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Splitting/Chopping Tool Review Thread

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by spike60, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Enthusiast

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    Ha ha, not going to try on this one, not at least without proper backing. I thinned the handle out considerable, but prior to that I gave it my best with a mixed variety of woods. In case no one saw the link I posted, here are the pics with captions:


    Here is a fairly large round, maybe 22" wide from a long standing dead Ash tree. This round was giving me some trouble with my 4.5 lb splitting axe, so I left it to be noodled with a chainsaw. Sometimes dead ash can be very, very hard. This wasn't too bad, but the grain was twisty as it was near the base of the stump. The axe chops beyond its light weight, and throws some nice chips. The head balance is a little different than what I'm used to, slight forward bias, but when you get the hang of it feels like a laser. I was not really leaning into it very hard as I'm trying to keep a sure footing with my recovering knee.
    [​IMG]

    It throws some nice sized chips for its size, quite impressed. I cannot wait to see how well it performs when I can stand atop the log and buck it with some quicker swings and snaps. This was the same dead Ash log.
    [​IMG]

    The softest wood in my log pile is what I believe to be Silver Maple, definitely a maple, but a soft one. Just look at those deep cuts, and this was some fairly light swings.
    [​IMG]

    After the above shot, and severed the remaining limb in one final swipe, look at how clean the cut.
    [​IMG]

    Moving on to some more challenging media, here we have some Black Locust logs that were sitting dead on the ground for maybe 3-4 years, as evidenced by the bark being sloughed off. Black Locust is one of the hardest woods in North America, certainly the hardest wood within a hundred miles from me. This type of wood quickly dulls my chainsaw chains. The chopping was a little harder due to the higher density of the wood, but it seemed to cut through it relative well. Noticeably better than some of my other small axes. I wish I had a better way to secure the log before chopping as it was dancing around in the pile. In my current state, I felt this was the safest way.
    [​IMG]

    Not bad!
    [​IMG]

    Now on to some splitting. Ash, Ash, Ash... it's everywhere! It's probably 60-70% of what we burn for heat, because it is all dying from the EAB. I selected a somewhat tallish round, roughly 8" or so in diameter. Ash typically splits easily, but it can be twisty and gnarly too, so sometimes it'll surprise you...
    [​IMG]

    First strike was off center (to the right) but bit well. The second strike was on-target and definitely opened up the round. Admittedly, I was being mindful not to scrape it through the splits and damage the wood. I have collar guards on my splitting axes, but not on my brand new Russian Axe. In retrospect, that was probably premature because the handle is definitely too thick and I will need to thin the wood down.
    [​IMG]

    Like I mentioned above, I decided not to tempt fate and damage the wood on my brand new axe, so I turned the round on it's side and delivered the final blow.
    [​IMG]

    This was three cautious strikes from a guy with a gimpy knee. Overall impressions: Very impressed at the cutting ability of the bit geometry. The head balance will take some getting used to, but I think I can adapt easily with extended use. The haft is TOO DAMN THICK - that will need to be corrected immediately. Bucking that big Ash log I felt I was more grappling the haft rather then let it pivot in my grip, which is typically how I chop with my custom tuned slim tapered hafts. I'll probably make a collar guard for it as well, as I feel that I will really be using this more in the future. The length feels good, the weight is a little on the light side, but with the cutting power I don't see that as a disadvantage. That's all for now, with my quick 30 minute field review. Thanks for looking and reading, hope this helps any potential buyers. Cheers!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Wild Willy

    Wild Willy New Member

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    I've seen the tire trick -- it's slick, but I use a the same setup my grandad and pop used. Arrange four bales of dry junk hay, stacked two tall with stems down, around the splitting block, in a V shape. For big stuff that will need multiple splits, orient the checks perpendicular to the V notch and swing toward the notch -- both halves stay in place the vast majority of time. For smaller stuff that just needs to be split in two, shift yourself parallel to the left (or right) leg of the V -- the first piece falls off the open side (toward the woodpile), and the other piece stays on the block to grab and pitch toward the pile. I offset one of the top bales to provide a little shelf for the maul (Helko Werk Vario 2000) or kindling axe (vintage Mann double-bit, my grandad's axe). Wedges and a 6-lb. cross peen sit on top of the bale wall just in case I need to free the maul, which is rare. I have a one-bushel washtub on the other side of the hay "wall" to toss in chips and bark and etc. from the top of the block. As a kid, I'd help set up the chopping block every year with fresh bales; I now chop inside the woodshed, and the hay bales usually last a couple of years before I use them for garden mulch and replace with some newer, tighter bales. I suppose a couple of pallets and T-posts could work just as well.
     
