1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

I'm at wits end! I need help, third maul split after 1/2 hour.

Post in 'The Gear' started by jeffman3, Feb 9, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Loc:
    S.W. Nebraska
    OK, handle on third maul split too! :ahhh: This one lasted about 1/2 hour! No I didn't miss the wood. There isn't a mark on the handle., and I am the only one who has touched it. I even put an extra wedge in to sure up the head. (there was a sliver of movement from the store) I called, and they are going to give me my money back, but I need a maul! I just don't believe that I could put enough on it, to consistently break handles this fast and consistently.... I'm 5'7" and, solid built, 200 pounds. My form I believe is good. Start with focus grounding, and visualisation. My feet are shoulder width apart, full swing. one hand on end of handle the other up against the head.Start building power between 2:00 and 3:00, and power through while bringing hands together on the end of the handle, slightly bend knees and break wrists, to increase head speed, just before impact. Am I doing this wrong? I am balanced and grounded through the whole movement. The problem i am thinking has to be in the tools. I think there was a pressure point where the handle split. The wood was bunched up against the head. Does anyone sell a 6 pound maul that has the head properly fitted? I know I need to do something different. The cheaper tools just won't hold up, but I haven't found a "quality" tool, in the weight range I'm looking for, for less then $100. I'm at wits end!

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,284
    Loc:
    Antrim, NH
    Well, what little I know about axe handles is this: When selecting one, try to find one with closely packed grain lines, running from axe edge to butt. Side to side grain will make the handle break more easily. Make sure it's a Hickory handle.

    Seriously, I'm impressed. Maybe you should just spring for a titanium handle (if there is such a thing).
  3. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,440
    Loc:
    middleborough, ma.
    Where are the handles breaking?
  4. kjklosek

    kjklosek New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2007
    Messages:
    174
    Loc:
    Earlysville,VA
    Can you post a picture of the break?

    That is impressive. You have busted 3 handles in like 4 hours worth of work!

    Do they sell Council tools where you are?

    http://www.redhillgeneralstore.com/A39246.htm

    I have an axe and hatchet made by them. Good quality and not too expensive.

    Plus, American made, if that matters to you.

    J.P.
  5. wallis54806

    wallis54806 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Loc:
    Northern Wisconsin
    As far back as I can remember I have only used mauls with steel handles, but I have never used a 6 lb maul. At 5' 7" and 200 lbs, maybe you should look at using a heavier maul. I am 5' 9", 170 lbs and use a 12 lb maul. In theory, head geomitry being the same, a 12 lb maul should split as well as a 6 lb maul at half the speed.
  6. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    917
    Loc:
    Deltaville,VA
    Buy one with the plastic handle. Mine is 3 years old and I split ALL of my wood with it.

    I wanted plastic to get rid of the vibration of the strike, because it was killing my elbow.
  7. MALogger

    MALogger New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    Foxboro, MA
  8. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,467
    Loc:
    Arrow Bridge,NY
    12# monster maul, $29 in the northern catalog . LAST maul you will ever buy.
  9. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,601
    Loc:
    Adams County, PA
    I've pounded my maul into 8+ cord of wood thus far and it ain't suffered any damage, other than a few scuffs here and there....

    oh, by the way, mine has a pretty yellow fiberglass handle :)
  10. Gene K.

    Gene K. New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    47
    Loc:
    SW Michigan
    Without any pictures, I'll venture a guess that it is a poor-quality wood you're using and/or it's very cold outside, because wood DOES become more brittle as it cools outside.

    The fact is a lot of hardware stores sell bad wood for handles. The handle should be white, with no red heartwood, made of hickory and have a grain going along the length of the handle.

    Two alternatives are to either get a monster maul with its steel handle or a maul with a nice fiberglass handle.


