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Splitting axes

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by gamma_nyc, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. gamma_nyc

    gamma_nyc Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 1, 2007
    Figured I’d ask you guys, alway get great info here - what are some good splitting axes in terms of best performance, durability, and best fit & finish?

    I’ve been looking online at everything from Fiskars X27, Prandi splitting axe, Gränsfors Bruk, etc. there’s a wide range or prices and I’m not sure if it’s a “you get what you pay for” type tool or a “you can pay more but you won’t get more” sort of thing.

  2. Methuselah

    Methuselah Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2015
    I typed "splitting ax" into the search bar as i do when i want to know something that has probably already been covered by others long before me. The link below is what came up.


    My only axe is the Ray Mears Gransfors Bruks outdoor axe 3.5 lbs it works well at most everything, but for spitting lots i would prefer a longer handle than 24 inches. Well, i do have a carving axe too. (WCF)....:D.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  3. gamma_nyc

    gamma_nyc Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 1, 2007
    Thanks for the thought, but that search thread didn’t really address my question.

    On you GB outdoor axe, I don’t see that in the current catalog. Is it a different model than one currently produced?
  4. Moonw


    Nov 19, 2014
    We always like to make things more complicated around here (by offering many suggestions). Out of the kindness of our heart, really :p - check out this beauty:

    A rafting axe, a fireman's axe (especially vintage-made if you like to refurbish and really "make it yours") should serve you well.
    gamma_nyc likes this.
  5. Curt Hal

    Curt Hal Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 8, 2014
    I suspect that the answer to your question, like most questions, is - it depends. I suggest spending a few hours on YouTube, which you may have already done. You’ll get lots of ideas about who prefers what and in what situations. What kind of wood are you splitting? Hardwood, softwood, straight grain, knotty? Is wood heavily used in your home? Are you a large person, able to swing and axe for hours? How much do you want to spend. The Fiskars X27 is very highly rated, but it has a 36” handle and comes in at 6 1/4 pounds. Will that suit you? Some prefer an axe with a 32” handle, such the Gransfors Bruk splitting maul and an overall weight of just over 7 pounds. For the price of the GB, you could probably buy 2-3 Fiskars. There’s also the aesthetic issue. I suspect many of the guys here are wood and steel guys, so an orange and black fibrecomp handle doesn’t really appeal. splits very handily with her double, as does . They also like the flick technique, so there’s technique to consider. If you like restoring axes, there’s hours of enjoyment and the pride of workmanship that goes into creating and maintaining the axe that’s just right for you. For the price of the Fiskars, you could assemble your own high quality vintage American or Canadian steel and hickory axe. For the cost of the GB, you could put together 3 fine axes to give you versatility, depending on the job. Personally, being a wood and steel guy, the Fiskars, good as it is, wouldn’t interest me. I’m 6 feet, 200 lbs, 60 years old. I’d go with a 6lb maul on a 36” haft, a 4 lb single or double on a 32” haft, and a 2 1/2 to 3 lb on a 28-31” haft. I also own an old restored sledge with a wedge for harder, knotty stuff. But you’ll get 20 different opinions here and on YouTube, so like I say, it depends.
    Fmont, gamma_nyc, Moonw and 2 others like this.
  6. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I'm rather a fan of my Rinaldi splitting maul, which is only 5.5lbs. The slip fit eye allows me to use the long factory handle for splitting rounds while I can use a shorter handle on it for splitting smaller pieces, especially down in the basement. Lighter than your average maul, and no "speed bumps" to the edge/cheek transition so it enters easily into the wood.
    gamma_nyc likes this.
  7. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I'm sold on a 5.5-6 lb. axe with a 36" handle. Council makes a good one. It will also double for bucking. DM
    Trailsawyer, Square_peg and gamma_nyc like this.
  8. FLINT77


    Apr 8, 2013
    back before I discovered the joy of vintage axes....

    For years I split wood mostly with an 8lb maul

    then, probably 10 years ago I discovered the Fiskars X25 - which honestly is awesome. I bought the X25 before the X27 existed. The X25 has a 28" handle, which at first felt a little short since I was used the 36" at the time, but I got used to it pretty quick. You just use a couple inches higher chopping block is all - and I was never one to split wood that's directly on the ground - I don't know whats up with that, seems like a lot of people do it, but I just don't get it - more likely to chop yourself in the foot - or get a super sore back.

    The fiskars isn't as cool to look at as a vintage axe, but it splits most wood really well - and doesn't beat you up as much as the 8lb maul.

    husqvarna has some pretty good looking splitting axes that aren't as expensive as GB.

