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Wood Splitter Advice

Post in 'The Gear' started by reaperman, Sep 30, 2007.

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  1. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    also geewhizman, $1500 sounds rather steep for only a 5.5HP engine.... the harbor freight splitters (24 & 30 ton) both come w/ a 9HP (Robin) engine.....altho at least on the 24 ton, the hydraulic pump is the weak link, not the engine.

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  2. drmiller100

    drmiller100 New Member

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    buy the good oil, and the pump will last a LOT longer then the engine. the engines all have a known life expectancy. the pumps last a VERY long time with good oil.
  3. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    I enjoy the challange of finding my limit... 24"x 16" round? 30"x 16" round? Oak? Polar? Hickory? Keep it horizontal as long as possible, I have 2 herniated disks in the lower back, and crouching is NOT for me!
    Odd, I can lift a bg round, but not bend over it...
  4. GeeWizMan

    GeeWizMan Member

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    There are other splitters out there that hinge the beam so it can be placed in the horizontal or vertical position that cost less than 1,500 dollars. For instance, Tractor Supply carries a Huskee 22 ton splitter for just under 1,000 dollars. I've had one for 12 years that works great.

    George
  5. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    It probably is a good thing to be able to mix it up, horizontally and vertically, just for physiological reasons.
    I split most of my wood this year (first time with splitter) in the vertical position, however, after starting horizontal.
    Rounds rolled into staging position, then tossing splits to pile.
    What's with the "rotating 90 degrees "? Don't you guys mean 180 degrees?
    Also, after I finished with a real high pile of wood, I reflected that throwing all that wood up there was a big waste of effort and I should've started stacking the wood in parallel.
    I second the adjustable throttle; mine was at 1/3 or so the whole time.
  6. carbon neutral

    carbon neutral Feeling the Heat

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    Any idea what the premium or better brand pumps are? My unit has the haldex/barnes pump.
    Some of this I am sure will be subjective. The guy who sold me the splitter said they had a lot of trouble with the briggs engine so they switched to the robin/subaru engine. In my experience briggs are good engines. Who can figure, I have a tecumseh 8hp on my chipper that will sart on the first pull and not miss a beat, I also have a 10hp tecumseh on my generator that has never started cold, warm, or in any situation between without the assist of starting fluid shot into the carb first, once started it will run without a hick-up.
  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    So far I really like the 9 hp robin engine on my splitter.
    It starts fantastic and is quiet. It has an overhead cam, if that means anything.
    The snowblower has a Tecumseh Sno King motor, and I guess I'm glad it has an electric starter - but that's winter.
    I don't plan, anyway, on running the splitter in the winter.

    It seems like all you read of is pumps by haldex.
  8. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    velvefoot,
    What throttle setting do you primarily use when splitting? I've made the the engine change pitch (work) less than a dozen times in its lifespan (full throttle), wondering if that's a waste? granted, at full throttle and w/ no load, it's not using much fuel.

    As for the rotating, we do mean '90 degrees', not 180. The splitter I have, like many others, has a large pin that allows the main I-beam/ ram to rotate 90 degrees so that it can be run in vertical & horizontal modes. The harbor freight splitter is well balanced so it takes very little effort to rotate between modes and/or for towing.
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    My setup just seems to loaf along, and so do I (no hurry), so I think I had it at 1/3 or so.

    As far as the other thing goes, this was the quote I was referring to:

    Just as a side note, I wasn’t able to do it consistently, but I was frequently doing 2-4 way splits with my friends splitter in vertical mode. I would be splitting slabs off the side of the log to get roughly square chunks, then I would come down once or twice in one direction, but not let the splits fall completely apart, then turn the block 90* and come down again, making 4-6 splits in 2-3 ram cycles.

    Thinking about it, that's what I did too. Kind of criss crossing so they all fall apart. Many times I just ripped the partially split piece off too, depending on wood.
  10. reaperman

    reaperman Member

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    I just found out there is a Tractor supply store within an hour of my place. I never knew we had any here in Minnesota yet, I guess I need to get out more. Maybe I'll take a drive and check out the husky. Northern Tool does have a few different 20 ton splitters for the same price as the Huskee. Decisions, decisions.
  11. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Tractor Supply managers have lots of leeway in reducing costs/making a deal. And they have stood behind their products far more so than other places, even Lowes where you can 'supposedly' bring anything back. I always buy at Tractor Supply when I can.
  12. Larryj24

    Larryj24 New Member

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    Guess I'll bring this thread back to life.

    Horizontal splitters are far more efficient and more ergonomic for the user. They also offer more options; 4 way, 6 way wedges, Wedge Lifts, Tables, Conveyors, etc. You really should not put a 4 way wedge on a splitter where the wedge is on the piston. It will try to twist if you hit a knot. Also, horizontal splitters, if you use it in one area, can be modified easy enough for production. A simple I-Beam height table with a ramp and a helper will make splitting fast. Horizontal splitters also have provisions for Log Lifts. When logs are small enough; you can pre load the lift so they just keep rolling into the splitter as you need. The proper towing position for a horizontal splitter would be to have the tong on the engine side so you are splitting away from the hitch. This allows you to keep it hooked to the Tractor, Quad, Truck and just pull forward if the pile gets to large. By doing that in reverse, you have to pull the splitter through the pile or keep moving the pile.

