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splitting ax for wife

Post in 'The Gear' started by jeffman3, Jan 13, 2008.

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  1. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

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    Update!!!!

    We bought a 6 lb. maul today at the lumber yard! Roughneck with a fiberglass handle. My wife loves it, and so do I, so far. We are sooooo.... much more accurate with it then the 8 lb, and What we lose in carry through we pick up in velocity of the swing. My wife actually said after splitting all the elm left to split from the last load " what do we have left" I told her that we had some cottonwood left on the porch, and was told " Oh come on... that ain't no challenge!" (The cottonwood we have is dry and straight grain. It splits very easily!) I was informed that we will be making another trip to cut elm this weekend so she can split it!

    By the Gods....... I love this woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    Congrats on the new maul and glad to here you both like it.
    If I remember right it has been a while since any kind of math class but, in an energy equation weight was a multiplier of 2 and velocity was a multiplier of 6.
    Anyway the 6 pounder is also easier swing for extended periods of time.
  3. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

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    I do believe that a Gransfors Bruk maul is somewhere in my future, but we just couldn't put the scratch together right now, ;-) and we needed something to use, for now! I believe this tool will carry us for a while. The six pound weight is good for us, and I just don't see the need, for now anyway, for a heavier tool. Time, and toil, will tell. I am curious to see how it holds an edge.
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Not quite, there are two factors to consider... Kinetic energy, or how much energy is in the moving mass, or momentum, which represents the Newtonian Physics tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, is a direct multiplier, velocity is a square function - Ke=MV^2. Thus in theory doubling the mass while keeping the velocity the same would double the energy, but doubling the velocity of the same mass would square it. - or alternatively you will get more energy out of a small fast moving maul than you would from a big slow moving one.

    However momentum is Mass times Velocity, (MV) and thus increasing velocity while decreasing mass will keep the same momentum - a slow moving golf ball will have more momentum than a fast moving ping-pong ball.

    You also start running into the limitations of human physiology, as in just how fast can you swing something, regardless of weight.

    This leads to the two extremes of splitting tools - the extremely fast moving featherweight axe that appears to rely on kinetic energy, vs. the super heavy "Monster Maul" that moves slower but has a lot more momentum and isn't about to let some puny log slow it down... The question is which factor matters more?

    I tend towards the heavy Monster Maul momentum school of thought, being of the opinion that the momentum of the maul head will carry it into the wood, and wedge it apart before the head stops. However I've watched people do the light weight approach, and it does work... It's a tradeoff as to which is more work - Its more work to lift the monster maul, but the downswing is mostly gravity powered. The light axe is easier to lift, but one then needs to muscle it all the way down to make it move fast enough to split.

    My girlfriend's parents are both Oxford physics Ph.D.s, and we have a few other friends that are physicists, and this has been an interesting topic of discussion - with no definite conclusion either way. (Though one suggested it might make an interesting thesis topic...)

    Gooserider
  5. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    "This leads to the two extremes of splitting tools - the extremely fast moving featherweight axe that appears to rely on kinetic energy, vs. the super heavy “Monster Maul” that moves slower but has a lot more momentum and isn’t about to let some puny log slow it down… The question is which factor matters more?" (by Gooserider)

    My vote is for the one that won't kill me I can still swing a 6 pounder a lot longer and with a lot less back pain than a 16 pounder. just my uneducated $0.02 lol
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Agreed, but I reach the opposite conclusion - I find the monster less of a strain.

    Gooserider
  7. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    I reckon that is why they make so many weights and styles of mauls. I digress I mostly use my splitter now only split some splits for kindling now with a maul and axe.
  8. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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  9. tuolumne

    tuolumne New Member

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    You are courageous to learn how to split with Elm. Elm heats up the splitter much more than the house! Personally, I use 12 pound maul with hickory handle, or the indestructable 12 pounder with all steel handle...although I wish the handle were a few inches longer on the all steel version. My wife tried a 6 pounder but it was still too heavy for her to control well. She sticks to tending the fires. As your technique improves, you will find that you can split much faster (except for the Elm) with a heavier maul. It is faster than a hydraulic splitter, quieter, and good for body and soul. Enjoy.
  10. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

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    The fact that we are splitting elm is matter of coincidence. My aunt and uncle have some ground loaded with dead elm, and I get to cut it up and burn it! :cheese: I will be burning elm untill I don't wish to burn anymore. There is also some cottonwood but not much. It mostly is all elm. Right now, we are working on one of three pits where these big elm trees were uprooted and piled up three years ago. (I need a log chain or two) Most (the vast majority) of it is still solid, while some of the smaller branches especially, are soft from rot. I am planning to cut and stack as much and as fast as I can, to get it out of the pits, to stop the waste of the free fuel for my stove! I hope to keep at least 6-10 cord up there, and another 3 here at my house. Then just keep the tops covered and keep it off the ground.

