Leveraxe is the fast, easy, safe, ecological and fun way
of chopping your firewood!
THE HISTORY OF LEVERAXE
Chopping firewood with traditional axes is often a laborious
and even dangerous task. There is always the risk of hitting
your own leg with the axe. From this imperfect situation
began the pursuit to develop a better axe.
It took several years, thinking and testing different exotic
methods of chopping wood that were available for purchase
at the time, before the idea was born. The traditional axe
uses a wedge-shaped head to split the wood, but could this
mechanism be improved by using leverage? From this idea the
new axe was born, the Leveraxe.
The operational principles of the traditional axe
Traditional axe is based on the wedge
The traditional axe is simply a heavy wedge that is swung
at the wood. If it has enough momentum, it penetrates into
the wood, spreads it and thus splits the wood.
In designing the traditional axe the challenge is to find
the optimal wedge shape which both penetrates into the wood
and splits it. Too shallow an angle and the axe will not
split the wood and too wide and the axe will not penetrate.
In practice, everybody who has tried splitting wood with
a traditional axe knows that it takes a lot of power to penetrate
and split the wood. Consequently, women and children may
have serious trouble operating the traditional axe.
In addition, the traditional axe is quite dangerous. While
hitting with full force the head of the axe has a lot of
kinetic energy and is hard to control. It is frequently possible
to miss the wood entirely. The axe might bounce from the
wood or sometimes the axe might penetrate a weaker part of
wood with surprising ease and continue its swinging trajectory
at high speed. In all these cases the axe can be travelling
at your body and cause severe pain and injury.
When using a traditional axe the work is quite slow. It
happens quite often that the axe penetrates into the wood
but does not have enough energy to split it. The reason is
that there is an enormous amount of friction when the wedge
penetrates the wood and tries to split it and this friction
consumes the axe’s energy. As a result, you have a
log that has the axe stuck firmly inside it. Removing it
can be quite challenging at times.
The other reason for the slow progress with the traditional
axe is that actually a lot of time is used for lifting the
split wood back onto the splitting block. With a traditional
axe you are forced to always hit in the middle of the wood.
Thus both split woods fall to the ground and you need to
lift them up to continue splitting the first one and then
the second one. It is quite laborious and straining for the
Leveraxe is based on a lever mechanism and rotational action
The operational principle of the Leveraxe is totally different
from the traditional axe.
The Leveraxe is of a brilliant new design. The axe head
is attached to the handle from the side and not through the
center. This results in the centre of the gravity of the
axe head being to one side of the center line of strike.
Leveraxe head is eccentric by design and thus the
center of gravity is to one side of the handle and the
line of strike.
Upon hitting the top of the log and penetrating it slightly,
the leading edge of the axe head begins to slow down. Where
the axe blade widens sharply it stops the axe’s penetration.
However, the mass of the axe head still has kinetic energy
and the off line center of gravity forces it to rotate eccentrically
down towards the wood. This rotational movement causes the
leading edge, or sharp edge of the blade to turn in a lever
action, forcing a split with all the force of the kinetic
energy of the axe multiplied by the leverage of the axehead.
The widening blade edge also has a benefit in that it helps
to prevent the axe from penetrating into the wood and getting
stuck there as is often the case with traditional axes.
The widening of the axe edge helps in initiating
the rotating motion and prevents the axe from getting stuck
inside the wood.
The 1,9kg axe head has a significant amount of kinetic energy
when it begins the rotational movement. While the centre
of gravity of the head continues first to the right and then
downwards the edge moves in a rotational direction to the
left. This movement uses the rotational torque to split a
log and push it away from the wood. In total the edge opens
the wood by 8 cm.
When the axe has rotated sideways it has used most of its
energy and ends on top of the log on the in a sideways fashion.
This safety feature ensures that the axe does not continue
towards your legs and the axe remains totally in control.
In addition, the axe holds the log steady on the chopping
block ready for the next swing.
