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A new 8lb maul

Post in 'The Gear' started by wg_bent, May 6, 2007.

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  1. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    So I drop by the BORG looking for a new handle for my 6lb maul. Hmmmmm.... I can spend 12 for a new handle or 30 for a new 8lb maul with one of them thar new fangled plasticy unbreakable yelllow handles. Opt for the new maul. Becides, I'm thinking that I might need a heavier maul to rip through all that f***** elm.

    The conclusion after splitting about 1/4 cord of wood. Either I'm out of splitting shape...Having not split anything since about Novermber, or 8lbs is a lot harder to swing and split with than a 6 lb maul. Going at a peice of soft maple was a PITA, elm splits no better, and I'm sucking wind.

    Given the hypothesis that I really am out of splitting shape, I think I'll reserve judgement for a bit.

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I don't think it out of shape issue but what you have acostomed to using which is a 6 lb maul. It could be that you are able th produce more speed with the 6lb than the heavier 8lb
    Time to also purchase a new handle. I was noticing the " elm effect" on my splitter yesterday/. Yes it split it but not without much more resistance. EVen 6" to 8" elm rounds the splitter needs to work harder. So I used both mauls here 6 and 8lb on this 8" round, both were equally rejected. Even straight grain Elm is so stringy that it resist splitting

    Yesterday between painting trim, I allso split up the scrounge pile I had. The splitter is so effecient, that today I have nothing lefty to split .I almost feel lost I always have a scrounge pile.

    Naturally I have a lot of stacking my least favorite activity
  3. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    Wow - Elk, your English useage is SUPERB in the early morning hours... perhaps you weren't yet awake? :)

    (All in fun, my friend!)
  4. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    Hear hear! I would gladly split twice as much (by hand) if I could avoid stacking. I get all OCD when I stack, especially with all the different lengths I deal with. But with my limited processing space, I have to keep stacking every face cord or so.

    I've done all my splitting with a 4lb "super splitter" and (what I think is) a standard 6lb maul. I think on most wood I am far more productive with those light tools because I can vary how much effort I put into each swing depending on the log. The heavier the maul, the higher the minimum energy needed just to bring it up over your head, even for an easy split (I suppose you don't have to bring it up all the way though). I would like to try an 8lb maul and one of those 12lb monster mauls sometime just for grins, but I suspect that repeatedly lifting (the equivalent of) two 6lb mauls over my head would kill my arms pretty fast.
  5. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    I'll never trade in my 8 pounder.


    Well, maybe when I get old! ;)
  6. Yooper Burning

    Yooper Burning New Member

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    I've been using both my 8lb maul and a beast of a "monster maul". 8 pounder works well on stuff about 12" or smaller, but over that and I like one swing with a monster maul to split pieces up to 24" or so. The 8 pounder just bounces off the larger fresh cut juicy maple unless I just chip off small pieces around the edge. My monster has 12lb stamped on the wedge, but also has a solid steel handle. I'ver never weighed the thing, but it's gotta be 20 lbs easy. I wear a back support while splitting so I don't kill myself.
  7. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    I wouldn't totally discount the out of splitting shape factor. Even if I'm in good shape from other things, it takes me a while to get my splitting muscles back into condition. Split every other day for a week or two, and report back to us then.
  8. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    definitely agree on the splitting shape. last season, a short session splitting (combination of 5 lb maul, chopper1 knockoff, 10lb sledge and wedge) left me very tired and sore the next day.

    The past few months, the new GF has had me rock-climbing about once a week. My back, arms and hands are in MUCH better shape, and the new 8lb maul seems to swing light and easy. It's actually the bending over to pick up the splits that wears me out.

    ... thinking about ordering one of those 12lb monster mauls.... is the 30" handle really long enough?

    -Dan
  9. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    You guys and you splitting huge quantities of wood by hand...you're a better bunch than me! I will just continue to pull the rope and work the lever on the gas powered hydraulic splitter.

