Ya didn't even know that I knew that Frenchity stuff didja? Well I don't, but my maul is finally finished. I used a draw-knife, a small handplane and a fine rasp to get the handle smooth enough to use with gloves, and MAYBE bare-handed. The handle isn't completely uniform in diameter, nor is it without a little swing and sway in its length, but it will do fine as is, I believe.
I took about an inch off the length of the handle, due to a slightly battered end from an glancing sledge blow. At that point, it weighed 20 pounds and 12 ounces. If I were going to use it in timber framing, I would have left it there. However, this maul will probably be used for driving wedges and small posts, so that made it seem cumbersone, especially one-handed, as when starting posts and stakes.
To remedy the situation, I cut about three inches off it's 12 inch head. Interestingly enough, removing one-fourth of its length reduced its weight by about a third, to 14 pounds, 10 ounces. It seems much more "user friendly" at that weight. It wouldn't surprise me if it loses another pound or so when it's finally fully seasoned. The overall length has been reduced from 40" to 35-1/2."
I suspect the weigh being concentrated at the butt end is due to three seperate influences. First, the butt IS slightly larger in diameter. Second, the sloping cut of the shoulder gave the air more surface from which to draw moisture than the straight cut on the butt. Thirdly, the maul has spent a lot of its time standing as you see it, so moisture in the wood has probably settled some from simple gravity.
The maul is done now, though I MIGHT chamfer the rim of the lower end a little bit. Then again, maybe not. I probably should put some boron or linseed oil on it soon, so the powder-post beetles don't discover it. Incidently, the apparent crack of the head in the photo is actually only in the bark, though the wood may also eventualy develop a crack, as well. Most of the old ones did the same, so I don't suppose it hurts them. Click the photo to enlarge it. © 2015