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Lets talk splitting by hand

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by basswidow, Apr 3, 2009.

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  1. basswidow

    basswidow Minister of Fire

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    I know alot of you guys have gas hydrolic splitters.

    For those who split by hand, tell me your process.

    I use a 6 lb maul. Any log I can't blast with this - I split and quarter with a sledge and wedge and then finish off with the maul. I use the maul for everything. Is this what most are doing? Or is it like a golfer and a bag full of clubs? Use the maul to split the round and then pick up a lighter axe to make stove size splits? I see alot of guys use the Fiskar Splitting axe which I am eager to find and try. But I question whether a 4 lb head can split a good round like a maul can? I am splitting Oak. Cherry, Ash. Maybe with the splitting axe - you don't aim dead center like I've done all along with the maul? Perhaps you need to cut edge sections and work in?

    I also know that some split the rounds on the ground and others use a tire. I am set up with a big short round base with an attached tire and like the way that works, although it's more lifting.

    I have been doing all my cutting on the weekends and splitting little by little in the evenings during the week. I was hoping to have so much cut that I'd need to rent a splitter, but the hand splitting is going along nicely and the to be split pile is low come saturday. I may be alright.

    So when you are splitting - do you reach for different tools or simply swing with just one tool and keep at it? Also - where's your point of aim with axe vs a maul on a 12+ inch round? Split on the ground or elevated? Thanks.

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    56 in silver maple tuesday a friend was splitting it with the Fiskar Splitting axe I laugh at frist but I soon shut up he had wood flying off those rounds and iam not kidding 56 in silver maple hartwood! (I was sold!) I have tryed the maul on it many times because the weight is very hard to get in the splitter the maul just bounces off
  3. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

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    I got the fiskars super splitter and I love it! 20" oak rounds don't stand a chance! Great purchase you will not be disappointed.
  4. basswidow

    basswidow Minister of Fire

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    oK you guys are killing me with this Fiskar Super Splitter.

    56 inch silver maple round , 20 inch oak - obviously shaving the edges and working in? Tell me how to work it. You obviously dont' work it the same as a maul? I swing my maul dead center on big rounds and they split perfectly.

    I guess I need a few more clubs for my golf bag or to include a Fiskar.
  5. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    yes he was going around the outter edge with that fiskar super splitter but my 6lb maul just bounces off of it like its rubber Iam just glad he show me because getting a round in the splitter that size is very tuff and just hope you get a good splitt on it
  6. basswidow

    basswidow Minister of Fire

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    So would you use the Fiskar exclusively for all the splitting?
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    no if iam doing the swinging I will just lighten it up so it can be manage by the splitter (i have done 5 cords of wood in the last week i have alot more that has to be done by may)
  8. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

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    Yes

    Sure I work around the sides. It's much easier than going through the middle. I could go through the center with it but I don't see any point in wasting that extra energy. Grab a bungee cord and wrap it around the log or logs and have at it.(try not to hit the bungee this axe is sharp like a good kitchen knife and will cut it pretty easy)
    That 2lbs makes a big difference after a couple hundred swings!
  9. Risser09

    Risser09 New Member

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    6.6 lb. STIHL maul is wicked. The best tool I've ever used. I put a rubber FernCo around the handle to eliminate any splintering on missed attempts.
  10. basswidow

    basswidow Minister of Fire

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    The 2 lb's lighter - I was thinking that would be easier on me. The maul really gives you a jar-ing work out. Perhaps the axe I got from Home Depot is alright - I shouldn't have been using it like a maul. A different club - a different swing and point of aim. I'll give it another shot. In the mean time - I'll keep looking for a Fiskar in stock.
  11. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I have one of those axes that have the flair sides(lowes i think) its worthless to me.I have heard them talk about the fiskar on hear many time just seem like to much work (but its all work) I haven't been impress with any wood process equipment in awhile this one HOT!
  12. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    <----------------------- Rick
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I grew up splitting almost everything with a double bitted axe. We were allowed to use a sledge and wedge only on knotty stuff.

    Where to aim? That is up to you but if I have a large diameter log I'll still split it through the heart. Yes, you'll have to whack it more than once....but not in the same spot. Hit once on the opposite side of the heart from you and then once on the near side. If it takes another, go ahead and whack away. There is no need to take small wedges off unless that is really what you prefer to do. The only time we did that was with stuff like beech that doesn't like to be split through the heart but most wood will split through the heart, including elm.

    As for different tools. Why not? Use what is the easiest for the log you are working on. I also always found it best to split the log with it on the ground and not elevated. Just another lifting chore and your swing is not as far so you have less power in the tool. But some prefer to do it that way. Some have a problem with the tool going into the ground. I never had that problem and if I did, it is a quick and easy job to sharpen.

    Later in live I was given a splitting maul. It does work better than an axe on a lot of logs but on the easy splitting stuff I still prefer an axe. However, even later in life, I purchased a hydraulic splitter and love it. I never minded splitting wood even in my youth but after an injury I was forced to stop that.

