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Personal Observations Comparing a Splitting Axe to a Splitting Maul

Post in 'The Gear' started by Gene K., Feb 17, 2008.

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  1. Gene K.

    Gene K. New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
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    Loc:
    SW Michigan
    I have heard the question asked how a Fiskar's splitting axe does against large logs, and also I have heard the question asked as to how they compare against a splitting maul. Since my neighbor had a large Maple tree removed from his back yard with slices measuring roughly seven feet in diameter and had the wood kindly deposited in my yard, I took advantage of his graciousness and purchased an 8-lb maul at my local hardware store with a fiberglass handle; I already have a Fiskar's splitting axe.

    For the most part, I was breaking chunks off of the wood of roughly equal size with both tools. But, the splitting axe was much lighter, so I could squeeze more swings into a given unit of time, thus allowing a faster splitting rate. Also, the sharpened edge of the axe allowed it to form a crack quickly and efficiently.

    The maul would take a few extra swings to form a crack on tougher pieces of wood, but once the crack was formed, it would quickly blast its way through the crack via sheer momentum. Also, if you split wood for exercise, as I do, then the added mass gives a harder workout.

    There were a few tough spots around twisted grains or knots which were a little challenging, and this is where I think that a symphonic approach worked best: The axe would start the crack and split, and the maul would blast its way through the wood when the axe started having difficulty, due to the wood's depth.

    Finally, there is side-splitting, which is the technique of splitting a lot along its length. Without a doubt, the splitting axe was superior in this chore, as it allowed me to create an effective crack running the length of the log; the maul just mashed instead of forming a crack. Again though, if the log is large, the maul can then help to blast through the formed crack to split more efficiently (although I have always used wedges and a sledge hammer for this previously).

    In conclusion, each tool has its strength and both would be beneficial in the chopper's arsenal. However, if I were to suggest a tool to first purchase, or a tool for the most frequent use, I would indubitably pick the splitting axe. Of course, others may have their own opinions.

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  2. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
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    Loc:
    Lafayette IN -BoilerMakerCountry
    This is sort of a combo. You should mail them to send you a product for a discount, tellem you'll give it a review on this site. You can tell us the pros and cons of the product. I have never used the chopper myself.

    http://www.chopperaxe.com/
  3. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    492
    Loc:
    Far Northern Calif. Coast
    Thanks for the summary, Axeman.

    I have a Chopper, and highly recommend it.
  4. woodzilla

    woodzilla New Member

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    Dec 23, 2007
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    Mid-Michigan
    I have a chopper hand me down and cannot get it to split anything.
  5. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    I have used sledge/wedge and splitting mauls since the early sixties. I finally got a splitting axe, and it's great. The lighter weight gives more speed and control, and the head shape splits wood with less effort.

    For the really knotty / gnarly stuff, I'm not sure it's an advantage, but for everything else it's better results with less work. Wish I could find one that's the same quality as the Fiskars, with a wood handle, and sized for me. The one I have feels a bit cheesy, but it work great.

    I don't have a picture of mine, but the head is similar to the one in the picture below. I think mine is True Temper, and it has a red handle.

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  6. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    You might want to give it another try. I stopped using mine soon after buying it, but later tried it again, and now I love it.

    Of course every log/species is different.
  7. GrantC

    GrantC Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    65
    Loc:
    Oregon
    How about even better quality? The Gransfors Large Splitting Axe is your Holy Grail:

    http://www.gransfors.com/htm_eng/index.html

    Not cheap, but worth every penny.

    -=[ Grant ]=-
  8. guy01

    guy01 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    180
    Loc:
    northern PA
    I have a similar splitter it is called a great divider and I love it you just need to get those little flippy things broken off then they work great
    Hey it just occoured to me this handle is over 20 years old
    Guy
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