# confused Axe/maul

Posted By n3pro, Aug 16, 2010 at 2:14 AM

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1. #26

### fossil Accidental Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Sep 30, 2007
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Makes sense to me. I only ever split atop a splitting round, and never work out in the woods. We don't even have woods. Rick

2. #27

### midwestcoast Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Oct 9, 2009
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"Inertia" would actually be momentum (force) no? Same ole' argument of mass vs velocity to create kinetic energy. One isn't better then the other if you can get to the same amount of force on impact.
I still say splitting on dirt dulls an axe too quick.

3. #28

### vvvv New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Feb 23, 2010
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never seen the fiskars, thanx. ive read that the speed of the head when it hits the wood is the most critical factor. the fiskar design suggests that they've reduced the weight of the head so to allow for greater speed. ithinx

4. #29

### oldspark Guest 2. ```NULL ```

Why kill your self, try it some time and it is a noticable difference.

5. #30

### Battenkiller Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 26, 2009
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Technically, no, but I sort of misused the term. The inertia is actually in the block you are trying to split. Regarding the maul, I really meant its momentum, which is not the same thing as force. Momentum is MV (mass times velocity), whereas kinetic energy is 1/2 MV^2. The combination of a low block, a long handle and a tall man all combine to give more time to accelerate the head of the maul. If you can achieve the same velocity, the more massive object will overcome the inertia of the block and carry on through to the ground. The lighter head on the axe will have more of its momentum absorbed by the block before it has a chance to penetrate. If you can create almost as much velocity with the maul as you can the axe, the increased mass may still carry greater momentum.

In quads' case, his long experience has created an economy of motion that allows him to quickly and deftly raise the maul and then begin the acceleration immediately. Almost poetic, really. Wish I had that skill, but I ain't gonna start working at it at my age.

6. #31

### fossil Accidental Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Sep 30, 2007
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Actually, I think it's a good deal more complicated than even that. Yes, you can calculate (if you have enough data) the kinetic energy of whatever tool you choose, in whatever geometric configuration you want to assume, and have an accurate picture of the energy available in the system as the tool strikes the target. What happens next depends on many variables...hardness of the target, geometry of the striking head, angle of impact, substrate beneath the target...where does the energy go? Any energy that doesn't go directly into causing the target to split is "wasted" energy. Personally, I think the geometry of the striking head is a significant factor in putting the available energy to work in the most effective manner. But there are lots of other considerations, as well...as we've seen in this discussion. For example, some splitting conditions are just not conducive to maintaining the striking head geometry of relatively "fragile" tools. Rick

7. #32

### vvvv New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Feb 23, 2010
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http://www.woodheat.org/firewood/splitting.htm read the preparation part which discusses mass vs speed"Use a six-pound maul rather than the eight or ten-pound models. A lighter maul can be swung much FASTER. Velocity is more important than mass in producing results. Perhaps this is related to the laws of physics, which state that energy is proportional to the SQUARE of velocity, but only DIRECTLY proportional to mass. Thus, the maul head should be traveling as fast as possible when it strikes the wood. It takes a very strong person to properly accelerate a large maul.

8. #33

### Battenkiller Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 26, 2009
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Without sufficient mass, you'll get nothing. Look at a hydraulic splitter. 20 tons of very slow moving force does the trick ever time.

9. #34

### Battenkiller Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

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Rick, I think I remember reading you are an engineer, so I'm not trying to give a physics lesson. I'm just reducing the easily analyzable components in a way that may help explain what might be going on. Sure, in a real life situation there are many other variables, and what works for one guy won't necessarily work for another guy. At any rate, like burning itself, it's all interesting to dissect. In the end, it all ends up as ashes in the garden. ;-)

These discussions remind me of the pissing matches on gun forums, about "knock down power" and "stopping power", and arguments about momentum and velocity and kinetic energy, etc. The only one who's sure about it all is the animal that gets whacked by the bullet.

10. #35

### vvvv New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Feb 23, 2010
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ya but dont it make u wonder why the fiskar head is designed the way it is! fancy?

11. #36

### EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Jul 12, 2006
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You mean like a wedge? They are all wedges, different weights, angles, lengths of handle, etc. But they are all wedges.

Matt

12. #37

### fossil Accidental Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

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Yeah...Mechanical Engineer...and I'm not arguing, in any sense of the word, just adding a comment or two to the discussion. I really appreciate your grasp of the principles. Physics is like the closest thing I have to a religion. For all of its seeming simplicity on the surface, splitting a piece of wood is actually a pretty complex thing to analyze. It's one of those problems where a whole lot of initial conditions and assumptions would have to be specified, and then a model constructed and solved for the desired unknown. Either that, or you're gonna have to set up a set of simultaneous partial differential equations...or model the process using finite element analysis and buy some time on a supercomputer. More fun just to toss around our experiences and speculate. (and cheaper) ;-P Rick

13. #38

### Battenkiller Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

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:lol:

I just love it. Rick, some of my best friends are mechanical engineers. Learned more from them than any college physics course.

