The ax seems like the kind of thing that doesn’t really need any modification. You’ve got a big, heavy, sharp thing on one end; a long, preferably smooth stick with some grip attached to it; and a human to bring it down on a log. But, in truth, we’re always improving our tools. And the Vipukirves is actually a clever take that uses physics to make chopping wood easier.
The secret lies in the design of the head. As you drive the axe down into the log, the head is balanced to pull to the right, forcing the wood you’re chopping out by popping it out along the grain. A hook on the right-hand side hits the rest of the log, stopping the Vipukirves in its tracks. This also makes it useful if you’re just trying to turn some annoying fallen tree into a bunch of kindling: The force of the split will help turn it into something you can use faster.
This means that you get a better piece of wood, and also that you generally avoid the most dangerous and annoying parts of chopping wood, namely trying to pull a razor sharp axe out of a piece of wood. It also means you can chop wood faster, like in this video:
Notice that he managed to get that entire log chopped up in less than a minute, giving you more time to do whatever it is you do in a place that has an Internet connection yet still requires you to chop firewood.
That said, if you live in civilization and only chop wood occasionally, it’ll be nice to have this around to keep that fireplace supplied. You might still need the traditional axe, but at least with this handy, one chore while camping will go quickly.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.