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Author Topic: what kind of axe for splitting?  (Read 8577 times)

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Offline motif

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what kind of axe for splitting?
« on: September 14, 2010, 03:35:59 pm »
I'd like to buy an axe but when I went to the store I've seen many different axes with different handles, blades etc.
I'd assume the bigger the better right? to do the job by itself...and how about the blade, there are some with special
hardened ones. Is it worthy?

 

or maybe regular one will do the job like in the old days...


Online beenthere

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2010, 04:52:30 pm »
There are lots of different ones. Most have some specific purposes so they will do better at one task than another.

The Fiskars you show looks good for splitting camp wood. The other looks like it would be good for heads.  :)

What is the purpose you have in mind, or for what do you want an axe? 
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Offline celliott

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2010, 05:38:55 pm »
If you are only using it for splitting wood, then get a splitting maul, similar to the fiskars one you posted. A maul will split wood better, but thats all its for- you wont chop anything with it.
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Offline motif

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2010, 05:39:35 pm »
What is the purpose you have in mind, or for what do you want an axe? 

officially for firewood but you never know when it may come handy - e.g. when your wife is caught cheating etc...
smiley_chop

Offline Ernie

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2010, 07:10:11 pm »
At my age, the best one is the one that someone else is swinging
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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2010, 07:26:16 pm »
At my age, the best one is the one that someone else is swinging

As long as it isn't aimed at you!

Splitting maul is the best for splitting firewood. If you want to chop down trees or use it for limbing a tree you cut down, use a regular forestry axe.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline isawlogs

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2010, 08:18:11 pm »
 I never could use one of them splitting mauls. I have a 2 1/2 lbs spliting axe that I used. I am one that always had a twist at the end of my swing to help split and not get the axe caught in the block .. that technique don't work with a maul  ::)  What ever was not split with the axe was cut with the chainsaw .
  Now I have a hydraulique splitter, works for me  ;D
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Offline John Mc

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2010, 09:18:09 pm »
I never could use one of them splitting mauls. I have a 2 1/2 lbs spliting axe that I used. I am one that always had a twist at the end of my swing to help split and not get the axe caught in the block .. that technique don't work with a maul  ::)  What ever was not split with the axe was cut with the chainsaw .
  Now I have a hydraulique splitter, works for me  ;D

That twist is a vanishing art. Not a whole lot of people you run into these days even know what you are talking about, let alone how to do it. (Count me among one of those who never mastered it... and I'm unlikely to, since I own a hydraulic splitter now.)

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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2010, 09:21:39 pm »
You can do the twist with a maul, and if you're really good, you can leave the bigger piece still standing for the next split. ;) Get a wood handle, your body will thank you.
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Offline Maine372

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2010, 09:32:38 pm »
he asked for an axe, not a maul.

if you want an axe for splitting you want it as close to a triangle as possible. a short wedgy triangle. the long thin bitted axes sink into the wood without pushing it apart. i split with an axe that is less that is very light on a thin handle. i use my wrists to accelerate it rapidly before it hits the wood. i can swing it all day rather than a maul that can tire me out in a hurry. i still have a maul for the obnoxious peices and several splitting wedges. if that wont split it nothing will.

Offline Magicman

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2010, 09:56:55 pm »
i can swing it all day 

There are a lot of things that I "used to" could do all day.

Swinging an axe was one of them.  Now, some woods you can split with the proper axe.  Some, you do need a splitting maul and possibly splitting wedges also.  Some are better left alone.

I'm still trying to recall what I could do all day.   ;)    :)
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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2010, 10:42:04 pm »
he asked for an axe, not a maul.

if you want an axe for splitting you want it as close to a triangle as possible. a short wedgy triangle. the long thin bitted axes sink into the wood without pushing it apart. i split with an axe that is less that is very light on a thin handle. i use my wrists to accelerate it rapidly before it hits the wood. i can swing it all day rather than a maul that can tire me out in a hurry. i still have a maul for the obnoxious peices and several splitting wedges. if that wont split it nothing will.

imo, if you don't have the strength for a maul, you don't have the strength to swing an axe hard enough to do it. Now as for that little wrist flick thing to split with, if you can master that, you're ahead of the game-- some of us are just trying to hit the stick of wood in a place where it will bust burst open.

Do yourself a favor and cut your wood short, it will split a lot easier. I used to split 24" wood by hand-- 16" is so much easier, and shorter yet is easier yet.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

"By pith and power, til my last hour, I'll mak this declaration-- we are bought and sold for English gold-- such a parcel o' rogues in the nation." --Robert Burns

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Offline John Mc

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2010, 10:46:36 pm »
i split with an axe that is less that is very light on a thin handle. i use my wrists to accelerate it rapidly before it hits the wood. i can swing it all day rather than a maul that can tire me out in a hurry. i still have a maul for the obnoxious peices and several splitting wedges. if that wont split it nothing will.

That's one of the things a lot of people don't get about splitting wood. The speed of the ax or maul head can be more important than the weight of what you are swinging. I watched a friend of mine try to split wood with a large maul. He just didn't have the strength get the head speed up, so he was making very slow progress. Switching to a maul that weighed about 60% of what he had been using made a big difference for him.