  11. boostnut

    boostnut Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    216
    Loc:
    central IL
    I've got a 6 lb. Roughneck with some kind of composite or fiberglass handle (yellow in color) from Tractor Supply. This is my 3rd year with it and I simply cannot believe it is still in 1 piece. I started splitting 3 years ago and my learning curve was probably longer than it should have been. That handle has been abused, over and over. I had an opportunity to use a wood handled 6 pounder a few weeks ago and can say that I did like it but you can't beat mine for durability. I can't tell you exactly what I paid for mine but knowing me it wasn't more than 25 or 30 bucks. If you've got a TSC store close by I'd suggest picking one up if they still sell them.
  12. Cazimere

    Cazimere Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Messages:
    224
    Loc:
    Delmarva
    I've had this 8# guy about 5 or 6 years and it's had its share of abuse. If i ever see one just like it
    i'll buy it for a spare : )

    Attached Files:

  13. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Loc:
    S.W. Nebraska
    Thanks for the help! :)

    I talked it over with my wife and I am going to re-handle this one for now. I have a handle that says it is American Hickory and it appears to have fairly strait grain, not perfect but it was the best they had,(in fact it was the only handle in town, unless there is someplace I don't know about) and very light in color. My plan is to seat the head enough to show the pressure points, and sand them out. Inlet the handle to the head in other words. and then drive the handle into the head, cut the excess off and seat the wood wedge fallowed by the metal one at 90* to the wood wedge. We'll see, the results from re-handling the fiberglass one were not good. Two days of ice and Motrin, for tweaked wrist.

    My wife says I am just putting to much on it, and that is the problem. Maybe that is it, but I have seen allot bigger guys swing like they are on fire and not break handles like this. I do use some martial art type technique, visualisation, focusing of power, aiming the stroke for the base of the round or split, not at the top. (power all the way through) I just can't think I could put enough on it to do this. I am splitting elm, and it is tough elm at that, but I would think I should able to beat the maul on boulders and not break handles like this.

    I will see how this goes, and then take the next step if I need to. My wife suggested trying to find some really good, hand select handles, and if I have to, ordering them in. I guess that will be the next step, if needed.
  14. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Loc:
    S.W. Nebraska
    The handles are splitting from the head about half way, maybe a tad more, from the blade to the butt. the splits run about half way to the end of the handle. The first one broke in two places, right behind the head and half way to the end of the handle. To be fair that one got hit on the handle a couple of times. The second one, fiberglass core split, and the epoxy cracked inside the head. handle came off. third one, handle split from right from the head about half way to the end of the handle. I would say, just past half way from the bit to the butt of the head running 90* to the head. I really don't know what to make of it. Maybe I am just putting to much power into it?
  15. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    I picked up a Craftsman 6# (I think) with a fiberglass handle and a shock/impact collar around the base of the handle where it meets the head. Sucker is indestructable...but if I ever bust it I'll take it back to Sears for a free replacement.
  16. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,440
    Loc:
    middleborough, ma.
    Jeffman
    I took this advice from Eric , he splits more wood than most tree processors.

    Goob that sucker up with water-resistant/proof epoxy
    Goob up the wood, the metal, the metal ring and the wedge.

    Make sure you have a good fit wood to metal then goob that thing up.
    I am going on year three splitting with mine.
  17. wally

    wally New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    54
    Loc:
    central nh
    i feel bad for you, but if you're breaking handles that easily, something has to be wrong. i don't know what, though, but it almost has to be in the technique.

    solve it by buying an all-steel monster maul. based on your stated "stature", you shouldn't have any problem handling it. i've used one (ok, two) monster's for over 20 years, and i'm only 5'-6", 170lbs. fwiw, if they made a bigger one, i'd buy it.



    in looking back, sounds like you are "splitting" the wood with the maul, vs. splitting it by pounding a wedge. is that correct? maybe buy yourself a steel wedge to pound through that elm, rather than trying to split it with the sharp point of the maul. could be a lot of lateral force because of the twisted grain, or at least more than "normal" wood.
  18. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Loc:
    S.W. Nebraska
    Third maul, second handle: broke after three rounds of wood! About ten minutes!!! :ahhh: The head was tight, and the split started just behind the head and ran laterally across the handle left right over about half the length of the handle. This one came apart in two pieces one in my hands the other end with the head, stuck in the round. I think it was a poor quality handle this time. I've talked to a buddy that spent his younger years working for the railroad, on a track gang. He swung a sledge 12 hours a day for a living when he was younger. He told me that some people just break handles. Others don't. I don't know what the problem is, but I acknowledge that there has to be a problem. I'm going to to take some time to think, and talk to my wife, and just let the dust settle for a day or two before we decide what to do. We may just have to have two splitting tools, one for her, and a steel something for me. I don't know. I am reluctant to buy a high end tool now, because I'm afraid I'll break it. :red: I would feel pretty bad if I broke the handle on a $140 maul the first time out of the box. The replacement handles for the Gransfors Bruk, that I have found, are about $35 a pop!
  19. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,071
    Loc:
    Silicon Valley
    "Sorry honey, I had to buy a splitter . . .the price of maul replacement was getting to be too much." :lol:
  20. hoot gibson

    hoot gibson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    32
    Loc:
    ohio
    some times when you split , the split or crack dosnt come straight across the wood , so this is how i save my handles . weld a piece of 2" angle that you have squeezed together in the vice .then weld it to the bottom of the wedge. hope this helps .. hoot

