If you ever need to spit wood by hand, one of the best and most versatile tools you can use is the simple splitting maul. How can you find out the best types of splitting mauls? How are they used and how many different sizes are there? To find the answers to these questions and more, read on.
What is a splitting maul and how is it different than an axe?
A maul is basically a thick axe and sledgehammer combo. Its main purpose as a tool is to split wood. Its weight can range from anywhere between 6-12 pounds and its handles are usually 30-36″ in length. You’ll rarely find mauls with sharp edges and they are often thick in terms of structure. The reason for this is because of their purpose which is to split wood up. While a chopping axe may be meant for chopping wood against the grain, a maul goes with the grain to split wood. This is why it’s important for them to be thick instead of sharp.
Advantages and Disadvantages
While mauls may be the most versatile wood splitting tool available, they do have disadvantages to go along with their advantages.
What’s good about the splitting maul:
For the purpose of splitting difficult species of wood, they are much better than axes. They get the job done much better than an axe due to their shape, size, and weight.
The back of the maul is basically a sledgehammer, so it can be used to pound steel splitting wedges into really hard pieces of wood.
Using one may take less effort when compared to an axe especially for difficult species of wood such as red maple. Again, because of the sheer weight it possesses, just one properly placed blow is usually all that’s needed to split most types of wood that need splitting.
What’s not so great:
The sheer amount of weight can be a drawback too. Axes are considerably better if you’re splitting easy-to-split pieces that won’t require more than a few swings. If you have a lot of wood to process, you may want to reconsider.
The heavy weight also makes them quite difficult to control. Accuracy may suffer when using a splitting maul which can sometimes make you feel that the splitting maul is the one swinging you.
Regardless of whether you want to exclusively use axes, a wood splitter or even cheap labor, you should make it a point to get a maul anyway. It will be one of the handiest tools you will ever get a hold of and you definitely won’t regret getting it.
Depending on your strength, you may want to get either the 6 or 8 pound model. Most people find the 6-pound maul just right. They help you get really strong swings without tiring you out. Some mauls weight over 12 pounds each and some people find them useless, mainly because of their weight.
Handles are available in both fiberglass and wood. Fiberglass handles are highly recommended because they don’t break as easily as the wooden ones. Wooden handles usually take just a few hard missed hits before starting to break. Fiberglass handles rarely break and they usually last years of heavy use.
Still, some people prefer wooden handles more, if only because of the good feel that the wooden handle offers. If you are used to swinging mauls and axes and are quite accurate in your swing, they’re worth getting.
As with most other tools you can buy, you get what you pay for. These usually cost between 20-70 dollars a piece. Fortunately, a quality splitting maul should be able to last for your whole life.