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Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Deep Fryer, Jul 6, 2009.
Thanks, Jake, that is a better answer than mine.
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Fred, you are right on about that splitter. Horizontal means just too darned much work; I'd rather split by hand than to do that. Vertical and it is very easy. As you do more you'll even get faster without even trying. As to the tonage, that 27 ton machine should really do the trick, however, you really do not need that much splitting power. You can get a 20 or 22 ton for a lot less dollars and it will split all you need. Ours is a 20 ton that we've had for quite a while now and it has split a lot of wood. We've split for others besides our own. In all the time we've had it, we've had exactly one piece that didn't split. Probably I could have if I'd tried several spots. It just wasn't worth it to me. I threw it on the brush pile to be burned.
Buying a splitter is also best done in late spring or early to mid summer. Most are on sale then and many times you can get another $50-$100 knocked off the sale price. That is how we bought ours. It was on sale at $150 off and I offered the manager the sale if he'd knock off another $100. He bit. True, I had to put the machine together but it was worth it.
I'll only chime in in that if the log is not too huge and heavy, horizontal is the way for me. You only have to bend over once to pick the log up once if you manage the the log on the splitter correctly and/or have a cradle. You do not even really have to bend over at all if you are taking the log from the top half of the pile. I pile my rounds up to 5ish feet high and keep the smaller ones on top so it is really easy. When I get to the bottom and if the rounds are big enough, I go vertical. Vertical means more bending over and wrangling a log at ground level for me...
For the life of me I can not understand why vertical splitting means more bending!
I do not bend; I sit. It is extemely easy while sitting. No lifting; no bending. I can roll a block onto the splitter with one hand. You've probably seen some pictures we took and see the size of the log on the splitter at the time. Some of that ash we cut was pretty darned heavy; several blocks would go 100 pounds or more. Still I could roll those things very easily onto the splitter with no lifting and no bending.
Fine, if you can have your wife bring you the rounds. Staging the rounds requires bending. Sitting requires bending and reaching. Wiggling the rounds into position is as much work or more than lifting up onto a horizontal beam. My shoulders and back won't tolerate it.
I think I can count on the fingers of one hand how often I've use vertical mode. I much prefer horizontal. To each his/her own.
Jake I think you are right about getting a feel for this, like anything else worthwhile, it will take a bit of time but I like what has been involved so far so will invest my time in learning more about it. Thank you!
re: Splitters- Vertical vs Horizontal
I guess thats why I thought this particular model was pretty nifty in that it offered both options. I have what I like to referr to as a "Cheap Back" (which I am glad to see that I have no monopoly on & have noticed that there are many others with this same exact model) so all this bending or lifting is to be approached with great treppidation on my part. Being able to try out both methods would be an interesting advantage to have at ones disposal. I could see how maybe some of the smaller rounds might be more suitable in the horizontal setting while those 100 pounders would probably be best left closer to the ground if I dont want to pull a Felix Unger on my back :lol: (we do remember Felix right guys?) :cheese:
Dennis thanks for the tip on scoring a log splitter, it would seem like this would be the time to start hunting around. ;-)
Another thing to consider with splitting is how the rounds get to the splitter. I have a small horizontal splitter that is nice because it is easy to pull along as I move though the pile of rounds I acquire over the winter. I sit and split. As soon as I can't reach another round, I move the splitter and drywall bucket a few feet and continue. This way, especially if you are splitting alone, you never move a round further than an arms length and waste fuel while you are moving wood around.
Usually I'm right there with BS . . . but on this point I respectfully disagree . . . it all comes down to splitting "styles." I personally am with LL . . . I much prefer to split in the horizontal position as it is just more natural and comfortable for me. To each their own is my motto.
That said, I like having the option of splitting vertically . . . especially for those monster rounds that would give me a hernia if I attempted to lift them up to the splitter. With the monster rounds I go into the Optimus Prime mode and transform the splitter from horizontal to vertical and split up the monster round -- typically while sitting on another round for comfort.
I prefer being vertical when I swing my Friskar's!
I prefer using a splitter in vertical mode when I get a chance to use one. I guess its personal preference but if I'm working alone its alot easier to sit there, roll the log under it, run the lever with one hand and stableize the log with the other. For me, its hard to run the splitter in horizontal mode working alone.
Sorry, but my wife won't help when it comes to splitting and stacking. I don't understand your staging of the rounds, unless this is what you mean:
That is what I end up with after the winter cutting. As soon as the snow melts I start splitting. The splitter is moved right alongside of the stack. I can take a lot of wood from the stack from that one position but when I need more it is a very simple act to move the splitter ahead a few feet, sit back down and go to work.
I split a lot of logs this size and larger. No lifting needed. No bending needed. The log in put onto the splitting block with one hand. You simply slide it off the pile and roll it like you would roll a milk can or barrel. And "wiggling" a long onto the splitter one handed is no where near the work as lifting up onto the horizontal. Once I get ready to split, I do not want to do any more lifting of those things. No, I'll do it without bending or lifting. It is called technique. Why work any harder than necessary?
Incidentally, lots of us complain about our backs and shoulders and I am no exception. I have had 3 back surgeries, need shoulder surgery (both shoulders), I am an old man and I also suffer with post-polio syndrome. That is why I do the splitting in the easiest possible way. That is why I do not bend nor lift those logs onto the splitter.
BTW, Dennis, when I went out to split last night I realized I wasn't using my brown milk crate, I was using a purple one with my green cushion. Weird how great minds think a like.
Looking at those pics, I cannot imagine how you could sit in one spot and pull those logs down without over-reaching. That's got to really aggravate your bad shoulders and back. I know my shoulders couldn't handle reaching and sliding rounds. My back couldn't take the bending and reaching in that sitting position either, nor can my back take any sitting for a long of time. Getting up and down from so low a sitting position would do my knees in too.