    Attached Files:

  21. Outdoorsman

    Outdoorsman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Messages:
    65
    Loc:
    Mi.
    Have you had this same problem when splitting other woods? Ash, maple or oak?

    Elm is a wood that is VERY hard on both man & tools compared to other woods.

    If you still have this problem, then I must agree with above.....

    Sorry honey, I had to buy this powered splitter, cost of mauls & handles for wood split was out of hand.

    May I suggest a Iron & Oak or Timberwolf........wouldn't want you to break the power splitter, so start with one of the better ones......... Good luck with this with the wife however......mines getting wise to reasoning of this sort....LOL!

    Less fun alternative would be to go the wedge & sledge road. 8 or 10# hammer & buy at least 4 wedges, I'd suggest the straight tapered type, I don't much care for the 4 way or star type as I think they tend to drive all the way in without splitting the round more often.
  22. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Loc:
    S.W. Nebraska
    I really think my problem is multifaceted. The wood, for sure, is tough stuff. I really believe that the local suppliers are carrying sub standard tools/handles, (Maybe seconds?), and I am on the early stages of the learning curve. The first maul was abused, the second wasn't abused bad, and the third wasn't abused at all. By abused I mean that the handle got the brunt of the blow. I am going to try the second maul that I re-handles with the fiberglass handle, again. The head isn't "true", and it put one hell of a snap twist on my wrist beforee, but after thinking about it, maybe it was the piece of wood I was trying to split, or my frame of mind at the time? A test tomorrow will tell. I need to exhaust all options before I spend more money on this! For the most part I am just going to let the dust settle till the weekend, and then see about what to do. I really don't want to tell my wife we need to spend another thousand dollars on a splitter. I like sleeping in the bed, and not in the dog house out back, It gets cold here! ;-) The dogs even sleep inside!
  23. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    536
    Loc:
    Rome, NY, USA
    Hi jeff,

    I would not use that 2nd maul with the un-true handle. You said it hurt your wrist. What is worse, another $30 for a handle or new maul or not being able to work because of a hurt, or worse, fractured wrist? Think about it. Your health is worth way more than the lousy $30. $30 does not even fill up the car anymore.

    Just keep going forward. It takes a while before you know it all. HD and lowes sell replacement handles for $10 to 15. Keep buying them and perfect your technique. You will learn.

    You can always get a splitter later. If your wife does not allow a gas one. get an electric. Ryobi is $300 at HD and according to others on this website, well worth the money.

    Just looking out for you

    carpniels
  24. BotetourtSteve

    BotetourtSteve Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    188
    Loc:
    Western Virginia
    It's all about torque. In this case, (your) size doesn't matter! Look at golfers and baseball players: sure there are some hosses that can pound the ball, but there are plenty of smaller dudes that pound it too. It's all in the swing and the forces acting on the swing, and no, it's not just speed either.

    You're only the second dude I've heard/seen that does this regularly. The other is a friend of mine who cuts wood professionally (both log and firewood)...he's 6'5", 275. He laughs when he sees me with a hickory handle and reminds me that he can't use them as they will usually only last him an hour or so before he busts it. This is the same guy I once saw lift off of a trailer a head gate (a cattle handling thingy) that weighed close to 500 lbs and gently set it on the ground...he is my friend, but I make sure to call him "sir"!

    So sir :) , I too recommend a "plastic" handle. That is all my woodcutting gentle giant uses and he swears by them.
  25. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Um . . . does that mean the handle is coming in contact with either the wood you are trying to split? or the Wedge?

    Cause if the answer is yes to either, no wood nor glass handle is going to hold up. While it's true that steel will, I'm thinking that correcting your stance and/or approach is the place to start. Then go back to the hickory handles.

    That angle iron trick above looks good too . . . 'cept the maul is too small to split with :lol:
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page