Monday, 11 November 2013

Chosing, and using a splitting maul to split logs

3kg splitting maul with
a glass fibre handle
The splitting maul, aka block buster (or splitter) or "Godevil" is a long axe made for splitting wood along its grain. The other side of the axe can be used as a sledgehammer.

Uses

  • Splitting wood
  • Knocking down walls (sledgehammer side)
  • Killing zombies ;-)

How to use it

Although it might look simple enough to use it, things are a little more complicated in real life. Here are my conclusions based on research and field experience:
  • Always hit your piece of wood from the flush-cut section of the log.
  • Place your piece of wood atop of a stable base (e.g. large log).
  • When the maul gets stuck, try re-swinging the maul with the log still attached to the maul. Alternatively you can hit the maul on its back with another maul (hammer side) or a sledgehammer.
  • When splitting very large logs, try hitting off-centre to detach smaller pieces first.
  • Dry and cold/frozen wood is easier to split.
Splitting logs placed atop of
a large log
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Start hacking large logs from the side

Safety notice


Protection cap on the 'blade'
Hitting a piece of wood at full force, sometimes sends both pieces of wood flying in the air and requires to keep at a safe distance.
When hitting a wedge or piece of wood with the handle (overshoot) you can seriously damage the handle and after a couple of times, the head of the tool could come off and hurt you.
When used with a splitting wedge, broken pieces of metal could chip off the wedge or hammer and hit someone around.
Finally, be careful when swinging such a heavy tool around you could hit you or someone else directly or miss your target and hurt yourself as well.

This is a very dangerous tool ... you've been warned.

Choosing a good splitting maul

First of all, I like buying my tools on Amazon (or Amazon Germany), it is comfortable to make your purchases from the comfort of your home and you're almost certain to get one of the best deals (you should however still check first).
Sometimes with heavy items such as this one, I chose to go to the local hardware store (Brico in this case) they're a little more expesive, you have less choice but you get it directly.
I ended up with a splitting maul of 3kg with a glass fibre reinforced handle from the brand 'Acker'.

Here are the strong and weak points I found my model and how to help you chose a better one:
The rubber protection is broken,
I'll have to fix it with some tape.
  • Strong and comfortable handle
    Wooden handles are probably greener and better looking (my opinion) but synthetic ones are less likely to break and to give you blisters. This is a good starting point.
  • Heavy is good
    The heavier the tool the more likely it is to succeed at splitting a piece of wood. Remember to chose something you will still be able to lift and swing with enough precision.
  • Handle protection
    The picture on the right you see a rubber protection around the handle. This part is really important should you ever miss your target and hit it with the handle. In the case of my Acker splitting maul, it broke off a the first hit with the handle. I'll have to fix that (tape will do the trick...).
  • Blade protection
    Splitting mauls are not as sharp as axes but having a protection on the blade is always welcome. It will keep you and the tool safe.