How to Maintain Your Splitting Maul

A splitting maul is not a cheap tool, and if you’ve spent more than a few dollars on it, you should try to maintain it as best you can so it lasts you for years and years. Here are a few great ways to keep your maul looking and performing its best. Although the last thing you probably want to do when you’ve finished splitting a few cords is to clean it up, this is an often overlooked and yet crucial part of owning a maul.

Choosing the Right Maul

Obviously this guide is only going to be useful if you already own a splitting maul. If you’re in the market for a new one, check out these reviews to help you choose.

Immediately After Using

As soon as you are finished splitting your quota for the day, there are a few maintenance items you should quickly check off the list.

Scrub it!

Using a wire brush, brush off all the gunk that may have accumulated on the head of your maul. You shouldn’t have to worry about being too rough as the head is already likely bare metal. Using the wire brush will remove any sap or other fluids that secret from the wood fibers during splitting.

Sand it out

After giving your head a good scrubbing, grab some finer grit sandpaper (100-120) and polish up the head a little. The wire brush is great for larger bits but using a little sandpaper will ensure you get off any smaller stuck on gunk.

Check for Rust

rusted maulIf you have any rusty spots forming on the head that aren’t removed from using the sandpaper, grab a little steel wool and lightly but firmly rub until the rust spots are removed. Then, grab some 3-in-1 oil and oil up the head with some paper towel. The oil will coat the head with a protective surface that prevents rust.

Inspect Your Handle

Every time you use your splitting maul, you should inspect the shaft and make sure that you have no cracks forming. Using a broken splitting maul can be extremely dangerous. Start at the axe head and move your way down. Look at the eye of the head, where the shaft is attached to the head. Are there cracks in the wedge? Are the metal pins (if there are some) seated properly? Then work your way down the handle looking for cracks. It could be time to replace your handle if it is cracked.

Every 6 Months 

The top three maintenance items should be performed every time you use your maul to ensure it lasts you as long as it should, and that you are using it safely. Next we will cover how to maintain your maul’s handle to make sure it performs optimally.

Handle Maintenance

To perform some maintenance on your maul handle, the first thing you want to grab is some 60-grit sandpaper. Give the entire shaft a good sanding. You don’t want to remove too much wood, but you want to clean it up, remove any gunk from your hands, any sap that has soaked in or any other weathering that builds up from say, leaving it outside. Once you’ve got the handle sanded down, give it a wipe to get any dust off.

Then, you will want to apply some little boiled linseed oil on the handle. If you use a rag or paper towel it will just soak up the oil so we recommend a rubber glove to apply a good coat of oil to your freshly sanded handle. Let it dry for a few hours, then apply a second coat. A third coat is usually overkill but you can give it a third if you want. Once dry, you should be good to go!

And there you have it! Follow these steps to ensure your splitting maul is properly maintained and lasts you years and years and cord after cord of split wood. 

James Kennedy