Splitting wood is the act of chopping a log into small pieces using the maximum amount of force. Just describing it is satisfying and, although it's a chore, the thought of spending a bright mountain morning reducing a tree to tinder makes it seem less so.
But it is back-breaking, sometimes dangerous work. Using wedge force to split wood is hardly using a hot knife to cut butter, and people suffer accidents all the time from blows deflected off a piece of knotty or soggy wood and into, say, a shin or forehead. Ouch.
That's a defect the Vipukirves--Finnish for "leverax"--aims to correct. The ax head of the Vipukirves is curved, and the shifted center of gravity converts kinetic energy into rotational energy, which pushes logs apart like a lever. It's an ax that tears more than it cleaves, which makes it efficient: No more pulling buried axheads out of half-split logs and no more energy-wasting swings that result in merely breaking off a bit of kindling.
The inventor indicates despite being an insatiable log shredder, his Vipukirves is safer than a conventional ax because it converts momentum into rotational energy, making it less likely to bounce off a log. The downside: The Vipukirves is pricy--193.12 Euros or about $270 U.S.--but for the log-splitting enthusiast, you can't put a price on awesome.