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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. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Can the Ryobi operate vertically? How does it drive the wedge - is it hydraulic or some sort of screw drive?

    Gooserider

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  2. n1st

    n1st New Member

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    Yes, it's hydraulic. It's intended to work horz. It's nice and quiet and very green... the motor only runs a few seconds during the split. It's as good inside (cellar, garage, etc.) as it is outside.
  3. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    I would'nt mind using that Ryobi if it did the job relatively quickly. The only problem is that I am buying a stove that takes up to 24'' logs and the Ryobi can only do 18- 20 tops.. I don't want any wasted log space inside the stove so I will have to get or make something that will handle a 24'' log.

    I've seen a 12 ton hydraulic splitter that handles 24'' logs but it hooked up to an air compressor rather than using a gas engine or an electric one.

    You would have to supply the air compressor (many already have one), and you get a 12 ton splitter that handles large log lenghts for under $350.00. Here is a link to the place www.logsplitter.com

    Has anyone used one of these before?
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I haven't used one, and it might well be OK, but I have my doubts...

    The specs say 90PSI / 4CFM, but at what useage rate?

    I would probably want a compressor with at least twice that CFM rating @ 90PSI or better, which is a fairly sizeable unit.

    They don't give any indication of what the cycle time on the unit is.

    The picture shows it being used vertically, but to do so you'd have to pick the log up to put it on the ram, and then balance it as the ram lifts the log into the wedge - something's wrong with that picture.

    I think there are problems in general with the designs that have a stationary wedge and a moving ram - I don't like the idea of moving the log in order to split it, it seems less stable to me.

    The company claims to only sell good products, but I noticed they sell the "Super Spear" which is about as big of a splitting gimmick as I've ever seen...

    In general air compressors are rather innefficient, I think it's just adding an extra step of inefficiency, it would be far better to have a direct electric drive.

    Gooserider
  5. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Hi Goose:

    Thanks for the "heads up". You mention many valid points.

    BTW, I was just going through our moving boxes and remembered that I have an almost brand new 5.5 hp Honda engine. It has less than 1/2 hour on it!!. v The reason I have it is because I purchased a new pressure washer from cosco a couple years ago and the pump (not gas engine) seized up due to very hard minerals that were left in the pump and never cleaned out.

    As a result, I am left with a non-working pressure washer (due to a bad pump) that has a perfectly good/ brand new Honda engine. If this is not a good excuse to build a log splitter, I don't know what is.

    I think I can build somewhere around a 27 ton splitter based on the engine power.

    Has anyone done this or can give me some pointers?
  6. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    I guess physics has changed since I was in high school. Either that or these people just make of the tons of force their splitters have. Here's an example.

    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200326296_200326296


    Northern Tool NorthStar 37 ton splitter.

    Max psi 3500 This seems a little high to me, but it's their number and I'll use it.

    37 tons rated force. No way it generates this much force.

    34.3 tons rated force. Well, if they are really gettting this thing up to 3500 psi then its true.

    5"x24" ram.

    Ok here's the math

    pie*r squared

    5/2=2.5 Thats the radius of the circle

    2.5x2.5=6.25 The the r squared

    3.14 thats pie

    3500 psi


    Here we go

    2.5*2.5*3.14*3500=68687.5

    68687.5/2000=34.3 tons

    So this 37 ton splitter can only produce a 34.3 tons of force at the maximum pressure of 3500psi. Where do they get the 37 tons?


    Let's get a little more realistice here and use 2500psi. You get 24.3 tons
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Purely speculating here, but my understanding is that the hydraulic cylinder actually only puts out as much force as it "needs" to expand, so most of the time the actual force would be far lower than your math would suggest.

    Given what I know about how stuff is rated, I would expect that the 37 tons is probably the "MAXIMUM Operating Force the cylinder is rated to handle - basic design rules say that your powered device must be able to handle more than the power supply can send it in order to avoid accidentally damaging the cylinder.

    The 3500 PSI is probably the pressure that the pump is set to hit as it's maximum full load pressure, with some kind of relief valve to keep it from going over. So it looks like your 34.3 ton max "continuous force" is about right, but you are probably also right about it usually working more around 25 tons since that seems to be all that it takes to make most logs cry uncle.

    So at least this example, I'd say the numbers are fairly reasonable - there may be other reasons not to like the unit, but the numbers aren't one of them.

    Gooserider
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    WARNING! WARNING!

    If the manufacturer says a stove will take a 24" log you can bet that it has to have both ends greased and be knocked in there with a hammer. Figure on burning twenty-inch max splits in that stove. Not only will you be able to actually get them into the stove but proper combustion is better achieved with a little room for air to get around the wood. Bigger splits are the answer to longer burns, not longer splits.

    If you cut your wood to 24" in advance of getting the stove, I am willing to bet that you are going to end up recutting most of that wood pile after you get the stove. And recutting a few cords of wood just to end up with a pile of two inch chunks ain't no fun.

    I have a 3.5 cubic foot firebox and 18" splits are just perfect for loading that puppy up.
  9. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Thanks for the "WARNING" Brother "B"..

    The only thing greener than the wood I have is.....ME!! ha ha!.

    I read that a fully packed and "tight" box is the way to go for longer overnight burns, but I also ASSumed that it also meant tight (as in no wasted air space) on the sides of the logs in the box.

