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Wood splitter opinion for 10 cords per year...

Post in 'The Gear' started by barnartist, Apr 3, 2009.

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  1. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    I usually hang out in the boiler room. This has probably been discussed lots here. But, I split allot of wood, and split it very thin for a gassifier.
    I was at a farm show last fall, and saw a splitter that splits both directions. Looks like a real time saver, but yet I dont see a model like that and still have the option to flip verticle for those big back breaking peices.
    I do all of my wood by myself, and 8-10 cords takes some "yunt-to".

    What can I get for the buck?

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    The "split both direction" models are something I would really think about before purchase. Depending on your typical wood, you may find that pieces that require multiple splits (larger rounds) would have to be moved from one end of the splitter to the other, or the ram would have to be returned just like a regular splitter.

    Also from another thread, the math works out that on the return stroke, you will have a significant (according to Jags) reduction in splitting force. This is due to the shaft reducing the square inch foot print where the hydraulic pressure can be applied.

    Your not looking at mass production, so I would think that any basic splitter that has the horz/vert. feature would work well for you.

    Huskee, troy built, Iron and oak (pricey), and the tractor supply type store brands are all thrown around as good splitters. Heck, the new argument is: what engine should I get???

    My suggestion (knowing that you have the same variety of trees as I do), is to go for something larger than 20 ton. Pay attention to cycle times, but again, you are not in big time production. Think about service issues. Is the store your buying it from gonna back you up?? Pay attention to beam height, you don't want to have to stoop over all day. And one of my pet peeves: when in horizontal mode, do you have a good work area, or is there things in your way (tires, engine, etc.).
  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    BA, my spring splitting especially in preparation for the boiler has given me a lot time to ponder the same thing. What kind of throughput do you get today and what are you aiming for? I produce a cord in 2-3 hours with my current setup. I'm considering constructing a terrace 6' high on the back side of my woodshed that I can dump all of my scrounged rounds on. Then, build a permanently mounted splitter that I can roll/drop the rounds into and split through a 6 or 8 way wedge right into the shed. The idea came from that processor post recently that has the bin that the block drops into and even does two at a time if they are smaller. Ideally, it would be powered by an electric motor tucked away neatly in the ceiling of the shed.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Moved to the Gear forum. Lots of splitter info here.
  5. Henz

    Henz New Member

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    Timberwolf splitters
  6. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Jags.
    How are the splitters doing (or an attachment) that turn one piece into four on the same trip? Seems like it would take much more muscle too.
    And what would be a cycle time number?
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    A four way wedge does take more grunt, but if you notice the design, the blades are "staged" so that a single split starts, before the secondary wedge contacts wood. This does reduce the brute force needed for a 4 way split.

    Cycle time is directly dependent on pump/cylinder size. So depending on the components a typical splitter may have anywhere from a 10-12 second cycle to a 20-22 second cycle. A 4" cylinder with a 16 gpm pump is a good combo for your ~20+ ton units and a 5" with a 22 (or better yet 28) gpm pump is pretty sweet for the 30+ ton units.

    Imagine a 4" with a 28 gpm pump - yowza - stand back, cuz that thing is gonna throw its wood off the end. :p
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    barnartist, there is good information if you care to do some searching. There is also some emotion in some of the posts so bear that in mind too.

    First, I would not even look at any splitter that would not stand vertically. I simply is too much work to lift each log onto the splitter. It is enough work without making more for yourself.

    In our case, when we purchased, over 15 years ago we really did not know what to get. We lucked out and talked to a store manager one evening. The splitters were on sale and it was in the spring of the year. We talked them down maybe $100 more than what was listed! (Yes, it can be used either horizontally or vertically but we've never split even one log horizontally.)

    My question to the man though was how much power will this thing give and what do I really need? I told him my fear that I'd buy and not be able to split our twisted up elm. He guaranteed that if I bought and it did not do the job that I could return it for a full refund. I bought.

    Here is a picture of our little 20 ton splitter and this year's splitting pile.

    [​IMG]

    Here's another after getting started.

    [​IMG]

    Sorry, I did not keep track of time so can't tell you how long it took. I can say it took less than a gallon of gas though.


    One thing people seem to get concerned with is tonnage. We wondered too especially because many years we split a lot of elm. Of all the years we've had this we've found exactly one piece that it would not split. Perhaps it would have if I'd toyed with it but I simply threw it on the brush pile and forgot all about it. So I can say we've never needed a larger splitter.

    Another thing is cycle time. To be honest, I've never looked ours up nor timed it as I could see no need. Cycle time is misleading anyway simply because when you are splitting you probably won't allow the full cycle anyway.

    When I split, I will not stand! I sit....and it is actually safer than standing beside the log. That is because of a split goes flying it will always fly sideways, but we've only had a few really small ones fly and that was while making kindling, which is fun to make with a splitter. You can make a lot of kindling in just a little time. We make it out of soft maple and simply split every inch or so across, then turn and do the same thing again. The wedge probably doesn't move over an inch or two at the most all this time. It's down until split then up and quickly right back down working across the log. I usually can handle up to a dozen 1" x 1" pieces.