    Good luck.
  14. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Good thread....I thought I was the only one without a 27 ton splitter :)
    Anyway, all I have is a 8lb maul from Home Cheapo.....and it works fine for me.
    This year, we had many trees come down due to the ice storm, and after all was said and done, I know have 4.5 cords split and stacked for next year.
    I mainly split oak, maple, birch and some beech....beech can be tough....but the maul gets it done.
    I don't split all day....basically, I split about 1 hour a day on lunch and on weekends....takes a while to get it done, but I figure its good exercize.
    I have hear many good reviews about the fiskars splitting axe, but I am so darn cheap the maul works fine for me.
    Again, glad to see some members out there working by hand.....I'm sure in 15 years I will have a splitter, but right know I kinda enjoy the work of it.
  15. wellbuilt home

    wellbuilt home Minister of Fire

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    I used a large maul 12lbs&15;lbs for years . I could split any thing . now i use a 27lb splitter. I have a fiskar 4.5 splitting axe it splits better then a 6 or 8 lb maul but the big maul really powers thru the wood . When my sons where young they would stand up logs all day for me . John
  16. 68 Couper

    68 Couper New Member

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    Been through this delemma myself as of late. Up to last fall I would bring home one of the splitters from work and go nuts for the weekend. I moved to a new job after a layoff so I had to go manual splitting or rent/borrow a splitter.

    I cheaped out and bought the HD Michigan single bit axe. It would split oak well but not too good on cherry. It liked to stick 1/2 way in and then I spent time and energy fighting to get it out. Broke the handle fighting to get it out on day #3.I would rate it a 6.

    I had a co-worker borrow me his 8lb maul. It is a newer fiberglass handle jobby. It's quite the workout. It works? But not what I call a good time. It did not split oak as well but it never got stuck. About a 1/2 hour of vigorous swinging and I'm done. I'd give it a 7 because it worked? and didn't break.

    Fiskars SS Axe, hmmmm, bought one on last Saturday. :coolsmile: I went for it because of high reccomendations here and the arborist site. It was raining Saturday so I only split about 6 rounds. It seemed good. Sunday I went out at 5:30 PM and wanted to give it a whack. I split 1 1/2 full chord by 7:30. I'm never going to look back. I could split with it faster than the stroke of a splitter can move. Use a stump. Spread you feet sholder width, bend at the knees and just roll it over your head to the small of your back. Bring it over nice and smooth accelerating as you go and aim. Fatigue was minimal. It blew up 22" oak and 18" cherry. NEVER got stuck. She's a 10. Lean and mean!

    Now, I'm just going to refine my steps a little like setting up my stump near my stack and put an old tire on the top of the stump so I don't have to chase the pieces when they blow apart.

    Today I picked up 2 more chords of oak and cherry and will split ALL of it with my new toy!

    Couper
  17. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    I thought the same until I got one. Productivity goes way up with the Fiskars. Splitting becomes more of an aerobic workout.
  18. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I split everything with my 2.25lb Fiskars. If I can't halve it (very rare) I simply peel it like an onion. I do not own wedges. Rounds are 0-fer vs me.
  19. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Yes.
  20. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    used to do a lot of splitting by hand growing up(12 to 15 cord). 6 or 8lb maul. Seemed to work well, look for the cracks in the wood and go for it. but, the bet advice i could give is if possible, wait til the frost gets in the wood. We tried to wait until winter to split.

    Been borrowing the neighbors hydro unit since I just started burning again. But would like to get back in to splitting by hand, and you guys have got me convinced to get a fiskars. might look at snow & nealys' product line up also. Won't be doing anything too strenuos, as I just had rotator cuff surgery yesterday. Typing with my left hand/finger is a timely process
  21. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    I split by hand also and use a maul and a fiskars 4.5 splitting axe. The fiskars works well I just cannot get used to the shorter handle. I split on the ground and the shorter handle is tough to get used to. I have tried it splitting on a stump and it works better but I do not want to pick up every log to split. The fiskars will definitely split anything my maul will and is easier to swing because of the weight. I guess my old habits are hard to break.
    I had some rounds the other day maybe 8-10 inches across that I wanted to split and both just bounced off, I brought them to by buddies log splitter and stalled it out first try then shredded them, not split. My buddy told me it was gum wood. Not sure of the BTU value but it was a mess to split.
    I like to split maybe 1/2 hour a day or maybe get out there early in the morning and bust out 2 hrs before anyone else gets awake and that gets er done for me. I cannot justify having a log splitter that sits for 363-364 days per year since I burn 3-4 cords a year.
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    But there may come a day when you can justify it! I didn't think so many moons ago, but sometimes life deals you a nasty hand. Then you do what you have to do and not necessarily what you want to do.
  23. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Your right one funny move and your back pops and stright to the med check,I was there tuesday
  24. gerry100

    gerry100 Minister of Fire

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    " you can't buy a swing" as they say in the golf world. You could give me the best clubs in the world and Michelle Wie the worst and I would stand the same chance of prevailing. She would still hit it further, straighter and half as many times.

    I buck and split about 4 cords a year and don't need anything but my 8lb maul with a fiberglass handle.($30-40 at Lowes or HD).

    Why? because after many years and millions of swings I've developed and efficient and accurate swing that delivers maximum impact energy to the spot on log where it does the most good.

    Also, I've looked at enough logs that I've developed a sense of where to hit 'em ( and which ones not no hit but to feed to the stove whole).

    Start with a 6lb maul ( fiberglass handle so you don't spend hours and $ replacing the wooden handles you ruin with miss hits).

    Practice,practice,practice and forget the gadgeteering.

    When your swing is consistent you may want to move up to an 8lb, which will deliver 33% more energy at the same impact velocity.
  25. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    I am hoping my son is splitting before I get there ? That may be wishfull thinking though.

    I agree with Gerry also, there is a technique to the swing that is only acquired from practice. I was teaching my buddy how to split and he could not split the logs a I could with the same maul. After a few days he got better. I have been splitting since I was a kid with an axe.
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