This axe does nothing new, it is an expensive gimmick for people with more money than sense.

“Physics-exploiting axe splits wood in record time.” reads the headline. There are some folk that think that 4000 years of development of a traditional  tool can be improved by modern design thinking. I am all in favour of questioning things and sometimes it is true genuine improvements can be made but this axe is all over the internet at the moment and it is simply a gimmick with good marketing. I get so wound up seeing it all over my facebook timeline.

Vipukirves-590x330The theory goes that it is clever and new because it creates a twisting action that is helpful when splitting wood. Well yes it is and all of us that split serious quantities of wood know that and use a twisting action with an ordinary axe. The axe should be swung down vertically but with the head not quite vertical, at impact the off centre weight flicks the edge sideways pushing the fibres apart. Here is a great video of Peter Vido’s daughter using the method. It shows you don’t need a fancy axe or huge strength just good technique and clean straight wood.

and just to show that the twisting/leverage action of log splitting isn’t a new idea here is a vid from the 60’s of a guy working with skill and easy racing against a hydraulic splitter. Notice the way he brings the axe down vertically but the head is always skewed at an angle so that on impact it generates twist or leverage to ping the log apart. I should say that this technique (and no doubt the nasty red axe) only work well on clean straight grained wood, the sort that anyone can split with ease anyway. Once you get onto really gnarly wood you need to bring the axe head down vertically and use more of the wedging action.

There is a really good explanation of the technique in slow motion at 2mins 15 secs into this vid


So if you are in the market for a splitting axe please don’t waste £200 on a horrid red thing, learn good technique and use the axe you have. If you really want to spend money on something extra sexy I love my Gransfors splitting maul.


51 Responses to This axe does nothing new, it is an expensive gimmick for people with more money than sense.

  1. Andy Collier April 25, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    I had no idea the Vido’s had an axe site! I have been a fan of their scythe website for years.

  2. Josh April 25, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    So have you tried this new axe?

    • Robin Wood April 25, 2014 at 7:17 am #

      Josh this is one of the rare occasions where I have made a comment on something without having used it. However the comments are based on 25 years experience of heating with wood, that means splitting a whole lot of firewood, and using 100’s of different axes.

      • Eric Rucker May 5, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

        Robin, this blog post and your reply to Josh reveal you’re either having a bad day or you are arrogant.

        Maybe the axe is an expensive gimmick, but to insult people who buy it out of possible ignorance is just not on. Some people may be going back to the land after both sides of their family tree being away from it for generations. From what little I know of your backstory you might have been in their shoes once. It seems like you are trying to prove your mastery even more than their ignorance, which doesn’t speak well of you.

        Your notion of how long axes have been around is comical. The clip of Tom Clark is from the early 80s, but you’re only off by 20 years instead of tens or hundreds of thousands. Tom Clark saw fit to invent his own axe, which he called a Buster. So the old-time expertise you posted for us may have been in part thanks to his “new and improved” axe!

        What could a similarly dyspeptic person have to say about your nested bowl sets for £895? “Clearly the people who buy them have more money than sense. People have been eating out of bowls for at least 4000 years, and mostly made their own. Anybody who needs to pay someone to make a bowl for them is an idiot.”

        Maybe you should try the axe. 25 years and hundreds of axes don’t mean you know it all or have experienced it all. Because there are very few people alive doing the work you do means you have a level of celebrity that exceeds what you would have earned when green woodworkers were thick upon the land. Have some humility about your place in history and the fact that none of us are giants, only people standing on a ladder of people who came before us. And then do your best to share what you have re-learned and don’t look down on the people who are the next rungs in the ladder you’re a late and small addition to.

