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From wood splitter to splitting by hand

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by westkywood, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Kentucky
    I share a splitter with my brother that lives 30 miles away. I took it back to him about 2 weeks ago because I thought I was through with it for the season. There is a huge Red Oak almost right next door to me that is down and the owner told me to take what I want and what I don't take, he's just going to push into the woods with a dozer next Fall.. I've already got about 11 cords stacked so I'm not desperate for wood.
    I've been slow at work (seasonal ) and I've been desperate for something to do outside. I drive by that huge Red Oak laying on the ground everyday that even has a driveway going right up to it and think, It just doesn't get easier than that. So I decided to go get a few more truckloads and hand split it. I haven't split by hand in many years. I split a whole truck load ( small bed ) in less than an hour and actually enjoyed it. I went and got 2 more truck loads and split them.
    I wouldn't want to have to depend on splitting by hand but it was actually enjoyable. It helped that it was Red Oak which splits easy.
    Boog, Pallet Pete, charly and 2 others like this.

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  2. tigeroak

    tigeroak Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    Messages:
    175
    Loc:
    kansas illinois
    I split all mine by hand. If I can't split them the saw will. I split just about a half cord this afternoon , cherry and hard maple. Those are going in a rack for 2016. My racks hold a little over 3 1/2 cord. That is about one year burning for us.
  3. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,133
    Loc:
    northwest Virginia
    I split all mine by hand as well, and red oak is the easiest I've come across. When it's easy to access like that, bucking and splitting is very enjoyable.
    gyrfalcon and Backwoods Savage like this.
  4. bigbarf48

    bigbarf48 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Messages:
    680
    Loc:
    Stone Mountain GA
    Red oak is a breeze to hand split. I love getting big rounds cause they split even easier than branch pieces and you can make nice square splits from em
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  5. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,195
    Loc:
    NE Ohio
    I split by hand when splitting straight stuff. Splitter is nice when processing bigger and tough rounds.
  6. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    1,010
    Loc:
    Nothern Lower Michigan
    I "share" a splitter with my dad who's only 1/4 mile away. I still split 99% by hand. For what I split (ash, maple, beech, and ironwood) it is way faster especially when you consider going to get the splitter, carting it around, filling it with gas, checking the oil, etc. The occasional crotch or twisted chunk I throw in a pile. I get the splitter once a year to bust up that pile.

    I'll split as long as I can by hand. It's good exercise and great stress relief. Also, I have enough engines and noise in my life as it is.
  7. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Kentucky
    Agree. A splitter is great to have to do the knotty or twisted stuff. Less wood wasted. And of course depends on what kind of wood is being split. But I gotta say, even though I enjoyed splitting that wood by hand. It sure is quicker with a splitter.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I still have to smile every time I start splitting with the hydraulics. Just makes things so much easier. But then, I suppose age has something to do with that too along with a few physical problems.
    Redlegs and Fifelaker like this.
  9. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Messages:
    2,065
    Loc:
    Kennett Square, PA
    I split everything by hand. I guess I will until I can't.
    Good exercise and I can split it the size I want.
  10. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,687
    Loc:
    Indiana
    I split the easy stuff by hand....way faster. Doesn't get any easier than red oak.
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,317
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I just got a fiskars 27 in the mail. Doubt I'll use it much, but all the same.
  12. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,196
    Loc:
    Croton-on-Hudson, suburbs of NYC
    Hand splitting Red Oak with a good tool is darn near child's play. I think I could hand split straight Red Oak faster by hand than i could with a machine. I hand split all my wood so I stay far enough ahead that I can turn down anything that won't be easily split by hand.
    WoodpileOCD likes this.
  13. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,235
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    I love whackin' me a few rounds. :)
    gyrfalcon and ScotO like this.
  14. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    181
    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    I used to split red oak by hand, but my hand got sore ;lol
    I am 62 years old. I got a Fiskars X27 three years ago and don't use my maul anymore. With that axe, I don't need a hydraulic splitter. Seriously, last year I split 11 cords of mixed hardwoods. This year only about 6-7 of hard and soft woods as my wood needs have decreased. Using low-mass solar sunspaces, I hope to need less wood again next year; perhaps in the 4-5 cord range. That volume will be child's play with a good axe. I've lost 5 belt sizes since I started heating with wood. It is not easy, but it's wonderful exercise. No noise except the birds, no smell except wood and flowers, no gas, no oil changes or maintenance. The downside... sweat, and more laundry.

