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Splitting wood

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Backwoods Savage, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I could not help but notice many posts lately attempting to slam my method of splitting wood; mainly the sitting and splitting vertical. I hope to explain this a bit.

    First, we do all of our cutting in the winter. Usually starting in early December. I can no longer split wood by hand so have hydraulics. So we simply stack the wood we cut all winter long. We cut off and on up until early March.

    Splitting pile 12-29a.JPG

    Following snow melt, or in some years with little or no snow, we split in March or April. When we start splitting, this is how it looks. To answer those who say they constantly have to get up and down to get wood, this is not a problem for me because my arms are still quite useful. I simply reach, usually with one hand, for the next log to split. It is quick and easy to place it for splitting. When it is more difficult to reach with my hand, then I use a pickeroon. When it is too far for that, I move the splitter a few feet and resume splitting.

    3-31-09b.JPG

    4-4-09 Almost done.JPG

    Sooner or later, the splitting is finished. Most years I can remove the Carhartts by then.

    Woodpile 3-20-06.JPG

    So the splitting is done. Now comes the stacking. Notice that I do not carry the wood to be stacked. It is a matter of reach for a split and lay it down. (Notice the Woodstock vest rather than the Carhartt coat. It's a bit warmer now.)

    Denny-April 2009i.JPG

    Sooner or later, the stacking is completed. It then sits like that all summer and fall. Before the snow flies we top cover it with old galvanized roofing.
    Wood-2009f.JPG

    But now to explain to those who do not appreciate my method of stacking. First I hope that most on this forum understand we've had a lot of fun over the years, mainly started by our friend Jake, the fireman. This is concerning splitting vertically vs. horizontally.

    I recall many years ago following an injury asking why it is so difficult for me to stand and it is even much, much worse when I have to stand and work say, at table height. The hands are in front of me, but why is that so hard on the back? I've asked several doctors and none were surprised that I have this problem. I can't explain the mechanics of it all but we'll just state it was caused by both the injury and the sad fact that in my youth I had polio. That has hounded me a lot through life so I just make do with however the task requires.

    As for the sitting, well, standing, especially in one place for very long at all is a killer for me. I can not do it. I kid some folks by saying that I get most of my exercise walking around looking for a place to sit.

    So when we bought the splitter I simply had to work out the easiest way to split the wood. I knew standing was out of the question, so I looked at how I could sit and do this. After all, one winter I split wood using a sledge and wedge while sitting on a log. Slow work because I could only tap the sledge else suffer massive pain. One of the problems was finding the correct height. Kneeling did not work either. So I tried a couple chairs, a step stool, a couple logs and finally just grabbed a milk crate. Wow! That was the magical answer to my problem.

    By sitting in this manner I am close to my work and close to the control and close to the wood. On the heavy blocks, I do not lift but simply roll them. I do not lay the log flat to roll but roll it like we used to roll milk cans. Most I can do one handed this way. Also bear in mind that most of our logs are 32" or less in diameter. Once I get one split, then by placing my elbows on my thighs, I can lift.....and it is not a strain on my back. (Think leverage.)

    On the really big stuff, sometimes it can take 2 men to wrestle a log onto the splitter. Like the big white oak I split for a neighbor. That was tough until he caved in to help me... Also, a cant hook can relieve you of a lot of work and lifting.

    For those who claim their backs cramp up. Well folks, I've had that problem too and I have no problem with stopping that splitter and walking around for a few minutes before returning to work. If it is too bad, I am in a position where I can just quit and try again tomorrow.

    So all I ask is that folks keep in mind that there is a lot of kidding about the way I split and I have no problem in the least with this. However, it is sometimes very easy to tell the difference between kidding and bashing. So please, if you prefer to split your wood some other way, I don't mind at all. However, I still may kid you a bit over it.
    Ozzie33, 343amc, oldogy and 23 others like this.

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  2. The Beagler

    The Beagler Burning Hunk

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    I think that is a pretty slick operation. Don't see how anyone would want to bash your style of splitting? Great looking stacks of what looks like ash. My old saying is if it works for you, that's all that matters. Obviously, it works for you! Wish I had that kind of space to keep my wood.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Beagler, good eye as it is mostly white ash.
    ScotO likes this.
  4. Elusive

    Elusive Member

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    Weirdo!




    ;lol
  5. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Hey Dennis if it works for you that is all that matters!

