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Author Topic: splitting maul  (Read 2410 times)

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Offline jargo432

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splitting maul
« on: April 07, 2014, 03:16:40 pm »
I like to split my firewood with a maul.  I use an 8lb maul but I noticed Stihl mauls are 6.6 lbs.  What do you think is the best weight for splitting oak, and who do you think makes the best maul.
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Offline LittleJohn

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2014, 04:13:42 pm »
What is the heaviest maul you can swing all day?! ...and not be completely busghed and feeling like your arms will fall off, cause that weight is the right answer.

Back in the day, when I was first learning to swing a maul (16-yrs old or so) I was given an 8# and told to go to town

Offline jargo432

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2014, 07:26:01 pm »
The 8lb maul works fine for me, I've learned to let the maul do the work.  I would like one with a steel shank around the handle.  Some times I have to run it deep in twisted wood and it rubs the handle up pretty good.
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Offline reride82

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2014, 08:05:24 pm »
I had an 8 pound maul with a metal handle, if you could swing it, it'd split it, but it'd wear you out pretty quick. But now I use a fiskars X27 splitting ax/maul and it swings a lot easier and it splits just as well. Now I can split all day without any problems. I'm very happy with that purchase.

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Offline Brucer

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2014, 12:12:09 am »
Before I started burning slabs, I'd split all my wood with a 6 lb. maul. A couple of useful things I picked up along the way ...

 1) Wrap the base of the handle (next to the head) with tie wire. Wrap it nice and tight for about 4" and you won't have to worry about the handle getting chewed up next to the head.

 2) Learn to focus on each split. Swing the maul down holding it at a comfortable angle and just before it contacts the wood, flick your wrists downward. At the same time, exhale sharply (oh, yeah, helps to inhale before you start the swing :D) just before the head hits the wood. It's pretty amazing how much extra force you can generate for very little effort.
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Offline SLawyer Dave

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2014, 12:24:42 am »
I have used 16 lbs "monster mauls" since I was a kid.  Big, heavy, with a triangle shape and a metal handle.  Best splitting maul I have ever found.  The standard 8 and 6 lbs mauls always seem to get "stuck" in the wood, and I spend as much time and energy trying to pull the maul loose as I do swinging it to split the wood.  I very rarely ever get the monster maul stuck.  It either cracks the wood, splits the wood, or on occasion, bounces. 

One thing to keep in mind, if you are using a monster maul, you don't "swing" it up in the air.  Rather, you run your non-dominent hand down the handle to the head.  You then lift the maul over head with that hand, while your dominant hand remains at the end of the handle.  Then you kind of toss the head up in the air as you slide your non-dominant hand down the handle to your other hand.  Now you have the head of the maul high over head, with your arms fully extended to create maximum drop distance and speed.  You then use hands, arms, shoulders, back and abdominal muscles to 'pull' the maul down forcibly to strike the top of the wood.  This creates an incredible amount of force, that generally will split a round in one or two swings.

Not that I could do so now at 48, but in my twenties I could outwork 2 guys on a hydraulic splitter, (I won a lot of beer doing this).  Now most guys my age and older, have a hard time splitting by hand because they have torn up their shoulders.  This movement, though perhaps a bit awkward to begin with, really doesn't tax your joints as you are not having to swing a heavy weight in multiple angles that pull and twist your muscles and joints in strange directions.  You are lifting the head of the maul directly overhead, (just like an overhand barbell press), and then working with gravity to create a "power" assist that propels the head into and through the wood.

Its like in golf and baseball.  The players who have really long "windups" and "swings" have the most things that can go wrong.  Swinging a maul in a huge circular pattern not only tears up your shoulders and elbows, but creates a lot of vectored force that is hard to control to have consistent aim.  One of the secrets of good wood splitting, especially with large rounds, is to have good accuracy so that you can quickly and efficiently "cut" a line across the wood, or hit in the same spot consistently.  In this way, the weakness that the first hit caused, can be exploited by the second, and you likely will split the whole round.  However, if you hit 4" away, it is likely that you just wasted that energy.

Full Disclosure:  I have used the Fiskar's axe/maul on dry soft woods and it works great, (great camping axe/maul).  I would not even think of using it on wet soft woods or dry hard woods though.  It simply 'sinks' into the former, and incessantly gets stuck into the latter. 


Offline Magicman

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2014, 08:07:10 am »
I always used a 6lb splitting maul.  I replaced the wood handle with a fiberglass one which solved the overstrike.  The 8lb was a bit too much and never felt right. 

My present "maul" has a Honda engine.   ;D
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Offline jargo432

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2014, 08:29:56 am »
The motion I use uses very little force.  I start with the base of the handle at my left hip.  I start by rocking backward, then letting the momentum carry the maul straight up in front of me.  On the downward motion when the base (left hand for right handed swingers) gets to the level of the wood I stop that hand and apply force with my right hand.  It's like cracking a whip or since I'm a golfer like the proper release of the club head.  I've also found that keeping my hands about 4-6 inches apart I get more control and applied force the way a samuri would. 

As a kid I did the around the world swing like they show on the Stihl how to series, but old(er) age and experience taught me it's a lot of wasted motion.

