Yesterday my friend Doug came round with a wheelbarrow full of maple logs for me. (on one other famous occasion he came round with a wheelbarrow containing two chainsaws and a banjo -but that's another story from which I'll leave you to construct your own joke.).
"A ha" I said, "a chance to try out my new log splitting maul, bought on special offer at Aldi last week."
You may well ask what a maul is. I didn't know until last week either. Well as you can see from the pictures, it's a cross between an axe and a sledgehammer. Fibreglass handle, six pound head.
The logs were about nine or ten inches across and about the same deep. Placing one on end on an old piece of chipboard, I stood back holding the maul like a golfer readying for his drive with the head of the maul an inch in front of the log. Lifting the maul like an executioner of old, I took a mighty swing - and clouted the log with the maul handle. You have to stand six inches further back than you think!
Next try - whack, the log split cleanly in one stroke and very little actual effort. Not only that but it practically demolished the chipboard beneath. And so it went. In no time I had done the lot. If I were you I'd get one.
A couple of tips though.
1. Stand holding the maul at arms length so that the head is six inches short of the log before you swing.
2. Make a good base from a big log placed on soft ground to use as an anvil. For goodness sake don't just put the log to be split directly on hard ground, the maul follows through hard.
3. Choose a big wide open space well away from the boat and the water, and keep people and pets away because the pieces fly about ten feet either side when the log splits.
4. Shin pads might be an idea - one bit of flying log left a dent in my shinbone!
So now you know.
Are all mauls the same? Well as Rick would say, "Once you've seen one, you've seen a maul".