    I split my own wood by hand, but once a year I journey up to my FIL in Pennsylvania and we split his year's supply in a day. He has a horizontal splitter. He is 68, so I do the heavy lifting while he runs the lever. I've often wondered if a vertical splitter would be easier on my back, which is pretty sore after a day of doing this. I think it would be, but I've never used a vertical splitter so I don't know.....
    ScotO and Backwoods Savage like this.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Wish we were closer! Maybe as I split some wood this spring I'll have my wife take a couple videos. If nothing else, some still pictures.
    ScotO likes this.
  7. blujacket

    blujacket Minister of Fire

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    Whatever works for you Dennis. I scrounge all my wood. I back up my truck in my driveway, and split right off the tailgate. It works perfect for me. Occasionaly I have some huge rounds that I have to go vertical, but my system is perfect for me.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  8. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I owned a Speeco 20 ton hydro with 8HP Tecumseh from Apr 96 to Dec 2005.Bought it new.ALWAYS used it vertical,hated lifting those extra heavy rounds,even being in my early 30's & excellent shape.Only reason it was sold was because of pre-Christmas temp layoff & needing fast cash.If I ever buy another splitter,I'll stick with vertical.
    Backwoods Savage and ScotO like this.
  9. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    Vertical works but I just want all the wood stacked in those pictures!
    PapaDave, gyrfalcon, Redlegs and 3 others like this.
  10. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Thats the ONLY way i split.Vertical. I cant imagine lifting every roundup onto the machine they are already on the ground so why lift them. The only problem i had on the 32 ton splitter i rented was the exhaust from the engine would blow right in my face,WHAT an asinine design. I guess the guy that designed that never had to set and split vertical ,with engine exhaust blowing right in his face or im sure he would have changed it. I had to get a piece of plywood to divert it away from me.
    AJS56, Backwoods Savage and ScotO like this.
  11. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Dennis, don't let "slamming" get you down.

    Vertical is the way to go, as far a splitting fire wood goes ;)
  12. Vande

    Vande Member

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    I do not have my own splitter, but I borrow a good friends. This usually leaves me having to do alot of splitting in a short period of time. When I can get one of the kids to run the lever I go as fast as I can horizontally. This year they seemed to be busy or suspiciously missing. As I needed to get the wood done and not having the time to quit, I remember your technique from reading it some time ago. I turned the splitter up, grabbed a 5 gal bucket ( I couldn't find a milk crate) and never looked back. Thanks for sharing all these years.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

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    Not as much as I would like to have it==c
    PapaDave, Backwoods Savage and zap like this.
  14. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I'm so new at this I'm almost embarrassed!
    But since I started this new way of life last year, I have only split horizontal with a Timber TW-5.
    It is a beast and has a log lifter so there is not much lifting for me.
    So I can't say which is easier or better.

    I made an out feed table which is great. Everything stays on it until I throw it off.

    I will say that you are the man and totally impress me, I hope to still be going as strong as you with all the wisdom and insight as well.

    Keep on keeping on.
    Now get back to work!
    Backwoods Savage and raybonz like this.
  15. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    This week my son is having some trees cut down. The guy doing the work estimates about 4 cords. Following the advice given here, we will be renting a splitter we can use vertically. Sure seems like a back saver to me.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

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    I think your style of splitting is awesome. You deserve to be able to sit as you split after cutting those rounds, lifting them on the trailer and then stacking them. Me I'd rather split it in the woods as its cut that way I don't have to handle it a 1000 times plus I need to work off all the fat I gained over the winter, but I know one of these days the splitting by hand is going to come to an end !!!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  17. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Dennis, that tuturial deserves to be a "stickie" at the top of the Wood Shed forum. You're a class act, my friend......excellent pictures, description, and method.

    Now, um....can I bring a U-haul out and have all that wood? ;em
  18. FireBones

    FireBones Member

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    Yep, all that is excellent advice! Beauty stacks Dennis!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  19. fespo

    fespo Feeling the Heat

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    Vertical is the only way for me. As for the exhaust fumes, I put a piece of sheet metal in a way that blocks the fumes to my face and blows them away from me.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  20. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Thought every one split vertical , well those that want their wood to season fast.
    Vertical lets the water run out the ends LOL :)

    The beauty of most new splitters is which ever ways works best for the individual & the situation.
    I'm just thankful that I have the option.
    I spent many years with a maul, so vertical was the only way BUT:
    Vertical or horizontal with hydraulics is sweet :)

    Wouldn't be burning as much wood if I had to split by hand now ;)
    Let alone have 3 years worth of CSS wood out back :)

    But 100 years ago, they didn't have chains saws or NG/Propane furnaces either. Life span was maybe 65.
  21. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I split both ways, the smaller stuff that's easy to lift I split horizontal, the bigger stuff gets done vertical. When I split vertical I typically kneel, it seems easier on my lower back that way. If I'm splitting some big stuff a lot of times I'll quarter them out then split them horizontal once they're manageable.

    You just have to do what works for you.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  22. Bret Chase

    Bret Chase Minister of Fire

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    my splitter won't do vertical... we previously used a h/v splitter... the wife preferred vertical... I didn't... to each their own. BWS can't stand.... I can't sit for long periods of time. We all adapt to what our bodies allow...
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  23. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Hey Scotty don't be greedy! Aren't you like 25 years ahead yourself??
  24. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    ;lol
    ScotO likes this.
  25. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    Dennis, the only thing I do differently than you is that I use a 16" long round to sit on while I split. Otherwise, I'm with you.
    AJS56 and Backwoods Savage like this.

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