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Real men play with unicorns

Post in 'The Gear' started by Highbeam, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    There were a few companies that made a splitter that attached to your tractor's PTO shaft. It works like a big screw with a taper much like a traffic cone. As the unicorn horn screws into the side of a round, the round is split open. It works fast, efficiently, quietly, but not safely. Many folks have been killed or lost limbs with these devices. The makers of the tractor mounted splitters have gone away due to the lawsuits.

    They are dang darn fun. Just don't bend over and let this thing screw into your ear or your rear end or catch your sleeve or... Cause there ain't no way to stop it from spinning and it has the power to rip your arm clean off.

    I split up no less 2.5 cords today before the rain came. I had a log load delivered that was supposed to be 4-5 cords of doug fir.

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  2. titan

    titan Minister of Fire

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    Nice tractor there Highbeam.....is it a Kioti?
  3. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    If you have it I would like to see a video preferrably in wmv format of the unicorn in action.. There is a video available but it is in real player format.. I do not like all the crap that real player adds to my laptop.. If there was a way to make the unicorn safer it sounds like it could be safer than a hydraulic type system for much less money..

    Ray
  4. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Looks delightfully dangerous. Hopefully Elk's replacement will come in here and tell us how liable we are for it.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I don't have a video machine, you'll have to look for stickler videos or some of the other youtube versions. It is a pretty predictable split unless you are splitting nice striaght grained stuff and then those rounds seem to pop into splits with only a slight screwing. I much prefer the non-knotty pieces as would anyone splitting wood.

    The noticable dangers are when the round of wood starts spinning around on you. The way to prevent this from being a problem is to not bend over it, and shut off the PTO to begin to fix it. This model has a J-bend in the log bar that wraps in front of the point to prevent you from bellying up to the screw.

    I don't know of a way to make it very safe. It seems pretty optimized for the function. The real danger is that the screw keeps turning whether it is splitting or not so a foot pedal activated screw would be much safer. Not a simple hydro motor since this screw takes a good bit of power. It has stalled my 30 HP tractor twice today though I am not making a full 30 HP at the 1500 RPM vs. the 2500 RPM where the 30 HP is measured.

    Yes it is a Kioti brand tractor. It has been a fantastic tractor and I am thrilled to find another use for it, I have put 620 hours on the clock since new. The fuel gauge has not moved from full yet since I started this splitting mission some 10 hours ago. Off road diesel is cheap and the tractor running this way is easy on fuel.
  6. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Good advice, I checked youtube and found 2 videos using a pickup rear wheel used as a power source and it worked very well.. It appears to be a big wood screw and I do wonder it it would grab you if you slipped and tried to screw into you instead of the wood or is the thread not that aggressive? No splitter is what I consider a safe tool however we can generally manage the risks.. The unicorn is so simple what could go wrong as there is basically only one part..

    Ray
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I got the wood all split up. It took about 14 hours total of splitting and sucked up about 4 gallons of diesel. Plenty of breaks to rest. I hit one huge ants nest that totally dumped out milions of carpenter ants. Gross. I brought out the chickens which sat there and ate a million ants. Our eggs our going to taste fANTastic.

    Those fence posts are 10 or 12 feet apart.

    No injuries at all. Now for the stacking.

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  8. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    That wood sure looks clean. And the landscape green. Almost looks like summer. Your work is almost done.
  9. Metal

    Metal Minister of Fire

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    Unfortunately my life insurance doesn't cover suicide by unicorn : )
  10. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I HATE carpenter ants! I would eradicate the earth of them if I had a chance!!!! I have battled them more times than I can count! For anyone considering a log home pay attention.... Unlike termites they do not eat wood they just live in it so they will chew just about anything! A word of advice is start dusting as soon as the weather breaks and every time it rains and only then can you keep them at bay...

    Ray
  11. titan

    titan Minister of Fire

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    That's a fine pile of wood man....good work.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the input folks. I am scrounging pallets now for the stack and will post the final shot for a cradle to grave sequence.
  13. Tarmsolo60

    Tarmsolo60 Feeling the Heat

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    That picture was kind of a blast from the past for me. My dad had one of those late 70's early 80's except it had the bolt pattern for a truck on it instead of a pto. he would jack up the rear of his 68 international scout, put it on blocks and replace a tire with that screw(I forget what he called it). He put a sheet of steel on the ground under the screw to set the wood on. I would sit in the drivers seat and operate the clutch to stop it when needed. I don't think the operation would have been OSHA approved seeing as how I was the clutch man at about 10 years old, But man would that thing pop wood apart. I don't know what ever happened to it as my dad passed away in 82, probably one of his friends had borrowed it. Probably better for me that its was not around after he was gone. Yours was the first I had seen since then, it made me smile. thanks
  14. Beanscoot

