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Pros and Cons of splitter design.

Post in 'The Gear' started by Jags, Dec 28, 2006.

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  1. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    With all the different splitter threads passing through the wonderful hearth.com, I don't believe I have ever seen one dedicated to designs and functions (good or bad). I have built a few splitters in my time and would like to throw out a few things to take into consideration. The following post is in no way affiliated to hearth.com and is the sole opinion of the writer. ;-)

    I have personally found that I prefer the splitting wedge to be mounted at the end of the splitter on the I-beam. This will allow for the split logs to fall into a pile at the end of the splitter, not on my feet. This will also allow a large pile to accumulate without moving the splitter. Even better yet, as the pile grows, the next log split will often push into the pile and move the splitter backwards FOR me. Downside is: can't be used with a splitter that has both vertical and horizontal splitting positions. Splitting wedge on the cylinder: only upside I am aware of is for vertical position of the splitter, possibly one could consider the handy position of the "split" pieces if additional splitting is needed.

    Vertical vs. horizontal: this is almost as hot of subject as cat vs. non-cat. Vertical- allows large rounds to be moved "on the ground" into splitting position without lifting. The obvious positive side is not lifting the logs. Obvious down side is moving each split out of the way to set up for the next split. Another thought (and this is important to me) always working at ground level, bending over to man handle the pieces, even if they are only 12" rounds. Some people would rather bend all day then to lift, I personally will lift, so that I can stand upright, this is a personal pref, I am sure. Horizontal - standing upright at a working height. Assuming that the wedge is at the end of the I-beam, wood will "pile" itself.

    Loglifts - not needed on vertical/horizontal models, but for horizontal models I would highly suggest it. As you may have picked up from above, I am aging (not even gracefully, darn it), and a log lift is a great gift to the back. Vertical models aren't really an option for me (back won't take it) so horizontal it is. For large rounds, the lift is a god send. Also, most log lifts can second as a workstation platform when not actually lifting. If you don't split big stuff, or actually like lifting 250 pound rounds, feel free to omit it.

    Electric start - personal preference, also may depend on the engine used. A 5.5 Honda may pull over pretty easy when cold, but a 12 hp Kohler pulling a large pump with cold hydraulic fluid may not.

    Pump - one stage vs. 2 stage: unless you have a power plant with hp to burn, it is almost always best to use a 2 stage pump. This allows a small hp engine to produce high pressure when it needs to grunt and high volume when it doesn't.

    Tonnage rating: tough subject - I think you will find that many of the home owner versions of splitters have some version of alien math applied to be rated at the tonnage they claim, some do not. So the following is referring to "real" tonnage applied. Basically I have found that a 24 ton splitter will handle the VAST majority of splitting needs, and a 30 ton will handle everything else (including engine blocks). This can raise heavy debate, we have seen reviews (from Elk and others) of the 4 ton splitters that do a fine job, but I doubt that you would roll a 45" elm round up on them and expect it to be graceful.

    I know there are many other "hot" topics in log splitters like "is it street legal", how many gallons of hydro fluid, etc. that can be touched on here as well. Others will have opposing opinions to mine and these are very welcome. Hopefully this thread may raise ideas and thoughts and answer a few questions on the way.

    What design of your splitter do you love/hate? Other opinions on design and usage? Bad design........Good design........

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  2. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    I'd like to add my input ................

    For splitters i find the splitting wedge on the ram better for splitting because when i split i take off the side of the wood and work my way around like pie slices splitting off the log until it all split , when the splitter is on the end of the I beam it send the logs off the end and you have to pick them up to split them again after they fall off.

    Vertical vs. horizontal .........

    My splitter does both and i use the horizontal position 95%+ of the time . The Vertical position is a nice option to have for the few time its needed but I"m sure as i get older it would get used more and i won't be throwing the 100+ lbs log around anymore.

    The thing i do not like about Vertical is you have to bend over and work on your knees to split the wood and its killer if done for a long time.
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Good points.
    Another design that Spike brought to mind was an extension off the side and end of the splitter that will "catch" the pieces if re-splitting is needed, if no re-split needed, the piece will just slide off the end when the next log is processed.
  4. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    Actually have never used a vertical splitter, so I can't debate the pro's & con's of that. For me (and again this is just personal preference). I'd rather lift the round to a comfortable working height, and I'd rather stand while spltting, not be on the ground working. I think most splitters are pretty low to the ground. Whenever I would use one of those (many years at my parent's) - we would always pick the splitter up on blocks to get it to a reasonable working height. - even that was somewhat low (I'm 6'3", and the short one in the family, so we did always bring it up as high as we could, and still have the thing stable).

    So as far as design, the splitter I have really meets the needs for what I use it, and be comfortabe. It is fairly high off the ground (the I-beam is about about 38" high, and it does have an "extention" that goes off on either side of the wedge. (The manufacturer refers to it as a "production table"). The splits don't fall off to the ground on either side - they stay on the table, so you can finish off splitting one half, and not have to bend down and pick up the other half. Then as you split to the right size - just push it off the table into the pile.
  5. triptester

    triptester Feeling the Heat

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    So far the comparision has mainly been between horizontal and verticle models commonly found. In my search of the web I found two companies that put most of the pros together and got rid of the cons.

    http://www.timberdevil.com/products.html


    http://www.superaxe.com.au/superaxe.html


    I used a combination of ideas from both to build a splitter that would be as user friendly as possible.
    I'm retired have a bad back and hate to sweat
  6. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I built my rig as a vertical-only design. It didn't make sense to me to have to pick a 24"+ diameter log up to a comfortable working height - which would be 38-40" for me as I am 6'5" tall - split it, then go pick up the pieces off the ground and split them again. With the vertical setup and the splitter mounted on the ram, I just pull up one log as a seat, move the log onto the splitter, run the ram. Half the log falls 4" back to the ground and the other half is still setting on the splitter ready for more splitting. I usually split 5-6 big logs this way, then I need t get up and roll a few more logs into place.

    Corey
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I just made an observation. Has any body else noticed that we have a large number of tall people on this forum. I am only 6 ft tall (at a dainty 235 pounds) and I am feeling kinda short. :p
  8. yukiginger

    yukiginger Member

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    I'm 6'4" and I have used my splitter exclusively in the vertical position. I have sat on a round on occasion, and this is great for a helper (if you are lucky to have one) running the lever, but as the person doing the "splitting" I always kneel in front. That way I am not bending over all that much. Yes, it is tough on the knees, but you can work up a pad to help also. I often split large rounds, so vertical is really necessary.

    MarkG
  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Loglifter and worktable my friend. Wouldn't build it any other way after using both pretty extensively. But once again, that is a personal pref thing. It doesn't make it right or wrong, just what works best for the individual. I fortunately/unfortunately don't usually have a helper.
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