Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Step Closer (w/pics)

Last summer, I mentioned making a hickory root maul for whacking things like small fence posts and liberals. I may even have posted a photo, but I don't remember. Anyway, all I got done to it back then was the initial groove roughed out with a double-bitted axe to determine where the head would be and give a place for the splits to stop when working down the handle. "Rough" it was, too. It sat around drying out, which wasn't my plan, and today, I decided to finish the groove around the piece.

So, after raising the tonneau and taking my little 1.25 pound scout axe out of the back of the pick-up, I started hacking on an all-too-dry chunk of hickory. There's a REASON that some tasks should be done while the wood is green! Still, the little hatchet was sharpm enough to shave with, so that helped.

After about a half-an-hour of whacking, turning, looking and whacking some more, I finally got to where I have what is roughly a two inch section of round wood at the bottom of my groove around the hickory chunk. Next, I'll need to get my granddad's froe out of the basement and cut a three inch or so piece of firewood to use as a small maul and split the sides off the long section to rough out the handle. Other things needed my attention, though, so that will have to wait until another day.

The maul will be 40 inches overall, unless I decide it needs shortened, and will have a head approxiamately 12 inches long and 8 inches across. Yes, I KNOW it looks like a beaver has been chewing on it, so all you talented woodworkers can just keep your trap shut! ;-)

The first photo shows the maul, plus my fancy, 20" tall shop chair and my 12" tall work bench. They're located in my workshop, under the big white oak in the front yard. It was a nice day so, since that was where everything was, that's where I worked. Besides, working in the front yard lets my neighbors wonder what in the world the old geezer is doing now. Sometimes, I think they believe that I shouldn't be allowed to play with sharp objects. The second photo is obviously a closer view of my project. I'll try to get another photo when I use the froe to split the sides off the handle area. © 2015

Click photos to enlarge.


Sunnybrook Farm said...

I see what you are doing, looks good so far. Do they heat treat those things? I have never made one.

Gorges Smythe said...

I've never made one either, SF, though I watched Roy Underhill do one on TV once, I think. I've never heard of anyone heat-treating one. It might actually be counter-productive if it makes it TOO hard.

Ralph Goff said...

Very interesting. The one I inherited is made from a block of Chinese Elm cut to about a foot long, maybe 6 inch diameter. Hole drlled through it to insert a handle. The original handle was just a piece of poplar that rotted and I replaced with a newer piece. Its crude but good for driving pegs in the garden for markers plus it is a "family heirloom".

Gorges Smythe said...

It's nice that you still have it, Ralph. I had my grandfather's, which he probably used in the oilfields, but it was so full of powder-post beetles that it basically fell apart. It was the hammer kind, with a separate handle in the side.