Splitter vs. maul

syd3006 Posted By syd3006, Mar 26, 2009 at 12:32 PM

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  1. syd3006

    syd3006
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    I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who is the manager of an industrial supply store. Our conversation turned to wood-burning and the process of putting up a supply of wood for winter. He suggested that I should buy a wood-splitter, but I told him I didn't think it would be as fast as splitting by hand with a maul. He told me of a contest that he had with his father in-law. They both started with 30 rounds of ash, he was armed with a 3 1/2 lb axe and his father in law with a wood-splitter. Long story short his father inlaw was finished and he still had 6 rounds to split!!

    Granted he only had an axe and not a maul but he said that he split them all first swing. I don't know the brand of wood-splitter that was used but I asked about the speed of the cycle and it wasn't exceptionally fast. The guy is probably around 40 years old and well capable of splitting wood. I take what he says to be true.

    I have been having this debate with myself since starting to burn wood splitting by hand vs. a wood-splitter. I am only 50 years old and still enjoy splitting by hand and the exercise that it gives me however it does get to be a unwelcome strain on my back the constant bending. The cost of splitters is quite high and would really cut into the saving achieved by burning wood.

    Can't decide yet but this is one more reason for a splitter. Maybe once I have to start splitting quantities like LL or some of you other folks.
     
  2. Wet1

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    I think a lot of it depends on the type, quantity, and size of the wood. I'd bet the farm against the guy swinging the axe/maul if we were taking about doing a cord of 20"+ elm! But, I'd bet on the maul if we were talking about doing only 15 rounds of 10" red oak.

    The health and conditioning of the person swinging the maul is very important as well, as is the splitter being used. I'm in very good shape and I'm a fairly big guy, but I'm sure I could get a lot more wood split in an hour using my Super Split splitter (<3 second cycle times) than I could ever dream of doing by hand... In fact I know this is true because I've done it, and it's not even close.

    OTOH, there's something to be said for the enjoyment and exercise from swinging a maul every so often...
     
  3. mike1234

    mike1234
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    I am kind of in the same boat. I still split with a maul or an ax...sometimes. I have 2 neighbors that have splitters, so when I get behind and have a lot of rounds to split, I borrow one of their splitters to catch up. No doubt for large quantities of wood, the splitter is much faster, plus I hate to even hit a elm round with an ax, that fight can last 15 minutes. I also like the exercise of splitting, and my wife seems to be liking the extra chest and arm size from this work (how can that be bad?).

    What I am looking for now is a friend to share the cost of a splitter. For 500 or 600 I could own 1/2 of a 28 ton splitter (on sale now), vs 1100 and own it all myself.
     
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  4. mayhem

    mayhem
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    I'd have to do the contest myself, but having split wiht a maul much of my life and with a pslitter many times as well I cna tell you that given straight, clean wood that you can split in one hit every time, the manual guy is going to get the job done more quickly than the hydraulics...but in the real world, wood has knots, crotches and some of it is stringy...all it takes is one tough piece of wood that the maul can't get through in one hit and the race is over, splitter wins.

    However, you say you enjoy splitting by hand and if you're not in a major hurry why bother? Stick with the hand tools as long as your body wants to co-operate.
     
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  5. caber

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    I figure I have a surplus of time and not a surplus of cash, so i don't care if it takes me longer to split all my wood. Plus with the maul I can do it any time. I can split some before dawn, I can split some after the sun has set - and not worry about waking everyone in in the house. And you just can't beat the exercise. I put the round I want to split up ano another stump. Makes the swinging easier. Biggest reason for the maul is that we have wood lot and I spit and stack where the tree falls, then move the wood just before winter starts after it has seasoned and lightened.
     
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  6. smokinj

    smokinj
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    Iam sure it comes down to what wood and size! (iam doing big rounds of silver maple 50 in plus the maul will bounce off) Iam sure there is someone that could do it but its not me!
     
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  7. Jamess67

    Jamess67
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    I have one both and of course the splitter is the way to go. I use a maul to split the really big rounds that the splitter wont separate fully. ( 30 inch + in diameter).
     
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  8. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd
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    If it's Doug Fir, no splitter on the planet can keep up with me and Mr Fiskars. Hemlock. . . bet on the splitter.
     
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
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    Interesting challenge. We've also tried it, but with different wood.

    Because I've burned wood for a few years, for many years we used only an axe. If there was some tough stuff then we would use a sledge and wedge or should I say wedges. I did this for many years before I even heard of a wood splitter!