    Also, sitting while splitting is very easy as you don't do much lifting at all. You simply roll a log onto the splitter and you can almost always do this one handed until you get the log to the splitter. And you will split faster while sitting.

    The same splitter today is actually a 22 ton and the cost is $1099 at Tractor Supply.

    Someone a bit ago hollered CHEAP! Okay, but we've split well over 100 cord of wood with this splitter and had zero repairs or problems.

    btw, that splitting pile is a bit over 7 cord (I think). It is almost all split now and we'll start stacking soon. Then we'll know for sure how much wood is there.

    Good luck to you.


    EDIT: If you look by the splitter you'll see an old milk crate and a green hot seat sitting on it. That is where I sit while splitting.
  9. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    Wow Dennis, thanks for the comments and the pics were a nice bonus. If those pics were recent, I can't believe you still have leftover snow.

    I've looked at the splitters at tractor supply. I always wondered if spending $1200 or so would be enough of an investment for the long haul.

    The past 4 years I have been sharing my uncles splitter, a beast of a machine that splits anything for the most part. It is an old homeade job. There is so much steel in the thing that my Polaris 500 has a hard time going up a hill, it outwieghs the 4wheeler by allot. So I have been handling all my wood in the feild, and hauling it in, and then splitting the wood at the storage pile. I have several pieces of wood that are left behind because I'm afraid I will end up in the hospitol trying to lift them.

    Some of the splitters I talked about seeing at the farm show, their asking 4-5500 for. Just never seemed like a good investment when that same money would buy home heat. But since I started getting my money back from my woodstove install during year 3(I had it figured), it's time I invest a bit to make the job easier.

    You make 7 cords sound like a cinch. You must have some help!

    Sometime I will try and get a pic of this old splitter.

    Oh by the way, we have a gasline from Colorado coming through here. They have been felling trees that birds and bats might roost in ahead of the dig. I hope i can get my cut up wood out of there soon enough.
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    The first picture was taken in early March. That snow is gone but there is still ice under the splitting pile. And we are forecast to get up to 8" Sunday night and Monday.

    I can surely relate to you wondering about the $1200 on the splitter (they are $1099 here). We did too! We wondered about it for quite a long time before that evening when the manager was there and we just happened to be in the store. Saw the splitters on display inside the store and on sale. This was at Quality Farm & Fleet, which was the same as Tractor Supply. The MTD and Huskee are basically the same unit; just different names.

    Tractor supply does have a good return policy as we've returned a lot, so I wouldn't be concerned there. And when you think about a splitter, there really is not much to them. You have a motor, the hydraulics, the beam and the wedge. Of course you also have the trailer part so you can move them. We did find you don't need the big power and that was one of our big concerns.

    Those $5-6000 splitters are nice indeed, but are they necessary for someone who splits just his own wood? Cadillac's are very nice too but sometimes one settles for a Ford for going back and forth to work.

    The 7 cords are not all that bad. I work on it just a little at a time. Sometimes I'll split for 1 1/2 hours but the other day I worked for maybe 4-5 hours. It all depends upon my body and what it will allow me to do. The cutting of the 7 cord was the winter project. The splitting and stacking is the Spring project along with too many others.

    There is a running joke here about my wife doing all the work and we have fun with it. Truth be known though, she did used to help me a lot with the cutting but not splitting and stacking. Physically she can't do as much as she wants and she fights me a lot so that she can at least bring the wood into the house in the evening. She also empties the ashes from the stove and checks the chimney. All that is indeed a big help to me. Now if I could get her to run that chain saw.... lol But would you believe she did try to talk me into getting a small saw that she could handle?!! I didn't.

    Good luck on getting wood from that cutting. Get as much as you can!
  11. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    The best value out there seems to be the 22 ton Speeco (Huskee at TSC) splitter. It would do what you need at reasonable cost. I find the wedge-on-ram design easier to use for making tons of little splits, especially if you fabricate a little deck on both sides of the beam to work your logs on. Re-splitting is always easier when you don't have to lean over the beam and wedge and pick the pieces back up, as you do with the wedge-on-beam design.

    But for efficiency, a horizontal splitter with a 4-way wedge is the ticket. Especially for wood that is easy to split, the 4-way makes quick work of stuff. I'd even suggest that a 6-way wedge would be reasonable for many smaller splitters, with straight-grained wood.

    I run a Timberwolf TW-P1, their entry-level machine. I've had it for a few years and am generally pleased with it. It is a "20 ton" machine with a 4" cylinder, 11gpm pump, 5.5hp Honda GX engine. It splits most everything with the 4-way, except for really stringy stuff that it pushes through the regular wedge just fine. More tonnage and more speed would be nice, but that comes at a price - weight, $$$, and the space it takes up. Even still, I only put 20-30 hours/year on it, so I don't really *need* more speed.

    With ash like this, a 6-way would be no problem for this splitter.
    [​IMG]

    A couple hours on a Friday evening...lots of 20-24" long, skinny splits:
    [​IMG]
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