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To split while still green or not to...

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by jimtmcdaniels, Oct 29, 2008.

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  1. jimtmcdaniels

    jimtmcdaniels New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    Colorado Springs CO
    Hey all, I'm still new to all this since trying to reduce my winter heating bill with a wood fireplace insert I installed before last winter and I am learning everything for the first time.

    I live in the town of Colorado Springs Colorado. The forest is a 25 minute drive and I can purchase a permit for $30 and bring down green wood that the forest service has cut down and delimbed. It's ponderosa pine (up to 20" thick) and some pole pine.

    I have to cut the wood into 13-1/2 inch lengths because that's the max length my small insert will reasonably accept.

    Last year I piled up about 4 cords at my house. Now a year later I am splitting the wood with a hand swing mauler which works well since most of the wood is dry now except for some large bottom peices.
    I'm 43 and fit and I don't mind using the mauler, it's good exercise.

    The problem is, I can't get more wood now to replace what I'll burn this winter because I don't have enough room to store two years of wood.

    So it looks like I'll need to wait until after this winter to go back to the forest.

    So in the springs it looks like I may need to split the new wood while it's still green so it will dry out enough by next winter (which would be only 6 months).
    I know the mauler does not work on green wood, instead it bounces off like it's made of rubber.

    Q. Do you think I am correct that I will need a splitter and split the wood while still green?

    Q. Has anyone have experience with the Strickler cone mounted on a vehicle splitter?

    Q. Can I easily get like 3 or 4 way splitter so it will go faster, what splitter would you recommend, the electric ones seem faster than the hydraulic in general, I don't want some big machine to keep just for splitting wood and are the hand or foot crank splitters a joke?

    Thanks for any info!

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  2. 11 Bravo

    11 Bravo New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Yankee Springs....in SW Michigan
    Split as soon as possible. If it's in logs, it's not dry, even if ya cut it last year. Maybe the pine is different, but I doubt it. As far as the splitter, if your maul is bouncing off it an electric splitter won't touch it. I have used the Ryobi electric on some green wood, but it's a slow go and you just have to take it a chunk at a time, it won't be splitting down the middle. Rent a gas/hydraulic splitter and save your back. I liked the work out too until I had rotator cuff/bicep tenodesis surgery last year.....Good Luck Paul
  3. countrybois

    countrybois Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Loc:
    NE Illinois
    I like to cut it green in the fall and split it in the winter. Seems to split pretty good once its frozen. My experience is with hardwoods though, so maybe it's different in colorado.
  4. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,700
    Loc:
    CNY
    Jim there's way less wood handling steps if you split it sooner rather than later. Also while wood cut into rounds will eventually season...splitting the rounds asap will almost guarantee they can be efficiently burned the following season.

    For some reason once rounds are stacked up you more likely to avoid splitting them cause they are out of the way....that's just human nature.

    Well if you can't easily split with a maul a splitter sure makes things easier...I would check with the wood burning neighbors and ask for experienced advice.

    I wound not recommend one of those cone shaped splitters for too many reasons to list.

    Sure a 4 way gas splitter would work well on those conifers but I can't believe you can't split a 13" round by hand?
  5. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,286
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    Split green. It will dry MUCH faster that way as well.

    Don't let the maul get super dull- touch up with a rough file once in a while. I do the round-house swing. Get up on your toes before slamming it down- it can help generate a bit more power. If you're splitting pine, then you might find an electric that'll do for you. If you don't want to store a gas splitter, then you might rent once a year- got to really haul all weekend to get it done at once. If it's not splitting (and 20" rounds are pretty good sized), use a wedge with the maul.

    Stay safe!
  6. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    475
    Loc:
    NJ Piney

    I have one of those electric splitters (task force) that I use for all the Pitch Pines I have on my property. I cut down the dead ones and use it to split them, and it works really well. You might want to try it, worst case you can always return it if it isn't doing the job... the big box stores take pretty much anything back. Which reminds me of the time I was at Walmart and watched a kid return a dead goldfish that he brought back in a baggie.

    Almost forgot!! Split green!
  7. Valhalla

    Valhalla Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    904
    Loc:
    Essex County, New York
    To answer the question: yes, split green or frozen.
  8. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15,966
    Loc:
    Anderson, Indiana
    I split as soon as i can get to it!
  9. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Messages:
    329
    Loc:
    Northwood NH
    Those cone splitters look really dangerous. Is the one your refering to the one that you jack up a rear wheel and pull a tire off?
    Get a maul.
  10. MacKay

    MacKay Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    49
    Loc:
    SW. Pennsylvania
    I always split while green. It speeds up the whole seasoning process. I also like to split when it's frozen, the wood seems to explodes apart when you hit it.
  11. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Messages:
    724
    Loc:
    Franklin Ma
    The faster you split it the faster it will start to season.
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