I had a 3 foot tall, 8 inch diameter knotted section that half the length was not knotted. Upon the first strike the unknotted section split with explosive force. The remainder of the piece had to be cleaved and the weight went through impressively. For normal wood splitting, I would highly recommend the very lightweight excellent Fiskars. Being so lightweight it gets the job done with the least amount of energy This light weight has its limits, for instance knarly knotted wood that does not split but one must cleave one section at a time until there are two pieces of wood, enter the Condor GS Spliting Axe. Make no mistake. This is a full size axe that is nearly as heavy as a maul and it would not be my first choice for straight wood.. But for very difficult, knotted pieces to split, it is an excellent tool. I took off 1 star b/c it is heavier than I hoped.