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Splitter... Moving wedge vs Fixed

Post in 'The Gear' started by Tennman, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    First post here in the Gear section. Pretty much made my mind up to get a Vert/Horiz splitter but it suddenly dawned on me the BIG difference and why some here really favor the Horizontal. Did a search on splitter discussions and read a lot today. It dawned on me that the biggest difference was where the wedge was attached. Since I've only used my neighbor's horizontal it never occured to me how the vertical version moves the wedge and how there might be the potential for pinching the splits if I bought the multiple blade type. So after that revelation I like the look of splitters that have a fixed multiple blade. BUT I find myself splitting often by myself so the vertical would often come in handy for the large stuff. I am at the age where I don't want to damage my back and my son won't be around to help much. For 70% of my logs I can pick up, but for the rest I build a ramp and roll them. Given it's mainly gonna be a one man process I'm inclined to go with the Vert/horiz type. Have a Northern store not far from us and pretty much had my mind made up until I got educated today reading here. I've only used the type with the fixed wedge on the end of the beam. Thots?

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  2. 'bert

    'bert Minister of Fire

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    Oh Oh! You have opened a can of worms here. For my $.02 I would buy a Vert / Hoz splitter if I had that choice. I built my splitter and did not bother to make it go vert. I too can lift 70 - 80 %of the wood I split. What I did was add a log lifter and now I can split & lift 100 % of the wood I want.

    I also prefer moving the wedge and having my splits stay where they were split so I can toss them toward the pallets that I stack them on.

    Many people will swear to go Vert only and that's fine if it works for them. I would say rent for a bit and find out what works for you and then buy.

    Backwoods Savage will be along shortly with a rebuttal for the vertical only side. :lol:
  3. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

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    If it meant saving my back, I'd opt for a splitter that allowed me to roll a round in place.

    As for where the splitter is, I'd read a thread in here about a guy who had a bent ram, and I wondered how I could avoid that. I'm figuring that the ram has to move, in either application, to put pressure against the round to push it into the splitter itself. I gather I can't avoid running the risk of damaging the ram.

    I've often wondered how awkward it is, to attempt to split a round that is knobby and so forth. Rounds aren't always "perfectly round" and gonna lay still.

    "The easier the application, the more durable over time, sufficient power and how big a round I could split" would be my criteria for buying a splitter. ("Cost" is a big deal, too!)

    -Soupy1957
  4. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Minister of Fire

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    I've got an American which is horz. and has teh wedge on the end and a removable 4 way wedge. One of the things I like is that I'm pushing through the wedge. I attached a table and the splits progress off the far side out of my working area. If I have a helper then they can just pick them up as they come to them and load the trailer. Also if something doesn't split all the way I just put the next piece on and push on through.
    As far as the lifting big rounds argument goes, for me just about anything I'm going to split I've already lifted once to get into the truck or trailer to get it home.
  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    For the money, its hard to beat the 20 ton big box store HV moving wedge splitters. However, I am a converted vertical only splitter and now much prefer the horizontal working position as well as the amount of steel in the frame of my fixed wedge machine.