The Leveraxe is used just like an ordinary axe but with
the difference that the handle should not be squeezed with
full grip when the axe hits the wood. This loose grip on
the handle allows for the rotational movement to happen and
avoids straining hands.
Due to the gradual slowing of the axe via the rotational
movement there is no such abrupt shock as with traditional
axes. The energy is turned from a downward motion and deflected
into a rotational motion, making the Leveraxe much more comfortable
for your hands.
With the Leveraxe you can chop wood without using the chopping
block even on stones or cliff which is not possible with
traditional axes without damaging the axe edge. This is especially
handy if you have very large woos that are too heavy to be
lifted onto the chopping block.
One final advantage of the Leveraxe is that the chopping
block remains in good condition. With traditional axes the
block is on the receiving end and suffers constant damage.
With Leveraxe, the axe never touches the chopping block and
you can preserve your best chopping block for several years
if you just keep it dry and protected.
Each swing of the axe splits a piece of wood. The
axe does not get stuck in the wood and holds it steady
for the next swing.
See the high-speed slow motion video of Leveraxe
HOW TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE INNOVATIVE DESIGN OF LEVERAXE
With Leveraxe you can hit near the edge of the log
With the traditional axe you are almost always required
to strike near the middle of the log. Hitting closer to the
edge would be dangerous because it is too easy to miss the
log or the axe will bounce wildly from a non-centred strike.
In both situations the results can be dangerous. Unfortunately,
as we all know, splitting a whole log when hit in the centre
is the most challenging task. When you have been able to
split it in two, the rest will go much more easily.
With Leveraxe you won’t need to take the whole log
head on by striking in the middle. Instead, you can easily
and safely start splitting suitably sized logs from the sides
by striking closer to edges. No more needing the futile first
heavy strikes just to get the log split in two.
Build a chopping block with a log-holding tire
When splitting wood with the Leveraxe, it is highly recommended
to build a chopping block with a log-holding tire set on
top. It allows for dramatically increased speed and better
ergonomics. It holds the logs together allowing for faster
chopping. They won’t fall to ground. They are easy
to move to transport or store at one move. For smaller woods,
you can insert several into the tire at one time and make
for a very efficient batch process.
With a traditional axe using the tire on top the chop would
be awkward and dangerous. It does not stop on top of the
log and therefore either the handle can hit back on your
hands or even break when hitting other logs or the tire.
Leveraxe is fast, efficient, safe and fun to work with.
Traditional wedge shaped chopping axes require a lot of
muscle power, are laborious and prone to accidents.
There is also a wide variety of specialised exotic splitting
tools, which are safer than the traditional axe but usually
always quite slow or otherwise impractical.
There are also electrical hydraulic splitters. They are
handy in the way that one needs to only hold a handle and
press the button and the machine takes care of the rest.
Despite this obvious advantage, they are not without shortcomings.
They can only be operated where electricity is available
and often require long electrical extension cords and for
the sake of safety also a residual current circuit breaker
(RCCB) should be used. Due to the requirement of providing
strong pressure and also as a safety aspect they are slow
to operate as most of the time is spent waiting for the piston
to traverse. Because they have a hydraulic mechanism they
can not be used in cold temperatures (recommended operating
temperature over +5 degrees of Celsius). Also, they don’t
provide the joy of chopping the wood with kinetic energy
that axes do.
Leveraxe is fast and efficient
Logs are split usually with the first strike. The axe won’t
get stuck inside the wood. Time is not wasted lifting the
woods back on the chopping block as the axe holds the log
steady for the next strike.
When using a chopping block with a tire setup you can achieve
a burst of strikes at a frequency of 100 strikes a minute.
Thus, as an example, using 10 strikes to chop a log would
take 6 seconds. This level of speed does require acquiring
certain practice using the Leveraxe, of course.
Leveraxe can handle also the large and difficult logs
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.
