1. Start to split a log
Look for an existing crack to start a split. If there are no cracks, then just pick a spot on the log. If there is a crack (as in the photo above), then just follow the crack up the ray plane to the edge of the log.
It’s easier to start to split a log by placing the metal wood splitting wedge at an angle, on the edge of the bark, than it is to place the wood splitting wedge flat on the face of the log. The starting splits should always be done with a metal wedge, not a wooden wedge.
Straddle the log with your feet, hold onto the wood splitting wedge with one hand and tap it with the sledge hammer until the wedge stays in place.
Once the wood splitting wedge is holding into the log on it’s own, use both hands to take full swings with the sledge hammer. If the wedge won’t drive into the log, then try rubbing it in the dirt to get some grit on the metal. Sometimes this helps to get the wood splitting wedge to hold in the log. If that doesn’t help, then you may need to consider a different metal wood splitting wedge, that has a better bevel angle. I’ve tried some wedges that work better than others.
If your wedge is holding, then keep driving the sledge hammer above your head and bring it down with force on the wood splitting wedge until the crack spans the whole face of the log. Be very careful to not hit your legs.
Keep striking the metal wedge until it gets buried in the log. At this point the face crack should be well-established, and cracks should also be forming along the length of the bark. If you’re lucky, the crack may extend the whole length of the log at this stage.