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Wedge Placement to split a large round - softwood this case

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Jerry_NJ, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Shane N

    Shane N Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    330
    Loc:
    West Central MN
    I've tried both the Fiskars and your standard 8lb maul. For me, the Fiskars works better. Keep in mind you've been using the old school tools for a long time. You know them well, and know how to use them the best for your needs. I'm new to this, and I found that the Fiskars was easier to get started with, didn't fatigue me as easily, and splits just as good.

    Each to their own.

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Feb 14, 2007
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    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Use it. If it works, don't try to fix it....unless you find something better.
    Shane N likes this.
  3. Shane N

    Shane N Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    330
    Loc:
    West Central MN
    Wise words :)
  4. Bspring

    Bspring Feeling the Heat

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    Aug 3, 2007
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    304
    Loc:
    Greenville, SC
    I use the fiskars and a 8 pound maul on a regular basis. If I am working with soft maple or red oak I will use the fiskars. More difficult woods or green knotty pine I use the maul. If I could only have one I would use the maul because I can drive a wedge with it.
  5. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
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    1,037
    Loc:
    New Jersey USA
    Checking in, seems I may have missed email notice on the last few replies, or my memory is worse than I think : (

    I trying to apply the good advice here, and I read the good text "book" pointed to in this thread... it is fun reading I think even if nothing is learned. The author has a very down-to-earth style of speaking/writing.

    So, before buying a Fiskar (still a possibility and under $50 for the X27 36") I decided to try sharpening. First I took my traditional wedge and sharpened it with a hand file (I may need to get better files, I've read buy only Nicholson - USA made, still?). It is still not sharp, but the edge has a smoother edge. I then went with this one improvement with my 8# (I think, feels like 20#) maul, the sharpened wedge and my cone shaped wedge. I took also the strategy to "peel" the large rounds, using one as a work table. First I gave a few good whacks (good for me anyway, maul started from directly over my head) with the dull maul. It didn't accomplish anything I could see, not even any cracks and very little in the way of dents. So I took the much sharper wedge and tried to start it into the round a few inches in from the edge. I positioned the wedge so that the bit length was aligned (tangent to) the growth rings. A few light taps with the maul made me conclude the wedge was indeed not very sharp and I decided to use the cone wedge. It started very easily and while it was easy to drive for the first 2/3 of its length the steep widening near the top made additional progress very slow, but controlled. I didn't count but will estimate I hit the cone wedge more than 5 times, good square hits too, they were. Starting each round this way resulted in either a side of the round splitting away or the round split approximately through the heart. In either case I was able to split those pieces with much less effort and could in many splits accomplish a split with one hit of the maul. I add that in the process I also sharpened the maul, using a grinding wheel and a file.

    I'm still interested in getting a Fiskar, but have not yet taken a purchase step.

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