        • Robin Wood May 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

          Eric, my aim is not to insult folk that have made the purchase rather to protect those folk that may have been away from wood for a generation and show them that they don’t need to spend $250 to split firewood.
          I had to look dyspeptic up in the dictionary. I was thinking yesterday about this axe as I was splitting some particularly gnarly old beech and trying to work out why it was that I took offence at it and what business it was of mine saying my piece. My problem with it is that the marketing implies that it is such a clever invention and that all those giants on who’s shoulders we stand were actually a bit dim and that if they just had an understanding of physics and design they could have done it so much better.
          I was indeed off with the age of the Tom Clarke vid but I think 4000 years is about the length of time hafted axes have been developed. As far as I know they appear in the Neolithic, hand axes (sharpened stones held in the hand) have been around from the Palaeolithic.

        • Joe July 2, 2015 at 11:43 pm #

          Umm, excuse me…but this IS a gimmick. There is documented proof that people have been using the axe for thousands of years. And you mean to tell me, you think it possible that they were too stupid to figure this out until now? Have you ever even seen an encyclopedia? Of all the wondrous things man has done…the tall ship with HUNDREDS of cannon, the nordic longhouse, mansions of solid hardwood, thousands of years of cities, bridges, ships, cranes, ect…..and we just now invented an efficient axe? The author said it too gently. “Think, people! Are we really this stupid and lazy that we get taken by this simple-minded scam? Can you not take five minutes to use your head and consider how long the axe has been around? C’mon, people. Seriously.”

      • Richard Gooderick December 31, 2015 at 9:24 am #

        Don’t you have anything better to do than slag off somebody else’s product without having even used it?

        Shame on you.

  3. Steve Kubien April 25, 2014 at 2:35 am #

    I’m not even certain how “new” this thing is. I seem to remember video of it circulating 2-4 years ago. Maybe it was a prototype?

    The only thing I know about splitting wood is that I kind of enjoy it. Recently I bought a Fiskars splitting axe & really like it (and its $50 Canadian price tag). However, I had no idea about this technique you describe. Holding the axe slightly askew “sounds” dangerous as hell but I think tomorrow I’ll lace up my steel toed boots & give it a go.


    • Judith Garlick April 27, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

      Honestly it is not dangerous – probably safer in the long run as one does not become frustrated by a stubborn sod that refuses to split .
      I use a Oregon 6lb splitting maul with the little twist to crack through -such satisfaction !
      Judith Garlick

  4. Justin Tyson April 25, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Thanks for saying what pretty much everyone who has split a reasonable quantity of firewood was thinking…

  5. Mike,aka midas. April 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    What a Girl!!!I’ll buy here a pair of “Jimmy Choo’s”if she’ll come n split my logs…lol.

  6. anobium April 25, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    The Gransfors splitting axe looks very similar to a French tool called a merlin (pronounced mairlan) available widely in France in outlets like Monsieur Bricolage for about €50.

  7. Bear Limvere April 25, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    Years ago my father bought one of those mauls with two small cams that supposedly spread the wood apart as the maul embedded in the log. I tried it, and went back to an axe. Several times. Can’t see how this thing is that much different.

  8. Hedge April 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    With the wood shown in the wonderaxe video and the Vido video, I could just about split it with my pocket knife.

  9. Richard Andrew Law April 26, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

    Easier on the tired old limbs with an hydraulic splitter, but they cost, so does my body. I have two log burners that burn about 4 or five, mabbee 6 trailer loads a Winter, I would be dead splitting that much wood with an axe. Young man’s work.

    • Jonathan May 26, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

      My sentiments too!
      I am 53+, not as strapping as I once was. I built my own splitter (rotatry screw type) It is a breeze, no hydrualic’s, has done up to 20 inch log’s nibbling segements off the edges.
      That red axe looks clever, but the videos all seem to be using nice straight clear baby birch logs(as do the Hakke-Pilke processsor videos-logs which would split easily with my roselli axe (at a pinch) It wouldnt handle rough old oak or beech or elm branch or crotch sections

    • John Traill November 27, 2015 at 2:57 am #


  10. Graeme April 29, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    Good one Robin, so I’m not crazy insisting on using an axe!
    I hadn’t heard of that technique, probably because we only ever had knotty and cross-grained wood blue gum to work with. What I particularly like is that it keeps the axe from carrying through into the dirt so saves the effort of stacking onto a block first. I’ll give it a go next time I’ve got some straight grained wood to work with.
    I don’t like the mauls but they are handy when the going gets really tough being designed to be hit and are very effective used opposite a normal firewood axe in the same block.