    That way I'm in better shape for 12oz curls once the work is done ;-)
  10. Yooper Burning

    Yooper Burning New Member

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    T-n-B, The 30" handle on a monster maul is definitely long enough for me. I actually choke up on the handle a bit when I swing at a piece that doesn't need the full brunt of a monster hit to split and I'm too in the groove of splitting to put it down and grab the 8 pounder. If you think your 8lb maul seems to swing light and easy now, swing a monster for a while and the 8lb maul almost seems weightless. Just make sure you don't get sloppy and use poor form or the monster maul will make you pay and twist your back all out of wack. That's why I wear a back brace/support while splitting.

    -YB
  11. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    I hear you MrGriz, but the price of a splitter is a bit steep for me right now, and then there's the storage thing.... don't want to spend a lot of bucks on a nice splitter, and then leave it out to the weather...

    Plus with the stress of my job... spending a half hour bashing pieces of woods to smithereens is downright theraputic ! ;-)


    Yooper - thanks! I just ordered one. FYI - the northern "hotline" flier has them onsale right now for $34 and free shipping.


    -TNB
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I mostly use the 12 pound monster, and wish the handle were longer, but it's OK the way it is. If I have an easy split I don't choke up on it, but I don't try to raise it as high. I've got a bunch of 6-8" elm, and what I've found (to late) is that it seems to split better when it is fresh cut (no more than a few days on the ground) than it does when it has been down longer. It almost seems like as it dries the bonds between the wood fibers get stronger so that it won't separate when it splits... This is what I find the problem is with elm - it actually cracks into peices fairly easily, but the fibers between the peices won't let go so that you can actually separate the splits.

    With the older elm, the fibers between the chunks are really big and strong, but I found the fresh cut stuff still had a lot of fibers, but they were thinner and the monster maul would tear through them so that I could separate the splits easier.

    Gooserider
  13. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    I've seen this, and I think it's why my "super splitter" works ok on elm - it's got more of an edge than a maul, and cuts the fibers better. It's not so good on bigger elm pieces where I can't get the crack started though. I think a monster maul is in between on edge sharpness, but obviously with a lot more weight to boot.
  14. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    My neighbor has one of the 12 lbs monsters you guys are talking about. He likes it, but he doesn't split much wood (none now since he gave up on using his fireplace and doesn't have a stove). Anyway, he let me borrow it, and I hated it. Lifting that thing repeatedly will wear you out in no time flat, the short length is annoying, and it didn't split the same wood nearly as well as my 6 lb maul. Heavier is definitely not better, weight has to be matched with how fast you can swing it, for most men the ideal weight to speed puts you in the 6-8 lbs area based on my research. But I could see how Andre the Giant might do better with "the monster".
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The 8-lb maul is my favorite, but I do use a 6-pounder occasionally on smaller wood. I'd say the 8-lb is just about perfect for me and the wood I cut.

    All the research and development that has gone into wood splitting over the decades, I maintain the the $25 Home Depot 8-lb maul is still the best tool for the job.
  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I think it's a matter of getting used to the monster and learning how to swing it. I'm not sure it's possible to really describe the technique, but it's slightly different than the way one swings a sledge - I know that I get "Centipede trouble" if I think about it to much when I'm splitting :lol: When I first got my hands on a monster I hated it, but figured I had to use it enough to justify the money I'd spent, so I kept trying with it, and once I figured out the technique, don't go back to the sledge and wedge easily. I never use the maul side of my 8 pounder any more except when I'm needing to finish a split on a gnarly beast or an elm round where there is a wedge stuck in the middle and I'm just wanting to cut some fibers or some such.

    There is something addictive about the "one shot CRACK" on a big round that I can get with the MM.... It is also worth noting that I am usually splitting 22-26" rounds, which are much harder to split than the 16-18" size, both because the longer wood is stronger, and because of the increased odds of any given chunk having multiple knots...

    Gooserider
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Good point about the knots, Goose. I cut the same-size wood (I shoot for 24" but wind up with the same range as you), and the main problem is, as you note, more knots and other defects, on average, per chunk. I fell the trees, block them up and then let the wood sit for a year on the ground before hauling and splitting it. The wood gets a lot lighter for hauling and it becomes easier to split, but the ends turn black, which makes for kind of crummy looking stacks, IMO. But a year after being split and stacked, it's just about perfect for burning.
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well Eric, as far as I'm concerned, it all looks good burning, and that's what I care about :coolgrin: I don't really give a damn about how it looks in the pile...

