Thursday, April 23, 2009

Channeling Your Inner Lumberjack...

For the last month, I've been playing Paul Bunyan and learning to split wood. Good for the muscles, not so good for the fingernails.

But as I wrote in today's WSJ story, learning to split logs is a road to a bit of economic independence if you have a steady source of wood and a high-efficiency wood stove or fireplace insert. To get through the eight large trees that needed splitting, I tested a raft of tools from a 4lb maul to a gas splitter that cuts with 26 tons of force.

Judging from what retailers and manufacturers tell me, I'm part of a growing number of homeowners trying to ride out the economic storm by becoming more self-sufficient and tackling more complex home improvement projects. As Larry Kudlow points out on CNBC, even Ronald Reagan split his own logs sometimes.

Wear goggles and sturdy boots!