Maul Handles and Shock Transmission

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SPhill

New Member
I searched every thread I could find on "Best Maul" etc. Most not surprisingly, are about which maul splits the best. My question is a little different.

I have been splitting with a True Temper Lickety Splitter -- the reincarnation of the Monster Maul -- it's a honkin' wedge, welded on a steel pipe. Man, does it split; splitting is not my problem -- but shock transmission through the steel handle is. After an hour or two of slamming iron into wood, my wrists need a couple days off. So I'm looking for a handle material that will absorb more shock. Research has led me to these three:

Wood handle: The Stihl PA-80 is a 6.6 pounder with a hickory wood handle. The price is a shock of another kind, but it would likely survive through the generations until the great-great-grandchildren hang it as an heirloom above the plutonium fired, nuclear stove. (Will they send the boys out back to split atoms?)

Fiberglass handle: The True Temper Total Control is an 8 pounder with a wave action, shock reducing fiberglass handle. However, more than a few reviewers seemed to complain that the handle fractured in short order.

Then there is FiberComp....something? The Fiskars X27 is a 4 pounder with a FiberComp handle. It appears well regarded and durable, but I don't know about its shock absorption.

So 3 different head weights on different handles. Will the heaviest head generate the most shock? Any opinions on handle absorption? I'm looking for less wrist fatigue /smoother action at the expense of raw power. If anyone uses these or similar, I'd appreciate your input. Thanks.
 

SPhill

New Member
Did more research. Will see if my local Aces have the X27.
 

Freeheat

Minister of Fire
I am also looking for a maul arround the 6# range i have a true temper splitting ax but I need a good maul. I doin't think that a 4# Fiskers will do it for me but maybe I'm wrong
 

gpcollen1

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2007
2,026
Western CT
Fiberglass handles are best for the 'shock' issue but won't even come close to eliminating it. That is the main reason i don't even bother splitting by hand for fun anymore. I can feel it in my wrists and elbows too much....
 

SPhill

New Member
Thanks, I believe the Fiskars handle is a fiberglass blend -- shock absorption, but more durable than other fiberglass handles. Ordering the Fiskars X27 from my local Ace for $49.95. The Ace item number is 7268675.
 

TN_WOOD

New Member
Feb 18, 2011
13
Tennessee
samdog1 said:
Thanks, I believe the Fiskars handle is a fiberglass blend -- shock absorption, but more durable than other fiberglass handles. Ordering the Fiskars X27 from my local Ace for $49.95. The Ace item number is 7268675.

I think you done good.

None of the splitter/maul/axes are perfect, but I do prefer to use my new x27 for most of the splitting.
 

yooperdave

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2010
1,135
Michigan's U.P.
as like the op, my wrists also get sore. i have found that wearing leather gloves help. wouldn't be without them.
if your're really good, you can let go of the handle just before the head strikes the round, thus releiving the danger of any shock transfer at all!!! (just kidding)
 

Jutt77

Feeling the Heat
Dec 18, 2010
382
Evergreen, Colorado
samdog1 said:
Thanks, I believe the Fiskars handle is a fiberglass blend -- shock absorption, but more durable than other fiberglass handles. Ordering the Fiskars X27 from my local Ace for $49.95. The Ace item number is 7268675.

good call. The shock absorbsion on my x27 is a lot better than my older fiberglass handle maul.
 

FLINT

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2008
535
Western VA Mtns.
Here are my experiences.

Metal is the worst - I HATE the 'monster' type mauls. they do beat you to death and the round handles don't give you any indication of where the blade of the maul head is going to land, and if you are really going to town and not looking at each swing - I would sometimes come down on a round with the side of the head - and man, that will really shake you up. Also, somehow, I bent the metal handle on mine. I had dad take it to the scrap yard with a load of steel.

Fiberglass is almost the worst. At least on a traditional maul - or really any hand tool, I will not buy a fiberglass handle. Its hard to explain, but they just do not work as well. maybe if you are buying a shovel or maul or sledge that you are going to use once per year and want to keep it around forever, its ok. but if you are going to be using the tool on a frequent basis, wood really translates your energy into what you are doing so much better. I don't know if fiberglass flexes too much or something, but you can tell, that you are wasting your energy using it.

