Maul Vs Axe: Which Is Better ?

Maul-vs-Axe

Maul Vs Axe: Which Is Better ?  its a common query ,though both are same as looking but they have difference with its function and feature. The axe has been around for more than 4,000 years.

If anyone could attest how useful this tool is, it would be our predecessors—the cavemen, the hunter-gatherers—who used it to chop down trees for firewood and protection. In today’s time, woodcutting has become a modern craft, a trusted source for anecdotes and sometimes, inspiration of novels.

Did you know that Norwegian Wood, a novel on making firewood the Scandinavian way, sold more than 300,000 copies? To quote it’s author Lars Mytting describing a woodpile: “It won’t rust. It won’t sue for divorce. It just stands there and does one thing: It waits for winter.” He’s talking about wood, of course.

Abraham Lincoln also had a story to tell about woodcutting. Before becoming one of the greatest presidents of the United States of America, he was an excellent woodcutter. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax,” he said. What he meant by this was spending time finding the best tools for a task rather than spending energy on something mediocre only to have poor outcomes.

This brings us to the topic at hand: what exactly is an axe and how different is it from a maul? Are there certain guidelines to follow when chopping down wood? What is the difference between chopping and splitting firewood?


To begin this discussion, I would like to begin by saying that from the point of view of someone who does not know a thing about woodcutting, mauls and axes look alike. They have metal heads and elongated handles either made of composite or wood. But the truth of the matter is that they are in fact similar but different. These are their most striking differences:

Weight Of Maul/Axe

The head of a maul or a “ a best splitting axe” weighs around 6 to 8 pounds (or roughly 2.7 to 3.6 kilograms). The head of an ax is lighter at around 3 to 6 pounds (or 1.2 to 2.25 kilograms). It requires more power to swing a maul compared to an ax which can be both a good and bad thing.

You see, while the maul permits you to cut wood with brute force and lessen the time you spend on each chunk, your movements from your arms to your back and your legs become less refined and make your more probe to muscle fatigue and strain. On the other hand, although the ax is much lighter, cutting thru wood needs more blows from this tool, especially when we’re talking about knotted wood and harder types

Mual/Axe Head Shapes

A maul’s head is blunt and fat, given that it is made for splitting along wood fibers. An ax's is sharp and thin, purposely created to chip off wood several bits at a time and for chopping pieces across the grain.

Common sense dictates that wood general breaks apart easier when split along the hollows spaces between its fibers. Well, I can tell you pretty much by now that I’ve tried driving the typical maul head across a trunk and the tool was almost went careening towards my leg. Almost. I learned my lesson from there.

In another situation, imagine a very sharp axe blade slicing parallel to the grain. The only problem would be is that if you slam too hard, you might get the blade sunk into the stump platform you use for making firewood. It would be very frustrating to pry out the axe and it will surely be a waste of time.

Handle Length Of Maul/Axe

The maul’s handle is purposefully made longer to accommodate the intense swinging action expected from a woodcutter owning this type of tool. Axes have shorter handle bodies because they are more suited to abrupt swinging actions. Control can also be better exerted when using the axe since you will be holding the instrument’s head closer to your hand.

Usage

I’ve mentioned in a prior number that mauls and axes work differently in certain conditions. Splitting is a technique that transforms thick tree trucks into smaller pieces of firewood with little to now waste. When the wood happens to be a softer kind like white ash, you can exert almost no effort using a maul.

The axe does another type of wood cutting better. When it comes to chipping and chopping pieces of wood, the axe’s sharp edge cuts deeply into the fiber. Several swings of an axe can result to chipping. With an axe, I approach a tree trunk across the grain, sending wood chips flying everywhere. If you’re planning to fell a tree, dig into the trunk in a “V” shape until you reach the other side.

People these days have so many reasons to cut wood. From paper production, to building cabins and using wood heaters, time has proven how much our lives are intertwined with trees even in the digital age.

The differences I’ve mentioned are just logical explanations for what works better for a specific kind of task. However, at the end of the day, we are all left to decide what ultimately work for our tastes. I know people who roll their eyes at the common guidelines in using mauls and axes and use both interchangeably. So the answer as to what works better is highly dependent on the purpose and the person doing woodcutting.

Whether or not you decide to use a maul or an ax for splitting wood, taking care of yourself and your tool should always be a priority. When handling a maul or an axe, always be attentive just like in using any other bladed tool. In the many years I’ve been a woodcutter, I’ve always come off as an overly compulsive safety enforcer of rules rather than risking injury.

These tools are made to cut and if they can cut something as hard as wood, they will have no problem sinking into skin and bones. If you are walking with your tool for long distances, it is always good to sheath them to protect you or any other person around from harm.

The swinging style I use for my axe is one I learned from being a boy scout in the Midwest. It involves keeping one hand stationery near the base of the handle and the other doing the swinging motion near the head.
I raise it over my shoulders and bring it down with one swift motion. I would definitely say that this is a lot like using a sledgehammer. In terms of using a maul, I do a more circular motion from my chest, bringing it over my shoulder and slamming it down. I find that this motion involves more parts on my upper body and generates enough momentum.

Regardless of your swing technique, make sure that you have your legs spread wider apart than your shoulders and square to the piece you are cutting.

This gives you room to bend a little and protects you from missed swings or glancing blows. If you have a leading leg, you might unknowingly send the maul or axe directly down your foot!

Strategy is also a key. Take advantage of the qualities the wood will give you. Aim at the cracks and do your best to avoid knots. If you’ve lost your energy and focus, take a rest. Mauls and axes are tools that work better with a mindful person.

When handing over a maul or an axe to someone, make sure that the blade is neither facing you or the recipient but outward, perpendicularly. Both parties should be sure that the person being handed the tool should get a firm grip on the handle to avoid harming the giver. A simple nod can be a good signal to facilitate this exchange to avoid injury.

If you plan to regularly chop or split wood, it would be a good idea to establish an axe yard and axe storage. Sometimes, I forget to sheath my ax so I’ve made a small compartment. Single bit axes are easy to keep by keeping them lodged in a log while double bit axes can be more difficult.

The same goes with mauls. Take extra precautions especially when there are children or pets around. For establishing a yard, measure at least double an axes length in each direction from your cutting area and create a boundary for others to keep them away as you work.

If you plan to regularly chop or split wood, it would be a good idea to establish an ax yard and axe storage. Sometimes, I forget to sheath my ax so I’ve made a small compartment. Single bit axes are easy to keep by keeping them lodged in a log while double bit axes can be more difficult. The same goes with the best wood splitting mauls.

Take extra precautions especially when there are children or pets around. For establishing a yard, measure at least double an axes length in each direction from your cutting area and create a boundary for others to keep them away as you work.

If you are using a stump or chopping block to cut wood on, place the piece to be split away from the edge of the block nearest you. This way, no bits can fly off in case you under swing and the ax will most likely sink into the platform.

Lastly and most importantly, keep your maul or axe in shape. This may be counter intuitive but a dull axe is actually dangerous as it bounces of the surface of wood, especially when swung at an odd angle. A sharp axe would bite into the wood instead.

Final Verdict

Choosing a maul over and axe or one for the other is truly a subject up for debate. Instead of focusing on the technicalities of either tool, I recommend choosing what feels right and choosing a maul or an axe that is made of high quality matters and withstands regular wear and tear. As they say, “different strokes for different folks” and this can’t be any truer when it comes to wood cutting.

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