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Woodsplitter Info

Post in 'The Gear' started by ampamp, Oct 31, 2010.

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  1. ampamp

    ampamp Member

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    I posted this in another section of the forum. Thought this might be better. American logsplitters were suggested since they are reliable and in rochester...built real well. I've heard of them...will check them out. Any thoughts on the the model i mention here:

    New to the forum…looks like you guys have great topics, etc. I browsed a bit before my 1st post! Anyway, my questions revolve around woodsplitters. I split about 20 cords a year….maybe a little more and I’m in the market for a woodsplitter. I’ve always had used ones and one particular splitter I use now is basically falling apart every year….it’s time to move on. I have had several spliters and they’ve varied in quality/price. I’m eyeing up a new one (for once) and was curious on what folks thought of a 27-ton YardMachine with a GCV Honda motor. Seems like a decent unit….but I wonder about getting parts or service or reliability. I know they’re MTD…so it shouldn’t be too hard for parts…I’m hoping. I’ve also looked at Ariens and Huskee…..similar models. Any experience out there with this model or similar. Thanks in advance!

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  2. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Check out the recent thread on Troy splitters. They and MTD are apparently owned by the same company now.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Hi amp and welcome to the forum.

    I saw your other post. Glad you posted it here too. Many, many moons ago we were forced into getting a wood splitter due to an injury I got. So what to do? We looked at different splitters but I only knew of a few farmers around who had mostly home made splitters that they ran with their tractors. It was sloooooow. So I was a bit gun shy.

    One evening we were in Quality Farm & Fleet (Tractor Supply bought them out) looking at a bunch of splitters they had on sale. Business was slow and we were the only customers in the store. The manager was there and saw us looking and talking so came over to talk. After much discussion, I stated to him that one of my fears would be that I buy one of these things, get it home and it would not do the job or be so slow it would take too long. He guaranteed me if that was so, he would take it back. He also recommended the smaller 20 ton model. I bought.

    Now, a few hundred cords of wood later I can say without a doubt we got our money's worth. It has a little 5 hp B&S engine and reasonable cycle time but with today's splitters I don't put much emphasis on cycle time as it is a non-issue. We also do not let the ram go all the way back up after a split as that would just be time and gas wasting. It is plenty fast though.

    So how has it performed? As of late we're only splitting 6-7 cord per year but have split up to 50 in a year. The only money I've put into this splitter since buying it is for gas, oil and filter. The engine is getting to use some oil now but as long as I keep oil in it, all is well. I hesitate though when a neighbor wants to borrow it because of the oil usage. So now if I loan it out, I also send oil with it to be sure.

    In the time we've had this splitter we have had exactly one piece that it did not split. That was a knotty old elm. Perhaps I could have split it by turning or whatever but it was not worth it to me and I just threw it onto the brush pile.

    The present frame of mind seems to be buy a bigger splitter. 27 ton, 30 ton, etc. They are nice, but not necessary.

    Good luck.
  4. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I know a couple fellas that seem to like them but I don't know for sure.
    I also, got me a 20 ton from Tractor Supply years ago and have guy always willing to pay within a couple hundred bucks of a new one, for mine.
    Someday soon I'll let it go and it would have been a good investment. I'll probably get what I paid for it.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    amp, I just looked on the website for American Log Splitters. Personally I would not look at them at all because it appears all their models have to be used in the horizontal mode. That is crazy, especially for the amount of wood you will be splitting. Why should anyone have to lift each piece up to split it? Of course they have the log lifters too but why go to the expense? If you split wood like I do, there is no lifting involved. I simple sit there and roll the logs onto the butt plate; no lifting for me.

    There is a lot of jabbing and joking that goes along with this horizontal/vertical splitting on this forum but I am serious on the vertical mode for splitting. I would never even dream of buying a splitter that would not operate in vertical mode.

