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Let's here from the small axe wood splitters

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Alan Gage, Nov 15, 2008.

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  1. Alan Gage

    Alan Gage Member

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    Never understood the need for a 8# or heavier maul when it came to splitting wood but I seem to be in the minority. I'm still pretty new to splitting wood, about 8 cords under my belt, but from what I've seen so far most of it splits pretty darn easily. Of course there is the odd knotty piece or crotch which is a pain in the butt; but for me those are the exception rather than the rule.

    The rain finally let up yesterday so I went out to get a little exercise and set up the camera. Yeah, I felt like a bit of a dork filming myself splitting wood but it was fun to watch. So here's me with my namby pamby 3 1/2# Gransfors Bruks Large Splitting Axe, some Bur Oak, and some Sugar Maple. Not trying to show off or anything so mis-hits are included. Just want to show that a light splitting axe can do a lot.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdmPci0jj98

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E43r2mOEz0U

    Alan

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    you are right that ax is working great for you! nice work
  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Alan, I am impressed with the effectiveness of the smaller maul. However its just a matter of time until you hurt yourself. The horizonal swings are extremely dangerous. I hope you have health insurance and don't make a living with your lower extremities! Not to mention your eyes!
  4. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, half way through the 2nd video a split came close to grazin' your sack!
  5. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well you're certainly making good production ...but if you were my son we be having a sit down.
  6. InTheRockies

    InTheRockies New Member

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    I split by hand, but I always wear eye protection and I wouldn't try to split horizontally the way you are in the videos because I don't want to sustain an injury. At least wear eye protection, you don't want to lose your sight. Believe me. Be careful, fast isn't always best when using dangerous equipment. You only have one you, take care of yourself. There have been too many posts about injuries recently, I don't want to see one about you injuring yourself.
  7. Shipper50

    Shipper50 Minister of Fire

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    You look like a tall young man who swings it like he means it. I just wonder how many years will you be able to swing that hard and that many times? I agree with the others about doing splits on the side like you did. It only takes one time to make a mistake you might regret the rest of your life.

    Shipper
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    It's just recently in my old age that I got a log splitter. All my life I've just used a 3-1/2 pound axe with a curved handle. I tried using a maul once and almost took my leg off! Those things are dangerous!

    There were of course the odd pieces where I resorted to a splitting wedge to unstick my axe.
  9. Alan Gage

    Alan Gage Member

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    Points taken on the safety concerns. Eye protection would be a good idea, something I'm guilty of not thinking about when splitting.

    You're all probably right about the horizontal splitting too. I do try and be very careful about it and make sure my front foot is no more than even with the piece I'm swinging at, so if a blow were to glance off it would miss my foot. If you notice on a couple of the swings that probably looked the most dangerous in the videos I'd flipped the axe around backwards and struck with the blunt end to break off a piece that was just hanging on by a shred or two.

    But I guess everyone always thinks they're being careful until something bad happens. I'll start changing my ways; it's good to get some feedback from those with more experience. Few people around here burn with wood and none that I know of that hand split.

    As for how long I'll be able to swing that hard, I don't know but I hope for a long time. I'm far from a powerhouse, which would be obvious if I had on short sleeves. I've got a 5 1/2# splitting axe too which doesn't get swung near as hard, because I can't. The shorter handle on this one makes getting speed easy. I also never split horizontally with the larger axe, the weight and extra handle length make it about impossible.

    Thanks,

    Alan
  10. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    I'll commend you Alan for your response, some guys would have gotten testy over being criticized :)

    Look, I'm 49 years old. I'll split some by hand still, but I ain't enjoyin' it no more, haha.

    I still think some weight on that maul would get that bad boy down through them rounds in one hit.

    I got this old 3 pt. splitter and matched it up with my old man's ford tractor, it's slow, but I figure slow=safe.

    I managed to split near 5 cord of oak back in march with the setup, and didn't swing nothin' but a hatchet to finish off some stringy splits. I think it took me 3 days of workin on that pile, but heh, when I look back on it, it was nothin.

    Now, I'm gonna criticize ya, haha, I watched both films, and you should be wearin' gloves on both hands. Don't be splittin' without gloves, I'll tell ya why.

    SPLINTERS :bug:
  11. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    ...and what the heck is that on the right there, the side of an Iowa silo? barn?

