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Harbor Freight 7-Ton Electric Splitter

Post in 'The Gear' started by DanCorcoran, May 28, 2011.

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  1. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Just a thought: are you using a 10-gauge cord, no longer than 25 feet? That will deliver all the juice the splitter needs. Higher gauge or longer length can reduce power.

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  2. bspooky

    bspooky New Member

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    Thanks for the good thought but I didn't use an extension cable, though planned to if it worked.
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Just for the record, Ram Splitter makes a 16 ton model as well...but that doesn't help your storage issue.
  4. bspooky

    bspooky New Member

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    Yeah, I am to the point where I would jump for that 16 ton ifi had room for it. Why doesmitmhave to be such a space hog? Lol.

    I thought there was a thread on here somewhere about where people store their gas splitters but am not finding it. I guess I doubt there will be any miracle solutions out there. :-(
  5. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I use a 100 foot 10 gauge cord and it splits everything I throw at it that doesnt have a knot or crotch.
  6. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    I really don't know how much of a voltage drop you'd be getting and whether that might cause overheating of your particular splitter. My suggestion is generic: plugging your splitter directly into an outlet is the best answer (power-wise). Extension cords may or may not degrade performance...depends on the splitter, the gauge, the length of the cord (and even the ambient temperature).
  7. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I plan on getting a bigger gas pwered splitter soon and Im just going to keep the 5 ton electric in the basement and use it as as a kindling maker and split one or two splits now and then.
  8. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Pow R' Kraft 4-ton arrived tonight, after dark. The UPS truck had two men on it, so they had no problem getting the splitter off the truck and on my driveway. The box looked to be in good condition, a cardboard box. I had no trouble with getting the box open where I discovered another cardboard box inside with some Styrofoam blocks in the four corners of the bigger box. As I knew the unit had wheels I lifted the box so that I could in effect roll the splitter out. Even on a gravel drive the wheels managed to roll the unit along.

    I noticed the inside box has some oil stains on one end - I didn't think to associate it with an end of the unit, but it could be at the end the fill/check hole and the bleeder hold are at. Hope some fluid leaked out because of the bleeder or fill were not tight enough to prevent it. I'll get out tonight and check the oil level and the bleeder "nut".

    I will try to split a few fresh Birch rounds tomorrow, none bigger than about 12" in diameter. This is the wood that pushed my decision toward buying an electric splitter. The Birch rounds split open but not apart as the wood fibers continue to hold it together. I hope the electric splitter will drive the push ram closer to the splitter than does my manual splitter. I have sharpened a hatchet to use to hack the fibers if that is still necessary. This run may not be a good test, most of the wood I've split over the years breaks apart after one end is split apart a inch or two. This was also true of some Birch I split in the past, but I think those rounds had sat around for a month or more, the stuff I have not was cut into rounds over the past 4 weeks.
  9. WoodNStuff

    WoodNStuff Minister of Fire

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    I've thought that using an electric splitter for kindling manufacture and some minor splitting in the basement would be very helpful, especially in the dead of winter.
  10. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    That's exactly what I use my 4 ton splitter for. I have it on a wheeled stand between my wood & the furnace. Actually, this shoulder season, I think I have re-split 80% of the wood that has gone into it so far, makes for way better shoulder season fires - small, quick to light & hot. Not much room to swing an axe down there, and it doesn't take up much room up against the wood pile.
  11. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Back to my new Pow R' Kraft 4-ton. Checking the bleeder "wing" nut I find it open a couple of turns, and think that is where the hydraulic oil on the bottom of the shipping box came from. From the "spot" on the shipping box I'd say the quantity of lost oil is a few ounces.

    Now the question is do I need to add oil to the reservoir? I stood the splitter on its base, vertical position and unscrewed the dip-stick filler hole. This allowed me to withdraw a long round rod, didn't measure, perhaps 18" long. It had the feel and smell of hydraulic oil, but is almost absent any reference marks, other than what appears to be a ring around the stick about an inch or two from the bottom of the rod. When I cleaned the rod and reinserted and withdrew it I could see very clean oil on the lower end of the rod, I'd say about 1/2 way up toward the one mark I could see/find. The owner's manual doesn't give any advice on how to "read" the dip stick. The manual does spec the oil capacity at 3.7 quarts.

    Where can I buy oil? Specs say: Shell Tellus 22, Mobil DTEW 11, ARAL Vitam GF 22, BP Energol HLP-HM 22, or equivalent (whatever that is supposed to mean). There is no caution about overfilling or about operating below some specific level on the dip-stick. I'd assume one risks getting air in the system if the splitter is operated below some level.

    Any thoughts/advice?

    EDIT::: looking back the owner manual directs on refilling the hydraulic reservoir to "Make sure the level of the refilled oil is just between 2 grooves around the dipstick" I'll have to take a closer look to see if I can see a second groove. As already stated I did spot one mark, which could be described as a "groove", just visible not a bold mark.
  12. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Up early, looking again at the splitter's dip stick I do see two grooves. One is about 1/4" from the bottom, the other (the only one I saw on first inspection) is up another 2", at 2 1/4". The dip now reads about mid-range, up 1 1/4", so safe to operate (maybe ideal) and whatever oil was lost during shipping is insignificant.

