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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. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    My experience exactly - just bought a Fiskars about 3 weeks ago - had about 30 oak, beech, and ash rounds to split, so headed right out. First round was an ash - the round split so fast on the first swing, the head missed the block and hit the ground pretty hard - got a small chip on the tip of the axe blade. Eased up after that, but couldn't be more impressed with the Fiskars. Even split some fairly gnarly beech with not too much trouble - definitely splits better and with less effort than my Collins 6lb maul. Cheers!

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  2. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    The shape of the handle lends itself to an automatic, natural "wrist snap" at the final 1/4 of the swing. Once you get a feel for the tool, you can use this to even more of an advantage by manually snapping your wrists at the end to put some serious juice into it towards the bottom of the swing. I've found that I get more speed and power(and less fatigue of course) when I use this wrist action at the final part of the swing as my main juice for splitting the wood, and use my arm/ shoulder strength for little more than lifting the tool back up after the swing.
  3. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    Among those who study terminal ballistics, many believe that momentum (M*V) is a better measure of penetration than kinetic energy (1/2M*V^2).

    Since splitting wood is all about penetration, I would think momentum would count more. It's hard to argue the experience of so many woodsplitters who rave about the Fiskars though.

    I am convinced that there is a big difference between the standard mauls also. My first maul I immediately returned. I think it was made by the same firm that produces and sells power splitters. They purposely screw up the design of a maul so you go out and spend $1000 on a power splitter. Same thing with snow shovels, owned by snowblower companies they make the handles 4 inches too short to screw up your back. And tents that are owned by camper manufacturers. But I digress.

    The difference between my Ludell and whatever my first one was is incredible. So I wonder how many folks are comparing a Fiskars to a Ludell.

    Perhaps I've developed a strange technique, but when I split I bend my knees as I'm bringing the maul down - like I'm about to sit in a chair. This keeps my back from bending under strain plus it brings the center of the swing radius closer to the ground. This safely directs any misses into the ground. I was always taught that, whenever possible, do the work with your legs instead of your back.
  4. FLINT

    FLINT Feeling the Heat

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    I bend my knees as well. I think good splitting technique uses a lot more of your body than just your arms. I'm sure I use my stomach muscles as well. I think I've read that splitting wood is one of the single best full body + cardiovascular exercises there is - and burns more calories than almost any other activity.
  5. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    I use a Mega Mule Maul (15lbs) to bust the round in half, and then split it to size with the Fiskars. I'll never go back to a sledge and wedge. Some wood types are a real PITA and I 'm looking forward to borrowing a neighbor's hydraulic splitter. In particular, black cherry and suprisingly pine....both splitters simply bounce right off them.

    With frozen, easily split wood like ash or oak and a tire setup, I can bust a round into easy-burning chungs in seconds. wack wack wack wack wack wack wack drink of water curse how heavy the round is wack wack wack wack wack think about how good beer will taste load another round wack wack wack wack wack and on and on it goes............
  6. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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

    Yeah, but they were splitting wood in Finland long before John Smith got to Jamestown in 1607. And they have a lot more of their county under snow and ice than we do.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Finland is a small country with just 338,000 square kilometers. By comparison, the province of Ontario is 1,076,395 square kilometers, while North America is 24,490,000 square kilometers.

    The Europeans were not noted for making good axes. It was this side of the pond that developed the curved handle.

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  8. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Ha ha! You make a good point. But of course those people in Jamestown came from somewhere.
  9. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    "Ha ha! You make a good point. But of course those people in Jamestown came from somewhere. "

    Yeah, as I recall from 4th-grade civics, they left England when they ran out of wood to split...
  10. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    That's a very good reason to leave England! And very funny! Thanks!
  11. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    I would, but the only place I saw one of the Fiskars was at the local Stihl dealer and it was, I forget exactly how much now, but like $60 or more. And I don't order things online. And above all else, I don't spend money on something I certainly do not need. I've got a brand-new Ace 6# maul that's been hanging in the garage for a few years now and has never been swung. I'm still kicking myself for buying that, because I will probably never use it. If the handle eventually goes bad on Old Faithful, I will just replace the handle (handle is going on 25+ years old now).