    ...and don't think I didn't see that stack of wood in the back yard by them trees either!
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I notice you use the poll (back of the axe) like a sledge. In your case, it probably is doing no harm but axes are not really designed to be a sledge. First off, the poll isn't hardened. Second, the eye of the axe can get deformed by using it as a sledge and the handle won't hold. I've rebuilt many axes over the years, reshaping the eye and grinding the "mushroom" off the poll.

    Another common mod that I would do to sheath the handle at the head to save it from when the wood doesn't split straight. I've done it both with sheet metal and wire wrap.

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  13. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Interesting you mention sheath on the handle at the head. I ain't no metalworker, but I've been known to wrap that area with a cut and formed license plate or some other such metal.....When you mention wire wrap, what kind of wire? a heavy guage picture hangin' wire or what?
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I've used lids off of tin cans and cut and formed heavy galvanized sheet metal. For wire, I've used anealed rebar wire, fence wire, and tougher steel wire. Anealed wire is easiest to wrap. Electric fence wire is stronger but sheet metal lasts the longest.
  15. Alan Gage

    Alan Gage Member

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    Yeah, I only use the poll when I want to knock apart two pieces that are hanging on by a couple strands. Figured it's not getting enough abuse that way to do any damage. I keep an eye on it and there's no denting or mushrooming.

    As for the metal sheath, the Gransfors splitting axes come from the factory with one, it looks like a Gransfors you pictured in your response.

    Alan
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ja, I cheated... too lazy. Figured I was not the only one doing it and would just google for a pic.
  17. Shipper50

    Shipper50 Minister of Fire

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    Young man I commend you for taking an older persons point of view and thinking about the safety points. Its not everyday in today's world that a younger person doesn't think they know it all. Just coming from one who thought he knew it all back in the day. ;-)

    Shipper
  18. badger1968

    badger1968 New Member

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    DUDE!

    You are nuts! Is your day job a UFC Cage Fighter? ;-P Seriously, put something over your eyes at least.
  19. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I use a 6lb maul for big rounds of fir and my 2.5lb Fiskars ax for everything else. A standard 3lb ax simply won't "cut it" with out big fir rounds.
  20. SnaykeByte

    SnaykeByte New Member

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    As soon as you get into some Beech, Hackberry, or crooked Maple you'll understand why an axe doesn't always work.
  21. Jeff S

    Jeff S Feeling the Heat

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    Alan, this is my first year splitting as well so far 10 full cords by hand in the last month and a half made up of elm,maple,birch,beech,aspen,cottonwood,black locust,osage,red and white oak,basically anything I can scrounge,so far hadn't had to cut any of my 5 acre woods.Oh yes and I do wear safety glasses and make my wife and kids do also when they help me.

    Started out with a #8 maul and some wedges but now I use mostly a pair of Fiskars splitting axes a #2.25 and #4.25 what they lack in weight they make up with there sharp edge.When I run into problem wood I just buck the piece into 8" instead of 16",haven't found anything that wont split at that size,have a special pile for the small chunks.

    I'm not getting rid of the maul just adding to my arsenal so I'm prepared for different situations,might even add a smaller and a bigger maul as time goes on.

    My neighbor was almost 80 when he passed away,he burned wood his whole life and split all his wood by hand,he just pecked away at it when he felt like it.When he passed away from cancer he left a 2 year supply split and stacked for his wife.
  22. Risser09

    Risser09 New Member

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    My 24" hackberry rounds would be laughing heartily as you either bounce off each time or sink in 2" deep and be unable to retrieve the ax. With those conditions, a 4# ax is like a screen door on a submarine. I have a great 4# splitting maul, but I almost always choose the 6.6# or 8#. I used the 4 pounder to do some silver maple and some pine, but that's it. A sharp edge means absolutely nothing if it gets irretrievably stuck in a round. If a nicely angled maul can actually make a fissure, it has much more worth than the other tool.

    Also, anything you can take a golf swing at and split, is very easy to split.
    Ditto on the eye protection.
  23. Lanningjw

    Lanningjw Feeling the Heat

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    UFC, man thats some great stuff! I went to UNI in Northern Iowa.
    BTW, I have 35 of my old AWA wreslin matches from back in 87 and 88.
    Soldat Ustinov, from the old days...lol....
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=soldat ustinov&search;_type=&aq=f
  24. Jeff S

    Jeff S Feeling the Heat

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    Risser09,your probably right about the Hackberry,never came across any yet so I will take your word that it is really tough stuff.
  25. Risser09

    Risser09 New Member

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    In all fairness, you should use the lightest tool to get the job done with the most efficiency, unless you like working harder than you should. =-)
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