    For these reasons Horizontal is best for production. However, most home owners will not need speed and are working it alone so Horizontal/Vertical would make do.

    Timberwolf is a superior splitter designed for people who are serious about wood production. It is the Cadillac of splitters! You just have to ask yourself, are you driving a Cadillac? No, they are not for everyone. I see Harbor Freight has a Horizontal with Log Lift for under $1,800! Even though the table is backward (hitch is on the wrong side) you can burn through two of them for the price of one Timberwolf. Timberwolf's design, wedge style and pump quality, make it strong enough that you don't need more tonnage to compensate for design flaws. This is why they don't have huge 30 ton machines until you get much bigger.

    Auto Cycle is great, Table Grates are Great. But when it comes down to it, just about any splitter will be easier than an ax! Just about everyone, me included, will always buy more than they really need.

    Look for used splitters, there are a lot of them out there! 6months old, 1 year old, home made. A lot of people that buy splitters soon learn they would rather just buy split wood! The shear cost of a splitter $1000+ will go a long way toward buying pre split wood! Unless you are burning enough wood and getting it for free, a splitter doesn't make financial sense for many. Something a lot of buyers don't realize until after they buy it. Thus the reason so many new ones are sold after the first year.

    http://www.Craigslist.com is a great place to find used splitters.

    Have Fun and Split Safe.
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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  14. Larryj24

    Larryj24 New Member

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  15. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Wow, that didn't come up with my search on "Splitter".
    That thing is way cool!!!!
    It has the tank as the axle now, different than my 30 ton hf convertable job.
    Same Robin 9hp motor, which I like.

    Very interesting unit!!!
  16. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    "I enjoy the challange of finding my limit… 24"x 16” round? 30"x 16” round? Oak? Polar? Hickory? Keep it horizontal as long as possible, I have 2 herniated disks in the lower back, and crouching is NOT for me! "

    That is exactly my thoughts. I also have 2 fuggered up disks (hockey seemed like fun...at the time) and I'd rather drop my nards lifting a cut on to the horizontal splitter than wrastle one on the ground while the splitter is verticle. If there is no way to lift it i'll quarter it with a mall or wedges. I will say it's nice to at least have the option though.

    Something else...there is a lot of talk about cycle times. It is something I wouldn't pay much attention to as you rarely go a full cycle when splitting. I would guess my cylinder moves 6" max on average...if that. It's rare to do a full length cycle.
  17. _CY_

    _CY_ Burning Hunk

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    first post here... loads of feedback at Aborist site about splitters.

    35 ton Huskee (Speeco) from Tractor Supply here. on second season using it.
    it's a brute and plows thru any wood including rounds 3ft + in diameter.

    12.5hp mtr is overkill for size pump it pushes. 5in ram with 12in Ibeam. pump is rated at 16 gpm and too low for this setup. it really needs a 22 gpm pump. only complaint so far with 35ton speeco is cycle times are 15 second range. if you can live with slower cycle times, this 35ton speeco is an excellent machine.
  18. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Hey Larry, I think that HF splitter is so nifty at such at great price, I'm going to start another thread!
  19. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    "35 ton Huskee (Speeco) from Tractor Supply here. on second season using it.
    it’s a brute and plows thru any wood including rounds 3ft + in diameter."

    Same here. I think I got mine in 2000 or 2001 though. I've split 25-30 face cords a year with it and no problem. It's nice to not have to set stuff aside that you can't split.

    "12.5hp mtr is overkill for size pump it pushes. 5in ram with 12in Ibeam. pump is rated at 16 gpm and too low for this setup. it really needs a 22 gpm pump. only complaint so far with 35ton speeco is cycle times are 15 second range. if you can live with slower cycle times, this 35ton speeco is an excellent machine."

    Do you really go full cylinder stroke on each cycle?. I rarely do that so to me cycle time is negligible. Good machine though.
  20. reaperman

    reaperman Member

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    I guess I started this post back in Oct. I ended up with a northern tool 22 ton model. I like the choice I made. Its the first time I operated a splitter with a vertical option. I admit I rarely use it vertically. Only on monster rounds I cant lift. But the vertial option is nice because we all run across rounds that are just too heavy. So splitting horizontal has its place. But for some reason the ground always seem wet or there is snow, and I'm down on my hands and knees trying to wrestle these beasts. Getting wet in the process.

