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Best ax or maul for splitting wood?

Post in 'The Gear' started by dlatheman, Feb 23, 2010.

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  1. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    After twenty or so years with a few different generic 6 pounders, I bought the Fiskars 7854 after reading so many positive reviews here and elsewhere.
    [​IMG]
    I think the only people that complain about the short handle are those who have never used one. It is a lightweight, precision tool that this almost 40 year old can use for hours and not be in pain the next day. I used to take, my Craftsman 6 lb, a sledge, and some wedges out to split. Now I only take the Fiskars.

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  2. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I like these. A lot.

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  3. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I went to Fiskar's Web site and did a search for a nearby retailer. There is nothing within 50 miles of Houston that showed up. On line ordering only. And no Lowes, HD, Ace or True Value showed up either.
    Only Sears. What's up with that?
  4. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure why more retailers carry them. Our local Ace Hardware stocks the Fiskars Pro and several of the hatchets, but not the Super Splitter--though they can order it. The best deals online that I've seen are Amazon and Bailey's online, +/- $39 or so. You could also email Fiskars and ask them what local retailers have them, the few times I've contacted Fiskars they were very responsive and helpful.

    NP
  5. dlatheman

    dlatheman New Member

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    Man o man...ask and ye shall receive!

    Thanks to all for the input! A after reading your posts I went shopping this morning while the rain was falling. Even though Lowes carries the Fiskars brand they didn't have the super splitter so I wound up buying the True Temper 4 Lb. Super Wood Splitter with 36" Fiberglass Handle. Its head design looks similar to the Fiskars SS(axe type edge and wedge type body) and it worked very well on some 18" round red oak, most all split apart on the first swing. The knotty ones would absorb the first swing and crack but not separate entirely. The wedge shape of the head never once got stuck hard like my double bit would...that was a nice change of pace. Overall I really liked this new additon to the tool shed, I think she's a keeper.
  6. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    Hey D,

    Not to rain on your parade, but I did the exact same thing when I couldn't find a Fiskars SS locally. I saw the True Temper in our local hardware store, and thought, "well, looks similar, priced similar, who needs a Fiskars?"

    Truth be told, I HATED that True Temper! It rarely split on the first whack, and it got stuck something fierce on nearly every other swing! Long story short I returned the TT and ordered the Fiskars, and even though they look similar in design, in my opinion they are VERY different in performance with the Fiskars leaps and bounds better than the TT.

    Just my $.02,


    NP
  7. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Congratulations on your purchase! Sounds like a very nice tool. Keep us updated on how well it works for you. Happy splitting!
  8. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    I think the maul that I've got is a Ludell. It's not the first maul I've owned. The first one was whatever one Ace carried. It had a very blunt entry. It looked like a sledge hammer with one end filed to a point. Bounced off wood like a sledge hammer too. I took it back.

    Drove to Fleet Farm where they have the Ludell. This head looks more like an axe with the concave blade curve that widens out to a broad 6 or 8 lb hammer (can't remember whether its 6 or 8). Also the sides of the Ludell are smooth like an ax.

    My Ludell works much better than the blunt one I took back to Ace. I don't know how it compares to a Fiskar though.

    The things that matter when splitting wood are probably things like, momentum, wedge angle, and friction.

    The more gradual the taper (wedge angle) the better the maul will split. Remember a maul is a wedge which is a simple machine. The more gradual the wedge angle the more "leverage" you get.

    However, this gradual taper also can work against you. The deeper the blade penetrates, the more steel is in contact with wood. This means more friction. Excess friction will slow and stop the blade.

    Momentum is simply Mass * Velocity. Of course the extra weight works in your favor. However, if lifting the extra weight exhausts you too quickly you won't be able to generate the velocity. So 4#, 6#, 8# is all personal preference.
  9. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    I think one design feature that works for the Fiskars is that there is no "angle" to the head. Instead of a tapered triangle, the head flares in a continuous curve. The shape of the curve seems to provide both an accelerated splitting effect and an anti-stick effect.
  10. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    I'm trying to picture the Fiskar's design based on your description. It sounds a lot like my Ludell. It's got a slight "hollow ground" blade, which means that after the cutting edge passes the side of the blade recedes in so that there is little contact with the wood until it reaches the point where the maul begins to expand.
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I have a standard 6-8#. Keep it sharp. Don't believe the "old wisdom" that it's all about the speed and a dull one works as well as a sharp one.

