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How sharp should a maul be?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by stalbot, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. stalbot

    stalbot

    313
    Sep 7, 2012
    It just occurred to me after watching some videos of folks splitting wood that perhaps my maul is too dull. When I bought it, it was somewhat blunt. I thought it was supposed to be. But just got to wondering if it should have more of an edge than it does. How sharp do you folks typically get your mauls?
     
  2. prsfx

    prsfx

    132
    Sep 14, 2012
    Good post, I am curious as well.
     
  3. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I keep 'em reasonably keen myself, but go much longer before resharpening than I do with axes.
     
  4. stalbot

    stalbot

    313
    Sep 7, 2012
    Of course, after reading my post, I thought to myself "What has become of me, sitting alone in a darkened room, watching videos of people splitting wood?" lol. L-O-S-E-R, according to my wife.
     
  5. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Here's what Peter Vido has written about it:

    "Many people do not bother putting blocks [of firewood] to be maul-split upon a block and they regularly drive their edge against/into the ground, dulling it. As such it is still "okay" for some wood, although the tight-grained pieces will require a heftier swing.

    "It must be these strong (but less wise) folks that came up with some version of that now commonly perpetuated 'maxim': "You don't want a sharp ax for splitting wood"; or, "A splitting ax should not be sharp." Well, that, in my view, is a myth, or to perhaps put it more accurately, a misrepresentation or misunderstanding of the concept of "sharpness".

    "By a 'sharp' splitting ax (or maul), I do not mean one that has a thin (meaning readily penetrating) profile. Instead, one with 'fat cheeks' seems preferable. But I want the very edge to be finished so it does not reflect light (when looked at straight on). Beyond that 1/16 - 1/8" zone it should, of course, have more of a convex profile than a general purpose ax, or certainly one meant for felling, hewing, carving."

    -- quoted from http://axeconnected.blogspot.com/2012/01/splitting-mauls.html
     
  6. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Bingo. Broad edge angle, but still sharp. The mass of the tool means that it continues functioning well enough after the edge has worn a little, but it benefits from being kept in good shape.
     
  7. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    This is what works best for me. And 'broad' is in comparison to axes. Too broad of maul is easily rejected by hard tough wood.
     
  8. G-pig

    G-pig

    Jul 5, 2011
    I like it to catch a finger nail. I never had to keep it sharp for green pine or even very green hard woods. But for very tight or dry wood its nice to have an edge.
     
  9. JNieporte

    JNieporte

    Nov 1, 2004
    I keep mine (two six pounders) sharp enough to bite into a fingernail. I also have one of these style...
    [​IMG]
    and it's kept just a tad more dull because the steel is softer. Mine isn't a Bahco, it's a Razorback that I got at a yard sale, new, for $10.
     
  10. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    I'm not enamored with splitting mauls. I find there is a very narrow range of wood that the maul is preferred for. A 4 pound axe is my primary splitter. The maul handles stuff just a bit tougher than the axe can handle. But wedges do most of the very hard work for me.
     
    BG_Farmer likes this.
  11. stalbot

    stalbot

    313
    Sep 7, 2012
    I've got a 3 1/2 lb axe that I just hung that I primarily used for splitting until I broke the haft a couple of years ago. Bought the maul last year to handle splitting duties until I could get the axe hung. I'd love to find something just a tad heavier in an axe for splitting, but I don't see a lot of heavy axes here in La. And anyway, after watching that girl split wood barefooted with what appeared to be a fairly light axe, I guess I should just work on my form more!
     
  12. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Sparrow is sort of a special case in that she got to grow up with that kind of knowledge and schooling around, but definitely technique is everything! Some tools help compensate for it more than others, but the better you get the less you're able to get by just fine with. :)
     
  13. stalbot

    stalbot

    313
    Sep 7, 2012
    Not trying to hijack my own thread, but those are awesome videos. Back to topic, as always the members of this forum have done a great job answering my question. I'll be hitting the maul with file and stone at the first opportunity!
     
  14. bearhunter

    bearhunter

    Sep 12, 2009
    I tend to keep a 'keen' edge on my splitting maul.
    My wedge is as dull as hell though :D
     
  15. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    Get it sharp. And make the edge concave.
     
  16. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Amen to that! Helps the edge get initial purchase.
     
  17. Foreman2000

    Foreman2000

    87
    Mar 16, 2011
    I have a Fiskars x25 and it stays sharp enough to chop small wood for tender. I also use a chopping block with a ratchet strap around it too ket it from splitting.
     
  18. JK-180

    JK-180

    2
    May 19, 2017
    Old thread, I know, but I just googled "How sharp should a splitting maul be?"

    I've started sharpening my Draper Expert last night for the first time in year or so. Parts of the edge are very dull, so I think a file will be required to get an edge back again. Anyway, another thing I found being a major factor in how well it bites is the shape of the maul itself. I previously had a very wide angled maul which was very poor performing and returned it for a thinner-profiled one - it made a huge difference.
     
    Square_peg likes this.
  19. JK-180

    JK-180

    2
    May 19, 2017
  20. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Knife Reviewer, Collaborator, Sharpener Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 22, 2014
    Keep thinning it until it doesn't bounce
     
    Carondelet and FortyTwoBlades like this.

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