  11. Marc Chappe May 1, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    We’ve been heating with wood here on the coast of Maine for 45 years. We buy our hardwood [mostly red oak, maple, white birch] tree-length and green for $125/cord and work it up a year before we burn it. The cost of this Vipukirves “boutique” axe would pay for two cord of wood, or about half a winter’s worth. Bought my son a Fiskar’s X27 splitting axe for $50 at Home Depot and it’s as “slick as goose grease.” As for myself, I broke down a couple of years ago [as I entered my arthritic, late 60’s] and bought a hydraulic splitter to replace my 8 lb. maul and wedges.

  12. Gareth Phillips May 10, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    After many years of splitting wood for heating I’m inclined to agree with Robin on this. I’ve watched a video of wood being split by this axe and I fail to see what is so good about it. The wood that was split was straight grained, easily split by most axes, though the holder in a tyre was a good idea. If it split gnarled wood, that would be something, but in which case why not use a wedge and maul?

  13. Heikki Kärnä August 24, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Obviously the Vipukirves/Leveraxe is still too complicated for some people to understand.
    Please, try to make yourself acquainted with this new way to split firewood safe and with great joy. You will not lose anything.

    • Robin Wood August 25, 2014 at 7:50 am #

      Obviously Vipukirves have a large marketing budget.

      • Daniel Todd September 30, 2014 at 11:13 am #

        How is that relevant to whether this axe is whatever it claims to do?

    • Ty November 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      “You no longer need to aim the first attempts at the centre of the log and try to split it in half. With the leveraxe you can start from the edges and easily chop away the easiest pieces first, reducing a large log to small pieces with ease. This way it does not actually matter how large the log is.”

      People do this with a regular axe. No need for a fancy one. I have split wood for 15 yrs and most of what I use is 14″-24″ X 20″ long oak and maple logs. I get 4-8 pcs per log, All I see on these videos is kindling from a soft straight grain wood. Give me a link to someone splitting a 20″ oak with a knot in it and then we can talk.

  14. Phred Ziphell September 28, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    Let’s face it, unless one is extremely down on one’s luck (and if so, you have my sympathies), buying this one tool should not break the bank.

    As an example, if you’re willing to skip 1 or 2 fancy restaurant meals with a family, you can afford this tool.

    Yes, it is just a tool, nothing more or less, but if it makes someone feed good to forgo this “luxury” item, that’s fine, I have no argument with that. I don’t mind spending money on good tools, and already own Fiskar and Bruks (I wish my fellow Yankees would be as creative and obsessed with quality as fine Europeans brands).

    There are infinitely many more products that would be fairer game for the cost-to-performance argument…..but to me, it just falls flat when it comes to a difference of $100 or so.

    However, I respect the opinion of the reviewer, although if the company has bollocks (I do hope I’m saying it right) they should provide him with a test specimen to try on his own, no strings attached.

    I do hope, if the company is successful, that they can lower the price point to improve its distribution. I will buy this as a vote of confidence and support of a small company.

    BTW, excellent site Robin; I just discovered it and have a lot to learn 😉

    • James Spurgeon January 7, 2015 at 4:40 am #

      I am a “fellow Yankee” and I also happen to be a profesional Bladesmith.
      I totally agree with Robin!
      If you want a quality tool, buy based on quality not price. Quality is usually pricey, but pricey is no guarantee of quality!
      I forge custom axes and hatchets for less than this price, and I would lay money that mine will out-cut, out-split and out-last this thing.

      This manufactured monstrosity is absolutely a massively overpriced gimick and a true waste of money! The company does not need gratuitous sales to ensure success and enable them to lower the price point…like I said, this is more than my custom axes (unless you want fancy options like a Viking bearded war axe forged from Damascus steel…). I haven’t seen a manufacturing process yet with a production cost that exceeded the per unit cost of a custom made product.

