1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Wood splitting tool questions

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by lfunk11, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. lfunk11

    lfunk11 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    99
    Loc:
    Morgantown, WV
    I have read just about every thread in this section since I came here since before I bought my house last year I don't think I ever split a piece of wood, used a chainsaw, or knew what a maul was. So now after nearly a year I still think there are some things I need to figure out.

    1. I initially bought the axe below. This is a dumb question, but what should I be using this axe for? I have a chainsaw and I can't imagine people still cut trees down by hand? It does not seem to be any better than what I bought below (#2) so I can't figure out what to use it for.

    Axe - http://www.lowes.com/pd_274941-302-...67&Ntt=axe&pl=1&currentURL;=/pl__0__s?Ntt=axe

    2. I then bought this "Super wood splitter" thinking this is what I should be using. I have a sledge hammer that I use in conjunction with this to get the big rounds in half and while the end of this has taken a beating it has not shown any signs of breaking. I have hand split roughly 4 cords so far.

    http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay...gId=10051&cmRelshp=sim&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

    3. I see many people using the Firskars Super Splitting axe, but if I got one is it going to help me at all over the "Super wood splitter" I have? I realize it is likely a better product, but will it make that much of a difference?

    http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-7854-...2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1287506183&sr=1-2

    4. I guess I do not have a true maul so should I get an 8lb maul?

    5. What advantages are there to using wedges? I do not have any, but I have not had any pieces of wood I wasn't able to get split. Is it just easier?

    I want to get a splitter, but at $1K+ it might be another year or two so until then I don't want to kill myself doing this all by hand.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    923
    Loc:
    Dutchess Cty, NY
    This is really a user preference type of question/answer...

    When I split by hand (now use the Huskee 22 ton which I ended up getting because I hurt my shoulder splitting) I started with a 6lb maul and sledge/wedges. Then read about the Fiskars here and got one, loved it and ended up using it for 95% of what I split. Used the sledge/wedges to break open that tough round you come across. I found the Fiskars to really work well and its light so I could last longer before wearing out. I think a 8lb maul is very effective too but swinging that for an extended period is more of a workout than I care for. If I was starting out to split by hand now I would start with a Fiskars, most people probably have a sledge so getting a couple wedges would make sense.

    A point to consider on the Hydraulic splitters. I spent about a year looking for used ones locally and didnt find many and those I found were not discounted much at all off the original price. They really hold their value as long as they are maintained and stay functional. That was a big selling point for me laying out the $1k knowing if I needed or wanted too I could recoup a good portion of my investment. Then I stumbled into a great deal. Based on what I learned on this forum (Gear page for this) there was a strong level of support for the Huskee 22 ton from Tractor Supply that reg price is $1100 and goes on sale for $1000 often. I decided to go see one at the TS store. They had an outside lot with a pretty big supply of their different splitters, while walking around checking them out I came across two of them that had stickers marking them as repaired and the paper work saying what the repair was for. One had a hydraulic problem and the other claimed to have a "sticky lever". Both look brand new. Went and found a store guy to start it up and found it to be fine. Went inside and asked what kind of discount I could get since it was a repaired unit. They gave me 25% off the sale price - got it for $750 w/full warranty. Have had it for a year now. Split somewhere around 12 cords with it. Splits everything. I did have a hose leak that I had to repair but that wasnt a big deal to fix. I have no desire to sell it but I bet I could get darn close to all my money back if I did. My Fiskars, 6 lb maul and sledge/wedge are somewhere in my garage collecting dust.
  3. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Messages:
    1,449
    Loc:
    MAINE
    after reading raves about the Fiskars & wondering why , I finally saw it. The funny shaped head looks engineered to allow for max speed by shaving weight off the back end. It is essentially a maul, well engineered. I dont split wood so this is an objective opinion. Post a question specifically about Fiskars & u'll read the raves.
  4. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    4,164
    Loc:
    Central PA
    I split all of my wood by hand, and in the past couple of years I have split maybe 20 cords of wood (only 12 or so are stacked out back, the rest was at camp). Anyway, I have an 8 pound maul and a Fiskars Splitting Axe (not the Super splitter). I use the maul for most of my splitting because it carries a little more energy into the wood and because I enjoy the workout. I use the Fiskars, which at 2.5 or 3.5 lbs with a broadened head is about the same as the super wood splitter you have, at camp because I can use it both to cut wood to length and to split. I think I could get along with just the Fiskars, but I like having both so I can occasionally change tools, just for variety.

