Top Tips for Using a Splitting Maul Safely and Effectively
If you've never used a splitting maul before, it can be a dangerous tool. But then, when used correctly, you'll be splitting logs quickly in no time. A splitting maul is a type of ax built specifically for breaking larger pieces of wood. It has a traditional look with a sharp piece of metal attached to either wood or metal, but has a rounded side and larger butt than a traditional ax.
The sharp edge is used to start the split of wood as you'd expect, but the opposite larger side is used as a wedge to finish off the split. The design is specific to split larger logs and is useful where other axes would just get stuck in the wood after you start splitting them. If you're trying to cut down a small tree, though, a traditional ax is the better tool. They are about half the weight of a splitting maul, making it much easier to swing for long periods of time. A splitting maul's weight is ideal when chopping straight down to split a log in two, as it helps create momentum rather than having to use your strength.
Splitting mauls are also very durable, and their larger size and build quality means they will last a long time, as long as you get at least a mid-ranged model. If you want to compare splitting mauls to find the best one for you, we suggest you read this guide.
How to Use a Splitting Maul Safely
Our first suggestion for using a splitting maul is to use a large stump of wood as your base when chopping smaller wood for your fire. Place the smaller logs on top of the larger log, and then get to work. If you happen to miss the log, this will prevent you from hitting the ground of any rocks around you. This may damage your splitting maul, or even ricochet off and cause the maul to hit you. If you make sure to do your splitting on a large rock, you'll most likely just get your maul stuck in the large log, and then you can simply pull it out and get back to work.
If your log already has a split or crack in it, use this as the point you start splitting your log from. The wood is already separating at this point, so the split should be easy. Additionally, if you see a knot in the wood, try to avoid it. A knot is challenging to split, though, and you may find that your maul curves off around them if you try to split through them, potentially putting you in danger.
Finally, it's much easier to chop fresh wood rather than dry wood. As logs dry out, they also harden, making it much more difficult to split them. Try to cut your wood as soon as you've felled your tree, and then you can leave the chopped wood to dry ready for the fire.