Proper way to affix 6 pound sledge to hickory handle (metal & wood wedge in slot)?

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My 6-pound sledge handle broke trying to split heavy (but still wet) oak (which is another story altogether).
So I bought, for $19 + tax, a hickory "round" sledge handle which had a slot at the top, and came with a metal "wedge" plus what looks like a larger poplar wedge.
My QUESTION: I understand the 'proper' way would have been to insert the 6-pound sledge head onto the round handle, then insert the wood parallel inside the pre-cut slot, and then, insert the metal wedge perpendicular (as was the original handle).
However ...
When I 'tapped' the heavy sledge head onto the handle, it fit perfectly. That is, there is no slot anymore! No place to put the wood wedge. Maybe I could put the metal wedge in crosswise ... but ... I don't have experience in this.
Since I don't have experience ... May I ask ...
What is the prognosis? Will the sledge head (eventually?) fly off? Must I insert the wood and metal wedges provided?
Or, is it just fine as long as the sledge head is tight on the hickory handle?
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Yep, you must use the wedges. It's possible that the handle absorbed some moisture and expanded since it was made. It's okay to use a handsaw and enlarge the slot a bit so you can get the wood wedge started, and the wood fibers will crush a bit as you hammer it in. The metal wedge installed will expand the top of the handle wood in the opposite direction. Both are important.
R
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On Mon, 18 Jul 2011 20:10:29 -0700, RicodJour wrote:

I was afraid of that.
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The head will come loose very quickly with any use.
If you can get the head back off the way to proceed is to start the wood wedge in the slot before slipping the head on. Using heavy hammer then drive the handle as far as you can. You said it fit fine. I have always had to do some shaving on mine.
To get the head back off, hold the sledge up with one hand on the handle and use a heavy hammer to drive the head off, alternately blows from side to side.
When it is driven tight, there should be some excess sticking out on he 'wedge side'. Drive the wedge down as far as you can then cut the excess handle off flush with the head. A hacksaw works good for that. Then drive the metal wedge in.
I find that the 'handle protectors' (rubber donuts) will moe than double the life of a sledge or maul.
Harry K
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Old wives tale and instructions to that effect in the warning labels. Myth busters proved it is wrong as has my lifetime experience of doing it with wedges, mauls, sledges, hammers, anvils, etc. Never got so much as chip (other than caused by mushrooming).
Harry K
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On Tue, 19 Jul 2011 09:21:55 -0700, Harry K wrote:

This 6 LB maul has hit hard concrete very many times and has slight mushrooming - but - no chips.
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Yep. One of my problems doing handles on my equipment is that both maul and sledge are so old I can't read the markings and am never sure which is the small side :).
Harry K
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On Tue, 19 Jul 2011 09:24:23 -0700, Harry K wrote:

I only saw 'markings' on one side; but how do I know whether they indicate the top or the bottom of the maul head?
The hole 'looked' the same to me.
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On Mon, 18 Jul 2011 21:26:09 -0700, Harry K wrote:

Didn't see any at Home Depot or Lowes. Need to look them up. Makes sense.
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On Mon, 18 Jul 2011 23:14:56 -0700, harry wrote:

Hmmmmmm? I 'looked' at both ends of the metal head and didn't see either side being larger than the other. There was a "6LB" & the company name stamped on one side of the maul head and nothing on the other side. That seemed to be the only difference.
Do the maul heads really have a top side and a bottom side?
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Many do. I have also seen some that had sort of an hourglass cross section. The cheapest (or least-well designed) may have a straight sided bore.
--
There are no stupid questions, but there are lots of stupid answers.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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On Mon, 18 Jul 2011 23:22:46 -0700, harry wrote:

That's exactly how I did it.
I looked on the maul head for markings, and found what appears to be a brand name and the letters "6 LB" on one side; but I couldn't tell if that was the top or the bottom of the maul.
I put the hole on the shaft on both sides - and - they appeared to be the same (but I may have been wrong).
Then, I simply tapped the bottom of the handle on the pavement and the hammer head slipped down. It wasn't easy though. I had to tap as hard as I could on a concrete curb (asphalt would have dented easily) about 20 or so times for the head to make it flush to the top of the wood.
Of course, as I stated, now there's no room for the wood wedge or the metal wedge.
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arkland wrote:

The hole in the head of the sledge should be tapered...the wood wedge expands the handle in one direction to expand the handle into the taper, the steel wedge expands it in the other direction. Once the handle is expanded, the sledge head can't come flying off so yes, you have to use the wedges even if it means skinnying down the handle a bit.
--

dadiOH
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-snip-

I haven't done one in 20 years [when I bought those ugly yellow handles that last forever] -- but *that* is the proper way. Use a rasp to make the handle fit snugly while still leaving a small slot to start that poplar wedge. Pound that one home- then put the metal one in crosswise.
Rasping makes the handle stick better. Don't widen the slot.
Jim
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Starging the wedge befor inserting handle works very well for me.
Harry K
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On Tue, 19 Jul 2011 09:11:24 -0400, Jim Elbrecht wrote:

The "ugly yellow handles' were both more expensive and quite a bit heavier (maybe three times heavier) when I held one the wood in one hand and the yellow fiberglass in the other hand.
So, I opted for good old hickory.
In hindsight, would the installation have been any different on the yellow fiberglass handles?
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wrote:

Long term they are cheaper than wood. But they *are* heavier-- and just don't have the 'feel' of wood. I've gotten used to them, but I don't swing them every day like I used to.

If you found a hickory handle that was any good- you're a better man than I am. The last *good* hickory handle I bought was from an old German guy who made them in 1975. I've had store bought ones split on the first day out.

The ones I got fit fairly loosely and then you poured epoxy around them. I've got a 6?lb hammer, a 12-15 pound sledge and a felling axe that haven't budged in 20 years or so-- and though I don't use them so much anymore, the first 10 years were pretty regular-- and they've all had the bejeezus abused out of them.
Jim
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On Wed, 20 Jul 2011 08:03:59 -0400, Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Why?
I'm guessing they last longer than the wood hickory handles do?
Is that the reason?
Or that the head stays on longer?
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wrote:

Both. They take 100 times the abuse that a wood handle will-- and leaving it out in the weather won't affect them. The head will rust off before the plastic complains.
And the heads are epoxied in so they are permanent. If you managed to break one, or cut it up with your chainsaw, or something, the only way you'll remove the rest of the handle is with a torch.
But don't run out and buy plastic for all your weapons. Try one-- I can live with its *very* different feel, but I can see where some folks don't like them.
All my shovels, axes, heavy hammers and sledges now have plastic. [one of the plastic shovel handles is on its 3rd shovel and I'm looking for another broken handled shovel at a garage sale]
Jim
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Those rubber donut "handly savers" do work. I used them for the first time a few years ago. This year I had to reset both the sledge and maul handle due to looseness. Handles were still fairly pristine and solid. I shaved the handles a bit so they would go in further, wedges driven and excess cut off. First time ever had a handle survive long enough to be re-fitted.
Harry K
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