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Splitting technique, sorta

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by bluedogz, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    OK, gang... here goes...

    As many of you know, I face a splitting challenge. My current technique is as follows:
    - Stand 8* maul next to my left hip, butt down, holding just below head with left hand.
    - Lift maul head straight up past my ear, let momentum carry it upwards until the handle lands in my left hand, extend left arm upward as far as it'll go (which isn't far), so the maul is kind of in a Statue-of-Liberty position in my left hand
    - Let maul sort of fall downwards, directing with left hand to splitting face.

    As you can see, it is challenging to add any force to the maul's swing. I have had good luck splitting smaller rounds (less than 8" or so) but anything bigger has been frustrating. The maul tends to just bounce off.

    Any suggestions as to technique would be welcome.

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Use that electric splitter more!

    pen
  3. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    Oh, yeah... I sold it, pending the move to... ulp... Phoenix.
  4. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Would you be better off going with an ax as oppose to the heavy maul?

    I sometimes get better swings when I can whip the ax around as oppose to the slower movement of the maul.

    Also, have you thought about some kettlebell exercises to build up strength for such a task?
  5. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    Ax- perhaps a good and inexpensive idea. I also have a wedge and wood grenade that I can use with a 3* maul, but it just doesn't feel...manly.

    I have THOUGHT about a lot of exercises. I THINK about kettlebell exercises enough that I get tired; I think about all kinds of stuff.
  6. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Have you tried a Fiskars? I wonder if the 4# head would be easier for you to use. You'd get less help from gravity, but more force in the swing.
  7. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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  8. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    pen likes this.
  9. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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  10. wh401

    wh401 New Member

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    Sounds like you need a few splitting wedges. I'm splitting 36" diameter pieces of hickory with a maul and 2 wedges, without them it wouldn't happen. Once they get down small enough, say 12" - 16" in diameter, I can then split them with the X25.
  11. Kevin*

    Kevin* Burning Hunk

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    Saw this one at the local stove store, would think it would be better since it's attached to the spliter log.
  12. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I am having trouble as well going threw bigger rounds as well i do fine on smaller ones.
  13. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Interesting ergonomics problem. Any chance you can do a 'roundhouse' with that sucker? Maybe start swinging the maul back and forth at the 6 o'clock position, gaining momentum back-and-forth, like a kid on a swing. Finally on one back swing, crank it all the way around, up over your head and down into the wood? That would at least give you almost a full rotation to put energy into the swing instead of 90º from straight up to horizontal.

    Aiming for the edge of the log and allowing the maul to hit nearly parallel to the growth rings to cleave off a slab of wood also helps in big rounds.
  14. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    Fair question... I figured that accuracy was better than power, kind of like a golf swing, so I never tried a big ol' roundhouse. TBH, if I tried that I am not sure I could guarantee hitting the round at all, much less being parallel to the growth rings.

    Oh, yeah, the other reason is that, while my right arm is MIA, my left shoulder is entirely held together by plates and screws. Raising my arm to screw in a lightbulb is difficult, roundhousing the 8* maul might have... consequences.
  15. mesuno

    mesuno Member

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    Why use such a heavy maul in the first place? I use an axe for everything - I'm not sure the exact weight but probably no more than 4lbs, probably less. You can get real speed up with those and the momentum does the work then. The idea of lifting something like that beast you describe over and over just doesn't sound fun, but I can swing my axe for hours.
  16. Shane N

    Shane N Feeling the Heat

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    I'm new to splitting, but I've noticed that it is a lot easier when you work your way in from the edges with the bigger ones. Usually 3 hits at most to split a bigger round. One from the far edge, one on the near edge, and one down the middle to finish it. I find that if I go straight for the middle the first time, that I get the same bounce you are talking about.
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  17. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Try a 6 lb maul, with an 20" handle.
    Maybe start with 24" & cut the handle until you find the length that works best for you.
    Should develop pretty good maul head speed one handed.

    Work on your knees, being closer, more accurate for me.
    I sometimes do kindling on my knees.
  18. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    I had been considering cutting the handle down; actually, I'd looked for shorter hickory handles and found they cost more than the maul!

    So you're saying put the round on the ground instead of my splitting stump?
    I'll have to hide every video camera in the house before I turn up on YouTube.
  19. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I spent many years thinking swinging hard was the way to split wood.
    Then my back stopped that. I learned swinging smart worked much better more accurate,
    When I split by hand now, straight up & straight down, hit the round where it will split is much better than hitting it extra hard where it won't ;)
    Quads had a video that showed it really good. Like golf, it's more technique than power.
    Throw an old tire over the round to save hitting the ground ;)
    Old piece of ply wood on concrete will help stop the ground from absorbing much of the energy.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  20. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    I notice you did not offer the reassurance that you won't put me on YouTube.
  21. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Never need to worry about me doing that.::P
    IMO that would have to be your choice.
    I think you are comfortable in your own skin, wouldn't bother you if you put it there ;) :)
  22. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I'm betting you do a heck of a lot better with your "good" arm than I can do with any single one of mine. That said, I can split some serious wood with just a fiskars x-11 (the 17 inch splitting axe) and one arm. Have you tried one of those? Maybe you'd even be able to handle the x-15 (the 23.5 inch version)?

    pen
  23. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

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    I've split some pretty big rounds (20" - 24") with my Fiskars X25. Often times, one blow will do it, other times it might take 2 or 3 blows before it splits. Once you get to half and quarter rounds, it's very easy work. I know some folks don't care for this tool but I've had very good results with it. Much easier than any of the video tools shown in some of these postings.
  24. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    Well, color me ignorant! I did not know there was a 23.5-inch Fiskars available! That would make the swinging a LOT easier! Even the X-11 might be a good idea.

    Thanks, guys... now my Xmas list is complete.
  25. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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