How big a sledge hammer? How many wedges?

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TreePapa

Minister of Fire
Dec 24, 2008
612
Southern Calif.
Since I don't wanna be renting a splitter more than 1/x year if I can help it, and since some larger rounds (like green pine) laugh at my attemps with a maul, I need to buy another sledge hammer. Maybe 2. My old sledge had a 6 pound head and just didn't really generate enough force on the wedge. I'll still get another handle for it (old one basically shattered), but I'm also gonna get a larger sledge w/ fiberlass handle. What I'm trying to decide is how heavy a sledge hammer to get. Will the 8-pounder give me enough force or should I jump right to the 10? As a 52-yr old desk jockey, I'm not too sure of my ability to get the 10-pounder moving enough.

Also, I have one 5 # wedge that's in good shape (recently purchased at yard sale, appears never to have been used), a 4 # w/ a mushroomed head, and one of those gold-colored funny ones ("wood grenade"?). For guys who split larger wood w/ wedges, how many wedges do you have / use?

Peace,
- Sequoia
 

zzr7ky

Minister of Fire
Jun 12, 2006
1,053
Hi -

I'm 47 and 175#... I like an 8# maul. I also like an old Ganddy Dancer (sp?) that I inherited, it's a longer sledge that was used to drive RR spikes. I also have an 8#, and a 20# maul. The 20# has accounted for several broken ribs over the years 9not mine). I wouldn't go over 10#.

Good luck!
Mike
 

crazy_dan

New Member
Dec 26, 2007
857
Missouri
I use a 6 pound sledge and I have 4 wedges (guess I should have read more completely) I also have an 8 pounder but I do not like to swing it much tires me out way faster.
but I only use them if the round is too big and heavy for me to get it on the trailer/pickup to get it out of the woods, at home i use a hydrolic maul
 

wellbuilt home

Minister of Fire
Jul 6, 2008
532
NY
Ill tell ya , A large maul 15 or 20 lbs works great . You make one swing and you get a split . I never used a wedge . I have a 27 ton splitter but only use it for large rounds 12" rounds i split with the maul .
 

RAY_PA

Feeling the Heat
May 13, 2008
319
Northeastern PA
wellbuilt home said:
Ill tell ya , A large maul 15 or 20 lbs works great . You make one swing and you get a split.
You related to that Paul Bunyan fella???!!!
 

Scrounger

Member
Feb 13, 2007
143
Rockford, MI
I use an 8 pound maul or an 8 pound sledge. I have 3 wedges.

What you really need to do is get rid of the mushroomed end on your wedge. Small pieces of metal are eventually going to come flying off. You don't want one embedded in your skin, or worse, your eye. Grind or cut the mushroom off the end before you use it next time.
 

TreePapa

Minister of Fire
Dec 24, 2008
612
Southern Calif.
Scrounger said:
I use an 8 pound maul or an 8 pound sledge. I have 3 wedges.

What you really need to do is get rid of the mushroomed end on your wedge. Small pieces of metal are eventually going to come flying off. You don't want one embedded in your skin, or worse, your eye. Grind or cut the mushroom off the end before you use it next time.
I was wondering whether I should grind the mushroomed edges off that wedge or just get rid of it. I guess I'll take a shot at grinding it off. I don't have a bench grinder, only an angle grinder, but that should work okay if I can clamp the wedge securely to my worktable.

And it looks like the 8 # sledge is the consensus, so that's what I'm gonna pickup, along with a new handle for the 6 # (if I haven't lost the head).

Peace,
- Sequoia

edit: since I don't resemble Paul Bunyon very much, I'll pass on the 20# maul, thank you.
 

mayhem

Minister of Fire
May 8, 2007
1,937
Peru, MA
6# maul, 8# sledge, wood grenade and a standard wedge or two for when the grenade gets embedded in somehting big and stringy.

For anyhting up to about 10" or so I use my chopping axe, its a super sharp double headed sucker that just goes right through most rounds...for bigger or tougher stuff I'll use the maul and only use the sledge when I really need it.
 