I've heard that the "twist" mentioned in some earlier posts which helps in splitting can cause some elbow problems (or was it wrist?) Some people develop a pretty good knot or lump that never goes away. HAs anyone experienced this?
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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2010, 10:50:14 pm »
I've heard that the "twist" mentioned in some earlier posts which helps in splitting can cause some elbow problems (or was it wrist?) Some people develop a pretty good knot or lump that never goes away. HAs anyone experienced this?

All I know is, my wrists are weak compared to my arms and legs, and if anything started bothering them I wouldn't be doing it long. I can split with an eight or ten pound maul quite nicely, and I don't try any special flicks.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

"By pith and power, til my last hour, I'll mak this declaration-- we are bought and sold for English gold-- such a parcel o' rogues in the nation." --Robert Burns

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Offline John Woodworth

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2010, 01:13:20 am »
8lb. single bit Collins falling axe.
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Offline motif

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2010, 03:20:23 am »
if you want an axe for splitting you want it as close to a triangle as possible. a short wedgy triangle. the long thin bitted axes sink into the wood without pushing it apart. i split with an axe that is less that is very light on a thin handle. i use my wrists to accelerate it rapidly before it hits the wood. i can swing it all day rather than a maul that can tire me out in a hurry. i still have a maul for the obnoxious peices and several splitting wedges. if that wont split it nothing will.

yeah, as I recall now from physics classes that would do the trick the best plus long enough handle of course.

BTW, is it true that real man don't use hydraulic, electric or gas splitters but axe?  8)  :)

The problem with splitting my firewood is that I gather all kinds of different wood along the year to minimize the cost
of winter heating so one piece is regular and good to split - another is irregular and hard to split with an axe.
My chainsaw is not big, just 13inches bar so bigger trunks I cut slowly piece by piece (irregularly)


Do yourself a favor and cut your wood short, it will split a lot easier. I used to split 24" wood by hand-- 16" is so much easier, and shorter yet is easier yet.

yes, I'm trying to cut as short as possible but the chain of my saw is running dangerously close to my holding wood leg... :(  This is just a left leg but still I prefer to keep it.

Offline RSteiner

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2010, 09:06:23 am »
We have burned only wood for the past 35 heating seasons, average is about 6 full cords a year.  Until 4 years ago everything was split by hand, I have a Super Split now.

Depending on the kind of wood I was splitting I would use either a heavy axe or a 6 pound splitting maul.  I favored the axe as it was about half the weight of the maul, and I did get the hang of the "twist" which helped a lot. 

For the tough stuff I would grab the maul, the twist was not as easy or effective.  With both the axe or maul velocity made a huge difference.  You have to throw the head of whatever you are swinging through the chunk of wood not at it. 

I have one of the Fiskars (sp?) splitting axes which I use for driving wedges when falling trees.  It does a decent job of chopping off the ocasional limb or what have you.  I haven't tried it as a splitting tool. 

Get yourself both an axe and a maul and maybe a couple of steel splitting wedges if you are serious about splitting your firewood by hand.  Hand splitting is a good workout just remember to stop or take a rest when things start to get sore.

Randy
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Offline motif

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2010, 10:16:21 am »

Depending on the kind of wood I was splitting I would use either a heavy axe or a 6 pound splitting maul.  I favored the axe as it was about half the weight of the maul, and I did get the hang of the "twist" which helped a lot. 

For the tough stuff I would grab the maul, the twist was not as easy or effective.  With both the axe or maul velocity made a huge difference.  You have to throw the head of whatever you are swinging through the chunk of wood not at it. 

I have one of the Fiskars (sp?) splitting axes which I use for driving wedges when falling trees.  It does a decent job of chopping off the ocasional limb or what have you.  I haven't tried it as a splitting tool. 

Get yourself both an axe and a maul and maybe a couple of steel splitting wedges if you are serious about splitting your firewood by hand.  Hand splitting is a good workout just remember to stop or take a rest when things start to get sore.

Randy

thanks Randy for useful tips. One question though how you get around returning force reaction to your hand once you hit the wood? again, it's physics right? It's good workout I'm sure and that's what I'm after but I'm concerned for my hands a little bit. Similar question comes to my mind when I see medieval knight fighting with heavy swords, every strike got to hurt...

Offline WAP Man

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2010, 12:09:14 pm »
I split about 10 cords a year .. 8 cords furnace wood and 2 stove wood . I like the 6 lb splitting mall for the furnance wood . For the stove wood  mostly a double bited wooden handle axe.
I do this in the winter when there's frost in the wood .
The splitting mall has a fiberglass handle  ;D which is unbreakable... the axe handle is another story .. they don't call me lightning for nothing... I never hit the same place twice  :D

Offline dnalley

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Re: what kind of axe for splitting?
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2010, 12:50:34 pm »
i can swing it all day 

There are a lot of things that I "used to" could do all day.

Swinging an axe was one of them.  Now, some woods you can split with the proper axe.  Some, you do need a splitting maul and possibly splitting wedges also.  Some are better left alone.

I'm still trying to recall what I could do all day.   ;)    :)

Whatever it is you're trying to recall Magic, I bet you're a lot like me.  No matter how far behind I get,  I seem to get caught up real quick  ;D