Ever Use A Powder Wedge ?

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sheriff john

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Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
7
Inherited a powder wedge. Resembles the breech end of a muzzle loader barrel with a hole for a fuze. About 14" long, 12 bore, possible made from an early axle or steering shaft. Powder wedges are loaded with black powder, a wad of some sort, then driven into the end of a log whereupon the charge splits the log.

Something heavy must be placed against the wedge or it will fly out as happened to my grandfather's cousin with fatal result.

Question is: Any idea how heavy a charge to use? My sources are all dead. Memory has it they used black blasting powder. Largest I have on hand is 2F.
 

muzzleloader48

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Nov 14, 2017
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1,764
Location
Boncarbo, CO.
Inherited a powder wedge. Resembles the breech end of a muzzle loader barrel with a hole for a fuze. About 14" long, 12 bore, possible made from an early axle or steering shaft. Powder wedges are loaded with black powder, a wad of some sort, then driven into the end of a log whereupon the charge splits the log.

Something heavy must be placed against the wedge or it will fly out as happened to my grandfather's cousin with fatal result.

Question is: Any idea how heavy a charge to use? My sources are all dead. Memory has it they used black blasting powder. Largest I have on hand is 2F.
Just some friendly advice.....leave it alone and hang it on the wall.
The fact your sources are all dead should tell you something...😇
 

jims

Active Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2016
Messages
33
I had a 5 feet diameter Sycamore tree too big to cut on a large sawmill band saw. Supposedly they use some type of black powder device that split into quarters and then it was small enough to fit on the saw. Wonder if it was something similar?
 

sheriff john

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
7
I had a 5 feet diameter Sycamore tree too big to cut on a large sawmill band saw. Supposedly they use some type of black powder device that split into quarters and then it was small enough to fit on the saw. Wonder if it was something similar?
I'd bet it was the same thing. These were made commercially at one time, design varied. Interesting that your example was used on a sycamore as I have mucho sycamores here on my farm. Tho' this one is round (like a musket barrel), other photos show a flat, wedge-shaped design.

I've some red oak logs cut to 4' too large to move by muscle power (I'm 72) to try this out on. At the price/availability of BP, experimenting very much is a problem. Some 15-year-old pyrodex is another option as I seldom use it in anything but percussion guns and I have six pounds on the shelf. Anyway ...too heavy a load a waste of powder, too light a load I fear will get it stuck. Thanks for the reply, sir.
 

CVA Fanboy

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May 28, 2021
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136
Location
Kentucky.
LOST OKI YUP I would at least start with some NMLRA or even you tube. Now take You Tube with a grain of salt. and check a few videos vs just one
 

UndeadPoet

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Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
70
Location
North Carolina
Interesting artifact. However, if used incorrectly, this sounds like it could become either a lethal missile, or a potentially lethal pipe-bomb. I believe I would hold on to it for its family history value, and get some young guy to split the wood… :)
 

drax05

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Joined
Aug 8, 2018
Messages
217
Location
Lower Left Alabama, or Alaska
have used powder wedge in 70's couple times, Safe enough if you use them right. Scarce now. However drilling holes in the logs and tamping in black powder and tapping in a wedge works also. Have heard of using chain saw to cut deep slots and packing in powder and wedging also. I imagine it can be found on u-tube or....
 

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