    To answer your questions:
    1. I am not sure what you need a regular axe for. You could cut wood to length, but like you say, nobody does much of that anymore. It could split wood, but the super splitter is probably a lot better.
    2. I think you're using the super splitter ax correctly. It will do most of the splitting if you choose.
    3. I doubt the fiskars super splitter is a big enough improvement to run out and buy one. If you need a replacement I'd choose the Fiskars, but not until then.
    4. I'd get a maul because it will split large pieces a little easier, than a splitting axe. Not necessary, but nice to have. I am an average size guy and can easily handle an 8 lb maul. Mine is just the typical hardware store variety. A handle guard for a wood handle is worth the money.
  5. lfunk11

    lfunk11 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    99
    Loc:
    Morgantown, WV
    thanks for the replies - I might try a maul at some point, but I get tired as it is with what I have. Its not the splitting - its the moving wood around and finally getting it to the stacks. My back usually starts hurting first. If someone set up the logs and I didn't have to do anything else besides swing the axe/maul I could do it all day. Bending over to pick things up is what gets to me and why I will eventually get a splitter. I think I am going to need a cheap ATV at some point as well to move stuff around the property. I don't mind the exercise, but I have a million other projects I have put off since I have been spending so much time with the wood duties. I suspect next year it will be less time consuming though.
  6. Georgiadave

    Georgiadave New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    22
    Loc:
    Marietta, Georgia
    I like to take an axe with me when cutting, as occasionally I get the saw stuck and with the axe, I can cut the saw free.
  7. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Axes are for shaving

    Moster Mauls are for spliting 85% of firewood

    Leave whatever of the remaining 15% you can't get into the furnace in a pile. Great for those days when you are in a foul mood. Use two wedges and a 16# sledge. You'll soon be too tired to be foul.
  8. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    I got a hydraulic splitter last winter.
    But I sometimes still hand split.
    I like the maul & I use a tire to hold it up. Only have to bend over once.

    I agree a helper is nice, even with a hydraulic splitter. But that's rare for me to have.

    I found it to be a good exercise program, split some stack some.
    Now that my back is an issue, using the hydraulic splitter "vertical" is nice.
    But I still have to eventually pick up & stack.

    Axe is camping equipment. Useful when a chain saw is not handy.

    For hand splitting, a tire on a stump helps:

    Attached Files:

  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    A regular axe; what is it used for? For many, many moons that is all I ever used to split wood. Now I use it mainly for marking lengths of the logs I cut (just score the log with the axe; keep it sharp). I also use it to trim some small limbs rather than using the chain saw.

    Let me add here: A single bit axe is not to be hammered on to split wood!

    Lots of folks love the Fiskars. I have never used one so maybe I should not advise, but I will say they do not impress me and the handle is way too short.

    A six or eight pound splitting maul works well for splitting wood.

    A sledge and a pair or even better, 3 wedges works great for the toughest splitting wood. Sometimes you will find that you drive a wedge all the way in and the log doesn't split. What do you do then? Take a pair of wedges, put them together and drive down evenly just a short distance from the sunken wedge. You can drive them down until you get the other wedge out or continue to drive them down, thus, splitting the wood as you go. You can also just try driving one wedge in beside the sunken wedge. Whatever you do, be aware that those wedges will get some burrs on the edges after beating on them for a while. Be aware that those can fly off and should they hit someone will do much body damage. If the edges get beat up, grind them off before anything bad happens.


