches.

hatchets for kindling

This guide immerses you in the world of hatchets tailored for kindling, empowering you to find the perfect companion for your fireside rituals.

5 Best Hatchets for kindling

Ready to elevate your firestarting game? Here are top contenders for kindling mastery:

1. Gränsfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

wedish craftsmanship with a hand-forged head, hickory handle, and perfect size for precise kindling work.

Gränsfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

2. Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Lightweight with patented blade design for exceptional splitting and a shock-absorbing handle.

Fiskars X7 Hatchet

3. Estwing Sportsman Axe

Affordable and durable, with a compact size and curved handle ideal for kindling preparation.

Estwing Sportsman Axe

4. Hults Bruk Forest Axe

Traditional Swedish craft with a modern touch, featuring a lightweight design and sharp blade for small logs and kindling.

Hults Bruk Forest Axe

5. Gerber Gator Axe II

Budget-friendly, compact, and durable fiberglass handle—a good choice for occasional kindling needs.

Gerber Gator Axe II

Understanding Kindling Needs

Kindling, the cornerstone of any fire, necessitates specialized handling. A hatchet for kindling should offer:

1. Precise Control

Delicate tasks demand accuracy and maneuverability for splitting small twigs and branches effectively.

2. Lightweight Handling

Avoid arm fatigue during kindling prep; opt for a lightweight hatchet for an enjoyable experience.

3. Sharp Blade

A well-honed edge is vital for clean cuts, ensuring safety and frustration-free wood splitting.

Exploring 3 Popular Hatchet Options

The world of hatchets unveils diverse characters, each tailored to different fire-starting styles. Meet some contenders:

  • Camp Hatchets: Jack-of-all-trades, perfect for backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts. While lighter, they might pack a punch for some users.
  • Splitting Hatchets: Wedge-shaped blades excel at splitting logs but might be cumbersome for delicate kindling work. Ideal for seasoned woodsmen or tougher firewood.
  • Utility Hatchets: Lighter and more maneuverable, offering decent splitting capabilities alongside good kindling performance. A balanced choice for many firewood prep needs.

Delving into Handle Matters

The handle plays a pivotal role in performance and comfort. Consider:

  • Material: Hickory offers excellent shock absorption and durability; fiberglass is lighter and warp-resistant.
  • Length: Shorter handles provide control, while longer ones offer leverage for splitting larger logs.
  • Grip: Opt for a comfortable, non-slip material for better handling.


Before you embark on firestarting adventures, let’s clear some hatchet-and-kindling queries:

1. What’s the ideal weight for a kindling hatchet?

Aim for a hatchet between 1.25 and 1.5 pounds, offering good control without tiring your arm.

2. Is a full-sized axe suitable for kindling?

While effective, a full axe might be unwieldy for delicate tasks. Opt for a smaller hatchet for precision work and to prevent tool wear.

3. How do I maintain a sharp hatchet edge?

Regular sharpening is key; invest in a good whetstone or file and learn proper sharpening techniques for your hatchet blade.

4. Any safety tips for using a hatchet?

Prioritize safety—wear eye protection, gloves, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and avoid forcing the hatchet during cuts.

5. Can I use a machete for kindling instead of a hatchet?

Machetes lack control and precision, better suited for clearing brush than delicate kindling work—stick to the right tool for optimal safety and efficiency.

6. Where can I learn more about using a hatchet?

Online resources and local stores offer courses on hatchet handling and sharpening techniques—invest in guidance to refine your skills.


Selecting the best hatchet for kindling ensures the perfect balance between control, weight, and sharpness.

Whether a seasoned woodsman or a novice, understanding your needs and choosing the right tool elevates kindling prep from chore to satisfying ritual. So, embrace the joy of creating flames, sharpen your hatchet skills, and craft cozy fire moments effortlessly.

CategoriesArticles Tips & Tricks

How To Start a Fire in a Wood Stove

There is nothing more satisfying and cozy than building a fire in your wood burning stove on a cold day. In order to enjoy your Hallmark moment without filling the inside of your house or cabin with smoke, you should know a few simple things about how to start a fire in a wood stove so you can enjoy the timeless beauty of heating with fire.

Simple, but not necessarily easy

It’s wishful thinking to believe that starting a fire in a wood stove is as simple as setting the thermostat to 88 and walking away. After all, you just open the wood stove, load it full of wood, throw in a match, and close the door, right? Well, if that works for you, then you’ve got extremely dry firewood and (and you’re at risk of over-firing your stove). But in the real world, these are the things to keep in mind if you want a fire that starts quickly, is smoke-free, and burns long and hot.

I’ve found that rushing the process of starting a fire in the wood stove nearly always results in taking more time to get the fire going. So follow these simple steps, and you’ll be pulling off your sweater and kicking off the slippers in no time.

