What the devil is a go-devil??

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O.k., so I'm cutting wood near a neighbor's place on Saturday and he stops by to chat. He's impressed with my find, good dead oak tree top had blown down next to the road. Good, big, dry, ready to use wood. As we make conversation he asks, "So, you got ya a go-devil to split these with, don'tcha?" I had never heard the term and told him so. He didn't offer to explain, just looked at me like I was thick as a post. (He's a very nice guy but I ain't from here and well...I am ignorant on some terms...) I told him I had a maul and he said a wedge would help, but he never told me if he had been talking about a maul or some other piece of equipment. Anybody out there got a go-devil? C'mon, gimme a hint...

-- gilly (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), December 24, 2001


Hi GIlly i dont have a clue about what he was talking about. when i was a kid along time ago a go devil was what we gathered up the hay with to bring into the old starionary hay baler i pulled it with a team of old black horses. when you gathered up a bumble bee nest things sure got exciting. Bob se,ks,

-- Bobco (bobco@kans.com), December 24, 2001.

that's another name for a splitting maul.

-- Dave (something@somewhere.com), December 24, 2001.

Go devil.. a wedging or splitting maul Or a large and heavy cudgel made from a hidkory sapling to be used with a GLUT ;)

-- JR (JR3STAR@EARTHLINK.NET), December 24, 2001.

A Go Devil is also the brand name of a weedless boat motor.

-- Mark in N.C. Fla. (deadgoatman@webtv.net), December 24, 2001.

A weedless boat motor would be just the nuts for splitting oak!

-- hendo (redgate@echoweb.net), December 25, 2001.

He seemed to be referring to a splitting maul. However, according to my dictionary: go' dev'il: (n) 1. A sled used to drag or carry logs, stones, etc. 2. A field cultivator that rides on wooden runners and is used on listed furrows. (1825-35, Amer.)

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), December 25, 2001.

A good friend of mine who is an 80 yr. old retired farmer uses that term for any specialized tool that will do the job at hand. He even uses it as a verb sometimes as in "I'm having a rough time go- devilin' that thing out of there."

-- Walt K. (kraterkrew@lcsys.net), December 25, 2001.

Didn't somebody come out with round shaped splitting wedge/maul???? I think it was suppose to be the "better" mouse trap??? Haven't seen one advertised for a very long time.

You haven't lived the wood splitting life untill you've gotten a wedge stuck/jamed/cursed/stuck hopelessly----in ELM!!... Three more wedges used to remove the first. First wedge split...and one half curled back A friend was >"helping"< me....[I did not stick the wedge]..the more it got stuck, the more beer he drank. The wedge is now a wall hanging conversation piece!

Thankfully no one got hurt that day.........

-- Jim-mi (hartalteng@voyager.net), December 25, 2001.

Ji-mi don'tcha just hate it when you gotta have a bonfire to get your wedges back? Break out the weenies and the marshamllows and call it fun!

-- Just Duckie (Duck@spazmail.com), December 25, 2001.

My Grandpa always called mauls po-dunks, my grandma (his wife) called frying pans spiders. I never thought to ask why...I wish I could now.

Stacy in NY

-- Stacy (KincoraFarm@aol.com), December 25, 2001.

I've heard go-devil used to refer both to a sort of a round spiral shaped splitting wedge and also to a maul that you dont swing, but has a weight that slides up and down its long handle to force its wedge face into the wood. Same principle as tool used to drive steel fence posts or of slide hammer used to pull dents in car bodies. Spider was a brand name I believe of cast iron cookware. Had a spider symbol cast into bottom of it. Apparently somewhat rare and very collectable.

-- HermitJohn (hermit@hilltop_homestead.zzn.com), December 25, 2001.

Don't know about the go-devil but I've always understood "spiders" to be the legs on cast-iron cookware or a sort of trivet on longer legs to set pots on over the coals in a fire pit or fireplace.

Thanks for the laughs on the other posts....love to hear about other peoples foibles. Not my own mind you.....

-- LBD (lavenderbluedilly@hotmail.com), December 25, 2001.

