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routine for splitting wood with a maul

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

  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Very little effort expended. Nice going quads.

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  2. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    +1 word for word.
  3. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    Up until the middle of this Summer, I would also have added +1 to what was said above by the 2 Kings. I was 100% the same. But I kept on thinking about the tire thing, and try to be open to ideas from others. So one day I hauled out 2 tires - a 14 and a 16, and dropped one onto a big round. Gotta admit I was sold on the spot. The key for me is speed - I don't want any wasted motion. Without the tire, things don't "fly away", but some do tip over and need to be reset, and each reset takes extra time. One thing that makes the tire work for me is not lifting the round into the tire - I just drop one or both of the tires over a round (or a quartered larger round, or 2-3 smaller ones). That only takes a few seconds. Now everything stays upright until the whole thing is split - no resets. A new trick for an old dog.
  4. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    But isn't it kind of a hassle to drag a tire around in the woods with you? I guess I would try it, but I don't have a lot of room to carry one on my trailer and/or ATV. This old dog is all for learning new tricks! Besides, I really don't have any trouble with the wood flying anywhere either, but I do get sick of it tipping over sometimes. I'm not sure a tire would improve upon my splitting enough to compensate for the space it will occupy on the trailer.

    Here is a video of what I am talking about: (note how the four splits tip over)
  5. ecocavalier02

    ecocavalier02 Minister of Fire

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    i split a lot of wood by hand. just get one piece at a time here and then split it. i agree i think the tire thing would be a pia. i just get in a rythm and start wacking away
  6. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Stand it up and keep splitting it in half with an axe. Then cut each piece in half and then in half again until you have the size you want. You need a smaller tool than you're using right now. Get a good, really sharp axe or maul. When I make kindling I just balance the split on top of my splitting stump and whack it...even if it won't stand on its own all you have to is balance it and yank your hand away when you start your swing...it'll stay vertical long enough for you to hit it with your axe or hatchet.

    DO NOT USE YOUR FOOT OR ANY OTHER ITEM THAT YOU DON'T WANT CHOPPED IN TWO TO HOLD UP A PIECE OF WOOD YOU WANT TO SPLIT! Not only will you eventually lose part of your foot, but you're also giving away any ability you may have to impart some real force to your swing.

    I wouldn't think you'd really need muhc kindling though unless you let your fire go out every day or so. Personally after splitting a mountain of kindling only to find we went through it like water in the shower (my wife likes to use it because its very lgiht and she can put alot of it in the stove...when its already going) I decided to use those parrafin wax fire starter brick things. I just pick up a couple boxes at Wally World for $10 apiece and cut them in half...each one will get my stove going from dead cold in short order and all I put in are some regular splits. No kindling required.
  7. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    Well Quads, that's an interesting thing you said there. I've seen enough of your pics to know that you split and stack at different places all over your property - probably well spread out. I work just the opposite because the yard around the house gets full Sun and a nice breeze, and I've only recently arrived at +2 years ahead. So, I haul rounds from a distance, back closer to the house, and drop them exactly where they will be split and stacked. So for me, the tires don't need to be transported. Now, I can see your point about carrying a tire around on your ATV - it might not be a net gain for you like it is for me. Maybe we're just splitting hairs here (sorry, that was really weak). But I suspect we both enjoy the work, regardless of the details!
  8. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    I was splitting wood with an older coworker about 3 days ago. He had a monster maul - very old and very heavy. He asked me to try it out - I did. It didn't seem to do any better than my Fiskars, but was so heavy, I'd likely not be able to split as long as I normally do (or at least until I got used to the weight). I then asked him to try my Fiskars........his eyes were quite wide after a few splits - I'm guessing he went home and ordered one.......Cheers!
  9. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    Whenever I read something like this, I'm thinking it's pilot error. I'm not Quads-sized (5'8" 150lbs), 62 years old, and not especially strong for my size. But I can split with an 8* maul all day long. You need to always hold the maul right under (i.e. touching) the head with your right hand (for right handers). That way you're only ever lifting around 8 lbs. The stroke goes all the way over your head with fully split hands, and then only when you start bringing the stroke down does the right hand begin sliding down the handle. When the maul head hits the round, the hands have come togeather. Use only your hips and legs to drive the stroke - the arms only guide the maul.
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I still don't understand the pieces flying all over the place. The only time I've had pieces fly away was when the dog would pick one up and carry it off.
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I was helping a friend a few days ago that had gotten a delivery of firewood. He was questioning the moisture content, so I said that I will bring my axe and meter and we shall see.

    I grabbed a couple of the bigger splits and resplit (mind you, I have not hand split any quantity for a few years now). He was standing where I knew he shouldn't be so I asked him to move. 2 pieces flew in opposite directions for 12-15 feet. :red: He now thinks I am He-Man, I thought I was stupid for wasting the extra energy that wasn't needed for the swing.

    Moral of the story: I really like my hydraulic splitter. :)

    Edit: oh, and beer...I really like beer.
    Shane N likes this.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Ya Jags, I like them too.
  13. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Yes, that's true, I don't haul anything to where I will be stacking that day unless it has been split first. I always feel like loading rounds is an extra step/extra handling. But if you're hauling the rounds right to where you are going to stack the splits, and don't have to then reload the splits and haul the wood one more time, then I guess it's not really an extra step.