    I have been doing a lot of research and looking at log splitters. I still don't really know which way to go on that yet (electric, vs gas engine); however, I noticed that many electric splitters can only do a 18-20 inch log length max. Since the Defiant can take 24'' logs, I thought.......well you know.

    If you are saying that it is best to use 18-20'' log lengths in a box that can fit 24's, then my options just opened up again to the electric splitters.

    The only reason I have no bought one yet is that I have this brand new 5.5 hp Honda engine that I mentioned above just starring at me!. Also, If I wanted to split 22-24 inch logs, lets just say 22 so they easily fit in the box, my options just went back up to the larger gas splitters.

    I am very willing (and able) to make a nice gas splitter using my new Honda engine; hopefully I can find some simple plans somewhere.
  10. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    Gooserider,


    I was just pointing out that they are selling a 37 ton splitter than will never generate 37 tons of force. By their own numbers it can only generated 34.3 tons of force. So why not be honest and call it a 34 ton splitter? It's not just this one its all of them.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  12. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Ha, that was really kewl!!.

    Actually, I have a lot of "toys" including a John deere 410 backhoe and a Bosch Brute jackhammer. I often wondered if I could somehow use the strength/weight of the Backhoe (at 17k lbs), or the impact of the jackhamer to split logs?.

    That skid steer video was neat, but it took more time just to properly position everything than it was worth!. Also, the hydraulic set up like that can be big $$$. I think somebody may have gotten bored at work over there!!.

    I even thought of a way to have a very heavy weight (say 500lbs), like stacking 5 -100 lb weightlifting plates together and somehow rig it so they slide down a pole (concreted into the ground), while a blade or two that is welded to them slices through the wood. A winch could lift the weight back up using a steel line and a pully and simply just place a round in place and let the weight drop on top of it; slicing it into a few sections.

    I guess it could also double as a guillotine in a pinch as well!
  13. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    My understanding is the general rule is that the optimum length to cut to is about two inches less than the maximum size you can get into the firebox, maybe a bit less. Given that you say the Defiant is spec'd at 24" your best bet would probably be to shoot for 20-22". This give some wiggle room when getting wood into the stove, and also allows for the simple fact that chainsaws are NOT precision cutting tools, and you generally are "eyeballing" the cut lengths, so you will be +/- an inch or so regardless - if you try to cut to max length, you'll have a bunch of logs that are overlength and won't fit.

    Another factor, and probably the reason why the electrics and other low power splitters are only sized to do 18-20" max rounds is that the effort required to split a round goes up almost logarithmically (pun intended :p ) with its length. This is both because the longer a round is the more likely it is to have a knot or other gnarly bit in it, and also because there is simply more wood holding it together. (The same happens with increased diameter, but the function is more linear...) I suspect that the small splitters flat wouldn't be able to handle a 24" round reliably.

    Actually I think you have half the job done if you already have a backhoe... Elk had a nice picture of how he uses his backhoe to deal with elm - the bucket teeth seem to push into it quite nicely, and I'm sure your pine would be even easier to handle. Alternatively, you already have a hydraulic pump and engine sitting right there, why not tap into the lines to use the pressure to drive a splitter? I know I've seen units that are designed to use the hydraulic power takeoff on a farm tractor, why not do the same with your backhoe? If you rigged it right, I bet you could even use the tractor to carry and position the splitter beam for you. Perhaps you could replace the bucket or maybe one of the arms with a rail and use the already existing cylinder to push a wedge instead of working the articulation?

    Gooserider
  14. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Goose:

    I also have a Massy ferguson 30e skip loader..(loader and Gannon box). This particular tractor (as rare as it is), has a pto like most of the compact utility tractors do. The only problem to using a pto 3 pt driven splitter is that the speed of the pto is not very fast. I have read that others do not really like the tractor 3 pt mounted splitters due to a very slow cycle time not to mention just having the tractor idle all day and use lots of diesel. I think they also be a bit unstable or at least "wiggly".

    Are there any good electric splitters that are fast?, or must I go with a gas enginje to get more speed?
  15. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Speed and power are a function primarily of pump volume, and cylinder size. Given the limitations on size of electric motors, plus their expense, you realistically have to go with gas or diesel if you want a large capacity / high power spliter with a short cycle time. The only other option would be to look at trying to find some other non-hydraulic approach, of which there are several, but few have proven to be as versatile and portable as the hydraulic units.

    Gooserider
  16. n1st

    n1st New Member

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    Ok, GooseRider has me worried as I'm close to getting wood for a PE Spectrum which is spec'd at 18" max but I don't have yet. Can someone please tell me what length it can actually hold?
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    A good gauge is what Roospike burns in his PE Summit. It is spec'd to take up to 20 inch splits and he burns 18" ones. Virtually the same firebox layout as my Englander 30-NC which is also spec'd for 20" but I burn 18". Burning front to back style 20" splits would be right up against the front of the firebox and besides being hard to load that tight the wood gases coming out of the end of the splits makes a real mess of the glass.

    Burning side to side it is virtually impossible to get the last few splits of 20" wood into the firebox. The opening in the front isn't as wide as the inside of the firebox. That and it leaves no airspace around the wood for a good burn.

    My bet is that 16" to 17" is going to be ideal for that Spectrum.

    Don't believe it? Take a half dozen splits down to the stove store and fill one of'em up.

    Of course mine holds as much beer as it does wood:

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