    Last year I had the stuff I dropped, plus a load of log length, which left me a couple cords of rounds that I cut but didn't split. I also had about 1.5 cords in the shed that didn't get burned. I didn't drop as much of my own stuff this year, but I have it all cut and stacked in the shed already, so I'm up to about 3 cords, and counting. This year, I want to get some more log length, possibly a double load so that I can get a bit further ahead on the cut and split - I may try to split even the stuff that won't fit in the shed instead of leaving it as rounds - either way I want to be further ahead at the end of the summer than I was last year.

    Back on the subject of splitting, tonight I did some splitting after getting the last of the garden in (several times bigger than last year!) As an experiment, I tried swapping off between the 8lb splitting maul and the 12lb monster. Wood was red oak rounds left over from last years log length, moderately gnarly, 24" length on average, probably 12-14" diameter, working them on my ~4" high splitting trunk. I found that the monster was much more "binary" in it's action - it either split all the way (or to the point where it was possible to pull the chunks apart by hand) or it didn't do "anything" The 8 pounder probably gave me more cracks / swing, but they were small cracks that only split the log part way, and would take several more hits in the same place to finish the job. Overall I still felt like I got more splits / swing with the monster, but it was closer than I expected.

    I also found like in previous sessions, that once a round gets up to a certain size, it is faster to make the initial split with a wedge, then whack off the edges, than it is to try and make the first split with either the monster or the regular maul.

    Gooserider
  19. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    I didn't care about how it looked until someone here posted those pictures from Austria (or Germany, or Switzerland) showing the super-neat stacks. Now I'm hooked on neat stacking.
  20. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    Well, I tried my MM this weekend... Not so good results. First of all the handle is too short, I don't seem to be able to get a lot of speed out of it, and even worse, the rubber grip they put on it is literally GREASED!. It comes off with a POP any time you're not careful, and it spins in your hands when you strike a chunk of wood.... :-( THAT means I have to choke way up on the handle to put one hand above the grip so the head doesn't spin on contact with the wood. It's like trying to use a maul with a 1 foot handle. Useless.

    I guess I'll have to degrease it and glue it on or something. I think I'd like to expiriment with a longer handle first though.

    Can you try and explain your technique? I'm working on splitting what I think is Ash, but it's really stringy and tough. It's enough to make me want to buy a splitter!

    -Dan
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well I also had problems with the foam handle cover sliding around on me, I eventually ended up pulling it off and gluing it back on with some *Goop. The trick is to pull the foam handle off and put a bunch of the GOOP inside the foam, then slide it back on, twisting it as you go. This gives a nice uniform glue coating that secures the entire handle and avoids any lumps.

    As to technique, note that I'm mostly left handed, and left eye dominant, so you may want to swap sides...

    At the beginning of a swing, I hold the MM almost vertically in front of me, with my left hand loosely guiding the handle just under the head, and my right hand firmly gripping the end of the handle. I "throw" the head straight up with my left hand, while pushing the handle up along the same line with my right. As my left hand reaches almost full extension, I let it slide down the handle onto the foam grip to just above my right hand (the heel of my left hand is touching my right thumb) as I continue to push up with my right hand. The idea is that the maul head ends up almost vertically above, but slightly ahead of your shoulders, with your arms almost straight (but not locked) and both hands at the end of the handle next to each other.
    As you reach this point, without pausing, you start swinging your arms forward and down, keeping the handle as a straight extension of them. Primarily your arms should be guiding the fall of the maul head, but any acceleration you can give it at this point will help. Throughout the entire swing, you should be focussing your eyes on the "target point" of the log you are trying to hit.

    I reccomend you wear gloves for this, but you want ones that are snug fitting, padded palms are helpful, though not essential (a snug fit is more important) and they need to be a material that is conducive to sliding, not "grabby" - (i.e. leather is preferable to rubber) and wear resistant. I just picked up a pair of gloves at the local True-Value that have a goat skin leather palm and fingers, with a spandex back. (about $12) So far they seem ideal, wil need to see how they wear. (I don't use those "one size fits most" cheap generic leather work gloves, I find the way they fit so loosely, they slide around and irritate my hand worse than the stuff I'm trying to protect it from.)

    Gooserider
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