How To Sharpen A Splitting Maul

A splitting maul is one of the favorite pieces of kit a woodman would love to bring into the woods.

That being said, will you give quizzical looks if I say splitting the wood is an art? Cutting the tree trunk into chunks of firewood with almost no waste at all is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires immense effort and mastery and a super sharp long handed tool called splitting maul.Here is guide for them who are asking How to sharpen a splitting maul head.

People mention it with different names such as block splitter, splitting axe, sledge axe, and block buster. But I would like to call it as the Cousin of Axe’ though it has opposite characteristics of the axe (guys, please don’t roll your eyes). Place an axe next to a best splitting maul and you’ll get to know my reasons. A maul is notable for its long haft and a dull edge. The blunt edge is the key to creating cracks between the wood fibers and the V-shaped head separates the wood with every pressure.

As a rule of thumb the maul or axe should be kept sharp. If your maul isn’t sharp, it won’t pierce the wood and that is when a splitting maul will bounce back or deflect. Moreover, it can wear down easily after one or two sessions of splitting.

For your maul to give glorious payoff it must be kept sharp. Remember, the essential sharpening isn’t a rocket science and best ways to sharpen the splitting maul depends on the purpose it is going to serve. Here’s how to maintain sharp edges using the basic tools.

Splitting Maul sharpening Tools

Sharp maul with files


Safety comes first. So, start with wearing thick leather gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask. Clean off the rust with rust eraser or steel wool. Make several passes with your bastard file on each side, preferably downward motion.

File repeatedly into the edge and switch the sides frequently until all the chips and dings are filed away and you have the sight of gleaming steel. Ensure you are not making contact with the blade on the return stroke, as this may ruin your file.

stones for sharpening

how to sharpen a splitting maul

Lower grit stones and higher grit stones are the perfect field companions for avoiding the everyday wear and tear to the cutting edge of your splitting maul. The coarse abrasive on one side of the stone helps in establishing an initial edge. Rub the edge of your maul across the stone surface in a circular motion. Take your time and after few passes, flip it over and do the other side. Do not forget to lift it on the return stroke to avoid injury.


You’ve probably seen chefs on TV sharpening their knife back and forth on a knife steel at godspeed. As a child, I have thought this as a way to showcase their skills; and it took me a couple more years to understand the secret behind it the honing steel.

A honing steel is good for two things: one, it smooths out the rough edges of the axe, maul or knife. And two, it revives the cutting edges. Usually, sharpening steels are meant for knife. But if you’re in the woods, you don’t have the luxury to go for a sophisticated maul sharpening tool.

Place the edge of the knife against the tip of the honing steel and push down and forward. Repeat six or eight times on both the sides till you get a sharp edge.


Though stropping with a leather does not technically sharpen the edges, it does renew the dull edge of the knife, axe and or maul. The leather removes the burrs or defects from the cutting edges in a couple of back and forth strokes.

triangle sharpeners

Little skill and more concentration are all you need to work with triangle sharpeners. The sharpener is just over 20 degrees and is more than enough to remove the imperfections

Bottom line is choosing the sharpening tool wisely. Whatever sharpening technique you use, I suggest testing it out on a piece of paper. It should slice clean through it. I totally agree that it’s a tedious task but don’t you think it’s worth a shot?

   "Be Keen, Be Safe. Be Patient. Take Time to shape your world. Your Payoff is greater in all the ways"

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