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Splitting the unsplittable

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by madrone, Nov 29, 2008.

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  1. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    In absence of a power splitter, how do you get your worst gnarls, burls, y's, etc. into burnable sizes. I've had to resort to chainsawing some impossible oak into weird little chunks, but I really don't enjoy wasting so much gas, chain, and wood. Sometimes the wedges and mauls just don't cut it. Then what?

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  2. willisl64

    willisl64 New Member

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    Nothing splits those impossible pieces like a hot dog/marshmallow roast on the bon fire.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Put them on a lathe and turn them into bowls.
  4. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    If you're hand splitting noodle cutting is about only way to work those impossible splits.
  5. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    I had some trouble with some misshapen sugar maple rounds last winter. Two things worked for me.

    1) Beat on it witth a maul until you get frustrated. You may get some small splits off of the sides. Then set it aside for 2-4 weeks. Try again. I'm not sure it's because more air gets in there and removes moisture or what, but this seems to work. One piece I worked on 4 times over 2 months. I actually found it very satisfying when I finally did get it.

    This prompted a gutteral vocalization and a giant flex followed by a back up beeper as I moved away.

    2) Wait until its REALLY cold. Guessing that you are in Oregon. Not sure how cold it gets there, but 15 F ought to do it. Wood seems to pop better from splitting when frozen.
  6. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I have a buddy that would throw a few of those in the truck and say it will be a cold day in #ell when you split them. Sure enough it would be 0 out when they got splitt!
  7. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    I take out the saw, make a cut straight down through the center/crotch about 4-6". Then I insert a wedge and pound away with a 9lb sledge. Cracks even the gnarliest stuff open.
  8. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I donate them to my dad. He's retired and has all the time in the world so if he takes all day to get half a dozen tough pieces split it doesn't bother him. In fact, he loves it.
  9. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I decided this season to simply leave those stubborn pieces in the woods. I find that my time is better spent gathering wood that will split in a reasonable amount of time. After all, they still make the stuff! :)
  10. cannonballcobb

    cannonballcobb Member

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    Explosives. :coolgrin:
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    If/when I fell trees in the woods, I leave the stubborn crotch and really crooked pieces on the forest floor along with the branches that I cut small enough to lay flat and rot. If I drop a tree onto manicured space, the same stuff goes on my burn pile. If it's from the wood I buy, some of them end up on my growing runts pile if I can't split them into an easily stackable form.
  12. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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  13. fallsfire36

    fallsfire36 New Member

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    Pile them up until you have enough to justify renting a power splitter...then tear 'em up.
  14. gerry100

    gerry100 Minister of Fire

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    If the diameter'e not to big, cut them to a length slightless than ht eheight of your stove door opening. Toss then aside and let them dry for at least 18 months and burn them on a cold night.

    Shortening them also make it easier to split off the edge pieces.
  15. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    For me a wack about 50 times, then I use the wedge.
    I just finished splitting a piece that I been banging on for that last couple of weeks.
    I had my wedge completely lodged in it then after hitting it with multiple different sized and weighed mauls it finally gave up the ghost and split. they will become allot easier to split come Feb-March when we have those extended cold snaps when it doesn't get above 0 for weeks on end. Though the only problem then is trying to split them when it is -20 outside.
  16. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    We don't make it below the mid 20's too often here. But if I wait long enough maybe they'll be rotten enough to split...
  17. free75degrees

    free75degrees New Member

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    The best way is to go one on one with the problem log. Preferably just an axe. Power splitter is cheating and a wedge and sledge hammer are border line cheating. You have to stand back, take a deep breath, and visualize the log splitting in two right where you hit it with the axe. For the entire backswing through the follow through you have to continue to visualize the thing splitting apart, preferably with the two halves flying apart at high velocity. Do this like 20 times and maybe you'll get a glimmer of hope, like a crack that might be starting. Focus on that crack and keeping whacking. You'll get a great feeling of satisfaction when the log finally gives in to you.
  18. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Chainsaw them into nice slim rounds. good for those overnite burns.

    "Waste not - Want not".. and that applies to wood.

    You won`t have to look far on this forum to find members that have run out of wood in late feb. or earlier that wished they had that stuff to burn.
  19. Acosi151

    Acosi151 New Member

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    Anything that doesn't split in 4 or 5 whacks from the maul gets tossed aside until I need a swinging break. Then, like you mention, I just fire up the saw and rip them into a usable size.
  20. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    Ditto. I usually have a small pile of recalcitrant chunks that will get the saw eventually.
  21. MarcM

    MarcM New Member

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    To echo what others have said... if it's apparent it won't split with wedges, it will get set aside to be ripped with the saw or left whole for a yule log for the fireplace. I often end of with several of those per year.

    There are some pieces that just are not going to split no matter what you do. I was blocking up some big maple I scored this summer, and after I got done, because some of the lower limbs were so big, I ended up with chunks that had end grain showing out of three or four sides. Wedges and mauls are not made to go around corners.
  22. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I used to leave them aside thinking I would get to them, until they started rotting. So I either burned them outside in a campfire or pile them on the poison ivy. I keep throwing stuff on it, I might smother it eventually.
  23. Adabiviak

    Adabiviak Feeling the Heat

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    Chainsaw.

    An old girlfriend worked at Big Trees state park, and as a perk, she was allowed to take some wood home after work (as they were constantly maintaining the park from diseased trees). We wound up with some particularly huge knots that the log splitter couldn't handle, that were still too big to fit in the fireplace, so they were cut into a rough log shape. They burned like a champ.
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