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Log Splitters: What brand do you have?, & how do you like it?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Mr_Super-Hunky, May 30, 2007.

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  1. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Since I am getting ready to purchase my first new stove, there is one other area that I don't know anything about; that being log splitters.

    I am wanting to see what many of you are using (brands), along with how well you like your current model. Is there any type/brand to stay clear of?

    We will be splitting mostly soft pine, but occasionally (if were lucky), there is a possibility of some oak; although it is very hard to find here.

    I've seen log spliters antwhere from $199.00 (foot pump) car jack type models to $1,300 harbour freight Robin gas engine 24-30 ton models. (NOTE:, I am usually very sorry with my purchases from Harbour Freight but it seems that their 30 ton log splitter may be an exception?)

    Are their any less expensive models that work well?? $300-$500 ?, or do I really need to step up and pay over a grand for a good one?

    As always, your input is much appreciated.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I use a Duerr twenty ton hydraulic vertical/horizontal splitter that I bought at Lowes for $800 in 1988. At the time it was sold under the MTD brand name. It has handled everything I have thrown at it for twenty years. Usually five to six cords of oak a year. I recently replaced the engine and the Lovejoy coupler on it for a total cost of $180. I got the engine at HF and love it.

    On the subject of hardwood vs. softwood and splitting I would rather hand split a straight grain forest grown red oak any day than a big white pine that seems to twist as it grows, all the way up. They can be like trying to split a rubber tree.
  3. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    I have a North Star 20 ton hydraulic splitter that I bought from Northern Tool and Equipment for just under $1,000.00 about two years ago. I've split quite a bit of wood over the last two years and have nothing really bad to say about the splitter.

    It splits horizontally and vertically and has a nice log cradle that comes in very handy when it's in the horizontal position. The Honda engine starts flawlessly and runs very well. The cycle time could be a little quicker, but I'm the type that wants minute rice to be done in 30 seconds. The auto return and automatic throttle control are also very nice features. One thing it didn't come with was a filter for the hydraulic fluid, but that should be an easy fix.

    I haven't found a chunk of wood that would stop it yet and I've thrown a wide variety of hardwood and softwood through it, including some gnarly twisted pieces. The wedge is quite narrow for about the first inch or two and then flares out. I think this narrow design helps it to "slice" through some of the really twisted and nasty stuff. I also like the way the wedge rides along the rail on this model. This one wraps around the top of the I beam. Some that I looked at rode in a channel that was on top of the beam on each side. To me, that looked like a great spot for all kinds of debris to build up and possibly jam the wedge.

    Overall I'm very pleased with this splitter and would recommend it.
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Harbor Freight 30 ton, model 91840, bought last fall. Haven't used it much yet. Will use it soon.
  5. kellog

    kellog New Member

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  6. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Kellog:

    That is a very kewl setup you have. It actually has me thinking of trying to use two existing tools I already have.

    First, I have a Bosch "Brute" full size jackhammer. I am wondering if I can somehow mount it on its side and put a log between the bit and a solid piece of metal. Then, using some type of a scroll drive (like on a vice), turn the scroll while the jackhammer is delivering its blows until the wood splits!.

    I also have several various size electric motors (from swimming pool pumps) ranging from 3/4-2hp. I could possibly hook up a wheel pully to the shaft (as you've done), and make some type of unit like you did.

    what do you think about either method?
  7. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Mr Super Hunky,

    I would expect you could do what you are talking about with the bosch jack hammer. My splitter is simply a mechanical jack hammer on its side driven by a screw. You would just need a separate motor to drive the screw. I suspect it would be effective. You could check it out by manually splitting a round with your jack hammer.
  8. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Thats a great idea Kellog!, I'll try that and let you know how it works. I first have to sharpen the bit a little.
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    There have been threads in the past discussing using jackhammers to split wood, the concensus wasn't favorable, but I think it was mostly theoretical, I'm not sure if anyone actually tried it. The big issue seemed to be the question of dealing with the weight of the hammer, and supporting it. If you built some sort of frame to hold it, that might not be to bad, and if you went vertical I'd think the hammer's own weight would probably drive it in pretty well.

    The other big issue was air consumption, as I think the other discussion was using a pneumatic hammer, and electric model wouldn't have that problem.

    If you have a good supply of electric motors, I'd actually think your idea of making an electrically driven hydraulic unit might be best, those that have them seem to like them. I certainly would say that if you are going for a hydraulic splitter you should get a powered unit, don't waste time on manual power...

    Of course I should talk, I still use a mix of an 8lb maul and wedges and a 12 lb monster-maul = Big savings on health club dues...

    Gooserider
  10. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Mr Super Hunky,

    Just for kicks I tried to manually push a log into the wedge on my splitter to see if I could split it. No way. The idea was to simulate you manually splitting a piece of wood with your jack hammer.

    You may need something solid to back up the jackhammer to develop the force required. That said I don’t know if the structure of the jack hammer is up to the forces that will be developed. I have never seen a Bosch jack hammer. As you can see from the photos, the mechanism in my splitter is built like a brick *hit house (really solid). I would start with small wood (2x4?) and work your way up.
  11. Fubar411

    Fubar411 New Member

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    Do any of the Troy Bilt or non-HF splitters have auto-reverse? I rented a big splitter, but having to reverse slowed me down.
  12. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Kellog:

    You are probably right on the construction of the jack hammer not being able to take *tons* of force applied to it.

    While I can take my 80lb jackhammer (electric Bosch Brute), using the spade bit and actually split a log, it takes a little while to get through and the lifting gets old real quick!.