    My stacks well spread out? Some stacks are almost a mile from home and everywhere in between, if that qualifies...haha!
  14. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    This thing was not 8lb - not sure how heavy, but much heavier than my 8lb sledge. No matter how you stack it, just over 4lb beats 8lb or more any day in my book - especially since the Fiskars splits equally well from my experience. Cheers!
  15. Captain Hornet

    Captain Hornet Member

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    I have about four years of hardwoods all split and stacked and ready to go into the stove. All was split by hand using a maul or sledge and wedges. I found it's easiest for me if I just hit it and split it where it is. I tried the tire idea and found it was a pain in the butt and didn't work for me. If it falls down or moves from the rest of the split, I don't care. I pick them all up and put them in the wagon. I like to have the splitting area clear and I don't want them underfoot. When the wagon is full we go to stack all of it, than back for more splitting. The moving to the stack gives me a little break and that way I'm not working myself to a frazzle with a heavy maul. Works for me and I don't have to mess with no stinking tire. David.
  16. K2Orion

    K2Orion Member

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    I haul my rounds to my stack. I split there on top of a 48" white oak round. I use a 16" E rated tire (a blow out from my trailer) and a fiskars SS. I mostly have red and white oak. Fairly straight grain but the knotty ones get put aside for the neighbors hydro splitter. I have my eyes open for a 20" low profile tire for more room with less weight.
    Small rounds fit right in there, for big ones I just flop the tire on the ground. It doesn't weigh more than a good sized round and I can toss it around with 1 hand since it is easy
  17. szumbrun

    szumbrun New Member

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    That's too easy. I actually broke my axe head off yesterday (not my maul) making kindling before I saw this. Didn't realize that it was such a gentle process. thanks.
  18. szumbrun

    szumbrun New Member

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    Thanks for the tips. makes sense. I also need to try some of those firestarter brick things that you're talking about.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    One more point that I don't understand is that some folks state it takes more time without the tire because sometimes the log falls over and you then have to stand it up again. (After a bit of practice you won't have that problem very much). Well, does it not also take time to put the logs into the tire and then you also have to remove them? That seems to me a much bigger time and energy waster.
  20. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I haven't tried the tire yet but it makes a lot of sense to me. Yes, you have to put the rounds into the tire and remove them but you don't have to constantly pick up halves, then quarters to split them again. You just split away til they are as small as you like, THEN remove them. You lift them up there once, you remove them once and you're not constantly chasing down the splits as they fly or fall to the side of the stump. It's the constant bending and stooping to pick them back up and put them back on the stump that gets my back.

    Take a swing.... Split the round in two....put down the maul. Pick up the half-split off the ground and put it on the stump. Pick up the maul. Swing. Split. Pick the split off the ground and put it back on the stump. Pick up the maul. Swing, split, bend, lift.... you get the idea.

    The tire keeps everything in place and eliminates all the bending/stooping/lifting. At least, that's the theory, right?

    No method is wrong if it works for you!
  21. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Perhaps there are some folks who need to practice with their splitting skills. If you are bending to sit every piece upright and chasing splits that fly away, there is something you are doing that is working against you. I can not sit here and tell you what you are doing but for sure can say you must be doing something wrong. Simply put, I am certainly not the best nor am I perfect but I have never had to chase splits nor have I had to constantly stand each piece up after splitting. Watch quads video and you will see no wasted effort. That is how it should be done.

    One thing does come to mind and that is that perhaps most folks think all there is to splitting wood is to raise that axe or maul and hit it as hard as you can. If that is what you are doing, it is a good place to start to perfect your splitting technique. Let the tool do the work. That is the reason you have the tool, so let it to the big work. You guide or tell the tool what to do. Don't just swing away at each piece. And the smaller the piece, the easier you hit it.
  22. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I'm fairly new at this and have no doubts that my form could use some work. But I don't see how you can take a 12-16 inch round, sit it on a stump and whack it with an 8 pound maul and not have at least one, or both of the splits fall off the stump. I do realize that I may be whacking them too hard if they are flying away but I would like to learn the technique that would allow me to split the wood without the split falling over, and off of the stump.

    I'm certainly open to learning.
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Kenster, you will find that neither quads nor myself sit a round up on a stump to split it. We leave them on the ground. No lifting! That is a lot of bending over and lifting that you do not need to do.
  24. dave360up

    dave360up Member

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    I like to get a big enough pile going around the log I am splitting on that the split pieces usually don't fall all the way to the ground. Say a round needs to be quartered. After the first split, each half can just be leaned back up for quartering, instead of picking it up all the way from the ground. If things get too crowded I'll just push some pieces away with my foot. Saves a lot of bending and no need for a tire.
  25. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    But, but, but... doesn't that mean you're bending over when you're swinging the maul instead of standing up more or less straight? I almost cried with relief when I was learning how to do all this the first time I got a big round and stood the pieces up on it to split them.

    Also, maybe your ground is harder than mine, but until it freezes, splitting a piece when it's just standing on the ground means a good part of the energy of the swing just goes into driving the piece a half inch or whatever into the soil.

    I'm not splitting big rounds all that often, but giganto splits that need to be split down further to go in my small stove, so hoisting them onto a splitting round isn't that big a deal (it's a small deal, but nowhere near as big a deal as the rounds you're doing in the video)

    Also, I think how far the pieces go flying has at least partly to do with the wood. Even a smaller piece of rock maple takes one heck of a whack just to get the blade to bite instead of bouncing off, and when you do hit it right, it really pops apart and goes flying. Softer woods like Red Maple or Red Oak not so much.

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