Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wedging Sledges - as opposed to sledging wedges (w/pics)

This afternoon, I went to the one place in town that I thought might have the handle wedges that I needed. I would have gone there yesterday, but they closed earlier than the place I checked then. Today, I was lucky. They not only had the usual smaller size metal wedges, plus the usual assortment of wooden wedges, they had the larger size metal one that I wanted for one of the sledges. I got two axe-sized wooden wedges at 39¢ each. The 1-1/8” wide metal wedges were 75¢ each, the 3/4” were 40¢, and the 1/2” were 25¢ each.

The handle on the straight peen sledge was made by an old neighbor gentleman, whom I great respected, about 40 years ago. It was made from split stock, not a board, so it’s far better than what you can buy off the rack. Normally, the wedge would run front to back, but he chose to install it cross-wise for some reason. Having put in a stub wedge to drive the original deeper, I sawed the extra length from the too-tall stub wedge to make it almost flush with the end of the handle. I then installed one of the large metal wedges the long direction of the eye and across the wooden wedge. It was thick enough that it went in with great difficulty, but I finally got it.

The splitting mall had two of the worthless circular wedges installed by the factory (which was probably in China) and neither the handle nor the wedges would stay tight. I put one of the 3/4” wedges cross-wise near the narrow end of the eye where it would reach from side to side. The circular wedges tried loosening just from me driving in the regular wedge. If I have to, I can drive in another regular wedge between the two circular ones. I’ve never seen one out of the handle, but I assume the circular style is basically a short piece of pipe with the outside turned a little bit cone shaped while the inside remains straight. I could have reset the handle a little deeper, which should also have made the handle tighter, but since I’d already wrapped the handle near the head, I didn’t want to go to that effort.

I’m sure the regular sledge will stay tight for a few years now. I guess time will tell about the splitting maul. © 2017

Click images to enlarge.


Sixbears said...

That reminds me that I've got a mall and a sledge that need handles. There's used to be a guy that came by in truck that had nothing but replacement handles. He's long gone now, and I miss his quality handles. Guess I'll have to go to the hardware store and pick the best out of a bad pile.

Gorges Smythe said...

You may have your own system, but I always try to get handles with no sap wood. Handles with sapwood eventually curve toward that side. I like the grain to run front to back and the full length of the handle, and naturally - STRAIGHT. I find about one in a dozen that suits me, if I'm lucky.

deborah harvey said...

i had never seen a round wedge

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I got a sledge at the flea market that some old guy was selling and the handle must have dried and split two ways, I don't use it a whole lot so I deal with it as the split is at the handle end. I see what you are talking about with the little wedges, I had a round one once that was hard to remove. Put a little JB Weld around the wood to lock it in place if you are an optimist about the handle not breaking.

Gorges Smythe said...

Hope you never do, dh!

I wrap my sledge handles with 16 gauge electrical wiring to make them less likely to break if you over-reach, SF. Even a good wrapping of duct tape helps.