    Given what I have read about the fuel size/shape requirements for the gassers like yours in the boiler room, I'm not sure a multi way wedge is going to buy you much. Now, if you have a lot of straight smaller diameter wood and you can do a single pass through a 6 way wedge into a pile, that is different. Nirvana for me would be putting whatever round I have onto the log lift and with one push of the cylinder have 6 pieces of firewood come out the other end onto the pile. You aren't going to touch a machine that can do that for a grand though and every demo I have seen has been 8-12" diameter straight grained wood. That doesn't happen too often here.
  6. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    I purchased a used splitter years ago. If I purchased a new one now, I would get one with a log lift on it. Why would i not pay the extra price for another hydraulic attachment??? Maybe your local store does not have on with this option BUT I would not even look at one without it...
  7. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    I had a v/h unit , used 2 times in v. more work than it was worth and damned hard on the body. Now in defense of that statement none of the rounds were less than 25" dia. and most were in the 20" length area. When I rebuilt this unit last spring I opted for h only, less stress on the components from my observations ( not to mention not groveling around on the ground trying to position rounds for the vertical mode) easy to clear a stuck split ,as stated above. If I can not lift a piece then I noodle down to manageable size no sense getting hurt. I work by my self and the spring in this chicken went flat a long time ago.
  8. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    LOL!! Hadn't occured to me I'd be opening a can of worms like I'm used to reading over in the boiler section re: OWB vs gassers! I think the decision is a little more gray on this topic. I do think I'd operate a V/H mostly in the horizonal position because I think I'd spend less time bent over. Funny how 20 years ago that would have never entered my mind. Didn't realize lifts existed for the Horiz types until yesterday. I saw a manual lift with a long lever arm at the Timberwolf site. That may be a good compromise. I really like the looks of these multiple wedges and it seems they would be problematic on the moving wedge designs. Look forward to stirring the pot here. Since I'm in the South rental log splitters are not as prevalent as where most of you live. Ya'll comments about gassers liking smaller splits are right on. Smaller splits dry faster and are more resistent to the dreaded bridging in my boiler. Can't wait for BW Savage to chime in. Looking out our windows at snow. Special for us!
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Oh Backwoods . . . I think a few folks want your opinion on splitting vertically. ;) :)

    HehHeh . . . Dennis and I tend to agree on most everything . . . but we disagree about the preferred method of splitting wood with a hydraulic splitter . . . most likely due to the difference in our age and more importantly the way we get our wood to the splitter. I prefer horizontal since I unload the bucked wood off a trailer which is right at the perfect height for not stooping or bending over . . . just turn, grab and move on to the splitter whereas Dennis likes to sit on his milk crate and split as it is better for his back.

    Truth is . . . there is no right or wrong way to split wood . . . and in fact I do go vertical for some monster pieces of wood . . . the important thing is to split safely and in the way that you like and feel keeps you healthy and pain free.
  10. dirttracker

    dirttracker Member

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    I've only had a fixed wedge horizontal, so take my opinion for what it's worth.

    I split a lot of elm, it's probably 90% of what I burn. On the larger pieces, I can run them through once, flip them 180 deg. back on to the beam and split them again. I use the wedge as a pivot point for the flip. If I have one get stuck I run a small piece through and use this to flip the large round. I don't know how well this would work with a moving wedge splitter, it may well be easier, I'll let others be the judge. I'm 6'6" tall and I prefer horizontal splitting so I can stand upright. I spend enough time bent over when I'm cutting the wood. I have my splitter set up on the 3 point hitch on my tractor, I can raise it to a comfortable working height and I don't have to split bent over. If I want to split in the woods, I can lift the end of the splitter up onto the tailgate of my wood hauler and toss the splits right into the bed.

    I've never tried a multiple wedge, I figure with the elm I'd just have a bigger stringy mess to deal with. Unless the rounds are small I doubt you would get the split small enough in only 1 pass anyway.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Well, most folks here know what my opinion is, but here goes.

    First on the multiple wedges, I can see an advantage if all logs are the same size. However, it takes so little time to do two splits with the ram that the times saved would be so minimal (except on the really knotty stuff) that it would not be worth it to me. For example, most of our wood right now is the dieing white ash and the ram has only to go into the wood an inch or three and it is split. Then the ram goes back up.....but not all the way. I stop the ram just above the wood so as not to have to wait for it to go up and back down.

    On the horizontal vs. vertical splitting I constantly see this point about bending over. What? The bending I do is just to sit down. And by sitting, I do not have to lift the logs! I simply stay sitting and roll the log on the edge to me and most times I can do that one handed. This is the picture that is my avatar:

    [​IMG]

    Here is another of me making kindling with the splitter:

    [​IMG]


    Bending over is something I try to do very little of and most of you will also find this happening as you age a bit. This is also why I do not understand people splitting horizontally. Now if they have, say, a wagon load of wood and just take from the wagon, then I can see it working well. However, most folks will simply bend over to pick up each log to place it up in the horizontal position. Well, some have the log lift but I did not have to spend those dollars simply because I don't have to lift the logs.