Leveraxe is faster than a hydraulic splitter. See
Leveraxe is safe to use
Safety has been one of the principal design principles of
the Leveraxe. Thus it can even be put in the hands of women
and children for whom a traditional axe would be hard and
dangerous to use.
With Leveraxe, it is impossible to strike through the log,
because Leveraxe will stop on top of the log. The Leveraxe
also does not bounce wildly as might happen with traditional
axe. The axe changes the kinetic energy to rotational motion
and is much easier to control. It is much rarer that you
would totally miss the log, because the sideways wing on
top of the axe and the stopping knob beneath it ensure the
axe will catch the log even if the striking edge would miss
it. Of course, it can not help you if you miss the log by
a mile, but that rarely happens.
The length of Leveraxe handle (90 cm) is longer than in
traditional axes. This provides more kinetic energy but is
also an important safety feature. Even if the axe would continue
past the log the trajectory will guide it to hit the ground
before you instead of hitting your legs.
Traditional Axe with short handle Leveraxe
with the long handle
The long handle makes it easier to achieve high
kinetic energy while protecting your feet from getting
hit by the axe in case of missing the log totally.
In traditional axes it has sometimes happened that the axe
head has been able to detach from the handle and has taken
off on a ballistic trajectory with dangerous consequences.
With Leveraxe, one of the design principles was to eliminate
this possibility. This has been achieved by making the design
of the axe handle hole and the handle asymmetric and inserting
the handle through the axe from opposite direction than normally
done. This safety feature does not allow the axehead to separate
from the handle during normal use; it will actually seat
itself more firmly with more use.
The Leveraxe head cannot go ballistic.
Leveraxe is the most enjoyable way of chopping logs
With a proper tool chopping wood is pure pleasure. With
Leveraxe you can experience the traditional enjoyable feeling
of being able to able to harvest nature’s energy resources
with your own muscle power while doing it with a very refined
Leveraxe is a high quality Finnish tool
Leveraxe is truly exemplary of the high Finnish quality.
It is a patented innovation and received the InnoFinland
honorary award in 2005. It is manufactured of the best materials
ensuring that it will last from father to son.
The axe head
The operating principle of the Leveraxe is theoretically
relatively straightforward but in practice has required a
lot of careful design, testing and refinement to achieve
the best possible result. The critical aspects of the design
are the eccentric shape with the point of gravity well off
the strike line, the edge stopper and lever, and the sideways
wing and the knob. Manufacturing this kind of shape is not
possible with traditional methods so the axe needs to be
The manufacturer of the axe head is Sacotec Components Ltd
in Riihimäki, Finland. They are specialised in manufacturing
the most demanding cast metal products. The final industrial
design of the axe head and the cast molds were designed together
The axe head is homogeneously tempered to correct hardness.
Not one has been broken during the history of the Leveraxe
and we are happy to give the axe head a 10-year manufacturing
The axe head has been painted and finished to a polished
product by Lainisalo Oy, Helsinki, Finland.
Protection for the handle
The protective sleeve for the handle is designed
to prevent damage to the handle from possible missed strikes.
The high endurance plastic protective sleeve can withstand
hits even in temperatures of minus 50 degrees Celsius.
The sheath for the axe edge is made of high quality
long-lasting leather. It is meant to protect both the axe
edge and humans, objects and materials during transport
The material chosen for the handle is Finnish birch. It
dampens the effect of impact to your hands by absorbing the
vibrations. The natural wood is warm to the hands during
cold periods. In addition, it is the traditional material
used in Finnish axe and tool handles.
Handles are manufactured by a Finnish wood turning company
specialised in manufacturing handles for tools. Wood is dried
properly and painted with black and yellow safety colours.
This way the total colours for the axe are red, black and
yellow, making it easy to spot even in places with high and
dense undergrowth. In addition, the handle is wax-treated
to increase its longevity and to ease the rotation in your
Distinct colours help spotting the axe especially
in areas with high and dense undergrowth.
