treesner

Maul axe handle

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My dad used to chop wood all summer long to heat the house all winter long. He would use a maul to do this.

On bigger/more stubborn logs the point of the maul was used to put a crack in the top of the log, then he would put a steel wedge in that crack and hit it with the flat side of the maul to get the log to split. That is how his dad did it when my dad was a kid. Straight handle for double sided use.

This was in the Ozarks and all the trees we cut down for firewood were oak trees. Now every time I smell oak I reminds me of summer time in the woods.

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7 hours ago, Coyote Jim said:

My dad used to chop wood all summer long to heat the house all winter long. He would use a maul to do this.

On bigger/more stubborn logs the point of the maul was used to put a crack in the top of the log, then he would put a steel wedge in that crack and hit it with the flat side of the maul to get the log to split. That is how his dad did it when my dad was a kid. Straight handle for double sided use.

This was in the Ozarks and all the trees we cut down for firewood were oak trees. Now every time I smell oak I reminds me of summer time in the woods.

This.  

Up until a few years ago we heated with wood, (I still help others) and yes the back of the maul or sometimes an axe, was used to drive a wedge - either in splitting a round, or sometimes in felling a tree.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_maul

 

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I re-handled my mauls this year and went with an axe type handle.  I prefer the palm swell on the end.  I use it to pound splitting wedges too and the shape doesn't bother me.  Go with wood.  I tried a fibreglass handle once and it transfers vibration up to your arm and a day of splitting will really put your elbow in pain.

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1 minute ago, Jim DaddyO said:

I re-handled my mauls this year and went with an axe type handle.  I prefer the palm swell on the end.  I use it to pound splitting wedges too and the shape doesn't bother me.  Go with wood.  I tried a fibreglass handle once and it transfers vibration up to your arm and a day of splitting will really put your elbow in pain.

I was thinking of making it much wider to distribute the force on impact? will have a palm swell at the end but the thing I was contemplating was the does foot where its angled at the end but it seems like it wouldn't be ideal when flipping and pounding wedges 

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I bought the guys that work for me some of these last year, and they love them.  They had previously used Monster Mauls, but had worn them out.   These things are relatively lightweight, but will split green wood easier than any we've ever used.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Truper-Steel-Splitting-Axe-with-34-in-Fiberglass-Handle/3280978

I wouldn't use it for large pieces that will obviously need a wedge, but for anything else, it pops it right in two.

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2 hours ago, treesner said:

I was thinking of making it much wider to distribute the force on impact? will have a palm swell at the end but the thing I was contemplating was the does foot where its angled at the end but it seems like it wouldn't be ideal when flipping and pounding wedges 

I have no issue with using it either way.  A 6 lb maul is what I use and I also use steel splitting wedges for the tougher stuff.  I am using mostly ash, but there is some poplar in there and some tamarack (what a chore to split).

 

 

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I watched the video.  Try one of those 4-1/2 pound things I linked to.  I'm sure you will like it.  The fiberglass handle is not as dead as the old, yellow ones.   I think it would split most of the chunks in your video either on the first swing, or at least it's pretty resistant to getting stuck.   I don't know anything about Tamarack, but it would split any of that Poplar with one swing.

Anyone who burns Poplar knows where the name came from.

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1 hour ago, Tom King said:

I watched the video.  Try one of those 4-1/2 pound things I linked to.  I'm sure you will like it.  The fiberglass handle is not as dead as the old, yellow ones.   I think it would split most of the chunks in your video either on the first swing, or at least it's pretty resistant to getting stuck.   I don't know anything about Tamarack, but it would split any of that Poplar with one swing.

Anyone who burns Poplar knows where the name came from.

My dad, who grew up relying on wood heat, told me that poplar is pretty much all they used in the cook stove.  He just used a heavy axe to split, but he learned a weird twist in the strike, breaking his wrist over as the axe hits the wood, and pops it apart.  I could never get that motion down.  I suppose when you heat a farm house in northern Ontario and do all the cooking all with only wood you get to learn a few things through repetition.  He cut cordwood as a youngster on top of that.

