Breaking my mauls

Post in 'The Gear' started by RobinJoe, Oct 3, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. RobinJoe

    RobinJoe
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have bought two Ludell 6 lb (or maybe they are 4 lb) mauls, and I have cracked the heads on both of them within about 4 months of weekend chopping. Probably a total of 40 hours each. 95% of all blows are normal strikes. about 5% were strikes that were then driven in to the wood with a small sledge hammer.

    Home Depot replaced the first one at no charge, I still have the second one.

    The crack is along the seam at the back of the head (where I strike it with the sledge) and wraps around the head to the shaft hole. The head still feels solid on the fiberglass handle, but I'm still concerned it might fly off.

    Are these cracks typical, or am I doing something wrong?

    Thanks,
    Joe
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Rich M

    Rich M
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    0
    Loc:
    NW Lower Michigan
    Cracks are not typical and are from hitting the head with a sledge. Use a wedge with a sledge, not a maul.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  3. JustWood

    JustWood
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,594
    Likes Received:
    503
    Loc:
    Arrow Bridge,NY
    I don't think a maul was designed to be used as a wedge. The handle hole makes for a weak point in the metal.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  4. glacialhills

    glacialhills
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    3
    Loc:
    S.W. Michigan
    Mauls are hardened steel so as to be able to hold an edge for cutting and splitting wood. Wedges are softer and while can not hold a razor sharp edge they can take the hundreds of blows from a sledge or back of a maul and not crack. If you use a wedge for many years you may need to grind off the mushrooming that occurs as the metal flattens on the top but it will not form cracks like a hardened maul being struck with another hardened hammer will.
    Always try to use the maul to split or hit a softer wedge.That's what the flat side is for. Never try to hit it with another hardened metal or it will crack.The occasional blow to get it unstuck is fine but you can not use it as a wedge. Its all a learning experience.Now ya learned what not to do.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  5. savageactor7

    savageactor7
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    10
    Loc:
    CNY
    Back in the day and for about 4 years when I hand split I always hit my maul with a sledge when I got a bite into the wood...never broke the maul. That's how my neighbors showed me it was done. Broke plenty of handles over the years...but the maul head survives to this day.

    I'm no engineer but I think it's that cheap Chinese steel...it just doesn't hold up. Sure they can shape steel into a maul head but if it's not heat treated or otherwise cured properly in a time tested way...it's just a hunk metal that looks like a maul.

    RobinJoe I suppose if you want a good maul forget HD, HF, Lowes, TCS, either go to a good construction equipment store or check out Baileys.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  6. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Likes Received:
    4
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny
    “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got”...Sheryl Crow

    Wished I was in Heaven Sitting Down.....Mississippi Fred McDowell
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,585
    Likes Received:
    1,420
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    technically you're not supposed to hit hardened steel with hardened steel- not only might you damage the tool, but it it chips you could lose an eye. That's more important with a hammer as you use it nearer your face.

    All that said- I abuse mauls etc.- I've never cracked one. Try a different brand.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  8. TMonter

    TMonter
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    100
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    I have a ludell maul and it gathers dust. I suggest a different brand as I've found their Mauls to also be less effective than some of the other brands.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  9. RobinJoe

    RobinJoe
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have wedges for when I am doing a huge log (20+ inch dia). But sometimes with smaller knotted pieces, I can't use the wedges because everytime I strike it, the log falls over and I need to reposition it. My biggest concern about chopping wood isn't chopping a toe off, my fear is wrenching my back while lifting logs.

    With the maul, I can hold it's handle while striking with my small (10" handle) sledge.

    If I can get a maul that has a reinfored, and maybe wider back side for striking, that would be worth an extra $40 or so. Are there any out there? If not, I'll try to be more consistant about using the wedges.

    Thanks,
    Joe
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  10. RobinJoe

    RobinJoe
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Savage Actor,

    I searched for Baileys Hardware and found a bunch of sites. Do you have a specific store in mind?

    Thanks,
    Joe

     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  11. RobinJoe

    RobinJoe
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Never mind, I found it:
    http://tinyurl.com/4cbb5e

    I'll probably go with the 6 lb version:
    http://tinyurl.com/3hzyku

    I'll probably still strike it on occasion, but not as much.

    Thanks for everyone's help.
    BTW, my Lopi Declaration arrives Monday.. lets hope I don't get tired of chopping wood.

    Joe

     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  12. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,585
    Likes Received:
    1,420
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    You don't have to pick up a log every time you want to hit it. Split it on it's side... it falls over less.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  13. jeffman3

    jeffman3
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    0
    Loc:
    S.W. Nebraska
    I have allot of respect for those guys that split all there wood by hand! I tried doing it that way, but three mauls, 5 handles and several trips to the chiropractor later, I bought a 28 ton splitter. With the gas splitter, I can split rounds I can barely move around, yet alone pick up to put on a splitting stump. I was splitting large dry elm, and gave myself whiplash from the big steel handled monstrosity of a maul hitting the rounds, and just bouncing off. Hand splitting is fun, good exercise and just makes you feel good, but use the tools correctly, and be careful.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  14. savageactor7

    savageactor7
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    10
    Loc:
    CNY
    I still split by hand in the winter...but it's not like I'm making any real production. Mostly it's a woodlot housekeeping kind of thing cutting down dead trees...and I still bash my fav maul with a sledge. I probably went threw 15-20 handles with my favorite maul. I rope the broken handles to my wood splitter for short hops...for longer moves I lay it up and threw the 3PH and away we go.

