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routine for splitting wood with a maul

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by szumbrun, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. szumbrun

    szumbrun New Member

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    This past week I split my first ever piece of wood by hand using an old homemade
    maul that my dad has had around since I was a kid. It's fairly heavy, has a big triangular
    wedge on the end and looks to be homemade since the weld lines are all messy and the
    pipe attached is just a regular old thick pipe.

    Anyway, my aim has improved since starting, but I'm still working out a good routine for cutting.
    With every split the two pieces go flying in different directions and I spend so much time going
    to get each piece half way across the yard to setup again.

    For splitting a lot of wood it seems like you have to do it with some barriers on either side of you
    to cut down on chasing wood constantly. Is this what people do?

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  2. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Hey,

    I'm new to this too. I saw this video and I am yet to do it. It seems like the best way to split wood by hand. --I am far from a pro at this, but this video seems to be a pretty good way to do split wood by hand with the least amount of work.

  3. szumbrun

    szumbrun New Member

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    That video is awesome. Thanks. What a great idea!
  4. maplewood

    maplewood Minister of Fire

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    I'm still chasing.
    But I agree the tire trick seems to have some merit, for some sized pieces. I just wish they would show the occasional 18" long, 15" diameter knotty, twisted yellow birch once in a while, instead of their 14" long 8" diameter softwood....

    Here's my #2 son Joel, his girlfriend Jessica and my dad helping split wood last summer. (I was taking the pic.) Jessica is either stacking, or helping to set up blocks for Joel to re-split. Dad is tapping a wedge through a nasty piece of birch with my fibreglass handle maul.
    [​IMG]
  5. CountryBoy19

    CountryBoy19 Minister of Fire

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    Idk, it looks to me like she is thinking, "I'm not touching that wood stuff." She is dressed far to nice to be working hard. :)
  6. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    The girl in the picture is thinking "seriously??"

    Anyway, +1 on the tire method. Whenever I show it to anybody they think its the greatest idea since the maul. If you tend to split smaller rounds an old ATV tire works well. They're a little taller too. You can also cut into one of the sidewalls to make flaps for bolting to the chopping block.
  7. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    The maul you're using is not homemade...its called a Monster Maul and is quite good for splitting, though heavy to swing. The sloppy welds are normal for all the one's I've ever seen.

    For splitting, you can either use the tire method (or bungee cord or whatever) or chase the wood down. I just chase the stuff, but rarely do I ever have to go more than one or two steps to get it...its a very rare piece that really goes flying...anything thats small and light enough to go that far is very likely small enough that I don't need to split it any further. If your splits are going that far, you're hitting the rounds with way more force than you need to use. You'll learn how to adapt your swing power and improve accuracy over time...there is no other way to do this other than to do it.

    Once you split a few pieces up, you'll have a mound on either side of your splitting area and you won't have anything flying very far anyway.
  8. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Give it another month or two and you won't have that problem anymore. ;-) Here is my method:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Glad to see you're still here Quads . . . I've missed reading your posts and seeing your pics.
  10. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I split everything by hand. I haven't tried the tire method so I can't comment.

    What I usually do is set up some rounds (cut side up/down) and build a little three-sided "fence". Place the round I'm spitting in the center of the fence and stand on the open side. It keeps chunks from flying everywhere and, if you get those pieces that won't stand on their own, you have something to lean them up against. Once splitting is done, split the "fence".
  11. cre73

    cre73 Member

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    Tire method for sure. Screw it down to a big stump and you are good to go. Will double your productivity. For the hard to split pieces that is what the saw is for.
  12. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    You don't have your trusting splitting partner hold the split upright and together for you while splitting ?


    They don't get far once the pile on each side is big enough.

    I use wedges most of the time. Just have to chase a wedge every now and then.
    But I've split between stacks.

    A stack of small tires works fairly well.
  13. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Thanks! Still around, checking in everyday. I don't cut wood during October and November hunting seasons.
  14. mrplow

    mrplow New Member

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    My father in law has the best method I've ever seen for splitting. He takes 5-12 rounds (depending on the size) and arranges them, flat side up, in a circular bunch so there's no room between them. You want the bunch to be about 4' across, depending on your reach. You want it to be small enough that you can strike the center round without overreaching. Then, take a 10-12' piece of rope (something cheap, but at least 1/2" diameter) and tie it around the whole pile about 1/3 from the top, and cinch it up. Then whack away. You can split the entire bunch without resetting one piece of wood. Also, you won't have a problem with your maul hitting the ground, because the other wood in the bunch usually stops the maul. This also worked well with larger rounds that required a wedge, you just have to pry the round apart when removing the wedge, so it doesn't slam shut on your hands.