  15. Arch October 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    So funny that this is the only negative article among hundreds and writer haven’t even seen the Leveraxe. I am not even speaking about testing. Shame on you dude.

    But I can understand if you are just selling Gransfors, some kind of affiliate program?

    I don’t even hope to get answer, obviously you will just delete my comment 🙂

    • Dan January 26, 2016 at 12:39 am #

      He didn’t just delete your comment for the record :o)

  16. Missy October 29, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    I am glad you posted this video because I am one of those who never split wood but kinda fall for anything so thank you very much. I will be passing the info to my husband, who splits the wood for me :). PS I in no way took what you said as calling me ignorant or stupid.. it was good info. for once on the net! lol thanks!

  17. D. Grady October 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    Your not splitting oak like that.

  18. broker November 6, 2014 at 4:08 am #

    I like the tire I think I will buy one of them the next time I split wood now that was a good idea

  19. Johnny K November 10, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    Just give it a try – I tried that leveraxe once and it works. I agree the wood is too easy in the demo video. Any products sold here are unnecessary with the logic of the original poster… Jeez.

  20. lou November 17, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    I have been splitting wood with your typical splitting maul (similar to the Grandfors maul pictured above) for about 45 years. This new splitting maul won’t do it any faster or better than the maul I’ve been using for the last 20 years. You are correct, technique with the maul is the key. The new red maul will be no better on a knotty chunk of oak than the old maul I have. I’ve asked for new one for Xmas. And it won’t be the weird red one from Finland.

  21. Derrrrrp December 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    I have been using a gas furnace for years. I don’t split wood. It’s a lot easier than using this axe.

    • PhillM April 9, 2015 at 4:54 am #

      Your reply wins

    • Yadia August 29, 2015 at 11:49 am #

      ok yes girls aloud have been around for years does not mean they are betetr… Spice Girls were around for like 2 or 3 years but everyone worldwide knew who they were.. girls aloud have been around for like 5 years and no one in the U.S. knows who they are… I am from the U.s. and I have know clue who they are. Spice Girls were way bigger selling 55 million CD when girls aloud have olny sold 6 million(not even close)… I was born in 96 and they started in 96 but I was a 2/3 year old who can remember them and remember listening to them…

      • Robin Wood January 19, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

        I spent some time trying to decide if the Finish axe was being compared to Girls Aloud or the Spice Girls, in the end I think it’s just spam.

        • Dan January 26, 2016 at 12:41 am #

          I’m so glad it wasn’t just me.

  22. Mike January 11, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    “here is a vid from the 60′s of a guy working with skill”

    The 60’s?? That video looks to be from about 1985. I mean, it doesn’t really change the point of your article at all, but come on.

  23. Heikki Kärnä January 28, 2015 at 12:29 am #

    Hello, I hope these videos help you to understand how easy and enjoyable splitting can be.
    Best regards,
    Heikki, the inventor

    • Robin Wood January 28, 2015 at 9:32 am #

      Hello Heikki I have heated my home with wood for 25 years and am well aware of how enjoyable splitting wood can be especially when using short lengths of perfectly straight grained wood. I have yet to see a video of your axe working with a lump of gnarly elm or an oak crotch I would be genuinely interested to see how it performed. I use a gransfors splitting maul for most of my splitting now though it is an expensive tool and for most of my life I have split with much cheaper old axes. If you are confident in your axes abilities and would be prepared to loan me one for a couple of weeks I would very happily give it an objective side by side test.

      • PhillM April 9, 2015 at 5:09 am #

        I agree with the need to see a knotted wood demonstration. As someone with wrist problems (I very easily develop ganglion cysts, so much so that I have had to give up playing guitar!), it’s a pain to pull off the wrist twist technique. That’s why I am interested in this axe—may allow me to continue to chop wood, something I deeply enjoy, while maintaining my ability to do things like hold a cup of tea the next day.

