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Author Topic: Log splitters  (Read 2132 times)

Creagan

  • Joined Jun 2013
Log splitters
« on: February 24, 2017, 11:01:27 am »
Having just bought 24t of spruce in 3m lengths, now in the market for a splitter. I'm hoping that being softwood it won't be too demanding, and as this is just to feed two small woodburners (7kw in total) I'm not expecting to need anything too serious. I would do it with the axe if I had more time but it puts a hell of a strain on the body and reminds me that I'm not in my 20s any more :D

Any suggestions/recommendations? Pros and cons of vertical vs horizontal?
The log pile is close to the house (for power) but not so close to the shed (for storing the splitter)- so something I can drag around easily by hand would be good. Or maybe something that is robust enough to just throw a tarp over it?
Voss Electric Fence

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 09:24:54 pm »
We got a Clarke 5 I think from.machine mart (in the sales) electric does a reasonable job needs a straight cut log but does a great job for stove size pieces can be used outside but needs to be stored inside but is on wheels with a handle fairly simple to operate 2

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 09:39:24 pm »
I still use a splitting maul though admit that approaching 70 it's not quite as much fun as it used to be. But paradoxically my back problems are better when I split wood regularly. I normally just split what i need for the day plus a bit extra to bank in case of illness/ being called away etc. The summer time splitting also adds to the banked supply for lazy days.
My ocassional helper does have a PTO splitter and a PTO saw and it's impressive how much he can do in a day.
I'd guess that the two of us would get your whole lot done and stacked inside 3 days... so hiring gear may be worth considering v buying.

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2017, 11:48:20 am »
I have a horizontal one (can't remember the make but it is about 7tons force).

Consider your body position, crouching over a splitter on the ground for hours is probably quite a bit harder on your back that using a maul.  Get one with a stand or make sure you can set it up so you're not lifting logs whilst bent over.
I have never used a vertical one though.

I find my splitter pretty slow so I only bother using it for tough knotty logs.  Everything else (90%) I do with a maul even though it is all 50cm lengths.

A good, sharp maul usually beats all but the very best machine.  I got a Granfors Brok one for Christmas and it is a thing of beauty and pleasure!

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2017, 01:21:55 pm »
A good, sharp maul usually beats all but the very best machine.  I got a Granfors Brok one for Christmas and it is a thing of beauty and pleasure!

I'm going to disagree with that - well at least my shoulders and back are!  OK, when splitting really easy stuff, a splitting maul is a joy to use. However, life is rarely that perfect. Mauls get stuck, bounce off, etc etc. Also the shock that goes up through your arms when you smack a log perfectly and it refuses to split is not inconsiderable.

I find a splitter far easier and safer to use. Why? Well with a maul or axe, you're converting speed (kinetic) energy into force. However, with a splitter, you're just applying the force. As long as it's used properly, that means there's less to go wrong IMHO. What I would say is that unless you'll be using it in the field, get electric rather than petrol - your lungs will thank you!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Creagan

  • Joined Jun 2013
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2017, 02:00:32 pm »
I've split plenty of wood with a splitting axe, and have a good technique, and a fairly fit so that is viable.
But I have also used my FiL's vertical 7t splitter and it is night and day.
Maybe for a short stint I could manually keep pace in a race between axe and splitter, but I bet I would be give up after half an hour and I would be feeling it in my joints for a week afterwards.

So a splitter is definitely on the cards. I want to batch process a lot of wood in one go, not do little dribs and drabs. No hire option local to me. I would ask to borrow FiL's machine but a) he is very protective of it, and b) it weighs 133kg!

From what I've read, one thing that concerns me is log length- both my stoves are quite small, in particular the 3kW wants logs of 170-220mm, which is far shorter than the maximum that splitters generally can take. Do you have to wait for the ram to fully retract each time, or can you adjust the log length, etc?

I'm hoping that a fairly basic horizontal 6t machine will do the job. I'm going to cut the logs into rounds on the stack, and drop them into a trailer. Then set up the splitter at the same height as the trailer bed, so no lifting required, just sliding/rolling. Then I have a second much lower trailer that I will chuck the split logs into- so again no lifting. Or at least that is the plan!

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2017, 03:02:29 pm »
Do you have to wait for the ram to fully retract each time, or can you adjust the log length, etc?

Each of the four splitters I've used have been two-handed operation for safety. Both buttons / levers need to be pressed for the blade to move forwards, and releasing one hand stops the blade from retracting. The pain for you will be in between logs, since by the time you've grabbed a new log, the blade will have retracted all the way back, and you'll have to then wait for it to come forward again. I found a decent way around this was to permanently strap a log to the bottom of the splitter a bit like a chopping block, to reduce the effective stroke length.

Other splitters have an adjustable stroke length. The one we borrow doesn't, but it could be easily and safely modified to do that if required. HTH!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2017, 05:42:03 am »
I don't find any shock-through-the-arms issues using a maul.. it's down to technique and relaxing just as it hits the log but there's no question that a good splitter will get more done and deal with the gnarly knotty logs. A vertical splitter will deal with large logs easier than horizontal and you don't have to lift as high. My helper's PTO splitter is a home-built job so details like H&S he ignored and length of stroke is down to the operator as is hands-free operation of the ram (so, yeah, you gotta be careful) but he gets a prodigious amount done because hands are free to balance large logs and control the split parts. I'm not sure how you'ld deal with 2ft+ diameter logs on a horizontal whereas with this thing size doesn't matter if you can get an edge of log under the cutter. It's not for everyone and I'm not sure I'd like to operate it. If you really want to see scary then his DIY PTO saw with 4 foot diameter blade is terrifying even with the guard he put on. I'm at least 100yds away when he uses that!

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2017, 09:04:32 am »
I don't find any shock-through-the-arms issues using a maul.

I found the maul a joy to use with nice straight pine. With gnarly beech though, I often hit it as fast as I could, AND in the right place, only for the blade to stop dead without it splitting. Maybe it was down to my poor technique, but I found when that happened it really jarred my shoulders. Perhaps I was tensing up in anticipation? I'm not sure.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2017, 12:38:28 pm »
Just as the maul is about to hit you should nly just be controlling it rather than holding it hard. It's a bit like my old rowing days... one opened the hand and relaxed grip on the oar coming forwards.. just balanced in the palms before the next stroke.. even at 45 strokes per min off the start. Until one learned to do that is was hand cramp problems.

dancing james

  • Joined Feb 2017
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2017, 12:30:24 am »
I still use a splitting maul though admit that approaching 70 it's not quite as much fun as it used to be. But paradoxically my back problems are better when I split wood regularly. I normally just split what i need for the day plus a bit extra to bank in case of illness/ being called away etc. The summer time splitting also adds to the banked supply for lazy days.
My ocassional helper does have a PTO splitter and a PTO saw and it's impressive how much he can do in a day.
I'd guess that the two of us would get your whole lot done and stacked inside 3 days... so hiring gear may be worth considering v buying.

do you know what make and model pto splitter they use?

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Log splitters
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2017, 11:01:33 am »

do you know what make and model pto splitter they use?

He made his own (he's the local unlicensed scrappy) - so a length of I beam, a secondhand ram and hydraulic lever and hoses plus some more scrap steel and plate. I drilled some of the bolt holes for him on my mill and the rest he welded

 

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