Uh, a go-devil is anything you want it to be. Like a go-to-Hell or a thing. Mebbe he was asking you if you knew what you was a doin'.....

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), December 25, 2001.

hmmm my go-devil (complete with picture on side) is a wedge shaped wood splitter with round top. It's about 10 years old came from Sears.

It is often more pain than help to use it.


-- Kenneth in N.C. (wizardsplace13@hotmail.com), December 25, 2001.

Mauls and wedges: Ok, my DH uses a maul to split wood. I can't use just the maul, but have to use a wedge too as I can't swing the maul with enough force to go all the through the wood. Is there a better way to split it (without using a wood splitter)?.

Maybe folks like me are the reason wedges were invented :>)

-- Cindy (colawson@mindspring.com), December 26, 2001.

Thanks so much for all the feedback. I guess the answer is, yes, I have a go-devil and I go-devil the heck outta some wood with it! (Cindy, one hint...let DH split it ;^}!!) Hope everyone has a good warm (in the house, anyway) winter!!

-- gilly (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), December 26, 2001.

While were on the subject of splitting impliments- I bought an axe at a yard sale (along with a cross cut saw and a pile of other old tools) that is supposidly designed for splitting. The head looks like a chopping bit, not a splitting bit. But it has two spring loaded thingies (for lack of a better term) inside the bit that wedge the wood apart when they hit the surface of the wood. OR at least they are supposed to. The axe is AWFUL to split with- I, after using it and several other axes, prefer a 6 lb splitting maul (I weigh a buck thirty so gimme a break, ok) with a wooden handle that is taped with duct tape for 12 inches or so- so the wood wont split if you hit one of those pieces that splits out funny. If you split wood THE same day you saw it, you can split most anything (except elm and black gum and cherry and iron wood) fast. Let it sit a few weeks and all wood gets harder to split until it starts to season out good- which is a year or more for some woods (like tulip poplar). Also tried one of those "shock absorber" plastic handled mauls- they work ok, but if it takes more than one swing, the head of the axe is hard to remove from the wood. Cindy- stick with the wedge trick, practice makes perfect.

-- Kevin in NC (Vantravlrs@aol.com), December 26, 2001.

Go-Devil is a trade name which was used in the 50's by a manufacturing company in Butler,PA (home of the JEEP). I got a Go-Devil for Christmas when I was about 10. It had a single steel runner about 2" wide and 20" long. The toy had 2 steel legs and a wooden seat-no moving parts. I rode it until I weighed about 150 lbs and it failed. After about 10 design revisions I built a version which I have been riding for the last 35 years. It is marvelous on packed snow for both slalom and downhill - fast and manuverable. The kids go crazy when I ride it as it looks specatcular balancing one one runner. I wish it were in the Olympics.

-- Rick Miller (rickmyoga@yahoo.com), February 08, 2002.

That's cool, Rick. Will it split wood too? Seriously, though, that sounds like a blast! I'd be interested in your design. How do you steer. I guess you lean, but how do you keep your balance? More importantly, how do you stop?? Any info would be appreciated. I'll check back on this thread, or you can e-mail me if you'd like. Thanks. gilly

-- gilly (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), February 08, 2002.

The North Koreans have a similar thing, a simple wooden seat with a single steel skate. The riders sit on this and propels themselves with short sticks that have steel spikes in the end. They appeared very popular with children on the Taidong river.

-- john hill (john@cnd.co.nz), February 08, 2002.

Fascinating set of answers!

Here in Alaska, a go-devil is the "weedless" outboard other contributors mentioned. What it is is a standard o/b with an extremely long shaft: 10-15 feet long. So you can tilt it way back and the prop is just at surface level. Anyone who's been to Thailand has seen them in the canals of Bangkok (or watch one of the Roger Moore James Bonds...perhpas Man With Golden Gun?).

And regarding splitting ELM. Oh, yes. People here think that some of our spruce, with its super tight growth and lots of gnarly knots is the devil incarnate, and it is....but Elm is toughter!!!

-- Audie (paxtours@alaska.net), February 09, 2002.

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