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Estwing Sure-Spit Wedge - test report

Post in 'The Gear' started by Gooserider, Apr 28, 2007.

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  1. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well the Estwing brand "Sure-Split" wedge that I mentioned in one of my other threads has arrived, and I would say it is OK, but not great, probably not worth the money in terms of splitting action, possibly worth whatever extra quality you get from the Estwing brand.

    In the picture from the Ace Hardware website the wedge looked more or less conical, so I was expecting a version of the "wood grenade" design. Instead, the design is pretty much a standard steel wedge, about the same profile and dimensions as my other standard wedges for about the first 1/2 its length. It then adds two "fins" or wings, slightly staggered that taper out at a sharper angle.

    This means that the wedge works just the same way a normal wedge works for the first half of it's length - it is just the same to start, and to drive in until you get to the fins. Once the fins hit the log, the amount of "spreading pressure" goes up much faster with each hit, but I don't know how much that will mean you get less penetration per hit... One advantage that may develop is that the fins make the efective width of the wedge at the hitting end MUCH wider, so if you drive it below the surface of the log you may be able to hit it in further than a normal wedge, as the added width will give more clearance in the crack for the head of the sledge.

    So far I've tried the Sure-Split on a couple rounds of Elm, each about 8" diameter, both of which I'd beat on for a bit with the monster maul, and cracked them but failed to make them split. (Since I usually try the MM first, this is fairly typical.) I found that the Sure-Split worked, but wasn't noticeably better than my other wedges. It might be more effective in a round that doesn't have the "stringy tied togther" nature of Elm that keeps it from splitting even when it's cracked all the way through....

    Bottom line, Estwing is high grade for hammers, and presumably that brand of wedge would be better quality than your typical "made in china" wedge, but it's nothing special beyond that - the fins may help but don't make it a "can't live without" tool.

    (I put a review on the Ace site, gave it a 3 out of 5...)


    Gooserider

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  2. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    I have a wood grenade type wedge from tractor supply. It's nothing great. I have 3 or 4 other regular wedges. I use which is closer to me ,not worth walking a few steps to get it.
  3. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The thing that sounded interesting to me about the wood grenade was the cone shape with a smaller point that made it easier to get started than a standard wedge with it's wide point... I find my hardest problem w/ a sledge and wedge is getting the wedge started. Tap it until it's started a bit. Give it a whack and either the wedge bounces out, or the log tips over and the wedge falls out when you pick it back up... Repeat, multiple times until you have driven the wedge in at least an inch, then it MIGHT stay...

    As another note, I was at a Home Depot in NH today, they had the same Estwing Sure-Split wedge in the tool corral on the floor under the hammers for $13.49!!! :-/

    Oh well...

    Gooserider
  4. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    I have a wedge that's very similar, except that the fins are not staggered. That's my favorite of the three wedges I have, and I always use that first, and the others only if it gets stuck.
  5. tw40x81

    tw40x81 Member

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    I've found that the angle of the edge makes ALL the difference in the ability to start a wedge and reducing bounce-out. Although the type of steel may have something to do with it. The edge doesn't have to be sharp, but on a slight even taper. The cheap Home-Depot-made-in-India wedge I have is the worst one, It's got a nice pretty ground edge with a quick taper. It's very hard to start, and bounces out all the time. I never use it except to rescue another wedge. My first wedge I bought was softer metal. It will actually bend if the grain isn't straight and it's sunk deep into a knarly peice. It's got no ground taper, and the edge isn't sharp at all. It's very easy to start. (In maple at least). I've got the estwing and it's got a little ground edge to it, but not steep. It's easy to start and never bounces. If I would have started with the cheap home depot wedge, I'd probably would have given up splitting with a sledge and wedge.
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well, I'll be the first to say that my testing was on a "tough case" log, as my wedges will never see an "easy" log - My tool of choice is the monster maul, and ONLY if I've made a few hits with that and not gotten anywhere, or sometimes if it's a blatantly gnarly peice will I put the wedges to it... One of the peices I had as a test log was a second split on a hunk of elm, slightly curved, and with a pointy end from having been the "drop cut" peice. I forget just why, but I was going in from the smooth end, so I couldn't put it on the block, instead I had "bouncy" dirt and a log that was wanting to fall over at the slightest provocation, so it was not an easy split by any standard...

    Gooserider
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