    I do not try to be lazy but I also do not want to make extra work for my sore back so therefore I will continue to sit and split....the easy way.
  12. jlove1974

    jlove1974 Member

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    I have used both styles, and I prefer the wedge on the ram. It works in vertical mode
    exactly like a maul except it's in slow motion. You sit on a round the same height or slightly lower than the
    ones you are splitting and then throw them in a pile or on a trailer. I have a somewhat weak and easily injured back thanks to heredity.

    If you have conscripted help like I have (children), you let them roll the smaller rounds to you. They don't lift anything and neither do I except splits.
    For the 30"+ 550lb rounds of willow oak, it's the only way. If I had anything smaller than 18" wood,
    the ones with the tray tables and all horizontal is great. You can work at waist level and it's less tiring.

    I know the one I will purchase will be able to do both, and generally the ones with the wedge attached to the ram get stuck less.
    When they do get stuck, a log dislodger design is well worth anything extra paid.
  13. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    FFJake's post reminds me of a guy standing in front of a lion's den holding a steak saying here kitty kitty. So glad you guys are patient going over a topic that has clearly been passionately debated many times. BW... I'm so glad you didn't disappoint FFJake and you replied to give your opinion. The picture with the mountain of wood says it all, you've been there done that.

    Dennis, I'm having a difficult time imagining how you can stay seated for very long before you need to get up and manueuver logs within arm's reach to keep feeding the beast. Clearly you have a system.

    With my neighbor's horizontal I quickly learned to use another log to push thru a stuck log. Jlove's comment implies that the moving ram jams less. Tough to imagine why..... The Horizontal guys imply that the fixed wedge is a tougher design. I really like the idea of moving wood from the trailer right onto the splitter. Great idea.

    Easy to see why this topic generates so much passion. Thanks all for your insights. I've learned a lot. Gonna go look at some splitters.
  14. Manatarms

    Manatarms New Member

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    I own both types. I think the answer to your question lies in how much wood you need to split, how fast you want to split it, and how much you want to spend.

    If you want to be able to split vertical, the wedge will most likely be on the rod. Some make a four way vertical unit (Northern Tool for example). Vertical is nice for splitting REALLY big rounds. These units tend to have slower cycle times, but as Backwoods pointed out, if your splitting straight grained ash and oak most pieces pop apart in the first 2-3 inches. I have a Husky 35-ton unit from tractor supply (Made by SpeeCo). For a commercial grade unit in this category look at Iron and Oak.

    Most of the high-end / commercial units tend to have a push block on the rod and a fixed wedge. There usually split on the horizontal. Many of them have interchangeable wedges for two or four way splitting (bigger ones even six, eight and ten ways). For production splitting of a large volume of wood, not much beats a multi-wedge splitter. With a two to three man crew, you can crank out some serious wood. That being said, it is harder to push a log through a multi-wedge than it is through a single wedge...so there are limitations to how gnarly the wood can be. You also have to lift the rounds up to the splitter...unless you have a log lift. These units can get expensive. I have a Built-Rite. Timberwolf is another big name in this category.

    I use the single wedge horizontal/vertical for splitting the REALLY nasty stuff....once it's quartered, I move it over to the multi splitter.
  15. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    That thing is pretty cool. It's nice that they don't use the usual straight grained 10" diameter rounds for the demo.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95xJGjv2_v4
  16. Manatarms

    Manatarms New Member

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    Thats a good point. It would be nice to see it bust through some quality wood too. The machine is made for commercial use, and I try not to bother with nasty wood blocks like that commercially. It takes too much time to set, splits like crap, and makes lots of scrap as you "tear" it apart. I try to run the best wood through it...it's faster that way and gets better quality splits. That being said, you're right, it's nice to see it run through something tough. Sometimes it's unnavoidable and getting wood stuck on the wedge head is not fun.


  17. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    If Tim the Toolman ever owned a splitter it would be that Built-Rite in the video SandW!