  3. motolife313

    motolife313 ArboristSite Guru

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    That’s a nice looking axe! Did some splitting on some Fir. Cut it too 20” long on accident. Busted out the sledge hammer. Got it after 1 or 2 swings. I’ve had some oak way smaller that’s didn’t come apart after 50 swings with 2 wedges. I let it sit over night 06857338-1D94-47C0-B333-F6F9ED3C6B23.jpeg A944D0D3-1EC9-4FBF-B51D-27E73AEEC8E5.jpeg E3EC957D-08E6-4E21-A89B-240DB6C688E3.jpeg last couple pics are the oak. They were cut short at 1’. It was 20-22” diameter.
     
  4. svk

    svk A little bit of everything

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    Alright, someone needs to try this.

     
  5. Philbert

    Philbert Chainsaw Enthusiast

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    Much different than this?

    Screen shot 2019-09-28 at 4.15.49 PM.png

    Philbert
     
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  6. sixonetonoffun

    sixonetonoffun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Put an electric or air post driver on!
     
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  7. Marine5068

    Marine5068 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Kind
    It kind of looks like one of my ancestors weapons.
    The Tomahawk
    Sure does damage to that Ash.
    Looks so nice too.
    Do you have a nice spot to display all of your axes/hatchets?
     
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  8. svk

    svk A little bit of everything

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    Yeah, yours doesn't come with a cool sounding russian guy :laughing:
     
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  9. woodchip rookie

    woodchip rookie Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Ill take my hydro over that any day
     
  10. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Enthusiast

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    I have a rack to store them either hung by the head or upside down from hook on a lanyard. Not much of a display, but it keeps them all in one place with a relatively small footprint. I have a strict 'No Wall-Hanger' rule so anything that would be on display goes against my very core principal of utility, in my head it does at least...
     
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  11. rarefish383

    rarefish383 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Well, I get your point. But, it's kind of like my saws. I get a new one and use it for a while, then get another new one and put the old one on the shelf or rack. The plan is use each one, then start over when I get to the end of the shelf. Only problem is by the time I get to the end of the shelf, I've built a new shelf and it's half full. So, I don't have shelf queens, but I do have a bunch of shelf refugees.
     
  12. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Enthusiast

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    So long as they are used. I don't judge people on their collections (maybe have an opinion or two), but it's just a personal thing for me. I'm wierd. If I'm going to spend money on a tool, be it new or old, then spend time either tuning it or restoring it to my liking, then you better damn well know that I'll at least put it under load a few times a year. My saw collection grows too, and I'm approaching the same predicament... Frequency of use. It's like my gun cabinet, no safe queens. All are tried and ready shooters. My saw shelf and axe rack are treated in the same manner.

    I know of a few guys who have tens of thousands of dollars in Paul Reed Smith guitars, and never play them. Okay, yes, they're collectable, but to me as a player, that is just the dumbest thing to spend money on — something you can use, but don't. Again, maybe I'm just a freak, ha ha...
     
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  13. Mike Burke

    Mike Burke ArboristSite Lurker

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    I'm new here but thought I would share my experience with some splitting tools that I have been using.
    I am 6' 175lb with long arms.

    I've been splitting some Ash and Oak. I had been using a 6lb Collins slitting maul and that got old real quick.
    So started searching and asking here for suggestions for a New tool. Read a lot about the Fiskars, Husqvarnas, length of handle and weight.
    I pulled the trigger on the X27 because it was on sale and All the great reviews and talk about the handle Length debate.

