In the picture below, you’ll see my hickory maul-to be after a recent trip to the Chinese Emporium. I’d been sent home from work after only three hours, because they just couldn’t get a load for several of us. I started to work on my maul with my hewing hatchet, but soon discovered that the slight back grind on it made it little different than a regular hatchet in use, and for this job, that made it too heavy. I guess that’s the danger of letting people make tools who have no hands-on knowledge of their use. It will take considerable grinding to right that wrong.
I’d just switched to my little Boy Scout axe, when my wife called from the door of the house that she’d like me to take her to town to pick up a few things. After putting the maul in the back of the truck, the dog on the back seat and helping my wife into the front, we headed off. The wife got out and headed inside and I wheeled the truck into the north lot and backed up against the curb of the outside edge.
At some point in the past, I learned that there are about a half-dozen parking places along the edge of the lot where the ground slopes up away from the curb at a fairly good angle. This allows me to put the tailgate down and sit with my feet comfortably on the ground. At such times, I normally have the Mighty Dachshund on a long leash and let her wander and sniff to her heart’s content on the sloped lawn. Today, after walking her a bit, and letting her water and fertilize the back lawn, I put her on a short leash and attached it to the gate-hanger. Then, I pulled out the maul-to-be, and my little axe, and went to work.
The handle was roughly square at that point (well, okay, more like a slightly out-of-square rectangle. First, I squared it up, trying to lessen any wandering of the handle in the process. I wasn’t splitting at this point, but scoring the high spots and then going back and “slicing” off the resulting chips. Then, I did the same to the corners. After truing up all eight faces as good as I could get them in a reasonable time, I repeated the process on the smaller remaining corners between the faces. Technically, that should make it 16-sided, but in reality, it was actually pretty-well rounded, especially considering that the grain was a little squirrelly.
At that point, I returned the maul and the hand-axe to the trunk. I picked up the pooch from where she’d been lying and soaking up the sun and put her on the back seat again. Climbing into the truck, I started it up and moved it around to near the door where I’d deposited the missus. Then, I lowered the visors, put on my shades, closed my eyes and thought I’d snooze a bit. Two minutes later, the little woman arrived with her purchases and we headed home. After getting my wife and the dog inside, I took the picture that you see below. The next hitch may involve a draw knife, a hand-plane, a spoke-shave, or some combination of said tools. Time will tell. © 2015
Click image to enlarge.