    Do you think the time and effort it takes to build a homemade unit is worth it compared to say the Harbour Freight $1,200.00 30 ton splitter?,

    I do have all the tools (Lincoln powermig welder, metal band saw, and even a few pool motors 3/4-2hp) ?.
  13. Bones

    Bones Member

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  14. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Mr Super Hunky,

    You have to have a real desire to build machinery to want to make an impact splitter from scratch. I developed mine over many, many years. I made a concept prototype and a couple of “production” machines before I got to what you see in the photos. Also I used a wide variety of machine tools in the process (millers, lathers, grinders, saws, welders, etc.). This is not a weekend task.

    It would be easier to build a hydraulic machine because you would be basically assembling existing proven components but there is still some design work and subtleties that you might miss on the first try and have to “re-design”.

    I believe buying a good splitter (the cheapest ones are not the best) is the way to go unless you really, really want to build one. Don’t build one just to “save money”. But if you do want to build one, it is a very fun and satisfying job. This forum can offer you a vast array of advice and guidance.
  15. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Thanks for the tip Kellog. I would really like to build some monster splitter some day that not only splits the logs, but cuts them to length, stacks them, seasons then in three days and even replenishes the "pile" when it starts to get low!. However, I do have an incredible amount on my plate right now so I may go the $$$ route for now. Your machine looks really nice and its obvious you have spent a lot of time constructing it.
  16. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    MY TB/MTD one doesn't have an auto reverse..

    I wish mine had an auto-load :) or perhaps an auto-buck...

    Jay
  17. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    I have a 18 ton home built wich is good and am I using MaLoggers TW-5 Timber Wolf which is the best splitter I have ever used. With the log lift my back never hurts.
  18. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    three buddies and I purchased the HF 24 ton splitter and I've got mixed feelings about this unit. The motor (a subaru) is strong and not too loud. The assembly of the splitter went pretty well, but bleeding the hydraulic system took a bit of time. Operating in horizontal mode is not what this is made for...I am convinced it's only for transporting the unit, vertical is what it's designed for. The trailer package is what we've taken issue with. HF would not issue a certificate of origin for us despite all the calls asking for it. In Massachusetts we need this to register the trailer. We had to sell it from one of us to the other (thereby creating a cert of origin) to legally have it on the road...a work around, but that's done now (lousy HF customer service). Secondly the low speed gear (tires, etc) have created another problem...a simple 30 mile drive over roads below 40MPH was enough to create a crack or fissure in the hydraulic fluid tank...now it leaks slowly...all the time. One long day of splitting can leak ~2.5 gallons of fluid. Lastly the I-beam it's mounted on is a bit undersized for the power of the pump/motor...it's already twisted just a bit...which has not created a problem, but is annoying that it would be designed in such a way that it could damage itself. Oh and the pump is slow...cycle time is definitely slow...not too bad if you're one person loading and stacking, but if you've got two or more people feeding this thing, they will be waiting around for the splitter...
  19. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    BTW, I saw a "MTD" brand 27 ton log splitter at home depot today for $1,299. Anyone familiar with this splitter?. It seemed like a good unit and had a Honda 5.5hp motor as well.
  20. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    That must be the same one that I have... I bought mine from Lowes listed as "Troy Bilt" but it has the Honda 5.5HP motor on it which is great so far. Not too loud, easy to start..

    It is on Troy Bilt's website as the LS27, I don't think it is the "deluxe" as it doesn't have the taillights (nor do I need them in NJ).

    I have a thread here about them if you want to check them out...

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/7739/

    Jay
  21. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Mr. S-H, if you do have it in your head to make a home built, be aware that depending on resources, your costs can get right up there with a purchased unit. That being said, if you have the equipment, experience, and materials, you can build a splitter the way that YOU want it.

    I have approx $600 invested in mine, but you would be hard pressed to find a comparable unit for under $2500. With the electric start, log lift, road speed axle and 5" ram, it is a machine made for years of service and is basically unstoppable. Everything is built VERY heavy, from the I beam being a 6x9" heavy web, to the log lift being made from 1/4" thick 2" square tube. The design is what I wanted in a log splitter, and that can be hard to achive with purchased ones, unless you like handing over dead presidents.

    Attached Files:

  22. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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  23. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Holy smokes!!.

    Since I will be splitting mostly soft woods (pine, fir, aspen), I was all set to purchase the Northern Tool 20 ton 5.5 hp splitter for $999.00, that is until I hit the "calculate shipping" button!. An addl $560.00 for shipping!! (someones making some money!!). So that may rule out that unit.

    There is a 24 ton Harbour Freight unit on ebay for around 1,099.00 with only $89.00 shipping flat rate anywhere in U.S (48). That seems to be the best "deal", but I don't think I have ever purchased anything from Harbour Freight without something breaking. hmmm,

    Does anyone know if anyone else makes the same 20 ton unit that Northern tool sells?. (MTD, Troy Built, Huskee, Sears, others?) Maybe I can find the same unit without the nearly $600 shipping punch in the mouth!!
  24. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Go out to Sears on Hwy. 89 and get a 27 ton 6.5 horse for $1,199.99 on sale right now and tow the sucker home and get to work!
  25. n1st

    n1st New Member

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    I have the Ryobi 4 ton electric. I know, I know, but before you laugh, check out the reviews at the link below. How many splitters have a following like that? It's certainly not for a commercial wood seller, but for the homeowner, it may be just about ideal. So far with my limited use of it, I think it's terrific, small, and inexpensive.

    http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100348561
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