    Beanscoot Member

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    Perhaps one could rig up a cord from the working area to the tractor controls to kill the engine. If it were attached just taut to a protuberance near the back, then a hand or elbow or head pushing against it could switch off the works. There might be trouble with accidentally bumping the cord and shutting it off though.
  15. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    There are other, more conventional PTO-driven splitters available, and I considered getting one for my little Massey, but I like the flexibility of deciding where I want to do the splitting vs. where the wood to be split might be heaped. Right now I still have maybe 4 cords piled to the south of my shop, most of which needs splitting, but I prefer to do the splitting right next to my woodshed, maybe 100 yards away from the pile. I use the tractor's bucket to move the rounds to the splitter and hold them right up there for me to put over onto the rail, toss the splits in a pile right there in the shed, then wait for my wife to come out and stack it (which she actuallys enjoys doing!). Works for me. Rick
  16. Der Fuirmeister

    Der Fuirmeister Member

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    Ditto for me. Tractor splitters are nice. I split out in the woods or next to the stack. Very mobile and the cheapest / easiest splitter to make if you already have a tractor.
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Everything the NW has to offer has been split on it. So far, the nastiest has been the knotted, twisted, large diameter (20"+)douglas fir that was rejected by the lumber mills. The screw threads in and either the threads begin to slip or the whole works slows to a stop and stalls the engine. Seldom does it snap the shear pin. You'll notice there is no reverse on the PTO so to unstick a screwed up piece of wood you raise the whole works with the tractor's three point hitch, roll a round beneath, and set down the round with the stuck screw on it. Then get out the sledge and wedge and split the screw free.

    It screws right through and pulls most knots apart.
  18. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't buy a splitter like mine. I especially wouldn't buy one that mounts to the car. Mine was given to me by my neighbor.

    I would save up for a hydraulic splitter.
  19. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

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    Howdy Highbeem

    This is OT but I was just looking at teeth on your bucket. Where did you get them? And how do you like them. I was thinking of putting something like that on my loader to help pick up brush. I was worried that if I hooked something on one tooth that I would bend the bucket.

    Thanks Billy
  20. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The toothbar is from Markham welding out of South Carolina. They have a good website and make some cool stuff including grapples that attach to your tractor instead of a bucket. The hydraulic grapple allows you to reach in and grab a mouthfull of brush to carry off to the burn pile. I love the toothbar, it was cheap and is very effective for digging into firm piles of material, for raking a rough area smooth, for popping stumps out of the ground, etc. It is bolted on and easily removable. No damage to the bucket after about 700 hours of pretty hard use. It also allows you to scoop up a log with the bucket.

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  21. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

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    Cool Highbeam!!

    Thanks I will look them up. I have a old case wheel loader that the trans is weak on and it needs all the help it can get. My Dad Brother and I have a 120 acres in michigan's UP. And I have brush piles all over that I need to pick up.
  22. SuburbanFarmer

    SuburbanFarmer Member

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    I saw a similar screw type splitter in the late 70's in VT, that attached to a car wheel. (More accurately attached to the drum, with lug nuts after removing the wheel.) Looked kind of neet as it was being powered by a Jaguar sedan. (If it was in CT, likely they would use a 12 cylinder XKE...) ;-)

    Good thing there is a guard on the back of the tractor. If you ever backed into a tree with it running, you'd be screwed... ;-)
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Before breaking into the stack I thought I would finish the thread to show how I covered it.

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  24. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well hell that's one fine pile of wood you got there Highbeam.

    I was thinking a stickler like you have would suit me well for my winter cutting routine...if I ever see one on craigs list I'm gonna grab it. But it would have to have that 'stay put' bar that you have. I'm thinking if I didn't wear gloves while loading wood it would a be mostly safe operation.

    I usually hand split in the winter cause I'm more or less in the wood lot house keeping zone rather than in full production mode. Now that I have a torn rotator cuff (sp) I'm think why not make it easy on myself?

    Do you know the actual proper name of your stickler implement? thanks.
  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    It has the brand name "Bark buster" written on it. I believe that the company was sued out of business. I've heard them called screw style splitters too. I plan to try splitting some longer 3' or so campfire wood this year with it. The little bar that you speak of, is that the big L-shaped one that the log rests on to prevent spinning? That was original eqipment. You need to sort of shove the log into the screw tip with your knee so if that bar wasn't there you might sorta shove your hootus area into the screw.

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