One day, maybe when I'm 80 or so, I'll buy a splitter, but till then I'll keep swinging.  Exercise keeps me young.
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Offline justallan1

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2014, 08:39:10 am »
I bought a 10 lb maul pretty much like what I had used when I was younger. I soon realized I wasn't that big kid anymore, so I "loaned" it to a co-worker on the far side of the ranch. That's where you send any tools you don't plan to see again. :D
I then bought myself an 8 lb maul with a fiber handle and that seemed to work pretty good until I bought my splitter.
I could split about a half a cord at a time with the maul before needing to go check the mail or some other task that didn't have to be done. :D

Allan

Offline jargo432

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2014, 09:50:55 am »

I could split about a half a cord at a time with the maul before needing to go check the mail or some other task that didn't have to be done. :D


I usually will cut up and stack everything that needs to be split on my weedend, then I do a little splitting when I get home from work each day.  If it works out right I'll have it all split by the time my weekend rolls back around and I start the process all over again.
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Offline gspren

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2014, 08:11:12 am »
   My monster maul is getting rusty and the 8 lb isn't much better. I use the Fiskars x27 and most times on a birch or red oak that's easier than lifting on to the splitter. White oak, hickory, etc. I fire up a hydraulic splitter.
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2014, 08:21:09 am »
My splitting is done by a 220 pound 23 year old grandson.
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Offline LittleJohn

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2014, 08:29:35 am »
My splitting is done by a 220 pound 23 year old grandson.
That used to be my dads answer except grandson.  Now we use a wood splitter, and if blocks get to big - use Drey skidder boom to lift blocks.

Now I just have to convince the old man to sell his little splitter 24" opening and get one with like a 40" opening, so we dont have to cut all the big logs into little blocks

Offline C_Miller

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2014, 09:30:20 pm »
I use the Fiskars as a back up to the wood splitter. gotta watch it tho cause i spend more time chasing the splits than swinging the maul. nobody told me when that fiskars split a piece, the splits explode and fly halfway across the yard.
CJM

Offline Hermio

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2017, 04:33:55 pm »
I have used 16 lbs "monster mauls" since I was a kid.  Big, heavy, with a triangle shape and a metal handle.  Best splitting maul I have ever found.  The standard 8 and 6 lbs mauls always seem to get "stuck" in the wood, and I spend as much time and energy trying to pull the maul loose as I do swinging it to split the wood.  I very rarely ever get the monster maul stuck.  It either cracks the wood, splits the wood, or on occasion, bounces. 

One thing to keep in mind, if you are using a monster maul, you don't "swing" it up in the air.  Rather, you run your non-dominent hand down the handle to the head.  You then lift the maul over head with that hand, while your dominant hand remains at the end of the handle.  Then you kind of toss the head up in the air as you slide your non-dominant hand down the handle to your other hand.  Now you have the head of the maul high over head, with your arms fully extended to create maximum drop distance and speed.  You then use hands, arms, shoulders, back and abdominal muscles to 'pull' the maul down forcibly to strike the top of the wood.  This creates an incredible amount of force, that generally will split a round in one or two swings.

Not that I could do so now at 48, but in my twenties I could outwork 2 guys on a hydraulic splitter, (I won a lot of beer doing this).  Now most guys my age and older, have a hard time splitting by hand because they have torn up their shoulders.  This movement, though perhaps a bit awkward to begin with, really doesn't tax your joints as you are not having to swing a heavy weight in multiple angles that pull and twist your muscles and joints in strange directions.  You are lifting the head of the maul directly overhead, (just like an overhand barbell press), and then working with gravity to create a "power" assist that propels the head into and through the wood.

Its like in golf and baseball.  The players who have really long "windups" and "swings" have the most things that can go wrong.  Swinging a maul in a huge circular pattern not only tears up your shoulders and elbows, but creates a lot of vectored force that is hard to control to have consistent aim.  One of the secrets of good wood splitting, especially with large rounds, is to have good accuracy so that you can quickly and efficiently "cut" a line across the wood, or hit in the same spot consistently.  In this way, the weakness that the first hit caused, can be exploited by the second, and you likely will split the whole round.  However, if you hit 4" away, it is likely that you just wasted that energy.

Full Disclosure:  I have used the Fiskar's axe/maul on dry soft woods and it works great, (great camping axe/maul).  I would not even think of using it on wet soft woods or dry hard woods though.  It simply 'sinks' into the former, and incessantly gets stuck into the latter.
Pardon me for jumping in several years later, but I just bought the Fiskars X27. It is amazing what something so light can do. I still find that my Monster Maul is better for the big stuff. I use a full roundhouse swing on the Monster Maul, and I am 64 years old. The lift and drop method does not create as much velocity as the roundhouse method. Speaking of velocity, some have erroneously argued that the Fiskars works better because it can be swung at a higher velocity. By that logic, we should all drive nails with a tack hammer and forget about using a framing hammer. Kinetic energy (mv^2) is not conserved in a collision. Momentum (mv) is. So, mass matters. The reason the Fiskars works well is because of its geometry.

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2017, 06:24:43 pm »
Weld it fast to a flywheel...

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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: splitting maul
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2017, 07:48:38 pm »

Not that I could do so now at 48, but in my twenties I could outwork 2 guys on a hydraulic splitter, (I won a lot of beer doing this).

Dave,

   No offense intended but when I read this I was thinking how glad you were to win the contest and the boss/owner was thinking "That's the best value I ever got out of a case of beer." :D :D :D
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