Something we agree on! It amazes me how forward thinking this forum is about stoves and how backward thinking about everything else. I used to think my old reed type chainsaws were so good too. Well anyway we did a test one time. My splitter against the 22ton speeco (for the record mine uses that beam and ram assembly). I was working alone and 2 guys where working on the speeco. We were taking from the same pile. After an hour my pile of splits working alone was easly 4xs larger. And the cycle time isn't the whole story, its also the fact that my splitter never has to slow down on the second stage. That was a marvelous invention to allows 5hp to do alot of work but it does come at a price. I know everyone will chime in that they rarely see that stage. I'm here to say it comes in more than you might think at least in the 22 ton version. Your ram speed is 14xs slower in second stage which is already painfully slow in my book. The whole reason I repowered my splitter was just what you said about watching that ram retract at a snails pace. And yes short stroking is a good tip and works good in ash and oak. But most of my stuff is big nasty crotches and stuff that just doesn't give up that easily. Some people will only process the nicest looking straight gained wood and they can get by with just a quick crack turn crack turn. But not the wood I have.