    [​IMG]

    EDIT: I had to change the picture as I had the wrong on at first.
  6. ampamp

    ampamp Member

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    Thanks.....i def agree with the horizontal and vertical option. It's a huge plus. Thanks for the info. I've honestly hardly used the one we have now in horizontal mode really. And as far as American splitters go...thanks for the info. I've heard of them, but really just started researching them.
  7. ampamp

    ampamp Member

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    Thanks.....i def agree with the horizontal and vertical option. It's a huge plus. Thanks for the info. I've honestly hardly used the one we have now in horizontal mode really. And as far as American splitters go...thanks for the info. I've heard of them, but really just started researching them. I'll let you know what i end up doing!
  8. ProfessorGT

    ProfessorGT New Member

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    Well, here we go!

    I take exception to the traditional vertical machines. I have a bad back (L5/S1 partially removed), and to sit there and have to lean forward to position rounds, and remove splits, would do me in faster than the cycle time!

    Now, with that said however if you look at some of the purpose-built Vertical Only machines like the "Super Axe" from Australia, and some of the other custom built (USA) machines that have a table height about waist high, with a log lift, that's a different story: These machines make a good arguement for going vertical. It seems that high expense is the issue here, unless you custom make your own version.

    Ultimately, I still favor the horizontal models, and in another thread: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/61527/
    I have begun a nice exchange on building your own horizontal machine.

    I beleive that if you study all the options available with a horizontal machine, you can have your cake and eat it to! Working height can be "Lumbar Friendly", and if the design is planned out carefully, you can have the machine pushing the splits right where you want them: into the back of your truck? Sure! In a pile next to where you will stack them - Yup! AND, all with no heavy lifting either!

    Log lifts can be accomplished with hydraulics, or in a more cost effective manner with an electric linear actuator, a winch or a winch/truck lift combination. I may opt for the winch/truck lift in addition to a hydraulic log lift, because the winch/truck lift can be used to drag heavy rounds to the splitter with its' 30 foot cable, and could even be used to lift/position those logs you have not bucked yet.

    The lift I'm talking about is one like this, that would be mounted at the cylinder anchor end of the beam:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/1-2-half-ton-capacity-pickup-truck-crane-with-cable-winch-37555.html

    The other thing to think about with the machines that are H/V (Horizontal/Vertical) combos, is that the splitting wedge is on the ram, and not at the end of the beam. This causes some concern, as the splits fall to the sides, and without side tables can land on your foot if you are not careful. Having the wedge at the end of the beam (and therefore just a push-block on the ram) allows the splits to be driven off the end of the beam, and if you have a tray/table at the end of the beam it will not only catch the splits, so they can be re-split to a smaller size if necessary, without having to pick them up off the ground (no bending over), but it allows the splitting action of the currently split round to push the splits on the table right off the end of the machine into your truck/bin or whatever, nicely out of your way. Some folks let the pile build up, and then allow the splits to use reverse action to push the machine away from the pile as you continue. I can't say I've ever done this yet myself, but it sounds like it might actually work.

    Yes, the nice vertical machines are great, but to accomplish the same type of action I just mentioned with one, it would require the addition of a conveyer/elevator, which while they are kind of cool and VERY convenient, they get VERY pricey, even if you could make one yourself, and it becomes just one more piece to lug around and store. The one shown as an optional add-on to the Austrailian "Super Axe" is very well thought out and quite a nice piece, but I'd guess way out of the affordability range for most.

    If you are handy, can lay a decent bead (weld), and can do some light fabrication work, it's quite surprising as to how nice of a machine you can build if you carefully think things through and take your time. I've been borrowing splitters (which gives you a good idea as to the benefits/limitations of various designs) and in the mean time I've been researching and planning out my splitter. If I were going to purchase a commercially available splitter it would be from either Timberwolf or American CLS. In my opinion these are the two best US built machines available. The problem for me is cost. I'd have to easily spend a minimum of $3000 - 3500.00, to get a machine similar to what I'm planning to build, for considerable less money. Of course I'm not including my labor costs, but that's a given, and how I can have a better machine for a lower price.

