Sunday, April 19, 2015

C'est Fini! (w/pic)

-
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



-

9 comments:

Ralph Goff said...

Looks pretty good Gorges. Especially the handle. I need to improve on mine as it is far from straight. The elm head seems like it will last forever on this one as long as I keep it stored in the barn away from the weather.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, Ralph. I believe that if I ever make another one, I'll rough it out with an axe and a froe, and then turn it on a bungee-powered treadle lathe.

Chickenmom said...

Nice work, Gorges! Not many know how to make them anymore.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, Cm.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

You did a good job on it and it would look good in a museum setting. I have never used one but have used a heavy steel hammer about that weight so I wouldn't want to do a whole lot. I use an 8 pound steel maul to split with and I can use that all day but a few more pounds makes a difference.

Gorges Smythe said...

I have a 14-pounder that I've used some, SF, and it's plenty heavy enough for me, though 16's used to be common, too. I'm with you on the 8-pounder; that's the size of both my regular sledge and my splitting mall. I got a good price on a used 6-pound splitting mall a couple years ago, though, maybe it's time to try it out. I have a few sticks of wood in my front yard that need split.

Lady Locust said...

Looks great. I like what CM said though I think even fewer know how to use them:) I still say, you should market your wood-working skills.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I understand now. Ours looks different and then my husband explained this one to me as being a traditional mall. Good job! It sure is heavy!

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, LL, but I don't think too many folks are in the market for such things as mauls. (Swinging one is too much like work.) lol

I remember that my granddad's looked more like a big hammer, with an iron band on each end of the head, Kathy. This is the style that could be most easily made on the frontier with only an axe.