Materials needed to start a fire in a wood burning stove

To get a nice hot fire burning quickly, and with as little smoke as possible, you need to be prepared with the following items at hand:

  • Tinder (or Paper). More that just a dating app, tinder is actually any dry, easily flammable material used to start a fire. It could be cedar strips or wood shavings, but old newspaper is most common. Be sure you avoid using newspaper with colored ink, or flyers made with glossy paper. In a pinch you can also use computer paper or toilet paper
  • Kindling (Small, dry sticks to catch fire from the tinder). Fatwood is my recommended option , and yes it is safe to use in an EPA rated wood stove. Check out my article on kindling hatchets for more info
  • Firewood seasoned and split to size.
  • Air flow

Basic Physics

Before you get that fire going, you need to know the basic physics of a wood stove (and combustion in general). You might have heard a mechanic say an engine needs three things to run: air, fuel, and spark. Well, your wood stove needs the same elements available in order to successfully start a fire burning.

You need to identify where air enters the firebox. If your stove has a glass door, there should be a narrow strip above and behind the glass. This allows air to flow down across the glass to the front of the fire where it’s cooler and denser than combustion gases. If your stove doesn’t have a glass window on the door, there should be an air inlet somewhere near the bottom of the firebox. The old-style box stoves usually have a lever you can use to open and get airflow into the firebox.

Air Flow & Establishing a Draft

Let’s take some time looking at the issue of air flow. A common cause of smoke filling a room where a wood stove is located is a cold backdraft. This occurs when cold air from outside is drawn down your chimney, into your stove, and into your house. In other words: the air is moving the wrong direction. If you stick your hand into your stove and feel cold air flow before lighting the match, you’re likely to get a backdraft situation, and a room filled with smoke.

This fire is too smokey, but at least the smoke is going outside!
This fire is too smokey, but at least the smoke is going outside!

The easy fix for this is to open the nearest window or door to the frigid outside until you get your fire going. This is a simple case of air pressure. Like any fluid, air will naturally flow from areas of high pressure to low pressure. By adding more available air to the inside of your house, it will help the hot air from burning tinder overcome the cold backdraft and establish a positive draft.

Most people seriously underestimate the airflow needs associated with getting a wood stove burning. In some houses (especially new construction homes with very little draftiness) it’s nearly impossible to get a cold stove drawing air up the chimney unless you’ve got a nearby window or door cracked open to supply air.

Now that you know how to avoid a backdraft, it’s time to get on with building a fire in a wood stove quickly, and without smoke coming inside the house.

The best way to start a fire in a wood stove

Now that we’ve covered what you need, and how a wood stove works, I’ll share my favorite method for starting a wood burning stove. I’ve tinkered with many different methods and variations over the years, but I have to give credit to JG over at for this method. Before discovering this way of starting a fire in my wood burning stove, I used to fiddle with the log cabin method, the tee-pee method, and other random configurations.

This method I’m about to describe is damn reliable, and after you spend the 2 minutes placing your materials in the stove, you can basically drop a match and walk away. No more sitting beside the fire, crumpling up newspaper balls and throwing them in while you blow, curse, and end up with ash all over your face. (Or instead of blowing into a smokey pit of fire and ash, you could just buy a wood stove bellows and make your life much easier…)

The best way to start a wood stove: The Top Down Method

A top down fire ready to light. Credit to
A top down fire ready to light. Credit to
  1. Place normal sized firewood logs for the bottom row on the firebox. They should be well seasoned with a low moisture content below 10%
  2. Place medium-sized kindling atop the base row of logs. Lay these large kindling pieces perpendicular to the base row
  3. Lay down 6-10 pieces of small kindling on top of the larger kindling – again, perpendicular to the previous layer.
  4. The last step is to place tinder or those pieces of newspaper and crumple and twist them, laying them on the very top. I also like to place a few pieces of paper in the space between the bottom row of firewood and the next row of large kindling.

Light the paper and watch as the fire catches the top row of small kindling, and then moves down each layer you created, until the seasoned full-size firewood logs are burning well and hot. The reason I like this method is that you really just have to set it up once, and it’s good to burn for a few hours before you need to add more wood. If you start with a small tee-pee or log cabin, you have to monitor the initial burn closely, and slowly add pieces of full-size firewood as the fire progresses. This method bypasses that process. And when you’re in the business of burning firewood to keep warm, every efficiency counts.

Thoughts on newspaper: crumple, roll, or twist?

Here’s the best way I’ve found to use newspaper to start a fire in the wood stove. The trick is to loosely crumple or the paper — the finer the mass of paper, the quicker it lights. If you mash it into a tight ball or a tight rolled-up snake, it’s not going to burn quickly. So follow this method for the best results.

Take a few sheets of paper and loosely roll them from one corner to the opposite corner. Tie a lazy knot in each strip– this stops the paper from rolling around once you light it.

This method will provide you with a long and steady fire with minimal smoke, if any. When the weather is frigid out, you are going to want to sit back next to a warm fire in your home or cabin. Now that you know how to do just that, you can get started on your cozy fire right away.

What’s your preferred method of starting a fire in your wood stove? Leave a note in the comments below.

If you liked this article, check out my review of the best splitting mauls on the market.

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