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End of the Season Uglies (knots, ect) kills maul

Post in 'The Gear' started by Biff_CT2, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    I use an 8# maul, but it works just fine for driving wedges.

    Uh, why do you think the other side of the head is flat like a sledge hammer head ?
    Well, with my 8# one, I just hit it hard.

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  2. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Yeah, no disrespect meant, but yer breakin handles. If you're missing, that's why the handles are breaking. But if yer not missing (I'm sure yer not) then, as someone somewhat famous said . . .

    When what you are doing isn't working, you need to stop doing what you're doing.
    Get a 16# Sledge for the wedge (glass or Hickory, NOT Ash, handle)

    I have yet to replace a handle or head since starting burning again in '06.

    EDIT: Sheit, sorry Rust! Bill is the one breakin handles apparently :red: HE needs to stop doin what he's doin'
  3. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    Crap.

    Did it again.

    I split the head on my friggin' 6lb Craftsman maul. Right down the side of the sucker.

    While it slowed me down for the day, Sears took it and a pair of mushroomed out splitting wedges - no questions asked. No concerns about the missing shrapnel off the wedge heads.

    I've gotten about 5 cords out of each my last two Craftsman mauls.
  4. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    Looks like the head was brittle, not the normal variety of mild steel.
    Never had anything like that happen with the 6 lb mauls I've used for many years. After many years of experimentation, the 6 lb maul is about the optimum weight, for me, for transferring energy to the lumber. With my 8 lb maul, it's pretty easy to overstress ligaments of elbow- the "Tommy John" bits. Not good.
    Do you wear flak jacket for protection from shrapnel?
  5. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    I deal with the shrapnel by wearing safety glasses and keeping the kids and animals out of the area. I've found that splitting elm is a shrapnel profilactive. Since I typically wind up with the wedge completely below the top of an elm round before there is any sign of cracking at the bottom of the round, the mushroomed edges of the wedge tend to peal off as I beat the wedge into the wood. So if you rotate the wedge 90 degrees between rounds the mushroomed edges tend to peel off.

    I'm a bit worried about my latest replacement Craftsman maul. The last two I've fractured the head on have had the yellow fiberglass handles. The current replacement has a snazzy looking red and black handle. Since my experience with Craftsman tools is that the prettier the tool, the less durable the tool, I doubt it will last very long. We'll see.

    I like the 6lb maul - even for driving wedges in elm. I can swing the thing all day. My 8lb China-built Stanley maul makes my back hurt, as does my 12lb sledge.

    But for the cost advantage of the Craftsman crap being returnable once I destroy it , I'd be using the North Carolina redneck-built mauls and sledges exclusively.

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  6. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    x2

    He musta been taking some janky swings
  7. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I don't care what you are doing, a maul head should not break like that. Ever.
  8. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    ... or you're swinging yours like a girl.
  9. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Safety glasses don't do any good when that piece of shrapnel imbeds itself in bone in your lower leg, as happened to a friend.
  10. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    That makes going through an airport metal detector tough.

    I wear jeans when I split, which seems a reasonable level of protection in my view. The shrapnel I've had come off my wedges generally goes in the direction the maul was traveling when it hit the wedge, so you can reduce the risk further by setting up your shots right.

    You can't rubber pad every sharp edge on the planet, and I've seen people take much worse risk by using half-ass/badly maintained hydraulic splitters. I knew a guy in southern Indiana who insisted in using his home-made hydraulic splitter, built with parts he'd stolen from the factory where he worked as a maintenacne technicianin, to split green oak. I'm quite certain has been killed/badly injured by that thing by now...
  11. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    Seems the Craftsman 6lb mauls with the snazzy red and black handles suck just like the ones with the yellow handles.

    I am currently using replacement number 4.

    Notwithstanding the tendency of the head to split if you use it with any intensity, I do appreciate Sears continuing to honor their lifetime warranty. And it appears that I am keeping a group of individuals in Mexico gainfully employed.

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  12. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    It's nice of Sears to honor their warranties- no questions asked- even when the tool is being used improperly. To my thinking, a six pound maul is barely adequate to split wood and is definitely the wrong tool to use as a sledge hammer. I've found a ten pound maul to meet most of my needs: splitting or sledge & wedge, without the aerobic workout that a 16 pounder would bring. I don't have much desire to be swinging a bowling ball on a stick.
  13. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Mauls are for splitting wood with the edge.