    If your wife is helping stack, you can set up one bunch, split that, then move on to the next group and call her out to stack the first batch. Depending on the wood and your personal level of fitness, you may be able to finish the second batch just as she finishes stacking the first, then go back to it.

    Using this method, the biggest issue is that I got winded after 30 or 40 nonstop swings and had to slow down. I was using the Fiskars SS (first weekend trying it out, very impressive), so i assume that I would've lasted even less time using a heavier maul. Also, the Fiskars is so sharp that I accidentally cut through the rope on a couple occasions.

    I'll post pictures the next time I do it.
  15. szumbrun

    szumbrun New Member

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    I think you're right. I looked it up and it looks like I've got a well worn Monster Maul. I also believe that part of my problem is chopping wood that's already the right size to try to get something closer to timber size using the maul. I find it very ineffecient using the regular small axe to get timber pieces to get the fire going.
  16. szumbrun

    szumbrun New Member

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    Ha ha. I'll have to remember to set my wood up all around the yard before the first snow.
  17. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Mr. Plow. You should go back and check the owners' manual for your Fiskars. You'll learn that when you accidentally slice through that rope with the SS, all you have to do is lean the SS against the nearest split and go take a break. When you come back you'll find the rope has almost magically repaired itself and you won't even be able to detect where the splice was made. Such is the wonder of the Fiskars!
  18. mrplow

    mrplow New Member

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    Ugh. always my problem, i should've read the instructions. =)
  19. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Yep, this sounds like part of your problem...if you're using a monster maul to make kindling, you're going to be chucking some of it really far. Anything 6" or smaller I usually split with an axe or leave it alone and burn it as is. Bigger stuff gets the maul. If you're having trouble chopping small wood with your axe, you've got something wrong there...dull axe, not enough force...something.
  20. szumbrun

    szumbrun New Member

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    How do you efficiently shave off kindling from the side of wood using an axe? Right now I sort of try to keep the wood steady with my foot on top and hack at the side until i'm frothing at the mouth. Eventually I will loose some toes this way.
  21. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    Love to see a shiny 6-pounder like that- speaks volumes.

    Got a couple approaching that shine here, and an 8-pounder I'm working the rust off.
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Please do not take this wrong folks but I really find it hard to believe what some folks do when splitting wood. I've split lots of wood by hand with both axe and splitting maul. Really tough stuff I used sledge and wedges. I will admit I tried the tire thing as did both of my sons. The tire got thrown out fast. We never even considered tying some logs together to split. All this takes time and I agree, time is not necessarily a big issue here, but why not just stand the log up and whack it with the splitting maul? Pieces flying across the yard? I have no idea what you are doing to cause this as I've never experienced it.

    Simply put, I'd just stand a log up and hit the danged thing with axe or maul. If it needed to be split again, simply turn it or move the body around to the right angle and hit it again. Job done. Methinks many are making this to be much harder work than it needs to be. We also never placed the log onto anything except the ground. I tell folks to not lift every log onto a hydraulic splitter because it makes no sense to be continually lifting this stuff but here you are lifting every piece onto a splitting block or placing it inside a tire or tying a rope around several logs etc., etc.

    KISS. Stand the log up and hit the thing. If you have trouble with your aim, practice; change the way you swing. Guide the maul instead of driving it. Don't make this any harder than it needs to be.
  23. szumbrun

    szumbrun New Member

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    I agree with your philosophy totally. The pieces really do fly across the yard -- probably 15 ft or so from the block. Like I mentioned earlier, I think it's from splitting pieces that are too small and maybe hacking a little too hard.
  24. mrplow

    mrplow New Member

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    For me it's a question of effort expenditure. I found that tying them together meant that I could spend almost all my effort on actually splitting the wood (the part I enjoy), and not as much effort resetting it for the next split (the part I don't enjoy). As for tying a rope around it, this takes a grand total of about 10 seconds.

    Then again, i'm not selling anything, so do it however you like.
  25. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Ah, so it's kindling your splitting with a Monster Maul. That's why you're having trouble. Here is how I split kindling:

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