N.B. Notice that the axe is also available with a natural
coloured ash handle. The price is slightly more but it is
a popular alternative, especially if the axe is meant as
Length 90 cm
Total weight 2,5 kg
Axe head weight 1,9 kg
Guarantee: axe head 10 years
Question 1:Can VIPUKIRVES™ be used
by a woman?
Answer: Yes it can. VIPUKIRVES™ has gained
its success because its blade doesn’t lodge in the
log. VIPUKIRVES™ has a long handle, allowing a wide
grip stance thereby making it easier to swing.
Question 2:What is the function of the
axe’s special design?
Answer: The function of the axe is based on the
blade’s one-sided design. When the blade strikes
a log, it begins to incline, creating torque, which multiplies
the splitting force and enables the blade to detach the
log wood. Kinetic energy ends on top of the log so the
blade will not slip.
Question 3:Can I use VIPUKIRVES™ like
a regular axe?
Answer: You can use VIPUKIRVES™ in
the same way as a conventional axe, but you must loosen
your grip when the axe hits the log to allow its levering
movement. It is essential to let the handle of the axe
turn in your hands. VIPUKIRVES™ is
a special tool designed for chopping firewood, not appropriate
for carpentry or for use as a striking tool.
Question 4: Why does VIPUKIRVES™ have
a wooden handle?
Answer: The birch handle has been proven to be
the best material for absorbing impact. It prevents the
impact force of the blade upon the wood to be transferred
to the hands. The wooden handle does not freeze in the
winter and is not slippery when wet.
Question 5:Why is the handle so long?
Answer: The handle’s length is primarily
a matter of safety. A long handle (90 cm/3 ft) assures
that the stroke will not hit your leg even if you miss
the log and strike the ground. A long handle also gives
more speed and precision to the blow.
Question 6: Will the blade stay attached
to the handle if it dries out?
Answer: There doesn’t seem to be any wedges
on the handle. Due to unique fastening, the blade of the
VIPUKIRVES™ will not detach, even
if the handle dries out. The handle’s top end is
a thick wedge by itself and it fits perfectly into the
hole on the blade. There is elastic glue between the handle
and the blade. Detaching the blade through use is very
unlikely. The handle may move a bit if it has been left
in dry conditions for a long period, but the matter will
fix itself in a few days after the VIPUKIRVES™ is
used in the moist outdoors.
Still, if the handle feels loose inside the blade, you
should do the following: Wrap a wet towel around the blade
and put the axe in a plastic bag. Close the bag tightly
so moisture cannot get out. Leave the axe in the bag for
a couple of days until the handle is swollen and tight.
Store the VIPUKIRVES™ in
naturally moist locations such as a shed, sauna or other
Question 7:Is the axe suitable for left handed people?
Answer: Through experiments, we found there is no
difference in using the axe with the right or left hand.
Question 8: Does the axe concentrate a lot of strain on the
wrists by constantly levering to the side? Does is strain the arms as much
as a traditional axe?
Answer: The technique of using the VIPUKIRVES™ is
unique, as the grip is loosened when the blade strikes the
log. The blade automatically creates a levering movement
and detaches chopped wood with more force than the traditional
axe. The handle doesn’t jolt in the user’s hands
during the hewing. The handle just turns in the user’s hands and the
laws of physics work to your advantage. You shouldn’t
restrain or force the movement. The VIPUKIRVES™ doesn’t slip upon
striking the log because its kinetic energy stops when it hits the wood. Like
everyone who has ever chopped firewood knows, a traditional axe jolts occasionally
and injure the user’s wrists. This tool was developed
to address that disadvantage.
Question 9:Can it cut a branchy spruce or do I have to use
a maul and a sledgehammer? How about a cross-branched spruce that doesn’t
split when hit in a wrong place?