    I can relate to your problem with the back as I went through much the same. I will say that the very first time I split with a hydraulic splitter I immediately wondered why on God's green Earth I waited so long to buy one. Ours is just a 20 ton, but it splits everything we need splitting....and we split elm every year. As for your splitting now, experiment with your splitting. Does it split easier on the edge or through the heart? Find out for each type of wood.

    Good luck to you.
  10. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
  11. lfunk11

    lfunk11 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    99
    Loc:
    Morgantown, WV
    I have learned not strike the center of the wood and go for the outer bands. I can't remember where I saw that, but it has helped a great deal. I have tried things to keep the wood standing up, but I have so many different sizes of wood it seems to be more hassle than its worth. I also tend to split the wood wherever it is and then haul it back to the stacks and thus I try to only carry what I need around our property. We only have 2 acres, but with the slope it seems like 5 :).

    I think I might get a wedge or two and see how that goes. I am a bit upset that I bought that axe since I doubt I am going to be using it. I guess it can be an emergency splitter if I need it. I have been out after work the last few days and have cut, split, and stacked a cord of wood so its going much faster than before. The roughest part is getting the wood to the stacks with the wheelbarrow since I am always going up hill. I think I might build a wood shed somewhere on the lower part of the property - that would make more sense :).

    I still have a bunch of wood left to split ~ 2 cords? I also have downed trees on our property that I want to get to and also smaller trees that are down after I put in a swingset for the kids. After that there are 2-3 standing dead trees on the lot next to ours that need to come down since I am worried they could hit our house if they fell. Once I get them down there are several trees on my lot that may need to come down, but I will have to post some pics for people here to get their opinion. Some of the bark has come off them, but they still have leaves and look fine. I guess its a never ending process - man do I need a splitter.
  12. wood-fan-atic

    wood-fan-atic New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    870
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    A sore back is the woodburners 'cross' we have to bare. Its the price we pay to keep our families warm- and aren't they worth it?. I'm willing to pay- so off to the pile I go. :p
  13. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,732
    Loc:
    Just Outside the Blue Line
    The other day I got the Fiskars stuck in a hickory round. Those dang wings are like fishhooks inside the split. I got down on my knees and started to yank and pull, and finally it came out all at once.

    Problem was I had two fingers of my left hand in the open crack. Man that hickory is strong stuff! Learned three new curse words and how to dance all at the same time.
  14. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    776
    Loc:
    SE PA
    Fiskar's makes a wonderfully sharp axe that is lightweight, agile, and capable of peeling apart hardwood. It will absolutely demolish 12" thick rounds of any wood I've found. When moving up to, say, 36" round ash, you need to use it to "peel" the wood - it doesn't have the mass to break it apart when you hit some of the center mass of the wood, like a heavy maul will.

    I was trying to add two of these, but after I ordered them they went out of stock: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000AX12D/ref=oss_product

    Can anyone name an awesome "wood grenade" available online or in stores?
  15. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,515
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    I've used just wedges and a short handled maul to tap on them with on red oak.


    Swinging a splitter axe was too much on my lower back for a while and tugging a stuck one out of a round was even tougher.
  16. geoffm24

    geoffm24 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Loc:
    Western MA
    So far I split all my wood by hand. I used to use a splitting axe and an 8 pound maul but I recently got a Fiskars Pro splitter and it is what I use 95% of the time now. I with use the maul, wedges and a sledge on some of the really tough pieces. I find that the fiskars is so much easier to use and I can go much longer without wearing out my back.
  17. chumby

    chumby New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Loc:
    Hartland, Maine
    I used an ax to get a stuck saw out of a cut when my other saw was in the shop. Otherwise, it has done very little.

    When I used to hand split I used a splitting ax. When the piece was too belligerent I would switch to wedges and an 8 pound maul. I have since purchased a hydraulic splitter.

    Perhaps you can stack all of your rounds beforehand and rent a hydraulic splitter for a few days. I believe the going price around here is $50 per day.

Share This Page