Wood is best. I used to be an archeologist, and literally spent my days digging holes in root-filled soil. We would occasionally break the wooden handles, so the people we were working for thought it would help us to buy us fiberglass handled shovels. Well, after a day or two using them, we tossed them and bought new wooden handled shovels. Something about the fiberglass, just doesn't work as well. I've had the same experience with fiberglass handled mauls. You can just tell that you aren't doing the work that you should/could be.

Now, the fiskars seems to be an exception. I bought a fiskars super splitter last year and love it. I don't know what it is, but they have it right.
 

Danno77

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
5,008
Hamilton, IL
I pretty much agree with FLINT. handlewise, i really like my fiskars. If I could get my 8lb maul with that fiberglass blend handle like fiskars makes, then i think I'd be in heaven. I don't know if this makes sense, but the vibrations on the fiberglass handles isn't the worst thing about them, there is something about the bending when i swing and on impact that just wears on me. Makes it feel like energy is being lost somewhere. i just don't have that problem with the fiskars or my wooden handled mauls.
 

FLINT

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2008
535
Western VA Mtns.
Danno77 said:
I pretty much agree with FLINT. handlewise, i really like my fiskars. If I could get my 8lb maul with that fiberglass blend handle like fiskars makes, then i think I'd be in heaven. I don't know if this makes sense, but the vibrations on the fiberglass handles isn't the worst thing about them, there is something about the bending when i swing and on impact that just wears on me. Makes it feel like energy is being lost somewhere. i just don't have that problem with the fiskars or my wooden handled mauls.

yeah, I think you've got it. too much flex. the fiskars handle does not flex though (at least not noticably like fiberglass)

although Hans and Frans would argue that you can never have too much flex. (old SNL joke).
 

Jutt77

Feeling the Heat
Dec 18, 2010
382
Evergreen, Colorado
FLINT said:
Now, the fiskars seems to be an exception. I bought a fiskars super splitter last year and love it. I don't know what it is, but they have it right.

Hey Flint - Do you find the fiskars handle to be overly slick or is designed that way to slide within your hand on the down swing? I thought about adding some grip tape myself.
Archeology. Now that sounds like a fun job! Bull whips, cool hats and attractive women:) Whats not to like?
 

SPhill

New Member
Thank you for the valuable replies. I'm feeling pretty good about the X27. I tried it back-to-back against the 12 pound "monster" maul. So much less fatiguing to swing and dramatically less shock transmission -- a little bit like working smart instead of hard.

On the other hand; I've raised my Alert Level to Orange -- that whipping blade scares the snot out of me.

I agree very much that the oval handle (vs round) allows for intuitive rather than visual alignment. Don't know if they intended for sliding hand -- tried it, it feels awkward. I'm looking for some cushioned grip tape as well.

FLINT wrote: I used to be an archeologist, and literally spent my days digging holes in root-filled soil

What! No Karen Allen??
 

FLINT

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2008
535
Western VA Mtns.
No, I haven't found the fiskars handle to be too slick. I always wear leather gloves so maybe that helps? I do slide my left hand from the head down to my right hand during my swing - so I would not want to add any type of tape that would hinder that motion. I've compensated for the shorter handle of the fiskars, by making a taller chopping block. I'm using the stump of a big white pine I cut last year. works awesome. Its wider at the base so it never tips over.

Also, yes, archeology is a cool field. Of any career that requires an academic degree - archeologists are definitely the coolest and least pretentious academics that there are - maybe because they are also the lowest paid, haha. glorified ditch diggers.

and sadly, no Karen Allen - although archeology chicks do tend to be super cool, but then again, girls that like to get dirty usually are.
 

Black Jaque Janaviac

Feeling the Heat
Dec 17, 2009
451
Ouisconsin
I suppose there is a difference between "flex" and "spring". Both handles may have flex but one may "dampen" the tendency to return to original shape. I don't know which is which or what would be desireable.

I have both a fiberglass and a wood handled Ludell 8# mauls. I'll have to pay more attention to which slows me down most. I usually don't do marathon splitting sessions though. Instead I just work out for an hour or so several times per week. So far the thing I like least is bending over to pick up logs and splits. The kids come in handy for this. My 15 year old son and I do the splitting, the other kids can stack afterwards.
 
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