    In return for letting me cut the elm, I am helping my uncle by cutting out some small trees that are growing up around the foundations. and taking out small trees that he doesn't want. Everybody wins, and I don't buy heating oil. :)

    Really the elm isn't all that bad, once you get the knack for it. You just find a crack and whack it a few times and it pops apart pretty good. The 6 pound maul is just right! I can hit the exact same spot repeatedly! I never had that kind of control with the 8 pound tool. I have only had to use the wedge a couple of times on Y's in the branches,I say branches, but we are talking about 12 inch diameter branches! Maybe I don't think it is all that bad because I haven't split much else. I know that dry cottonwood splits with a quarter of the force, but there just aren't the BTU's in cottonwood. Works great in the grill though! :coolgrin:
  11. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

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    Update for the update,

    Handle broke on this maul also! It wasn't abused, or trying to split with the handle,etc... the head just popped off, and split the fiberglass in the handle in the process! I may have to buy an other tool I guess. :smirk: If I do have to buy another tool, it won't be a cheap one. I am done with trying to save some money, and ending up buying it two and three times. I bought a cheaper chain saw, and ended up buying the Husky, I bought a cheap maul, broke it, bought a not as cheap maul, and broke it too. I want to buy a quality tool and be done with it! My check book says I am going to try to find a handle locally for the maul I have, the lumber yard didn't have any spare fiberglass handles, I will see if the wood handles will fit. as I really shouldn't spend the money for a third maul right now. Any ideas on how to get the epoxy out of the head? If not I guess I'll be shopping again.
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well, if it was a recent purchase, I'd certainly consider taking the maul back to the place of purchase, and demanding a refund or replacement... If that isn't on for whatever reason, then one method of removing the handle remnants that I've heard suggested on occasion is to toss the head in the stove for a whle - probably not reccomended with a cat stove (I'd take it outside and use a torch instead) but should be no problem with a non-cat.

    Gooserider
  13. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

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    Thanks Goose. I got a new fiberglass handle and got it epoxied in. In 24 hours I will know if I am buying a new maul or not. I won't be using the fiberglass again after this. That was a gooy sticky mess and I really don't know if it is true or not. Epoxy everywhere!!!!!!! I will post when I have results from this little adventure. I never thought it would be such a big deal to re-handle a maul! Maybe it is allot easier with a wood handle.
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well it has been a lot of years since I had to re-handle a maul, as my monster has a steel pipe handle, and my 8lb has a fiberglass handle (I don't like things that break) - but my recollection is that wooden handles are just as much of a PITA as they require a lot of time and effort to re-shape the end of the handle to fit into the eye of the head. Different deal than using epoxy (which many people use on wooden handles as well, though there are "religious wars" about whether or not one should) but still a major headache.

    IMHO it's a matter of time and energy usage, but I would be severely tempted to just buy a new maul if the price was within $5.00 or so of a new handle, just to avoid the hassle factor.

    Gooserider
  15. marky_mark896

    marky_mark896 New Member

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    I just bought a 6# today at my local hardware store. It was a pain in the butt finding a store that even had a maul with a wooden handle. I was all over Bowling Green today and everyone had only fiberglass handles, or the freakin' monster maul with the steel handle, and I didn't figure I'd want to swing that too many times. I just went out and broke up a few of the bigger splits in my pile, and I gotta say, I love this small maul. It was turning stuff into splinters and quick. I think I could swing it all day and not get tired. I love this forum. Without you guys I'd still be trying to build my first fire in my stove :lol:. I don't know how fire was discovered without the internet...
  16. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    HI Jeffman,

    This is what I did. I got the cheapy maul at Lowes and used it to split. In those months, I saved up enough cash so that I could reward myself with a nice and fancy maul when I had the cash.

    I ultimately got a Fiskars super splitter. Nice. There are others and fancier, but so far it works. I got cheap a 8# maul later and a sledgehammer and wedges too.

    I guess what I am trying to say is to get by with the cheap stuff and then reward yourself with the good gear once you make it to a certain point, savings, etc. I paid for it all with the savings from not buying fuel oil.

    Thanks

    CarpNiels
  17. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

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    Well the epoxy holding the new fiberglass handle finally set up hard after 36 hours, but the head is a bit off of true. :red: I don't know what will happen when I start splitting again. (6 inches of snow right now) I am afraid it will put a wicked twist on the wrists at impact, but I guess time will tell. I will get the job done one way or the other. I really hope this works, at least long enough to save up enough for a quality tool.
  18. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

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    I find that the 6# maul works great for us! It has enough to carry through the bigger stuff, but is light enough to swing for more then 15 minutes. :) I have way more accuracy with it then the 8# tool I started with.
  19. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

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    Well, I was right. As soon as the edge of the maul hit the wood, it laid over and put wicked twist on my wrist! I used ice for the swelling, and Motrin for the pain. I don't think I really damaged anything, just hurts bad. I bought another maul, (same size) but a hickory handle, and a spare handle also. If I can drill out, and clean up the other head I will rehandle it, if not I have a spare handle. ;-)

    I hope this one holds up better, and if not, I have a spare handle to use.
  20. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    sorry to hear that jeff hope your wrist gets better soon.
    Battle of the elm to be continued...
  21. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

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    My wrist is better today, not 100% but well on the way, but wow it hurt that first day/evening. The new tool works just as it should. (I took it out, and split one round, my wrist isn't ready for more then that yet, maybe Sun.) Elm is tough stuff, and the learning curve is steep, but if I can split elm by hand, then I can split anything!!! The wood will not win! :lol: All will work out in the end. The biggest factor in all this is I haven't turned on the furnace since we got the stove. :coolsmile:
  22. enviro max sucker

    enviro max sucker New Member

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    The very best time to split your Elm is when it has been about 40 below for a couple of days and nites. Elm splits great when it is frozen solid.


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