    I have my cylinder, valve, engine, and some other misc parts. I have to buy my I-beam and some steel, etc., and will soon have the sparks flying as I begin assembling my "Frankenstein Splitter".

    Take your time, talk to lot of folks, and enjoy the journey. To me a large part of the fun is in building it myself and then having the satisfaction of using the machine I built to get my splits ready to stack, season and ultimately enjoy as they warm my weary bones! ;-)
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum ProfessorGT.

    It is very strange to me that you have bad L5-S1 and don't want to sit! I have bad L5-S1 and L4-L5. Standing in one spot just about tears my back up the worst. However, I can sit there and split wood all day without it bothering much. Part of it is at what height you sit for sure but I'll do all my splitting vertically and sitting; the easy way.
  10. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    It isn't that we don't want to sit.
    We need to understand that back problems are aggravated by different positions and movements for different people.
    I was looking forward to sitting at my new vertical/horizontal machine when I got it years ago but it killed me.
    I did load it on a waist high trailer (vertically) I had and then loaded the trailer around it with rounds. That worked pretty good.
    It's much easier for me to load horizontally when on the ground.
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I have a 27-ton MTD Gold splitter . . . which is a clone to the 27-ton Yard Machine.

    Honestly, I think the MTD or Huskee line up is decent . . . but in fairness there was a thread not too long ago with some folks having some weld failure issues with the 27-ton Troy-bilt splitters . . . which are also clones to the MTDs. I (and I suspect many other MTD/clone owners) wait with baited breath to see if this is an isolated problem with a few users . . . or if this is something that will materialize after a few years of use . . . at this point I have split 15-20 cord of wood without issue or complaint . . .

    I should also add the reason I bought my splitter was due to the price and fact it was local . . . that said . . . I was also looking at and considering the Huskee.

    Backwoods and I often kid each other in our preferred method of splitting wood. Dennis likes to split vertically and I like to split horizontally . . . we kid each other about splitting wood the right way, but the truth of the matter is you should split wood in whatever way is most comfortable.

    That said . . . I would not consider a splitter without the ability to split both horizontally and vertically . . . 1) You may find it easier to split wood vertically vs. horizontally and 2) While you can always purchase log lifters for horizontal-only splitters there is a cost factor there . . . and truth be told . . . you will want some way (either by going vertical or by having a log lifter) to split up those monster pieces of wood that you may run across from time to time . . . and for me . . . having the ability to go vertical and roll the bucked monster to the splitter without straining and getting a hernia lifting it up to the beam is a very desirable feature.
  12. ampamp

    ampamp Member

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    lot of comments on the MTD stuff I was asking about....as well as the huskee too. any thoughts on service or ease of getting parts on a huskee (speco right?)
  13. ampamp

    ampamp Member

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    lot of comments on the MTD stuff I was asking about....as well as the huskee too. any thoughts on service or ease of getting parts on a huskee (speeco right?)...wondering if they might be a bit better than the mtd stuff (yardmachine, cub, troy, etc.)
  14. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    They all have a basic engine and hydraulics. Service and parts avialable anywhere.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Amp, I'd like to answer you in the best way so will tell you that I have never had to replace anything on our splitter. They only thing I've bought are filters, gas and oil.

    I will say though that anything I've ever ordered through TSC has came quickly. They are good at that. One just has to be careful what you buy there because they have some good things and also a lot of junk.
  16. Dieseltech94

    Dieseltech94 New Member

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    American CLS does make a H/V splitter. The AM24-H/V. They are very well build hand made splitters. I have only used the splitter in the vertical position to split very big rounds. Most of the time it is used horizontally. Like ProfGT said...it needs a table to prevent the splits from falling on the ground and bending to get the resplit action moving. I am working on plans for that mod. The box store units are nice because they are priced right but i often question quality and durability. Sometimes spending more is spending less in the long run. Try renting or borrowing both types of splitters before buying. Most commercial rental centers have American or Timberwolf units. I think in the long run i will convert to horizontal only as it really is the faster and easier way to spit to me.

