“People love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees results” (Albert Einstein)

An easy to way to tell if someone is new to using a parang is that they tend to over use it: clearing brush that could simply be pushed through or chopping wood that could more easily be broken or burnt through… and generally putting too much effort into each cut they make.  The trick is to use the parang only when you really need to and, even then, try to make the weight of the parang do the work for you, keeping your arm and wrist relaxed.

If you are new to using a parang and want to get this primal desire to chop everything-in-sight out of your system then start by chopping through a fallen tree trunk….after 10 minutes or so, your wrist will be tired, your arm will ache and your hand will be blistered…and, magically, that desire to ‘chop stuff’ will have evaporated.

Saying that, there are times (particularly when collecting firewood) when it is necessary to chop through thick sections of dead wood and, if the outside of the wood is wet, split it down into decent firewood.  These are times when I often wish I had a saw with me and a small folding saw is an item of kit you may wish to bring along.  However, assuming you only have a parang, how can you use it when dealing with larger sections of dead wood?

I often see people trying to split large pieces of wood using only the parang and a baton: with smaller pieces this is fine, but with larger sections it is the hard way to do it as the parang will jam in (and not split the wood) and your baton will get torn to pieces on the thin spine of the parang.

In the video below I show how to use wedges (gluts) to split down large trunks/limbs into manageable sections.  Using wedges makes an enormous difference – less effort is required, less aggravation is involved and it’s much quicker.

…once the wood is split down, it can be easily snapped in half,  feather sticks can be made and the split pieces of wood will catch fire with much greater ease than if it is left in one piece.