    For hitting steel, use a sledge hammer.
  14. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    a fiskars wouldn't do that ;-P

    pen
  15. JBinKC

    JBinKC Feeling the Heat

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    No big deal my maul fractured in the exact same spot about a month ago after splitting some dried 8-10" hickory rounds that I picked up in a recent scrounge. It had the same yellow handle and it was purchased at Walmart about 5 years ago and likely Chinese made. The durability of Chinese made steel is suspect as I also had 2 Chinese wood grenades fracture after processing a cord of wood each. I learned my lesson and now use Estwing wedges and a Fiskars axe.
  16. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I guarantee you wont break THIS -

    31 yrs old,still going strong.Havent used it in about 3 months now,the X25 handles about 90% of everything I split.The real tough ones I save for the 20lb Monster Maul or sledge/wedges.

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  17. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    As a machinist trained in the old school, I can assure you that the mushrooming of the tool you are striking is normal. It has to be made from a softer grade of steel than the striking tool, otherwise your hammer will chip, sending shards flying to cut your jugular vein or imbed themselves in an inconvenient part of the body. Proper care requires grinding the mushrooming back to an actual chamfer (taper) on the head. It is possible to make wedges, chisels, etc. that will have less tendency to mushroom, but it's a delicate balancing act because the harder it is, the more likely to damage the hammer. Hammer heads are made from harder and tougher material and should not mushroom. If the material is too hard (brittle), it will fatigue over time and fracture like the OP's. I've had this happen with a couple of wood grenades, one made in China, one in Vietnam. I suspect the steel is a straight carbon steel with no alloys (chromium, molybdenum, vanadium). This results in a hardenable steel that lacks toughness and will fracture easily. The Craftsman mauls are probably being made in China or India from medium carbon cast steel. It's more profitable to replace the ones that fail than make a better product.
    surviverguy likes this.
  18. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Good advice here. I learned this stuff the hard way. I was pounding on a mushroomed wedge with a sledgehammer and a piece of shrapnel hit my leg. The blood SPURTED out like crazy, really cut deep. I managed to stop the bleeding myself - my wife found me laying on the ground with blood everywhere, but I was ok. I bought a hydraulic splitter and never looked back.
  19. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    The grenade I used to use with my ten pound sledge/maul was starting to mushroom pretty badly. If I didn't whack it just right it would fly off in any direction. One day I whacked that grenade and it flew directly at me and made dead on contact with my shinbone. I dropped like a rock and just knew that my leg was broken. After the initial shock wore off I sat up and checked myself out. No blood or broken skin. I had a big ol' knot on my shin that was really sore for a couple of weeks. I guess it could have chipped the bone a bit.

    That was the last time I ever used that grenade. I bought some really good wedges, painted them bright yellow so I could see them better on the ground.

    Of course, now I've got this big ol' Huskee splitter...
  20. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yep +1 one of the saftey lessons I learned some 30 years ago was to keep the tool ground off, mushroomed tools are not to be used.
  21. timusp40

    timusp40 Feeling the Heat

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    Mr Whoopee & Old Spark,
    Old school guy here too. If a wedge starts to mushroom, grind it. Why take the chance of sending metal shards flying in the first place? When I start splitting, I take the maul, couple of wedges and a sledge. Never use the maul to drive wedges, never seen a maul broken like that either. I learned a long time ago that if you wwant things to last, you use them properly and take care of them. Just my way of doing things.
  22. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    High quality Chinese steel. :-S
    Find an old one at a garage sale, when steel was made to last, not to make a quick buck. ;)
    I have 2 mauls, (1 USA, 1 China) one has had 2 new handles, but the heads are still good.
    Maybe use a sledge & safety glasses if you have to hit your wedges that hard. Grind em before they send shards of metal flying.
    Your gas money to & from the store to get it replaced is costly.
    Be safe, no kids around.
    Good luck
  23. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Yup. Check out local garage or estate sales,flea markets,farm & household/antique auctions,Ebay/Craigslist for great quality older USA made hand tools.Often found at a fraction of the cost of newer inferior made Chinese crap.
  24. timusp40

    timusp40 Feeling the Heat

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    Could not agree more. My oldest tools are my best and are worth their weight. Who knows what type of recycled crap is in that imported stuff. I'm referring to the Chinese-Asian imports not the fine things that European Companys produce. But if you give me a option, I will buy American made first.
  25. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    These things are cool. I recently passed on one at a garage sale.

    I was turned off the caution on the backside of head that said something like "do not strike with a metal object" - which means it lacks the flexibility I have with a maul. I also like the using a 6lb maul because I can swing the thing all day (which I do on occasion).

    Notwithstanding, I'm confident I could break it if I put my mind to it.

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