    Got my best maul at Midstate equipment on Lymoyne av in Syracuse back in the 70's...way before the arrival of big box stores.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  15. myzamboni

    myzamboni
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    2
    Loc:
    Silicon Valley
    I totally agree. I think mauls should have an odd shaped back end that makes it an unattractive strike zone. Use the right tool for the right application.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  16. DaveBP

    DaveBP
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,135
    Likes Received:
    29
    Loc:
    SW Maine
    I use a sledge hammer and wedges to break down big stuff so it's light enough to lift up onto my splitter. Years ago when I used them a lot and before I had learned to hit the wedge perfectly in the exact center every single time I glanced one off the corner and blew off a chip that shot off with a high pitched buzzing noice and made two holes through my jeans and a surprisingly clean gash across my kneecap. After thinking a bit about how much softer eyeballs and carotid arteries are than kneecaps you better believe I ground off all the mushroomed edges from those yardsale wedges.

    On a serious note, a fellow upstate here in Maine just a few weeks ago slashed his femoral artery with a chunk of broken wedge and died trying to get a tourniquet on.
     
  17. gerry100

    gerry100
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    188
    Loc:
    NY Capitol Region
    Mr Natural sez... " get the right tool for the job"
     
  18. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,585
    Likes Received:
    1,420
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    That right there is some scary @$$ stuff.

    I split everything by hand for years. I bought a splitter because it makes splitting 40" wood for the kiln easier, and I get more production now for the house too. However- I pick up the maul for probably 1/4 of the wood I process for the joy of it. I might have some sick dependence thing going on.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  19. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw
    Expand Collapse
    Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Messages:
    398
    Likes Received:
    0
    Loc:
    Richmond, Va
    RobinJoe, one of the best things I've discovered for hand splitting is using an old tire for placing the logs in, so you don't have to bend over and reset it every time. It is amazing how much quicker it goes, just whack, whack, whack around until it's done. I think the bending over and picking the log back up after every strike is worse for your back than swinging the maul, with correct form of course....

    p.s. just make sure to drill some holes in the tire so in the Summertime you don't have a mosquito brothel :grrr:
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  20. RobinJoe

    RobinJoe
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks everyone for all the advice. I've learned a lot. I'll see if I can track down an old tire from a local tire shop.

    I never tried driving a wedge in to the side of a log. I always tried driving them in to the ends.

    I wonder if anyone's ever tried manufacturing a maul with a replaceable hard-rubber back. They could sell the mauls for $10 and make a bundle selling snap-on rubber backs for $2 a piece. The backs would only last a week or two, but be well worth it.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  21. syd3006

    syd3006
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    1
    Loc:
    Northwestern Ontario
    The handle on my original maul was getting to the point where I couldn't trust it so I bought a fiberglass handle 6 lb "Yard Works" maul from Canadian Tire. I split 2 cords of ash, about 3 quarters of a cord of birch and half a cord of poplar with it last spring and it performed very well. This fall I cut a big elm on my property, I let it "wither" for 2 weeks then cut into blocks and proceeded to split. Well!!!!! I had to beat on that maul with a 10 lb sledge until I resembled a limp noodle!!!!!! The maul did not survive the project!! The back was starting to mushroom and chip, the adhesive that was holding the handle in was mostly broken out and the head had become loose. I took it back to Canadian Tire with the receipt (it had a 4 year warranty) and they replaced it without batting an eye or asking any questions. I will not be so hard on this one. Actually to say the handle is fiberglass is misleading it seems more like a hard plastic and I think it is a good quality tool. I usually am more reasonable with my equipment but that elm was making me crazy, some of the crotch pieces I could not split! If I had more to split I would rent or buy a splitter.
     
  22. DaveBP

    DaveBP
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,135
    Likes Received:
    29
    Loc:
    SW Maine
    If I had to split elm crotches I'd probably use my Husqvarna 2-cycle maul.
     
  23. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,585
    Likes Received:
    1,420
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    Does anyone else hear Rob Halford of Judas Priest singing "Breaking my mauls" to the tune of "Breaking the Law" when they see this thread title?

    Stuck in my head now

    "Breaking my mauls, breaking my mauls"
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  24. JustWood

    JustWood
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,594
    Likes Received:
    503
    Loc:
    Arrow Bridge,NY
    I was hearing "Maulbreaker" AC/DC
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  25. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,585
    Likes Received:
    1,420
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    "Mother will they try and break- my mauls..." (Floyd)
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Entire Site copyright © 1995-2016 - email to webinfo@hearth.com
Hearth.com and HearthNet are property and trademarks of Hearth.com LLC Advertising Information