    I use a block with tires to lower the probability of a mis-strike. I also used a technique I found on the internet, that involved tying a half cord up with a rope and bungee, then going postal on the circle of rounds. The demo guy on Youtube split a half-cord in six minutes into small splits (4-5"). A young man can definitely outpace a splitter with that method if his wood is uniform length.

    I have used a hydraulic splitter for 2 seasons, a real good one with a lift. It is better for gnarly pieces but noodling gnarly pieces is pretty effective
    gyrfalcon and ailanthus like this.
  15. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I like to split by hand and do so quite a bit when I get the time to do it. The ones that give me grief, they all go in a pile for the hydraulics....unless one of them really pizzes me off. Then, I go after it with a vengance.....>>
  16. Senatormofo

    Senatormofo Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    85
    Loc:
    Cockeysville, Maryland
    Nothing like splitting by hand! I realize there is a place for hydraulics but not for me yet.
    Scols and Thistle like this.
  17. gerry100

    gerry100 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Messages:
    500
    Loc:
    NY Capitol Region
    Manual splitting is fun and good for you
    Scols and Thistle like this.
  18. chvymn99

    chvymn99 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    652
    Loc:
    Kansas
    I split pretty much all by hydraulics from the blocking state. I guess I never picked up the technique, to much stooping and bending for me and my back. Now, when I take my seasoned wood to the house. I'll usually end up splitting some of the bigger chunks, up with the Fiskers. I usually enjoy that part, just because there a small enough quantity, not to bother my back.
    Redlegs likes this.
  19. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Dec 25, 2010
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    Loc:
    Southern IN
    After ya eat a few of those 'shrooms, nothing looks impossible. ==c
  20. alex johnson

    alex johnson New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Messages:
    70
    I also hand split everything, keeps me in shape. I cut alttle then I split it. the crotches of the tree are my all nighters.
  21. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,586
    Loc:
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
    Love the "going postal" technique!

    I do most stuff by hand, too, but I have a 4-ton electric splitter I haul out for the tough stuff, but it is slow. When I'm in the mood, I also love doing battle with a tough piece by hand, though.

    I haven't counted belt sizes, but I've also gotten slimmer and definitely in better shape all the way around since I started heating with wood since I'm getting good exercise almost every day during winter between the splitting and the lugging. I laugh when friends back in the burbs have to pay money to join a gym to get exercise. Exercise that saves you a bunch of money is a far better deal.
    Backwoods Savage and Gark like this.
  22. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Split wood by hand for 30 years, had enough of that, I like the fact that no matter what kind of wood I split it goes quickly and no shoulder pain.
    nate379 and Backwoods Savage like this.
  23. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
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    4,037
    Loc:
    Central PA
    Splitting by hand is by far my favorite part of firewood processing. I like splitting more than burning.
    guy01 likes this.
  24. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Messages:
    592
    Loc:
    NE Ohio
    Nice work there!! I've hand split all my life and I'm just about 58. It helps that I'm burning mostly "top rounds" as I sell much of my trunks for timber, but I still get into my fair share of upper knotty branched trunks. A splitter is definitly in my future though!

    Grab the rest of that oak and finish it up!
  25. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Kentucky
    I'm going back for a little more of the wood. Most of what is left is the trunk and it is HUGE. Way bigger than I want to deal with. I already have 11 cords. I'm runnin outa room here.

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