    Otherwise, I would be more than happy to experiment, but at no cost to me! Ha ha!
  12. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    I just happened to be looking through the Bailey's catalogue and saw in their writeup of Fiskars products that, "Fiskars is one of the oldest companies in the world and began as an ironworks in Finland in 1649."
  13. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    I wonder what they made way back then? Maybe cauldrons or something.
  14. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

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    I went to a fair bit of trouble to get a Fiskar's SS after the large number of positive reviews in this forum.

    Yesterday I was splitting some 17" hard maple rounds. I used my neighbor's hydraulic splitter for half of them. His splitter is a 30 ton home made rig with a hydraulic log lifter and is a superior splitter to anything I have seen built in a factory. It is fast, splits any round and lifts the rounds up.

    I split 26 rounds faster with the fiskars SS than I had done with the hydraulic rig. I simply turned them on end and started whacking. No block. I didn't have to lug or roll the rounds to the splitter.

    I had read someone else claiming that it was faster than their splitter and I had doubted it. It sure surprised me. I am 59 years old. Just imagine what a 30 year old could have done! I was winded but pleased with myself

    The Fiskars SS is an excellent splitting axe. I've used mauls, wedges and axes but this takes the cake.

    Congratulations to all you citizens of the USA. Your Olympians have done you proud, finishing #1 in the medal count.
  15. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    I beg to differ. That is sort of like saying the Japanese couldn't make a sharp blade. The "Europeans" have been making axes, since mesolithic times. The axe was as useful and important as the knife. The design of the axe head and handle depended on the intended use. A curved handle does not exclusively make a good axe.

    The square footage of a country is not a good yard stick measurement either of forestry prowess and history. Forestry and axes have been a big part of Finnish culture, since Finland was first settled by Finns. Despite the small size of the country, Finland is one of the world leaders in forestry products. And because of Finland's small size, it has had to develop a sustainable forestry practices that puts countries like Canada to shame.

    I understand you are passionate about the curved handle, but this is not a new or North American invention either. This thread has some pictures of an axe collection from the iron age: http://www.kelticos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=940 It goes to show that everything old is new again.....

    Another thing to consider is likely that most axes that were made in North America back in the day, were made and developed by European immigrants who had come across the pond. However, I do understand that in North America, the axe did also evolve and the style depended on its maker/user's preferences.

    I think the Fiskars axe designs are great and another stage of the axe evolution. However, I own other axes too, and each one is specific to certain tasks. I was hesitant with the Fiskars axes, before I used one. I didn't like the fact I could not replace the handle, if damaged (ie. in the bush). However, after using one, I am riding the Fiskars bandwagon. Each person has their specific preferences and I can understand why some people do not like the Fiskars designs. There is no one axe made for everyone.
  16. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    How did you get a hold of a Super Splitter? I have been trying to get a hold of one too. For those who don't know, unfortunately, they are not sold yet in Canada. I thought the Stihl catalogue was selling the Super, but unfortunately it just turned out to be an overpriced Pro (way more expensive than Canadian Tire). I contacted Fiskars, and they confirmed that Canadians are S.O.L.
  17. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

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    I ordered it online from ACE Hardware in Brooklyn, NY. Expensive but worth it.
  18. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    How much was the damage in total?
  19. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

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    $43.99 + 26.67(s&H)=$70.66
    Like I said: Expensive but worth it.
  20. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    This was taken from: http://www.fiskars.fi/corporation/corporation_2.html

    "1649 - Fiskars ironworks founded
    When the ironworks were founded in Fiskars, Finland was under Swedish rule, and Sweden was one of Europe's biggest producers of iron in the seventeenth century. In 1649, Peter Thorwöste was granted the privilege of setting up a blast furnace and bar hammer in Fiskars and for the manufacture of cast iron and forged products. The iron ore used in Fiskars was mainly brought in from the Utö mine in Stockholm's outer archipelago and most of the bar iron manufactured at the ironworks was shipped to Sweden to be sold on the Iron Market in Stockholm's Old Town. In Fiskars, the iron was also used to make nails, thread, knives, hoes, iron wheels and other things."
  21. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, that I why I wish Canadian Tire sold it. How long did it take to get it delivered?
  22. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

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    10 days and it was here.
  23. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the info Tim!
  24. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the info! Iron in thread? Never knew that.
  25. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    I am assuming that they meant sewing needles, but it got lost in translation. You never know!
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