You don’t just split wood to get it in to the stove, but especially to dry it faster, so it will less be moldy and rot. A round full trunk dries too slowly. Trees have their outer bark mainly developed to prevent drying out. Cleaving increases the evaporation surface area substantially.
Resinous wood dries more slowly and may need five years to dry before you use it.

Fresh goes better. Let it not dry first. Saw from the lower (widest) part of the trunk a straigt block of about 50 cm high, then you have a good chopping block to set up the other stem parts. The wider your splitting block, the much stronger and more stable it is. An additional advantage is that you can put a tire, to place in there the block you want to cleave Then it is not falling apart, and keep all the pieces neatly upright. Even if they were not cut straigt. Smaller pieces you keep upright too to stab multiple in the tire. The tire is a solid, third hand so it made two free hands to cleave with full power. You can also use an elastic luggage strap (like the luggage rack on the car or bicycle) that may be extended, and adaptable with a piece of chain).
klievenAs kindling you use prunings and deadwood (and pine cones). Also cleave splinters you can keep. Would you still chop kindle, use a piece of wood to hold the block. Your fingers are too valuable to take risks.

Consider the knots in the wood, which are not to split. Work in between. Wood without knots you can often split in one stroke with an ax or maul.

Hold the ax high, right above your head. Further back, or askew makes no sense and wasts your energy. Set high you use the full weight of the falling ax. Provide a rapid blow, preferably in a pre-existing crack. The hitting ax remains perfectly vertical. The more inclined he comes down on the block, the more energy you lose. Ideally, the shaft at the touch is horizontal. Otherwise, your block stands too high or too low to use the advantage of all the power.
If you don’t blow at once through it, then lift ax with block together, turn it in the air and let the back of the ax come down on the chopping block. To lift a heavier block keep it closer to your body.

Why lift a heavy log to split? You can also hit the ax again in the wood?
Right. Except as the ax is stuck, and you have to pry it loose first. But also if you want to be sure that your ax strikes exactly the same spot each time.

You can also blow the ax with a hammer through the woods. A real maul is heavy, and made ​​to beech behind with a hammer.
Move a stuck ax from the top down until it comes loose. Not wring sideways from left to right, because the handle may break.

A leather, rubber or rope occupancy around the shaft just near the blade protects the shaft.
Respect the existing sharpening angle and grind both sides equaly to maintain the shape.
Carry the ax with the handle, the ax-head with the cut down.
Regularly check that the blade is firmly seated on the handle.

For heavy or gnarled pieces you use more loose wedges and a hammer. They stay in the same place, while it is very difficult with an ax just to chop each time exact the same place. Blow the chisel in a radius from bark to center, possibly in an existing crack, in the cross-cut (sawn, flat) side. Try to focus between the knots of branches. And just keep ramming. Make sure you have 2 or 3 bits, in case one gets stuck. A hatchet is sometimes useful to bite the last persistent fibers.

Experience is like a toothpick, no one wants to use yours.