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Hand splitting 30" ash

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by gzecc, Jul 1, 2009.

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  1. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I have the opportunity to pick up freshly cut 3' ash rounds. I have only split by hand, but have never had anything so large. Is it doable with a 8lb maul? I know ash splits nice but how large can you do with a maul?

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  2. jj3500

    jj3500 Member

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    3'...thats pretty thick. I've done 18" or so and that split pretty easy. Also freshly dropped. I'm sure someone else will chime in. Regardless, you'll be breaking a couple drops of perspiration..."fo show!"
  3. jdinspector

    jdinspector Feeling the Heat

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    It will split. My expericence (10-20 cords of ash) is that it splits very easily once you get the first few pieces split off of the main trunk. I like the spare tire method once the pieces are small enough. Edit here--- that's when I'm splitting by hand, which I do less and less of these days!

    Use splitting wedges on big/hard pieces. Don't forget safety glasses when hitting those wedges.
  4. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    If you can't easily split them with the maul and wedge, take the saw to them... once cut in half they should split okay with the maul.
  5. RAY_PA

    RAY_PA Feeling the Heat

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    It is doable, fer sure. It might be a 'pita' to get them split in half, but once you do, it should be gravey from there. If nothing else, you'll get a few evenings of excersize.
  6. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    ash splits pretty eazy I would cut it down to 15.in then split it
  7. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    If it doesn't give up a good crack after 2-3 good hiits in the middle, move to the sides and work your way in. Ash splits very easily...15-18" diameter splits usually go on the first solid strike in the middle, no problem. I tend to use my axe more than my maul even on the big stuff becaues its so easy and the wider wedge of the maul tends to throw the splits a few feet further when i smack them wheras the axe is very thin and the pieces don't fly very far.

    You'll have more trouble lifting those rounds than splitting them.
  8. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Ash will split if you just look at it in a menacing way. You should be fine.
  9. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Update: It does split, but its not that easy. I am sweating my a$% off. Hope its a good work out and isn't slowly killing me!
  10. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Don't try splitting it down the center. Flake the edges and work your way around. Slabs will come off fairly easily once you get the outer three or so inches off. It may toughen up closer to the center again but by then you can do the center split. The slabs will actually dry faster than chunks and since it is ash you could probably use it this winter as long as you are using a stove. A gasifier might be more persnickety but could still work. Ash has a naturally low moisture content. I have split oak and walnut at 30+ and a few ash and hickory around 20 even clean pine/spruce in excess of 40 by flaking the edges. It's still work so line up a good relaxation activity when the splitting is done. If the pieces are too big to load but are knot free a maul and wedges are my tools of choice and I do the quartering split to make them manageable. A large round with a built in Y is a splitters pride and joy for bragging rights but most of us miss them when we can. Being humble can be so much less sweat.
  11. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Cave, Thats exactly what I did, flaked the edges. I only took the clean ones, no y's.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    You can take slabs if you want to but in my experience I've never done that and had no problems. When splitting ash by hand when it is that large. I always split it through the middle. If using a maul, I hit first on the opposite side with the first swing. The second swing hit on the side nearest you. If it does not open, then hit once in the middle. Bear in mind you must draw a straight line with your maul strikes which is easy to do. On the other hand, I still prefer using wedges and on a 30" log you usually only need one wedge. Yes, it splits that easy. Splitting ash rarely works up a decent sweat unless you sweat easier than I do and I sweat pretty easy these days.

    EDIT: btw, I speak of splitting with maul or wedge but for many, many years I split only with an axe. Yes, it can be done but you need technique, not strength.
  13. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    B.S. It's been very humid here in tropical NJ. With 80% humidity, sweating isn't hard. Maybe your dehydrated.
  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Thats funny...the first few years of hand splitting, I didn't know what a maul was, but I was sure in tune with my axe. I try to learn something new every darn day. %-P
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    gzecc, we had that weather last week. This week is really cool. In fact, I just took a few minutes to go check on my wife (who is out there working; unlike me) and rode the atv. If I ride it again, I'll be wearing gloves. My hands got cold. Yesterday I met a fellow on a motorcycle and he was all bundled up like it is winter out there!


    Jags, you have the right idea. Learn something new every day. If you don't, then at least teach your wife a new skill every day so that she can take over some of your duties! lol
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I remember when those monster mauls came on the market. A friend bought one and I tried it out. It only took one swing to be convinced that they are just a fad and unsafe at that with their straight handle. Back then, I did my splitting with a curved handled axe. It was about 20 years later that I bought splitting wedges.
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    The first time I saw one of those triangle headed, straight handled things, my first thought was....Now what the heck is that convoluted wheel chock used for???? :lol:
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Wow!!!! Here I thought I must be the only one on this forum that uses an axe! Methinks more would use them more often for splitting if they knew how good of a job it does.
  19. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, this was quite some time ago. Now I use a hydraulic axe. :cheese:
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    lol. Yes, I do too but occasionally I have to pick up my old friend, the axe.
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