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Thread: Axes... to hammer wedges, or not?

  1. #1

    Default Axes... to hammer wedges, or not?

    Hi folks.
    I've heard mixed views on whether or not it's a good idea to use the poll of an axe as a hammer, for example to drive wedges into wood you're splitting.

    Can anyone give an even semi-definitive answer on this?

    If it helps I currently have a Husqvarna Hatchet http://www.britishblades.com/forums/...ad.php?t=73302 which has a "wooden wedge" as shown here http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16606 and a circular "metal wedge" rather than the straight one as shown in that same link.


    So...
    To hammer or not to hammer? That is the question.

  2. #2

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    I also have a very similar Husqvarna axa, and so too would be interested in some replies!

  3. #3

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    For light hammering work on wooden or plastic wedges you will be fine.

    Excessive and heavy hammering can deform the head and hammering metal on metal is a bad idea.

    The exception is of course the like of splitting mauls which are designed for hammering on splitting wedges.

    Common sense really - the more you push a tool outside its normal remit, the more likely it is to break.

  4. #4

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    Oh, and perhaps to add something else - splitting a section of fairly clear wood will of course pose less stress than trying to split a huge great knotty lump of something.

  5. #5

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    Would it not be a good idea to use the poll of a GB Mini to drive in titanium tent pegs?

  6. #6
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    That depends on wether you dont mind denting the poll...Probably better to cut a maul out of a log if your doing splitting work.

  7. #7
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    I would use an axe for hammering in wooden wedges.An axe is for working wood and you shouldn't damage it using it in this way.

  8. #8
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    some axes are find for hammering wedges, but generally speaking I wouldn't reccomend it. The weak points are the thin cheeks either side of the handle, but of course there is a great lump of wood between them for some support.

    Just don't go driving steel wedges into logs with it and I would think you will be ok generally, certainly with tent pegs.

    Mind you, the whole idea of hammering with something that has a cutting edge pointing towards your face is not a good plan in my opinion
    Man up Princess! dave budd handmade toolsTools, knives, blacksmithing Also, courses in all of the above

  9. #9

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    Thanks for the replies folks.
    So, for hammering wooden wedges, probably ok, maybe not for metal though. Seems reasonably sensible.

    I suppose you need to be a bit more careful when swinging an axe with the bit facing towards you though - could give some nasty injuries if you used a daft technique.
    Edit - apparently Mr Budd agrees there - beat me to the punch though.


    launditch1...
    When you say to cut a maul out of a log, do you mean to cut it into a wedge shape and hit that with the poll? Or to effectively batton the axe into the wood? Or something else again?

  10. #10
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    as long as you keep your tools (eg. axe and wedge) in good conditon. E.g. file any mushrooming down and keeping the poll ship shape, you are good to go.

    I have no second thoughts when using a good quality axe, and a good quality wedge. As long as i know the tools are look after and kept in shape.

    Problem occurs mainly using hardened hammers on hardened wedges, and only if either of these have been hardened too much. The poll on an axe is not hardened (as far as i know, anyhow) thus wont pose a problem.

    Then again on second thought.....a blacksmith would have a huuuge problem, if metal o metal would be such a hazard.

    Keep your tools (any tools) in good working order, and take care of them. Then you are fine.

  11. #11

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    making a maul out of a log is easy. Cut it to the correct total length you want and then mark the length of handle - say 12 inch head to 18 inch handle. at the point use a saw to cut through the log to an equal depth all the way around. You want to leave a core intact that has a diameter suitable to be the handle - say 2.5 inch. Use your axe to trim away the wood down to this diameter and ther you have it.

    Have a look in Mike Abbots book on green woodworking for more

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    ...what treemonk said!

  13. #13
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    If you want to do this and plan on hammering metal, buy an axe with a properly hardened poll designed for the job. Repeated hammering using the poll of a normal axe can distort the eye. There are axes and mauls designed to hammer metal wedges - just be sure to get the right type

    Red
    Quote Originally Posted by Macaroon
    There are too many people with a mouth full of much obliged and a hand full of gimme who bang on about rights but have no clue as to responsibilities

  14. #14

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    Cheers folks.

    Treemonk or launditch - do either of you have a link to a picture of such a maul? I'm actually having a tricky time picturing what you're describing.

  15. #15

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    http://www.greenwoodworking.com/riving/riving.htm

    check out figure 18 - is a rather long and thin one but you should get the idea!

  16. #16

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    Right - so you're making a club to hammer with. "Maul" seems to get used a few different ways - it gets a bit confusing for newcomers to wood stuff like myself.

    I know it was suggested as something to hammer a wedge with instead of the axe, but would you only hammer wooden wedges with that or use it to baton the axe? Maybe hitting the poll or potentially the haft?

  17. #17

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    you could use it to baton the axe, striking the poll, to get the split started accurately. You can then get your first wedge in and free the axe and carry on the splpit with more wedges. Use the axe to sever any fibres that are keeping the halves together.

  18. #18

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    an example of a splitting maul is centre screen -

    http://www.nordicoutdoor.co.uk/ecom_...t.html?catid=2

  19. #19

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    Sounds like a good approach. I've got a lot of things to try and to practice at least!

  20. #20

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    You'll be fine - like I said its all very common sense.

    If you are interested in green woodworking, mike abbots book is a very good core text. Has an awful lot of cross-over to bushcrafty areas, selection of woods, wood structure and how it dictates how you work it. All good stuff!

  21. #21
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    as long as you dont go over the top and dont hit anything hard it will be fine. nice axe btw, cheep too! husqvarna has to be my favorite make of saw too

    pete

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treemonk View Post
    making a maul out of a log is easy. Cut it to the correct total length you want and then mark the length of handle - say 12 inch head to 18 inch handle. at the point use a saw to cut through the log to an equal depth all the way around. You want to leave a core intact that has a diameter suitable to be the handle - say 2.5 inch. Use your axe to trim away the wood down to this diameter and ther you have it.

    Have a look in Mike Abbots book on green woodworking for more
    you tube.

    don't forget the wealth of information in the downloads section here at BCUK

    woodsmanship

    cheers, and.

  23. #23

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    Sargey - thanks for the links - that youtube video is incredibly clear.
    I'll have a read of that pdf later too.
    Cheers!


    Treemonk - I've been looking for that book in the nearby shops with no joy - I'll be ordering it online tomorrow morning though. I hope it's as good as you say - I'm really looking forwards to reading it. The reviews I've seen are all glowing though - I'm expecting a good read!


    Peter_t
    I used it very briefly today - I went to the park to check a fllen tree I want to harvest Burrs from.
    Since the tree fell a while back I cut into it in a couple of places to see what state the wood was in and it seems to be in really good oder. The axe was great to swing though - it felt relly comfortable.


    I'm very happy with it and can't wait to see what it's like when I've put a bit more time into putting a good sharp edge on it. It's already keener than when I bought it but I'm still getting my head around sharpening an axe so it's a long wy from perfect.

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