Although axes and mauls look similar and they even perform similar tasks, the functions they accomplish are different. Axes, for instance, are designed to chop wood across the grain by means of its sharp, hardened steel blade, while mauls, split the wood in the direction of the fibres with a blade that’s not as sharp as an axe, but its heavier weight and speed of blow, splits the wood into smaller pieces. What they are used for follows their primary use. If you’re felling a tree, you’ll need to cut across the grain off the trunk so an axe is the tool to use. Once the tree has been chopped into manageable logs, they will more than likely still be too large for fireplaces, log burners or barbecues. To make the logs more practicable, the use of a maul or log splitter is advisable. They come in many shapes, weights and sizes, but both work by splitting the wood rather than chopping or cutting the wood. The mauls splitting action is down to the shape and weight of the mauls head. The edge of the mauls blade isn’t as sharp as an axe, coupled with the weight and speed of blow it splits the wood into smaller, more manageable pieces. Log splitters are designed to work with a lump hammers in a similar fashion to hammer and chisel, but instead of chipping away at the wood, like a chisel, the log splitter does exactly what its name implies, splits the logs down the fibrous grain. Which one is best for you is down to personal choice, but both are great for creating tinder or firewood.