    As for a the four way wedge, the guy was correct in saying a four-way shouldn't be on mounted on a ram. I have the four-ways, ended up getting them free from NT (another story). I tried them out for a bit and I wasn't too impressed. The extra strain on the splitter is apparent when the horizontal wedge on the four way has to ride along the log which is pressed against the I-beam, for the entire distance of the piece of wood being split. There is simply no place for the log, which is pressed against the beam to go until the ram is retracted. The top of the log can simply fall off. But the bottom is wedged to beam. And it seems you have to be satisfied with the size splits the 4-way ends up making. It the split is too big for your liking, and try to re-split it with the 4-way on, you just made four pieces that are than probably too small for your taste. To me, it seems if you had the perfect sized wood (16-18") the 4-way would be consistant and make normal sized splits. But anything larger or smaller, to me isnt ideal.
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I'm not at all sure I buy the arguement that a horizontal is easier - seems to me like unless you rig the horizontal with LOTS of extra cruft - log lifts, tables, ramps, etc, and / or have an assistant, it is a really dubious proposition. W/ a plain beam the splits fall off w/ every cycle, unless you hold them in place (watch the toes...) and to me the bending and picking up rounds is no fun.

    When working at my friend's wood business, I split some on a horizontal machine with a table (a Supersplit), splitting down already partially split wood to the very small size that his customers want (what he calls firewood, I'd call kindling...) and find that while I can be very productive, the constant bending is tough on my back.


    I've also used a Horizontal / Vertical unit for splitting some of my own wood. I had a pile of log length, which I cut to stove length rounds, mostly leaving them where they landed except as I needed to move them to make room for more cutting. I ended up with a large area covered w/ rounds. I set up the splitter at the left end of the area. In vertical mode, I picked a short round about the right height to sit on in front of the machine. I would queue up 4-6 or more rounds, depending on size, next to the splitter on one side, as close to my seat as I could - sometimes carrying them, sometimes rolling, sometimes moving with a two-wheeler depending on size, shape and weight - I would then SIT on my round, and crank through the rounds in waiting, just pulling them onto the splitter platform w/o needing to get up except for the really big monsters. After I'd finish a batch, I'd get up and queue up another few. As I split, I'd toss the finished splits to the left, making a pile. As the edge of the done pile would get closer to me, my supply of rounds would get further away. When the done pile got to close, I would tilt the splitter back to horizontal, and move it to the new edge of the rounds supply... I wasn't producing as fast as I would with the Supersplit, but I was far more relaxed and felt like I was doing a LOT less work bending over and lifting... I was happy not to have the 4-way wedge, as the two way let me get the size of splits that *I* wanted, not what the machine was willing to give me.

    The other big thing is the price - a plain beam, 20-30 tone H/V unit can be had for well under a grand - the "Bargain" HF horizontal with lift was $1800, or close to twice as much, and with that many more parts to fail... If I was doing production work for a business, It might be possible to convince me that a dolled up horizontal was worth while, but for the home producer doing 5-10 cords / year (like I do) I think the simplicity of a plain beam H/V unit is much better.

    (BTW, the H/V unit I was using above was a loan from my friend with the wood business, he has several H/V machines he uses for production - in VERTICAL mode....)

    Gooserider




    Gooserider
  22. _CY_

    _CY_ Burning Hunk

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    no question vertical mode is used way more by me. almost never use horizontal.

    I'm convinced unless splitter is equipped with a lift ramp. much less effort is expended using splitter in vertical mode. this is not even counting large rounds, say three ft in diameter. with a peavy log tool, it's possible for one person to split three ft+ sized rounds. no way possible on a horizontal unit unless a lift is available.

    since my 35 ton speeco has a nice wide slot in it's 12in beam. logs ride super nice in horizontal mode.
    so it's not like horizontal mode doesn't work well on my splitter. vote with your feet as they say... vertical mode is what gets used.

    http://home.tulsaconnect.com/toug/cpf/splitterram.JPG
  23. biggins08

    biggins08 New Member

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    How expensive is it to add a lift to a splitter?
  24. Larryj24

    Larryj24 New Member

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    You can make your own using leverage (see Timberwolf's TW-1, TW-2) or Hydraulics see TW-2HD , TW-5, TW-6. If you buy a Hydraulic unit it is around $700. See Northern Tool or Timberwolf.
  25. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Yeah, I'm with Goose and the other vertical mode fans on this one. Lifting 100+ lb rounds up onto the horizontal beam was a lot more labor and strain on the back than rolling a round onto the ground-level platform in vertical mode. Both my father and I have back problems, and we find that if we squat in the correct position, then the long term back discomfort is much smaller than lifting rounds up repeatedly.

    Im also not sure I understand the issue people (reaperman and his dealer) are talking about using a 4-way in vertical mode? I understand the point about the split size, e.g. the round size is not always going to yield 4 perfect sized splits and that re-splitting one or two too-large ones would be difficult w/ a 4 way wedge. I just do those by hand w/ a splitting maul as I enjoy splitting the ole fashioned way. Can you please explain why this is mechanically a bad idea?

    For example, I have a 9HP Robin/24 ton hydraulic system on mine. A tiny fraction (like 1%) of rounds have even made the engine change pitch, and those were super large, knotted & gnarled rounds that would normally have taken dynamite to split. Im having trouble visualizing what you mean by the log being wedged into the I-beam? The ram (2-way or 4-way) runs parallel to the I-beam, so there is no force exerted on the I-Beam by the ram or by gravity.
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