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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 Junkie

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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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    After the above shot, and severed the remaining limb in one final swipe, look at how clean the cut.
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    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.
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    Not bad!
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    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...
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    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.
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    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.
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    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!
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  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.
     
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  3. motolife313

    motolife313 ArboristSite Operative

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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.
     

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