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

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

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  1. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    I'm happy with my Chinese 8lb maul - it's much better quality than the crap that Craftsman sells. It just doesn't have the Craftsman warranty.

    At some point I'm going to get to buying one of Council Tool's mauls - perferably a 6lb and an 8lb, each with fiberglass handles.

    These are a good old redneck-made North Carolina product, but they're fairly expensive. Having broken a bunch of the Craftsman 6lb mauls and characterized their crap as prone to breaking a certain way, it'd be interesting to torture test a Council 6lb maul and see what happens.

    Of interest on Council Tool's website are on the product description are:
    (1) description of the material properties of the head (heat treated to produce a fine grain structure on the bit end);
    (2) Rockwell Hardness of 45-50; and
    (3) forged head.
    The forged head is an interesting feature. Forging aligns and stretches the steel grain; cast steel grains are less organized. You can see where the steel flash was cut off the side of the maul head when it came out of the mold, so the Craftsman stuff appears to be cast steel.

    They also encourage you to use their wedges with their mauls as they've designed in an appropriate hardness difference between each. While I use Craftsman wedges with my Craftsman maul, I've found no like guidence from Sears.

    It does make sense that mixing and matching wedge suppliers and sledge/maul suppliers is a bad practice. This would explain some of the bad experiences related here regarding wood grenades.

    I have not been able to locate comparable hardness information of the Craftsman maul head as yet, but it would be interesting to have for comparison purposes.

    http://www.counciltool.com/DisplayCategories.asp?pg=displaycategories&category=73

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  2. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    Forging is definitely the way to go when strength is critical. It gives a highly refined grain structure which follows the shape of the product. Forged crankshafts are far superior to cast ones. You will, however. see similar parting line flash on forged and cast products because the forging die is composed of a top and bottom half, which are driven together by a high-speed press with the helpless piece of red-hot steel between. The flash may actually be bigger on a forged part because metal is actually squeezed out, while on a cast part it is merely leakage through the parting line between the two mold halves. In either case, the flash is trimmed with a trim die or ground off, leaving a visible line.

    I had never considered hardness matched tools, usually the manufacturers just stick to set a set hardness range (eg.Rc 45-50) for striking tools and a lower range, perhaps Rc 35-40, for the tool being struck (stricken, stroked?). I suspect that most wedges are not hardened at all, making them no threat to your maul/sledge, but also making them very prone to mushrooming.

    Why not hit a wedge with a maul? What else is that flat face for?
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Good question and a way to turn the blame back on the manufacturer. A standard axe also has a flat side called the poll but it was never meant to be used as a sledge.

    I think prisons should have a special section for people that abuse their tools.
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  4. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    It was intended to be a serious question. Is the hammer-like face of a maul not intended to be used as a sledge? Is a maul of different metallurgy or hardness than a sledge? I wouldn't use the back face of an axe for a sledge, it bears no resemblence to one. I'm not trying to be a smart-ass, I just want to know.

    From the Wikipedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_maul

    "The hammer side of the maul is often used in wood splitting when combined with a splitting wedge, driving the wedge into the wood in the same fashion as the maul itself. This is generally used when attempting to split logs with a large diameter. Modern mauls are made of a strong enough steel to withstand the metal-to-metal contact without chipping. However, it is still common for the wedge itself to chip off."
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, it sounded like a defense plea. If you compare how much metal there is around the eye of a maul to that of a sledge, you can see they are not created equal.
  6. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    Thank you, a logical and reasonable explanation. I would like to compare a similarly weighted maul and sledge.
  7. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    I disagree.

    Tools are made to be used, not sit and look pretty on a rack. One man's abuse and another man's routine use.

    I think it's clear that the flat head of a maul is intended for hammering wedges.

    I think it's also clear from the images I've posted of my three previous Craftsman mauls that the Craftsman tool is inferior.

    If that warrants spending time in a special section of prison, so be it. Hard use doesn't excuse the manufacturer from producing garbage.
  8. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    Well, I broke my fourth Craftsman maul last weekend.

    This time the failure occurred at the joint between the handle and the head - not a head fracture like on the last three.

    It also seems that Sears has altered the shape of their 6lb maul - the thickness of the head on either side of the opening that receives the handle looks thicker in this latest (free) replacement. If so, I'm encouraged.

    I'm using this fifth maul on some relatively green red oak, white oak, and maple that Connecticut Light and Power made available this past winter, so we'll see how the thing performs. This work requires a good mix of beating on wedges and blade work, so I'll know shortly if there are any serious, infant mortality-type issues with thing shortly. If not, I'll be back at removing pine stumps this summer. If it survives that, I'll have some comfort in saying they've improved the thing.
  9. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Maybe you should use a sledge to beat on the wedges.
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    The phrase "Dead to rights" comes to mind. Pig-headed to keep doing it his way despite evidence to the contrary. "I think it's clear that the flat head of a maul is intended for hammering wedges" is his clear affirmation. A customer with that attitude I would simply give a full refund and be glad to rid myself of.
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  11. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    Nonsense. Some mfgs (e.g. Muller) make it clear that their "splitting axes" should not be used to pound wedges, but that their splitting maul is fine with that. That's a 3 kg (6.6 lb) maul. I'd drive a wedge with it, should it become necessary, by swinging it as aggressively as needed- I'm used to physical work.
    It's a beast at splitting, and once I duplicated its head shape, as possible, on some older 5 lb mauls, they too function nicely as splitters. Much improved. (Muller's maul has much better metallurgy- hardness, toughness, etc., which I could not duplicate.)
    Minimize erroneous generalizations, especially the unfounded.
    There are really good mauls available, from forges like Muller, Gransfors, Iltis. They cost money, but it seems my Muller will be an heirloom, not something tossed into some new concrete steps. Mexican Collins and such are something for folks to cuss at.
  12. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." - Benjamin Franklin
    LLigetfa likes this.
  13. Biff_CT2

    Biff_CT2 Member

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    This is an interesting approach to operating a business.

    If I understand you correctly, you're comfortable (a) providing a warranty that exceeds the product's quality warranty, because you (b) blame the customer when the customer demonstrates (a). In some quarters they call that fraud - though Canada may be different.

    Normal (and successful) businesses aren't so cavalier about product quality.
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