As bad as my back and shoulders are, they don't have any problem doing clean straight lifts. In fact, I'm sure it's therapeutic. The big round you have on the splitter, I can lift without breaking a sweat and actually enjoy the challenge and exercise.
Lastly, my father would kick my butt if he saw me working sitting down if he were still alive. He'd say if splitters were meant to be operated sitting down they would have built them with a seat like a tractor.
And I'd tell your father if man wasn't meant to sit he wouldn't have been born with an arse.
Also, you do not sit in one spot. When you can't reach the wood, you do stand up...and move the splitter. And one more time, I do not slide the logs, I roll them on the edge like you would a barrel. That makes it so easy my wife could even do it. Hum...not a bad thought at all...
HMMMM! Thats not a bad idea you know! :cheese:
:lol: Hello LL, I have been hearing things like this for a while & I do believe many old timers would be pretty disgusted with the state of affairs these days. My job is mostly a sedentry type of situation & although I am not overweight I think its inert nature has contributed to my less than roburst physical condition (the cheap back is another story all together). I have started a pretty serious regiment of exercise & its incredible how enjoyable doing something physical is for me. The old axium of "use it or loose it" couldnt be more true.
As a society we are just not as physical as we used to be, all these conveniences comes at a (high) price. (We all know this so I'll cut my rant short.)
I (almost) never sit or stand in front of the splitter (when I rent one). I've had wood "pop" and fly too often and don't want my privates, or any other part of me, "customized." I used to sit next to the wood when renting a hortz. splitter. I was on crutches for weeks when a big piece of euike "popped" off the wedge and flew ... right into my left leg. I was actually lucky - no real damage, just nasty bruises, etc.
Now I stand BEHIND the splitter when operating (I only rent vert. splitters now). Yes, I have to walk around to situate the wood and to pickup / move the splits. But when the wood flys (and it has), I'm fairly well protected by the beam.
If you're certain your wood will behave, I guess you can go ahead and sit. I will keep standing safely behind the beam.
TreePapa, the key is knowing which wood will "pop" on you. The only wood we have like that is soft maple and then only when it is split small. I get a kick out of it popping like that. It can fly quite a ways with some power! Fun, as long as you don't get it.
You no doubt have noticed that when wood pops open like that, the flying piece shoots off to the side. Naturally, the key there when sitting as I do is to not put a foot or leg beside the wood. Keep the legs out of the way. In all my years I think I've gotten stung just once. No harm other than a black and blue spot after a little dancing. That one time was my learning experience. lol
I have the splitter set up next to the wood piles and at the bottom of a long slope in the side yard. I just roll the rounds out of the trailer into lines running down the slope. Then I fire up the splitter and reach over and roll a round to me. Most of the rounds follow it right on to me. I only had to stand up two or three times doing these 36 rounds.
Kinda like a giant pop vending machine eh. Sounds like you got BWS beat on this sitting down thing. Maybe you should rig up a foot pedal on that splitter.
Now why didn't I think of that?
Probably cuz you're afraid of the safety do-gooder police. Up here we only have Dudley to deal with. I'm surprised the lawyers haven't yet mandated that you need to use both hands to operate the splitter control ensuring they are out of danger.
Dennis, my entire lot would fit into the space occupied by your wood stacks. My home sits on 10 lots and it is still only 0.3 acres.... Napoleon Township - "a Planned Community"
On the subject of technique, I think the best is providing a steel "chute" to the splitter that has a smooth level surface and present the rounds to it at a height as close as possible to the "chute" That way minimal lifting and wrestling is involved. I have seen something that looks like a channel about 24" wide x 5 ft long. Inboard end attaches flush with the bar of the splitter and outboard end is supported on 2 legs. (I always use the splitter horizontal). I don't have a chute yet but I have seen one in use and been coveting one ever since. Park a trailer or utility style dump cart right next to the splitter and the splits go straight into it. When the trailer (in my case) is full, take it to where the wood will be stacked. Since I too tend to be working alone, this provides a break in the routine and an opportunity to get something cold to drink to make up for the dehydration... I try as much as possible to split on a hard surface like my driveway, since it is so much easier to clean up afterwards.
Not a bad idea for sure.
If you looked at my pictures, especially the one just before I started splitting, for each row I moved the splitter 3 times (if my memory is correct; it may have been 4). And I'm thinking those rows were over 20' long and 6' high. Naturally, at the start I had to get a few logs down by standing, so I simply put those logs behind where I sat. Once there was room, then I'd roll those to the front and split them before moving the splitter. Also, the splitter can be moved by hand with no problem so no other machinery was required.
I've owned both styles of splitters and the height of the working area makes a HUGE difference IMO. With my old horizontal/vertical splitter, it was painful for me to use it in the horizontal mode, the beam was just too low. I've noticed most comb splitters are like this, which takes away much of the utility of having the option of splitting in the horizontal mode. Like LL, I found the vertical mode to be torturous on my back as well. More recently I bought a Super Split because I wanted to try an inertia splitter. The SS does not have have the ability to do vertical splitting, so the fairly rare rounds that I cant safely lift get split in half (or into quarters) with one of my large chainsaws. What I immediately noticed is how much nicer the SS is to use because of the elevated working platform and attached production table. It's completely natural and makes splitting for hours far easier on my back/body... and with a 2 second cycle time I can do a lot of splitting in a few hours!
That is a pretty cool unit, a little pricey but it does speed up the production quite a bit.
I watched the third clip down, that set up would definitely be the most forgiving on anyone's back.