    Manatarms, probably 5-6 cords/yr. I keep my eyes open and sometimes buy a load split from local loggers cheap. Only split for personal use. I typically buy equipment of heavier duty and use for a long time. I'm approaching 60 YR so this will most likely be the only splitter I ever buy so saving a few hundred bucks in not an issue. But on the other hand don't want to spend $1K unnecessarily. I'm inclined to get a H/V unit which has 24-27 ton capacity which is probably far more then I need but that gives me a beefier machine that I'll use 80% of the time in horizontal mode. But in all reality I'm rapidly approaching the point that I'll just ignore messing with the really big and heavy stuff.

    As you guys help me think thru this purchase, those 20-30% of the logs I handle today in a few years I'll probably ignore and buy from a younger guy. My gut tells me a fixed wedge splitter is tougher, but for me an oversized moving wedge could be tough enough for me with the occasional option to use vertically. I think I'll be one of the primarily standing/horizontal type of users.
  18. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    It may not seem it, but I have a lot of respect for Dennis and really hope to meet him in person one day . . . then I can harass him in person about splitting wood vertically. ;) :)
  19. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    One thing that I have not yet seen mentioned in this thread is the "pile". With the wedge on the beam style, you push the wood off of the end (or work table). And you can continue to push. I have made huge piles of wood without the need to move a single split from the splitter area.

    Method:
    Splitter in position. Chock wheels (with a couple of splits). Split wood till 6ft tall pile appears. Unchock wheels and allow the next couple of splits to push the splitter backwards and chock wheels again. 6ft tall piles of wood as long as you want without the removal of one single split from the splitter. In vertical mode, splits need to be removed regularly. Oh - I do have a log lift and work table, so the big'uns are pretty easy (not to mention that they roll alot easier than they slide).

    And, "I split aloonne-with nobody Eelse" -George Thorogood
  20. 'bert

    'bert Minister of Fire

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    Jake I am pretty sure we have it right with the Hoz splitting, I went back and looked at some other pics that Dennis has posted of him splitting. Turns out he has been working on splitting that same log for over a year. Our Hoz method may not be super fast, but i know it's quicker then that!! :lol:
  21. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    While I do like the hydraulically adjustable height 6 way, I think either Timberwolf's box wedge or this one would be better for making gasser fuel.

    Attached Files:

  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Tennman, it is actually quite easy as I stack the wood during the winter and do all the splitting in the spring. That means that I can just place the splitter beside the stack and can split lots of logs before having to move. When I have to move, I simply move the splitter ahead, sit back down and go to work. It actually works out well too because as you can see I sit low. So stretching the legs while moving the splitter feels good. If you look at the pictures below you will see that I place the splitter very close to the stack and just move along with it. This also has the added benefit of not having to throw the split wood all in one spot. When I am done splitting there is usually quite a large pile but it is a long enough pile that it is just right for the length that I want the stacks to be. One compliments the other.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As for Jake, he and I will be meeting some day. Maybe over a beer we can hash this out on the proper way to split wood. ;-)
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    That's not fair bert! It's only been around 10 months so far. Maybe it is time to change that avatar?!
  24. Manatarms

    Manatarms New Member

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    S&W,

    The Built-Rite 24 come with a 4-way, and you can purchase a 6 way, 8 way, or two different 10-ways. The 10-ways are set up more like a box wedge....basically a modified 8-way with internal boxing to join the two lower wings. One splits small for bundlewood (which I have), and the other one splits them a bit larger. The product output is similar to the Timberwolf TW7. IMO the problem with the box wedge on the TW7 is that it's not as easy to change it back to an adjustable height wedge (like a 4-way). I think you have to unbolt the wedge assembly. On the BR 24 you just pull the pin, remove the top plate and swap the wedge head. It's more versatile. That being said I think the box wedge is cool, sort of like running the wood through a cheese slicer! The only other thing I don't like about the TW7 is the dual stage pump...it slows to a crawl when you push some "moderately" tough wood through the bundle wedge. The 24 has a single stage pump. It either splits it or it doesn't. No drop in stroke speed.

    -Mark

  25. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    It is cool how easy it is to reconfigure the wedge. Also interesting how much more the box wedge loads down the machine than the 6 way even with what looked like pretty straight wood. I think I'll experiment with a 6 way before attempting the box.

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