    I often have to split 40" long logs for kiln wood and it works for me.
  12. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Adios Pantalones,

    "Don’t believe the “old wisdom” that it’s all about the speed, and a dull one works as well as a sharp one. "

    Actually, that wisdom was mentioned in reference to Olympic sprinters...
  13. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I didn't read this thread- but that's the argument made often in reference to splitting. Sorry for any confusion.
  14. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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  15. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I got an email from Sears a few minutes ago. They're having a "Midnight Madness" sale tonight for online purchases. It says all tools get free shipping. So, I set out to buy me a Fiskar's Super Splitter. $45.00 plus tax. With free shipping that would be a pretty fair deal. But when it came time to calculate and pay, it kept charging me $8.20 shipping charge! Frustrating. So, I didn't buy it.
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ummm... don't you have to wait until midnight to get the free shipping?
  17. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    [/quote]Ummm... don't you have to wait until midnight to get the free shipping?[/quote]

    The email ad clearly says "Valid from 5:00 PM CST 2/24/20 to 5:00 AM CST 2/25/10.
  18. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I just went to Denny and Kathy's website. There's not a single axe of any shape or kind on their site. The only Fiskar's item listed is the axe sharpener.
    Nothing currently on Ebay, either. Why do they make it so hard to buy these things?
  19. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    One's nearly twice the weight of the other. Check 'em out on the Fiskars site:

    http://www2.fiskars.com/Products/Yard-and-Garden/Axes-and-Striking

    I have both, and since I burn almost exclusively softwoods I find the Pro Splitting Axe is my workhorse, and the Super Splitting Axe is my backup for the occasional gnarly round. The 17 inch Splitting Axe is my kindling maker. Best to always go by the Fiskars model number, as the names of these tools are frequently hosed up. Rick
  20. StackedLumber

    StackedLumber New Member

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    R u sure you looked? :)

    Here's it is on their ebay store:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/FISKARS-SUPER-S...ultDomain_0?hash=item5ad74e970b#ht_2095wt_992
  21. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    That's where i got mine.
  22. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    There was nothing on Denny and Kathy's Ace Hardware store website. I went back to Ebay and searched under the model number and came up with D and K's Ebay store. Great price there! I've sent them a question to see if they'll combine shipping if I buy the sharpener.
  23. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    not to nitpick, but it's not e=mv^2 I believe the actual formula is E=mv^2 / 2.....

    a quick crappy math equation would yield the following using 1.59kg to 3.63kg (3lbs v 8lbs) so the velocity of the fiskars will be v1 and the velocity of the maul will be v2.

    for (1.59*v1^2) /2 to be equal to (3.63*v2^2) /2 you get v1^2 = v2^2*2.28 to throw some numbers in for example, if you swing a maul at ending speed of 3meters / second then you could plug that number into the equation and see v1^2 = 9*2.28 so v1=4.53m/s final speed.

    remember that the shorter radius of the fiskars will reduce the head speed, so if your arms are moving just as quick with a fiskars as a maul, the maul would be moving faster at the head. It should be way easier to move the fiskars faster, but it's not going to be moving as fast as you might think. in the end, I think it all probably evens out energy wise, and the bottom line is going to be what feels more comfortable to you and what works better in the wood you split.

    I don't know the fiskars well enough to HATE it, but the fact that it is so short scares me. I also feel that most muscle injuries I have obtained in my history have been from doing something that is of a sudden jerking motion. increasing muscle speed, IMO, seems like it might increase the likelihood of a pulled muscle, i dunno. I have no data to back me up on that.
  24. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    They split a lot of wood in Finland (home of Fiskars).
  25. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    They split a lot of wood in North America too. ???
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