Answer: The VIPUKIRVES™ chops
branchy birches and spruces with ease. When using the VIPUKIRVES™,
mauls and sledgehammers are not necessary. The VIPUKIRVES™ wedges
the crack open 6-8 cm (2.3-3.2 inches), splitting even the
hardest trees easily. A traditional axe spreads the crack
only the thickness of the blade and axe’s
motion seizes due to friction.
As you have likely learned from experience, spruces’ branches
reach all the way to the base. The correct way of chopping
a spruce is to split it in half and then chop in a shape
of a sector toward the tree’s center between the branches.
If the tree is very large, you should chop pieces from between
the branches to reduce the tension. This will make it easier
to split the tree and chop it into pieces.
Question 10:How about large logs? I have a 120 cm (4 feet)
poplar waiting to be chopped. It has huge branches so it’s a tricky one.
Will VIPUKIRVES™ work on that? I also have a big spruce that is rotten
on the inside and only the outside is not destroyed.
Answer: A 120 cm wide poplar
is a tricky scenario for a regular axe,
but not for the VIPUKIRVES™.
You can begin chopping from the edge and continue around
the tree. Don't strike straight at the big branches but chop
at an angle on both sides, thinning the cross section and
reducing tension. It is then easy to chop the branch, as
you can strike the axe to the very edge without fear of the
blade striking to your leg. As mentioned, a large tree like
that is difficult to chop, but VIPUKIRVES™ is
suitable for all kinds of tricky cases, even if the tree
has a 2 meter (6.5 foot) radius and weighs over 200 kilograms
(400 pounds). Due to the ingenious design of VIPUKIRVES™,
you can chop wood at any site.
A rotting interior is typical of old spruces. I've chopped
many of them after several dry summers.
Don't strike at the
rotten part of the tree. Try to chop off another part first
to relieve the tension. Then all you have to do is to chop
off one piece at a time moving around the tree. Don't try
to chop a considerably rotten tree, because VIPUKIRVES™ needs
more resistance in order to split the tree correctly.
Question 11:Do I always need to put a car tire around the
Answer: No, because you can
start chopping safely from the outer
edge. You can chop on rock or asphalt,
because the blade does not penetrate
to tree all the way. The best location
is a half a meter (1.6 feet) tall chopping
block. You can improve the result by
using a tire in conjunction with the
chopping block. You can fill the tire
with logs and start chopping them one
by one. This way the logs will stay stationary
while chopping and you can lift them
all at once and move them to dry in a
pile. By using the tire technique you'll
save time, trouble and your back. It
is best to use an extra wide tire in
order to fit more and larger logs in
Question 12: I only have 10 cm (4 inches) wide trees. How
do I split them?
Answer: Put them vertically and hit in the middle.
With VIPUKIRVES™ you
must strike the middle of the log, not on the edges, for
the splitting mechanism to work properly. Use of a chopping
block in conjunction with a tire is the best way to save
time chopping smaller trees, because you can keep more logs
in queue, making chopping more efficient. Chopping is thus
Question 13:How often do I need to sharpen the blade?
Answer: You can sharpen the VIPUKIRVES™ with
the grinding stone or wheel. If using a wheel, you can finish
it off with grindstone. You don't have to sharpen it too
frequently, because it works perfectly even when a bit dull.
Question 14: Will the blade rust in the rain?
Answer: Take good care of your VIPUKIRVES™.
Cover the blade after use and store it in a covered dry location.
The paint will wear off from the parts that touch the wood,
but this is normal. Oil the blade occasionally to prevent
Question 15: Pretty colorful device. Is it meant to scare
Answer: Maybe out of the log's way! The real reason
of the color is that you’ll find your VIPUKIRVES™ easily
if it is left it in the bushes or the snow on a coffee break.
The colors on the VIPUKIRVES™ are
the same as in traffic signs, because they are easily noticeable,
adding to the safety of the axe. You’ll notice it right
away and you won't step or trip on it.