a pair of multi-blade axes for cabinland


cabinland creator jacob witzling is known to think outside the box, scattering mossy, jewel-like dwellings across his forested home. now, the designer and builder presents a new innovation at a much smaller scale. following inspiration from his brother ethan, he has crafted a pair of multi-blade axes. with much of his life spent in the woods — and a great deal of time splitting firewood — the project is right up his alley. with his new, super-efficient four- and six-splitters, he demonstrates the axes against a backdrop of his iconic little cabins. in view is his most recent completion, the castle cabin (see designboom’s coverage here).


the four-splitter



in celebration of firewood


from his pacific northwest home, jacob witzling shares his multi-bladed axes with designboom and illustrates what led to the creations: ‘I’ve been splitting firewood since I was 8. growing up in new hampshire where the winters are cold, we used wood for heat. my brothers and I had chores of course, and one of them was to haul wood inside and fill the bin. another was to keep kindling (small pieces) chopped and ready to start the next fire. I began experimenting with different ways to split the kindling to make the experience more enjoyable.


I became fascinated with how different woods split different ways. this was when I first became enamored with the grain patterns of wood. after I left home I sought out wood burning stoves in places I lived on my own because I loved the smell and feeling of the heat that comes from them.’



the six-splitter



the design process: from four blades to six


jacob witzling continues, explaining the process of fabricating the multi-bladed axes, and what drove the jump from four to six blades: ‘fast forward 30 years, I was sitting around the campfire splitting kindling, when my brother ethan said ‘what about a multi-bladed axe?’ I started thinking of ways it could be done. I went to my welder and good friend raymond dickinson and lived in his shop for a couple days while we prototyped different configurations. the first one that worked really well was based on a hydraulic splitter.


after I posted it, I got dozens of emails and comments from people saying their lumberjack grandfather made something with a similar configuration decades ago. while I felt like I was in great company, it made me realize that I needed to step up my game.


the next design was the six-splitter and I believe it to be a completely unique design. it works well on any species of wood when using knot-free chunks, 12-inches in diameter or less. the ideal woods to use it with are cedar, fir, and redwood, which are also extremely good kindling woods. I have already begun designing and fabricating the next generation and am excited to share it with the world!


making the multi-blade axe



project info:


designer: jacob witzling

welder: raymond dickinson

collaborator: ethan hamby