    On an axe with a wooden handle I'd avoid any with weirdo shaped eyes - as it will be a pain to rehandle WHEN necessary.

    I've split a crap ton of wood with the fiskars and that handle shows no sign of damage. I HATE fiberglass handles on tools. HATE. but I don't mind the fiskars plastic handle.
    Moonw, gamma_nyc and TPVT like this.
  9. TPVT

    TPVT Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 14, 2012
    i will preface this with saying that i cannot compare to the others that you asked about (OP). but i can say that i do really like my fiskars x27. sure they're ugly, but they work. i bought the fiskars splitting hatchet (x11) a couple years ago for camping, and i was so pleased with it, i bought the x27 for home use. i haven't been disappointed, which is about all i can say.

    ok, ok, ok....i also bought the x7 for camp "cutting" chores. :D
    Square_peg and gamma_nyc like this.
  10. phantomknives


    Mar 31, 2016
    For hardwood, small, heavy head on a long handle for speed, with very convex cheeks.
    For softwoods you have a lot more freedom. On average, it's more stringy (like red oak and hickory, coincidentally the only stuff I really split) so you want to split fast and shock the fibers. A heavy head with a wide bit, like a 4 pound jersey would do well
    protourist and gamma_nyc like this.
  11. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I split very hard oak and a 4 lb. Hults on a 29" handle does not work well. When I stepped up to a 50% heavier head (the 6 lb. Council flat head) on a longer handle 36" splitting turned into a joy. There were 14 rounds here and they fell to this axe with little fuss. DM
    Moonw, Trailsawyer, Odog27 and 5 others like this.
  12. TPVT

    TPVT Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 14, 2012
    cool pic. :thumbsup:
  13. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    My splitting stump is between the rounds and the split pile. They were heavy so I rolled them over to the stump and went to work on them. Most burst open in 1-2 hits. I use a 'round house hay maker blow'. Which develops much more force than a cock the hammer blow. DM
  14. FLINT77


    Apr 8, 2013
    I like your description of the two types of splitting axe swings!!
  15. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Thanks Flint. I was uncertain how to describe the different ax swings. So, if you got it I'm glad. I was trying to say the round
    house swing develops about 40-50% more force, just following it's flight path and movement.
    Hitting your desired mark is all important. That will save you a lot of labor. For me I adjust my feet some and with axe in hand I rest the face on the mark for a quick measurement. Then as I start my swing I'll flip or reverse the axe head so as it passes my shin with the poll forward. An important safety pass for that area. Then as it makes the circle the edge is reversed back to forward. The whole time I'm staring at my mark. Never blink or take my eyes off of it. Stare deep into the crack not just in the general area. The mind will take over the body movement and direct your ax right to the spot your looking. Just like hitting a baseball. Only easier because the round isn't moving. Good splitting. DM
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
    Moonw, FLINT77, DB_Cruiser and 3 others like this.
  16. crbnSteeladdict


    Jul 31, 2017
    1:55 mark
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
    Moonw likes this.
  17. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I went back and changed it. I still like that movie. DM
  18. FLINT77


    Apr 8, 2013
    There is definitely technique required to generate real power with an axe or maul (or sledge). I've been splitting wood since I was a boy, and when I was younger, I was a beast at the chopping block. But it always struck me when friends would try to split who didn't know how to do it. Even big strong guys would be hitting the wood with no power at all. The power comes from your whole body, legs, core, back, shoulders, and not just your arms. Now, you thankfully don't always need to generate max power to split but sometimes you do and you need to know how to do it.
    Moonw, Square_peg and David Martin like this.
  19. crbnSteeladdict


    Jul 31, 2017
    I really appreciate this forum and how everybody is more than willing to share their knowledge and experiences. I can only wish I had access to this information when I, as city boy, moved to rural Pennsylvania. I was killing my back trying to split big logs. I found maul near the pile of wood and never crossed my mind to look for wedges, sledge hammer or advice. Please, keep on sharing your experience and do not mind my little joke
    Moonw and Square_peg like this.
  20. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Flint, good ^. We (me & my brother)grew up on a farm and when I was in my teens and splitting oak out with my Grandfather. I'd slam away at a round with the axe until I was tired, making little head way. Then when he would take the
    axe, everything changed. Within maybe 3 blows he'd have it broke open and I would think, -- how'd he do that? He was 60 years old...
    Another thing I noticed was his swing generated more force and he always hit the crack. That generation wasn't long on words, so I received no training. 'Just get this done', so we can move on to the next chore. Now, I've given it more thought and have come to realize
    some elements need to be in place in order for efficient splitting to take place. Thanks gents, DM
    Miller '72, Moonw and Square_peg like this.

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