    I used it for a couple days and it split real good. I was impressed with the splitting power and the weight difference of my 6lb maul.
    The long handle was kind of a issue for me though. It was hard to get moved from one side of my body to the other...form my right hand to my left....in front of me , if that makes sense.

    I started using my Woodland Pro 4Lb 28" handle fellers axe to split some smaller stuff and liked the length so....

    I went and bought the X25
    and got a spare tire for my splitting platform. Its a 4x4 platform about 24 x 24 and sits on the ground.

    The Fiskars X25 is a WINNER for me.
    I really like the length..its easy to move in front of my body from side to side and switching hands. The curve on the end of the handle is always right where I need
    to grab it and pick it up.
    The accuracy is a lot better for me also.
    I am more productive with the shorter handle and I don't feel there is any safety issue with the 28" handle for me.

    As far as my splitting power
    for really large rounds I have reached for the 27 just to get it broke apart and then grab the 25 to split it up.
    I can tell the 27 has more head speed producing more power and it certainly has a spot in the process but.....I really like the X25
    Its just easier to use for me which makes me more productive splitting.
     
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  14. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I actually prefer my shorter X25 over the X27 for most splitting also. Use em both but really like the 25 for most.
     
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  15. svk

    svk A little bit of everything

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    (I know, I’m like a broken record about splitting tools) But I prefer the X25 above all other splitting axes. The S2800 does have a lot more power than the X-25 or X-27 but it’s nit as smooth and effortless to swing as the 25. The 27 handle is too long for me but it’s still a great tool.
     
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  16. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Enthusiast

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    Long handle for a tall guy is old tired dogma. So is long handle for splitting on the ground, shorter for on a block.

    I'm 6', 2" 195 lbs - and will swing a 28" axe over most anything else to split. I have a Fiskars x27 or "Super Splitting Axe" as it sometimes called, picked it up because Walmart had them on clearance for $20 about a month ago. It's definitely a great tool, good geometry, but it's just a tad too heavy and way too long for my workflow and actually slows me down. A shorter handle gives me the agility and up close and personal maneuverability that allows me to work quickly in a big pile, the shorter handle and moderate weight affords me increased head speed to whip the head quickly into the round with added velocity.

    Anytime someone says "why not just get a maul?", I tell them to come look at my stacks and tell me what I'm doing wrong...
     
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  17. moresnow

    moresnow ArboristSite Operative

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    @Mike Burke where are you in Iowa?

    You cant go wrong with your Fiskars. I have 2 27's and a 25. As well as a hatchet. All work great.

    Nice 'eye by the way.
     
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  18. T O Double D

    T O Double D ArboristSite Lurker

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    I bought a WoodlandPro Fallers Axe and when it arrived the head wasn’t just loose it comes off...

    5964B110-3B09-43EB-AD63-B1DE1317932F.jpeg

    The grain on the handle is as good as you could hope for on a mass produced axe. I was thinking of keeping this one and fixing it instead of sending it back. I’ve never done this with an axe, but have with my framing hammer. The wedge is completely different than I’m used to. It’s metal and attached to the head...

    F9473B10-4ECA-49BA-AB8E-35E746C561A2.jpeg

    Also the handle to eye fit doesn’t look great. It seems to much material was removed from the middle (to accommodate the wedge) and it’s far from tight inside the eye with several gaps.

    B5B7CEFB-F646-4F0E-AB12-073D2C8583A3.jpeg

    The shoulder is preventing the head from going down further. I was thinking of taking a rasp to the shoulder, sanding the whole thing down, soaking it in oil, then pounding the head down further. Given the loose fit do you think that would work or just send it back and hope for a better one?
     
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  19. svk

    svk A little bit of everything

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    That’s interesting. I personally would repair it if the grain is good as if they send you a replacement you could get one that’s worse. But that wedge is strange. Is that welded or just mushroomed from force fit?
     
  20. T O Double D

    T O Double D ArboristSite Lurker

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    Its hard to tell, but I'm pretty sure its just force fit.
     
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