Letter Re: Hand Wood Splitting Tools

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James,
I concur with your desire to purchase items made in America, but I have had some trouble finding wood splitting items made here that are of the same quality as made in Europe.  I also split my wood by hand and I have found these items very helpful:
 
This great maul, and
 
this Gränsfors splitting maul, and
 
The spiral twist in this wedge makes it very effective with increased mechanical advantage.
 
If you know of any American made wood splitting devices that are of the same quality as these, please let me know, because I would like to purchase them.  I have not yet found them.
 
Thanks for your help and great site, – Jim S.

JWR Replies: I am indeed a big believer in buying American-made products. I am principled about this but not dogmatically absolutist, so I do make some exceptions, namely:

  • When an imported product is more safe to use.
  • When an imported product is the only one available.
  • When an imported product is of better quality.

If I can’t find a good American-made product, I first consider products from our traditional trading partners, like Canada and European nations. Failing that, then Mexico and Taiwan (free China.) I only buy products from mainland China as a last resort.

The spiral Gränsfors wedge (made in Sweden) is indeed quite efficient.

Not all of the best wedges are made in Sweden. There are indeed some other innovative wood splitting wedges–but not many are American-made. These include:

The Estwing E-5 Sure Split Wedge is made in USA. This wedge has side fins that make them more efficient. I have used these, and recommend them.

But the traditional Barco wood splitting wedge is made in USA, and you can buy four of them for the price of just one Gränsfors. And if you ever need to split a long straight log transversely (to make split rail fences, for instance), then you will need a set of six of seven of the traditional straight wedges.

Be advised that many of the other brands of wedges, axes, sledges and mauls are imported. For example, the Truper brand is made in Mexico. And most of the red-painted and green-painted wedges that you see in hardware stores are made by Shandong Jinfu, Laiwu Zhongtie, and other companies in China. And even Jorgensen brand–a company that has the temerity to still publicly proclaim “four generations of quality”–now sources many of their tools in China, including their wedges and their bench vises.

The Roughneck Wood Grenade (marketed by Northern Tool, and other companies) is made in Taiwan, and has had good reports.

There is a “no name” equivalent to the Wood Grenade that is made in Mexico.

But beware that the widely-sold “Timber Blaster” segmented wedges are all made in China.

Perhaps there are SurvivalBlog readers who know of some other American-made equivalents to the tools that you listed.

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