TreePapa

Minister of Fire
Dec 24, 2008
612
Southern Calif.
mayhem said:
For anyhting up to about 10" or so I use my chopping axe, its a super sharp double headed sucker that just goes right through most rounds...for bigger or tougher stuff I'll use the maul and only use the sledge when I really need it.
I tried to split a 10" very green pine round ('bout 14" long) the other day. The supersplitter maul just bit into the center and did nothing - several times. I was able to break off a couple of slabs (about 1" to 2"), but then I set it aside for when I get a sledge hammer for the wedges, which I'm hoping will do better on this green pine. The axe did fine on the green ash (green as in both freshly cut and the variety of tree).
 

computeruser

Feeling the Heat
Jan 16, 2007
373
East Lansing, MI
An 8lb sledge should do it. You might also want to add a megamaul to your collection (such as the one made by Iron&Oak;). I find it does a great job on stuff that would otherwise require a wedge-and-sledge approach, and it tends not to get stuck.
 

Rich M

New Member
Aug 22, 2006
159
NW Lower Michigan
8lb sledge has always been best for me, same for the maul. More is too tiring, less doesn't hit hard enough. I have 2 wedges and it's always been enough but I've had some close calls. 3 would probably better just in case.
 

TreePapa

Minister of Fire
Dec 24, 2008
612
Southern Calif.
computeruser said:
An 8lb sledge should do it. You might also want to add a megamaul to your collection (such as the one made by Iron&Oak;). I find it does a great job on stuff that would otherwise require a wedge-and-sledge approach, and it tends not to get stuck.
Yeah, the monster maul / mega maul is on my shopping list. I've been a bit concerned about the overall weight, but a 10 # mega maul isn't that much heavier than an 8 # sledge. I wish I could try one out ... or at least pick it up, but I don't know anyone 'round here who has one (okay, I don't know anyone 'round here who splits wood, other than the tree and firewood guys) and I don't know if there's anywhere near here that sells them, retail. Iron & Oak lists 153 dealers in Calif., but most of them are in places I'd like to be (like Sebastopol, Calistoga, and Paradise Pines) as opposed to where I actually am.

Still, from what I've read, a mega maul might help me rent a hydraulic splitter less often, so that's a plus.

Quesiton on splitting big rounds w/ wedge or maul: smaller logs I put on my splitting stump before splitting, but big for rounds that's not practical, so they stay on the ground. My question is "concrete or dirt?" I've always split on the driveway 'cuz that's most convenient, but is there any advantage to having the big rounds on dirt instead?

Peace,
- Sequoia
 

savageactor7

Minister of Fire
Jan 25, 2008
3,732
CNY
^ concrete is better...dirt will absorb/re-distribute the energy of the blow.
 

Gooserider

Mod Emeritus
Nov 20, 2006
6,737
Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
Concrete will do a better job of not soaking up the energy of the hit, but you will do a lot more damage to the edges of your maul / wedges when you go through, plus the risk of damaging the concrete... For that reason I'd prefer to stick with dirt...

Gooserider
 

Spikem

Feeling the Heat
Nov 2, 2008
251
Middleboro, MA, USA
Is there a "best place" to pick up these mauls?

Or just Home Cheapo, Lowes, etc?
 

Gooserider

Mod Emeritus
Nov 20, 2006
6,737
Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
Spikem said:
Is there a "best place" to pick up these mauls?

Or just Home Cheapo, Lowes, etc?
Far as I'm concerned go for the best price / value source - probably your favorite "big box"... Possibly it'd be worth something to get a breakage warranty on the handle, but we aren't talking a high precision tool here... Axes and such may have more reasons to pick a fancy brand, but for a sledge / maul you are talking about a hunk of metal on a stick, and there aren't that many fine points to the design to justify a fancy brand price...

Gooserider
 

TreePapa

Minister of Fire
Dec 24, 2008
612
Southern Calif.
For me, the best place and the place I'll go first is the local Ace / True Value hardware store. You know, the one that's been there for 40 + years and used to be Mom & Pop hardware. I may pay a few buck$ more, but supporting a local biz vs. giving $ to the big box stores is worth it to me. Plus they know the difference between their donkey and a large crater.

Peace,
- Sequoia
 
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