It has not been a very cold winter this year, but I have still used the wood stove every once in a while. When I went out to the wood pile, I noticed I was running a little low on split wood. (I've got a pile of logs, which I meant to split last October but leaf duty kept me from the task.) Because it was in the 40s, I figured why not split a few?
It's good exercise. It's easier now that I use a splitting maul, but I did use an axe for a while. The axe worked, but took more time. (If you don't know, axes are lighter than mauls and are designed to chop wood. A maul is designed to split wood.)
I figured I would do a little list of the differences because this is an obscure subject. BTW, I found the information from here, so all the credit goes to their wood splitting maul article. I'm just summarizing what I learned. Honestly, I did not know the difference for quite a long time. Let's chop to it! Ha ha.
|Photo credit: William Warby|
Axe vs maul
Axes chop wood. They cut through the fibers. To do that, the blade is thin and sharp. Also, they weight about 3-4 lbs.
Mauls split wood. They are heavy. Their head is blunt and in the shape of a "V". Also, they weight between 6-12 lbs.
When splitting wood, you are using gravity to bring the blade down into the log. So size and weight makes a big difference when splitting wood.
When chopping a tree, it's usually standing upright. That means you have to work against gravity and swing the blade horizontally into the tree.
Handles are different on the two, too. A maul will have a long handle -- often made of fibreglass. A longer handle increases the length of the arc the blade travels. That, again, works with gravity to help strengthen the impact and create less work for the person doing the work.
The head is manufactured a certain way on a maul. It's blunt. It's also designed to be reliable and durable.
They are usually made from drop-forged and heat-treated steel. Some may have a collar that reinforces the handle and head.
That's the general idea behind these things. It's funny because most people have an axe or hatchet and try to split logs. That's definitely not very efficient. It can give you a nice workout.
That's one of the reasons I like splitting wood -- the exercise aspect of it. Same holds true about shovelling snow. I got a snowblower but I like to use the shovel.