        Of course, videos pitching a product always make it look easy, mostly because they use the easiest material to work with to make things look nice and slick—even the video of the shoeless lady had her chopping what looks like nicely dried, knot-free wood (oh for all wood to be like that… but what fun would chopping wood be?).

        So yes, I think a video of Heikki demonstrated his axe a few fresh, gnarly, and knotted, pieces of pine (my most likely nemesis) or elm or oak.

        If it can handle that, I’d likely be sold on the product–specially if it saves my wrists. If it does not chop the knots… well.. I guess I will donate those pieces I can no longer handle to my neighbour who can fit them in his outdoor fireplace in exchange for him clearing the driveway with his bobcat.

        And as for buying a splitter… well.. there’s no fun in using a splitter. If it comes to that, I’ll be like Derrrrrp

  24. Sean April 9, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    Sounds like someone is angry he didn’t think of it first. Especially after heating with wood for 25 years makes you an ax expert. ( not really sure how.. but I’ll go with it)

    Sounds like whining to me

  25. brent mcmunn April 21, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

    I too am one who has chopped excessive amounts of wood by hand over time… not too many axes out there I have not tried including this new red monster! I am a traditionalist, and a traditionalist I shall remain! If its not broke, why fix it!?? I find the new red monster to not only look offensive from a traditional point of view, but I honestly noticed no improvement to my regular cutting, in fact, a bit slower due to a learning curve with the new axe.. I do not like the feel of this axe.. anyone who spends any time using an axe would probably agree that the best handle is hickory without any varnish; just a regular coating of boiled linseed oil! So right off the top, the handle is a no go! as for the feel.. I didn’t like it! a little lighter head then what I prefer, but due to its shape, I didn’t find it to balance near as well for continuous rapid strokes; and again.. any benifits that this design may hold in theory can easily be obtained by a regular head with a bit of experience… just my two cents, but i;ll stick to Hultafors (hults bruk), gransfors, and wetterlings for single bits and for double bits i’d find an old 3.25 plumb, collins or kelly!!! Keep the tradition alive!

  26. Richard Hurd June 5, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    Hi, i stumbled on this great site whilst trying to evaluate this new fandango axe. Found this really good and honest review on Youtube………………..

    I for one will not be buying a Leveraxe at ANY price! My Fiskars retains pride of place in my wood store.

  27. Heikki Kärnä June 15, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    It is much easier to write relevant opinions about something after you have personally tested the object of which you write about. Speculation does not lead you anywhere, on the contrary, it will remain you on the stone age. First time in the history there are in build safety elements to the one sided blade. Because of the fully automatic rotation action stops the blade on top of the block there has happener NO ACCIDENT during the existent of the Leveraxe. The twisting action, leverage , multiplies the splitting force many times bigger than in the conventional axes and mauls. The blade will not get stuck into the block.
    think differently and you can make you life much more convenient.
    Best regards
    Heikki, the inventor

  28. Robert Hack June 30, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    Those are some really awesome videos, almost comical. I have to agree that 60’s video looks to be from the 80’s, but nonetheless, axes are very affordable these days. Fiskars makes a number of different model/lengths that will suffice almost any user.

  29. Marian Bell February 3, 2016 at 3:40 am #

    I bought The Gransfors Bruks Axe, it’s a good axe for the money can be used for chopping, limbing and splitting wood with ease. thanks for your guide.

  30. Fiskars fan June 9, 2016 at 2:54 am #

    Just stick to the Fiskars x27. Great brand, great value and the haft is ridiculously durable. It can literally get run over by an tractor or tank and survive.

  31. Gary August 5, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    Hi Robin,
    You just saved me!!
    I was seriously considering one of these.
    Now it’s definitely the Gransfors for me.


  32. mike September 8, 2016 at 2:15 am #

    The leveraxe looks to just shave pieces from the edges. The claim is even that you no longer need to split the wood in half. What if I want to split it in half? We burn hard maple and those little slivers won’t do much good for charging a stove for the night.