    As for sitting in front of the machine. It says in the manuals NOT to sit because of flying logs or debris. This does happen and all it takes is one time. One MUST always be 100% alert and aware when operating these VERY dangerous machines. ANYTHING CAN AND WILL HAPPEN. I know too many chainsaw, splitter, wood processing injury people that get hurt because they rush or do not RESPECT the machine. Sitting and relaxing does NOT provide a quick escape route in the event of an issue. To each his own way. I am only being hard because I work in a dangerous field and see too many injuries for too poor a reason. Nuff said.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Dieseltech, it is good to know they do have one that splits vertically and I do not doubt they are very well built. As for the box store quality, I do sometimes question this on a lot items but in our case, the MTD machine has lasted very well and has split a lot of wood. So far we have replaced nothing but oil, gas and filters. We have no complaints and figure we've probably gotten our money's worth some time ago with this. So spending more is not always necessary.

    As for sitting in front of the machine, it is the attorneys that cause that to be written in the manuals. Not much more can be said as people do like to sue.... You are very correct in that one must be 100% alert when operating these machines (not necessarily VERY dangerous). Yes, many of us know many who have done dumb things and have gotten hurt doing them but this is no reason to mock anyone who does things their way with success. By the way, I do not know of anyone who sits and relaxes while splitting! I do sit, but relaxing is done when the machine is not running. I do sit and not waste energy though. If one knows what he is doing he does not need a quick escape route.

    You are attempting to be hard and throw some scares to some folks and I guess that is okay but you can not make blanket statements. Understand that I too have worked in some "dangerous" jobs and have seen too many injuries; most from folks doing things they should not have done. I'll add that splitting wood can be physically demanding and that is just one more reason a person needs to find the easiest way to do the job and in my book splitting vertically is the easiest way to get the job done. Well, it is also the safest way. One good example: that table you speak of. A log can fall off that table onto a leg or foot. If you split vertically, that log will not fall off a table. Nuff said.

    Good luck to you.
  18. Dieseltech94

    Dieseltech94 New Member

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    My reason for being stern is because a co-workers hand got seriously injured in a log splitter tuesday because he was rushing. Sent a chill down my spline and i do not want that to happen to anyone, on this sight or someone i know personally.

    I did not mean to come off so harsh. I am not against what works for who and i am not closed to new ideas. I just want people to work carefully and safely. Explore the options that best suit your needs. I am not saying that one way of splitting is safer or better it is all what suits your needs and what you are most confidant in doing. I like to vertically split very large rounds and horizontally split manageable rounds and resplits. Getting and balancing a 500 pound hunk of wood on a 6 inch wide beam and sliding it through a wedge is not my idea of fun. I wish i could have one of each machine. splitting horizontally with an H/V machine is not the best horizontal method. You are right, dropping a split on your foot(yes it has happened to me...thanks steel toe) is a danger of that system. I feel sitting in front of the work is more dangerous, My opinion. By standing I can quickly and easily back away from the splitter if need be.

    As for what machine is good. They are all good. Some better that others. You choose by the budget. My $1000 budget would be the speeco. Inferno, it looks like you have and older MTD with a pin mounted cylinder and a heavier beam. The new MTD just seems cheap and light duty to me.

    I hope I did not offend anyone and I just want readers to be safe. Gathering, splitting and burning wood for heat is very enjoyable, relaxing, and organic and something we can all share here.
  19. ProfessorGT

    ProfessorGT New Member

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    Dennis,

    Thanks for the warm welcome, and being so active and outspoken. Many folks just sit idly by and let life pass them bye - no pun intended!

    The Vertical/Horizontal debate will rage on forever, and I guess the best advice we could give anyone is the they should try both and then decide which they prefer, before either building or buying one, as either will be a significant investment not to be made hastily.

    As Dieseltech has stated, safey Must come first, no matter what you do.