    Overall, pre-operational use, the unit gets a "A" on overall quality look and (straight, heavy, nice paint...) and shipment. Again, this is a Pow R' Kraft 4-ton electric.
  13. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Back again, hope some are finding this user information helpful.

    I split about 20 rounds of very fresh wet (we had a very wet year in North Central NJ) of Birch. The largest were in the area of the recommended limit (10 to 12 inches) down to a couple that were about 4". Some had several branch collars on them, indicating a possible hard-to-split, all split withing the first couple of inches of penetration. But, as noted earlier the Birch manages to hold long fibers of wood going back to the pusher/ram end of the round. This electric splitter closes to about 4" of the splitter (I didn't measure) and this did for most rounds make it possible for little old me (6'6" and 240 pounds and going down, and, yes, old) to pull the splits apart. A few benefited from my little hatchet which I used to break the fibers holding the split together. On a couple of the larger rounds I ran the round through in the other direction and at 90 degrees to the original split. All rounds were in the 18 to 19" length. I am sure if the Birch was drier and other wood types would have split long before the ram was driven to the end-of-travel.

    Other notes: I started with a 25' length of 14/3 extension cord plugged into an external 15 amp circuit I have - the splitter pulled that breaker when first tested unloaded, no split in the tray. I connect via a window (same extension) to a 20 amp circuit in the laundry room. I had to move the splitter a little farther from my stack of rounds. Conclusion is the 4-ton does pull at least 15 amps, maybe more like 18 amps just to run the hydraulic pump. During splitting there was no obvious slowdown of the ram as it pushed into the candidate split.

    If I need to go to a 50 foot extension cord I plan to use a 12 gauge, an additional purchase, about $25 at HF, $50 at Walmart. I am not saying the cords are the same quality, but I'd guess both are made-in-china, I'll check on that point.

    Overall, I am very pleased with this electric splitter. I will try it on some smaller rounds of Sugar (I think) Maple when I get to that part of the clean-up. The Maple is from a large limb, not the whole tree, so the larger parts are about 6' in diameter. I have some very large White Pine that are about 24" in diameter and have been "drying" in the woods for a couple of years. They may be rot by now, but I'd guess not. If I decide to split some of the Pine and something interesting comes up, I'll post.

    Thanks to all who helped my make the decision to buy an electric spitter.
  14. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    I find it very hard to read the oil level on the dipstick. The splitter will tell you when it needs oil, it will get noisy (almost sounds like a rattle) and the travel will slow noticeably. I use generic "Hydraulic Oil" purchased at Ace Hardware, works fine.
  15. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    For my 7-ton, I use a Harbor Freight 10-gauge cord. A three-wire extension cord has to be pretty hard to screw up, manufacturing wise (I could take three insulated strands of solid copper wire and use electrical tape to hold them together and it'd work just fine). Unless I need cold weather flexibility, chemical resistance, or some other fairly esoteric feature, I just go with cheap.
  16. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    I have used my Ryobi 4 ton for most of my splitting for the last 3+ years! That little bugger is a beast, I discovered the trick is to make the back a little higher than the front and let her rip. I routinely split ash, oak and maple on it. The only trouble I have is when the wood is real notty but even then I usually can split the sides off then work into it. My dream of a full size splitter is still there however just don't have the $. Who ever thought these little splitters up was a genius and I want to shake there hand.
  17. Hinterlander

    Hinterlander Member

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    I bought the Homelite electric from Home Depot this fall and so far, have split 8 face cords of Ash, Red Oak, Cherry, Poplar and Box Elder with it. Round sizes have been up to 22". This little splitter has not failed me yet. I did have to quarter one of the large Cherry rounds, but only because I couldn't lift it to the splitter. Best part of the electric splitter thing is I can back my trailer into my garage, light my kero heater when its 18 degrees outside and listen to the hockey game while splitting at night. Makes for a very productive workout.
  18. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Have split all my wood with a 4 ton Ryobi unit. It has split at least 20+ cords with no trouble.

    Only thing I hated was the 2 handed operation, so I modified it to work with just one hand.
  19. WoodNStuff

    WoodNStuff Minister of Fire

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    NATE379, do you have a pic of your splitter set-up?
  20. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    No I don't, but I made the lever close to the switch button so I can push the button and push the lever down with one hand.

    Also thought about putting a foot switch and removing the button on the splitter.
  21. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    I changed both controls to foot pedals, allowing me to work standing up and control the log with both hands. I'd like to think I'm smart enough to keep my hands out of the danger zone.
  22. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    I'm probably older than you, so I know I'm not.
  23. Vincent

    Vincent Member

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    I put my 7 ton splitter on cement blocks 3 high and that height works pretty good for me.
  24. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I use my motorcycle lift, strap the splitter on , works great

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  25. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Pete, I'm using the identical Homelite "5 ton". Would you elaborate a bit on raising the back up? I can't quite picture what you're doing.

    FWIW, my experience with the Homelite has also been very positive. Mostly, I use it for splitting down the giant splits I usually get delivered to me, but I have used it on some pretty large rounds. As others have said, it is best on species that have few knots, like the alder I get, oak, etc. Knots and gnarly pieces are the weak point on these electrics.

    This makes sense. I'm often going out and splitting stuff smaller. The electric is right there in the garage (all winter).
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