Yeah, real life is sure complex. I got into these kind of discussions all the time on a canoeing board I used to frequent. Guys would hypothesize the darnedest things, and because of their vast paddling experience compared to mine, I'd go ahead and believe them. That is, until I thought about it a bit.

One of the world's leading canoe designers used to come on the board sometimes and set everybody straight. He was a trained naval architect, and he would reduce everything into simple terms, but always acknowledged that there were many contributing factors that always reared their ugly heads - particularly when analyzing small watercraft - that made straightforward analysis difficult. He coined a term for all our crazy theories. Canoe Physics. It was a special branch of physics where all of our wacky notions were actually true. I morphed the term into something more when I told folks there that my specialty was "quantum canoe physics". People that weren't following the boat design discussions would read that and say, "Wow, pretty cool. Never even heard of it." Most of them still think I'm a quantum physicist who specializes in canoe design.

14. #39

### fossil Accidental Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Sep 30, 2007
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I'm sure we could get into high energy subatomic wood splitting theory. Maybe I'll build a Super Splitting Wood Collider. :coolsmirk: Rick

15. #40

### EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

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I could build one of them... It would look something like a group of molecules that make up a fluid that doesn't like to compress. It would be pumped into a cylinder and push a piston forward...

Matt

16. #41

### fossil Accidental Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Sep 30, 2007
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Oh, c'mon, Matt...you need to be thinkin' speed of light here. :ahhh:

17. #42

### Battenkiller Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 26, 2009
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I propose using a type of linear accelerator to do the job. Positively charged rounds of wood would be placed inside a tube, and an electron beam could be generated just ahead of the position of the wood at any given time. This would draw the round toward it because of the attraction of the opposite charges. When the wood reached sufficient velocity, it would collide with a massive 4-way wedge that was mounted at the terminus of the tube.

I have calculated that using only a series of photovoltaic cells, a 40-pound round could be accelerated to about 30 ft/sec inside a tube of a mere 600 miles in length. Coincidentally, this is just about the distance from my house to Backwoods Savage's house. I suggest that Dennis drop nice rounds from his dying white ash trees into the tube and I will collect the splits pieces here. Once a year, he can stop by on his way to the Woodstock plant and pick up his share.

18. #43

### quads Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 19, 2005
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Ha ha! You guys! I just go out in the woods and hit it...

19. #44

### Jags Moderate Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

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You would also have to devoid the tube of oxygen because the speed would inevitably cause spontaneous combustion.

I'm with Quads - just whack the sucker.

20. #45

### firefighterjake Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Jul 22, 2008
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I think this line should either be in your signature . . . or on a T-shirt. Hell, I'd buy a T-shirt and wear one that said, "I'm with Quads -- just whack the sucker!"

21. #46

### Jags Moderate Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Aug 2, 2006
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Hows that Jake?

22. #47

### vvvv New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Feb 23, 2010
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& very appropriate u guys wear "just whack the sucker" teeshirts!

23. #48

### Danno77 Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Oct 27, 2008
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I think that something important that people are forgetting is how fast limits and how big limits.

I can swing a fiskars faster than a maul, but it is fast enough to compensate for the mass it's lacking. or another way to say it is I can swing an 8lb maul pretty fast, but does it's mass make up for the speed it's lacking? A man who is extremely strong may swing a fiskars extremely fast, but because the 8lb maul ONLY weighs four more pounds, he may be able to swing the maul equally fast. A very weak man may be able to swing a fiskars with some speed, but not even be able to pick up an 8lb maul.

I can swing an axe faster than a fiskars. If they made 20lb mauls, I don't think I could swing a 20lb one faster than a 25lb one.

24. #49

### Battenkiller Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 26, 2009
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That 'cause Tarzan no unnerstan quantum tingie.

It's a moot point anyway. When Dennis found out this would be a horizontal splitter, he refused to get involved.

25. #50

### Battenkiller Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 26, 2009
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It's like the old "Bruce Lee vs. Ali" arguments martial artists used to get into. The 5'6", 135 pound Lee would destroy Ali because he could generate so much speed at the end of his punch that the energy he delivered would cause incredible internal damage (so the story goes), even on a big man like Ali. My feeling was, "Bruce should be glad he died before he ever had to prove that point."

Big and fast is always the most effective way to go. If you have the goods to deliver it, your name can be "Tarzan" as well.