    I'm doing well with my "Monster Mash" machine as I now call it. I'm still in the planning/gathering parts stage, but all is well!
  20. ampamp

    ampamp Member

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    Hey guys. Thanks for the warm welcome and all the advice. After looking at a few used splitters and doing some homework on them, I think I'm down to deciding between 2 models. With all the use we put them through.....I think I'm going "new" as well. It's between a MTD Yard Machine 27-ton 160cc Honda motor 18sec cycle time...........and a Huskee 22-ton 190cc Briggs motor 14sec cycle time. Any thoughts on these two. I'll probaby do a fair bit of splitting in the winter so I do wonder if the Honda would perform a bit better in cold conditions. After looking at both units....I favor the Huskee, but I would have to go to the 28-ton model to get a Honda 190cc motor (extra $500!!!). I guess I'm not too hung up on the cycle time, but was wondering what folks think of how different a 22-ton vs the 27-ton I mentioned would perform. Just as some background.....I split about 15 to maybe 23 cords a year.
  21. glenng

    glenng New Member

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    Why on Earth do you throw your firewood on the ground? Why not throw it on a trailer or into a truck and skip picking up 5 tons of wood that you have already handled once? Wood splitting inefficiency ......AAAAhhhhhg!!!!!. You look wiser than the picture shows. I dont understand.
  22. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I think you would be happy with either splitter.

    In terms of splitting in the winter I'm not so sure the engine type matters so much as the vicosity of the oil and what you have in the splitter for the hydraulic oil . . . some folks that split in the winter recommend going with other lighter weight fluids. I too favored the Honda engine . . . and still like Hondas (shoot I drive an Accord and own a Honda ATV and a Honda walk behind mower), but to be frank I've had no issues with the Briggs and it still fires right up with no issues.

    In terms of performance . . . cycle times don't really matter too much to me . . . generally the splitter can work as fast or faster than I can thanks to the automatic return . . . plus when you own a splitter you realize that you don't have to race the clock in order to get it back to the rental place before 5 p.m. so you can take your time and enjoy the process . . . plus a lot of times you don't end up extending the ram all the way out. Also, in terms of tonnage . . . I would suspect that most folks would find the 22-ton splitter to be more than enough power for 99% of what they will run across.

    15-23 cords a year? Outdoor wood boiler, selling firewood or are we talking about those fake cords (aka face cords)?
  23. ampamp

    ampamp Member

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    Looks like I got a different response by accident. Anyway....what do you think about this...?

    Hey guys. Thanks for the warm welcome and all the advice. After looking at a few used splitters and doing some homework on them, I think I’m down to deciding between 2 models. With all the use we put them through…..I think I’m going “new” as well. It’s between a MTD Yard Machine 25-ton 160cc Honda motor 18sec cycle time…........and a Huskee 22-ton 190cc Briggs motor 14sec cycle time. Any thoughts on these two. I’ll probaby do a fair bit of splitting in the winter so I do wonder if the Honda would perform a bit better in cold conditions. After looking at both units….I favor the Huskee, but I would have to go to the 28-ton model to get a Honda 190cc motor (extra $500!!!). I guess I’m not too hung up on the cycle time, but was wondering what folks think of how different a 22-ton vs the 25-ton I mentioned would perform. Just as some background…..I split about 15 to maybe 23 cords a year.
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    See my response above . . . to your other identical post.
  25. ampamp

    ampamp Member

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    Thanks firefighter jake. I guess I missed that post (or forgot about it). That's good info. By they way...yeah the 15-23 cords I'm talking about are the fake kind. They're face cords. I use a Joutl woodstove.....I think its a 3 series. Nice stove. It came with the house damn near new...so I'll use it until we move. I'll be posting quite a bit then too. I see a lot of good info regards to the type of woodstove. You gotta love the soapstone stuff, but we'll see what my next place accomodates. Thanks. So the auto return would def be affected by cold weater, huh? I ask because i saw a demo of a husky 22ton and it was 20 F degrees.....seeemed like the auto return needed to be helped along. Of course, this was early right after it was started. Oil wasnt warm.
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