Owning a red flannel and an ax won’t magically transform you into Paul Bunyan. That’s why we asked the professionals performing at this year’s Lumberjack Festival (September 30 through October 1 in Littleton’s Clement Park) to help sharpen your skills in time for the fall camping season.

1. Grab a splitting maul, which combines the sharpness of an ax with the hitting power of a sledgehammer, and a dry log, which is easier to splinter and burns more readily.

2. Place the doomed log vertically on a larger, sturdy piece of flat wood and look for cracks. These are weak spots, so aim your first strike for one of the fissures.

3. With your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent, hold the maul over where you want to make contact. Don’t take your eyes off the target.

4. Lift the maul above your head and bring it straight down, instead of swinging it on an arc—that way, if you miss, the maul won’t end up chopping you instead.

5. For the best ratio of surface area to burn time, continue cleaving the wood until you end up with pieces roughly 15 inches long by five inches wide.