    I too used to enjoy the splitting until the body revolted so now use only the hydraulic splitter. Is it faster with the splitter or maul, or axe? Because I've used all and on many types of wood, I will say without a doubt the hydraulic splitter should win every contest with a possible exception. For instance, if a guy was allowed to line up some easy splitting wood in a line and took only one swing at each, he could win. But what if that block had to be split more than once? Different story now!

    What most tend to forget or perhaps not realize is that with a hydraulic splitter, you do not have to use the entire stoke of the ram. This is what makes the big difference. For example, I was splitting some ash and maple and had quite a few logs that you could make 4 decent sized splits from. So a guy with an axe has to hit 3 times. In addition, he has to raise the axe each time before striking the log.

    Here comes a guy with a little 20 ton splitter and he grabs one log and sends the ram into the block. But! But here is the kicker. He only sends the ram into the block of wood no more than an inch and the wood is split. He then starts the ram on its way back up while he turns the entire log. The ram goes up maybe 3 inches at most and sometimes much less. I'll actually stop the ram when it is only an inch higher than the log. But I bring the ram down again splitting the log again. Two times with the ram and I get 4 splits.

    Working with the splitter this way cuts the time drastically. I rarely allow the ram to go all the way up. It is a waste of time making the ram go the full stoke and a bigger waste letting it retract all the way if it is not needed. Naturally with knotty stuff or something like elm there is a different story. You have to push all the way down but the ram does not need to go all the way back up.

    Let's also take the task of making kindling. I just love to make kindling out of soft maple or ash. Usually I'll cut some logs shorter for this task but not always. I made some a couple days ago that were only 6" long. I simply start splitting near the edge. Then do not turn the log but just move it over an inch and split that. Move another inch and split, etc. until you've worked across the log. Now take a hold of as many of these as you can and turn them splitting every inch again. Talk about a kindling machine! I made a big stack the other day in very short time and usually when I finished one bunch and threw it, there was up to a dozen pieces of kindling. Again, the splitter ram is moved very little doing all this, but if one let the ram go all the way back up each time it would be very time consuming.

    Whoops. I'd better stop. Too long of a read. But I hope it made sense.
     
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  10. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret
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    Splitter is my preference. My wife and I get a system going, where I move the rounds/splits, and she operates the machine.

    Works pretty fast that way, and I'm not totally beat by the time we're done.

    -SF
     
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  11. smokinj

    smokinj
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    makes perfect since that's why i don't pay allot of attention to cycle time I never do a full cycle either
     
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  12. Jeff S

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    For me its not a Question of which is the fastest but more what I can afford at this time and the condition of my health.Employment has been spotty for me this year and at the age of 43 I feel good and have been enjoying the exercise .This was my first year burning wood and I was able to cut and split enough wood for this year and the next 2 years with a Fiskars Super Splitting Axe.Perhaps someday I will own a splitter but at this time I just don't know when that someday will be.
     
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  13. wldm09

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    ... yer wife got a sister? j/k honey!
     
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  14. TreePapa

    TreePapa
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    I don't have a splitter but I rent one on occassion. As others have said here, if I luck out and the wood is, say, nice straight green ash, or 1/2-seasoned white pine, I can split faster w/ the super-splitter maul ... but being a desk jockey, I can't keep that up for 8 hours. I'm beat after a full day w/ the rental, too, but I usually get a lot of wood split.

    OTOH. If I have "gumball" (sweet gum) or eucalyptus, the splitter wins by several miles. Some of that *&^% stuff is darn near impossible with a maul. I can usually split it w/ sledge and wedges ... eventually! Meanwhile, a decent hydraulic splitter will simply tear it apart.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
     
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  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
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    Good for you Jeff. I'd do it too if I were able.

    btw, I had a hard time figuring out where Kimball is but did find you east of us.
     
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  16. Jeff S

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    Thanks Dennis
    When I moved here I had a Goodells address but over time the Post Office rezoned us,I guess they never told the State of Michigan because its not found on any maps.BTW where is your location?
     
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  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
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    We live west of Chesaning, close to Marion Springs.

    Speaking of places not on maps, we have several around here that aren't on maps any longer. Pumpkin Center, Ola Corners, Hoover's Corners, and several more. But the only business left in those listed is the Hoover's Bar. That's probably why they don't show up.
     
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  18. rustynut

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    so
    we got this new digital tv system with some extra channels
    saw an old rerun of "thats incredible" a few weeks back
    they had a race splitting a face cord of wood
    dont recall if they said what type it was
    team #1 - 1 guy with an ax or a maul
    team #2 - 2 guys and a splitter
    hands down for team #1
    thats incredible !
    was pretty good watching that guy pulling ahead

    hey backwoods
    south east corner of lapeer co. waiving a hand
     
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