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==> Weird twist

A big rookie mistake is to take a sharp limbing or felling ax to split. Splitting can benefit from a fatter wedge on the double bevel. What I have found can often help is to present one side of the bevel as vertical. This means the ax often strikes leaned over ten to fifteen degrees. The caveat is that I don’t regularly split rounds. 

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We would use a splitting axe to strike a line bisecting the log.  For this the axe is easier to get stuck but easier to free.  The maul would just bounce off.  Then we would use the maul and alternate hitting both sides of the line then center.  After a bit if the log hadnt split we would grab the wedges.  I love the satisfaction when you hear that "THUD" and you know at that point you won.  Of course that all changed when my dad built a hydraulic splitter :D

Edited by MattSC
Because I mixed up pneumatic and hydraulic >.>

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I found the "Twist" had some advantages and disadvantages.  Pros: you can pop the wood off as described and also it impeded the axe/maul getting stuck.  Cons: you sacrifice some control once the blade contacts the wood which can result in a tweeked wrist. YMMV

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Another reason I like this lightweight one is the hooked edges of the striking end.  You can sink a big maul into a piece, and if it gets stuck, use the light one to finish it from the other side.  Then, while you have the light one in your hand, you can use it to pick up the end of the handle of the heavy one, that's now on the ground-saving at least one bend over.

Other things we like to have are wood hooks, and a hookeroon.  Wood hooks make moving heavy pieces easier, and the hookeroon can toss a piece from the ground into the wheelbarrow, or drag out of the truck.

Any back lasts longer when you save its use at any possible opportunity.   Unless maybe you're in the category that I heard an old Mason tell a young laborer once, after the worker complained about his back hurting, "You ain't old enough to Have a back!"

Picture is what we call a "wood hook" around here:

Image result for wood hook logging tool

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27 minutes ago, Tom King said:

Another reason I like this lightweight one is the hooked edges of the striking end.  You can sink a big maul into a piece, and if it gets stuck, use the light one to finish it from the other side.  Then, while you have the light one in your hand, you can use it to pick up the end of the handle of the heavy one, that's now on the ground-saving at least one bend over.

Other things we like to have are wood hooks, and a hookeroon.  Wood hooks make moving heavy pieces easier, and the hookeroon can toss a piece from the ground into the wheelbarrow, or drag out of the truck.

Any back lasts longer when you save its use at any possible opportunity.   Unless maybe you're in the category that I heard an old Mason tell a young laborer once, after the worker complained about his back hurting, "You ain't old enough to Have a back!"

Picture is what we call a "wood hook" around here:

Image result for wood hook logging tool

 

That looks like a hook we used to use to pick up hay bales.  You haven't worked until you spend a summer baling hay.  Of course this was back when the bales were smaller and handled by hand instead of the big bales that are now handled with machinery.  "Small" is a relative term, some of them weigh 70 lbs.

I have the smaller bush axe on hand when splitting (a 2 1/2 lb one made in Sweden, it's a beauty).  Some of the ash and tamerack can be pretty stringy and a smaller sharp axe handles that better than the duller splitting maul.

I have thought about a hydraulic splitter, but at the cost of them I could heat my home for 4 years by buying slab wood.  All the leftover stuff from a saw mill.  Which is what we commonly do here.  Cheap wood and some of the pieces find their way into the shop for projects.  The wood I am doing up now is from trees felled locally for safety reasons.  I think I have 4 years worth of heating wood split and stacked now.  There are a whole bunch more to come down, at least 7 ash and 2 walnut.  The walnut I may try to get some slabs off of with the chainsaw for projects.

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It's similar to a hay hook, but has the forged hook instead of a bent rod.   I spent a fair amount of time helping my best friend get up hay in Summers, back when I was a teenager.  That was the time before round balers.  We'd carry 90 bales on an old pickup, stacked all up on top of the cab too.  We would throw it up on a stack in his family's hay barn.  Each on opposite sides of a bale, holding the strings.   We'd have to flip it just right together.   It built a good base of strength doing that kind of work.

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