Adding log lift kit to splitter

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vbu

Member
Mar 3, 2019
68
MS
Hey guys, after hurting my back this weekend lifting logs on my log splitter I'm strongly considering adding a log lift to it.
My splitter is a 30 ton Northstar splitter, which can go vertical, but I do not like running it that way, and I find it to be really hard on the back as well, maneuvering the logs around each time.
There's a rugged made log lift kit available, which I'm pretty sure I can make work on my splitter fitment wise.
The kit does not come with the valve/ hydraulic lines.
I was considering taking the T port from the current valve and plumbing it in the P port of the valve which would control the log lift. Then hook up the return on the T port on the second valve.
Doing that would pressurize the T port on the existing valve while the log lift is in use, and I'm not sure the valve can take this. It's a brand valve, have to check which one when I get home from work, but I'm pretty sure it's an LS series valve, and their brochure does not mention anything about this.
While doing some research I came across power beyond.
From my understanding power beyond is a sleeve you can insert in an existing valve, which allows you to run another valve in series.

Has anyone here ever done anything like this? Thoughts opinions criticisms concerns tips more than welcome.
Pictured below is my splitter, had some help from a buddy who owns a tractor, so unfortunately lifting them up like this was a one time ordeal.

Thanks in advance
splitter.jpg
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
2,001
Northern Maine
Or leave those back breakers in the woods.
 

vbu

Member
Mar 3, 2019
68
MS
ha I can’t get myself to waste that much wood lol. And a lot of the wood I can get my hands on is that big
 

Solarguy3500

Member
Dec 3, 2020
244
Western MA
For me it is easier to put the splitter in vertical and roll something that size around with my legs or a standard size Peavey.

I never had a splitter that could go vertical until recently when I bought my Swisher. I've found I really like splitting vertical because I can just pull up a round and sit on that while I split, and I can really control where I split the log to maximize square and rectangular splits, because I'm not having to hold a big heavy log up on the splitter and worry about the falling pieces hitting my shins, feet, etc.

I just bring a big pile of rounds over so they're in reach from where I'm sitting and keep grabbing them as I go.
 
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Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,347
Northern IL
I find that the term "big rounds" to mean different things to different folks and so do the solutions on how to handle them. The rounds I am currently dealing with are not going to be moved with your legs or reached over and grabbed. I believe the rounds in the OP pics fall into this category as well. Wet oak in this size can range from 400 to 600 pounds per round. I dont want to meet the fella that can sit on a round and reach over and grab one of those.;lol ;lol
for the record...I quarter them with a saw so I can get them to the log lift and work them up like a good bipedal human. Haha.
sitting down while playing with that kind of weight would kill my back.
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,845
Wisconsin Dells, WI
I use my Isocore to half/quarter all the bigger stuff in the woods so I can safely lift them into my ATV trailer and hauled and be thrown on my "to be split pile".
 
I cut/split my large rounds that I can't pickup ..
 

hedge wood

Feeling the Heat
Mar 1, 2009
295
Eastern NE
Several ways to plumb the lift. The valve you currently have probably won't be able to use power beyond. You can add another valve in series with the one you currently have. I have a home made splitter with a lift that will handle pieces that size but it has a lot of iron on it to stable it. I would caution you about putting a lift on that splitter to handle pieces that size you better add a lot of down riggers to keep from flipping the splitter over. You better just noodle those big pieces or go vertical with the splitter.
 
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ericm979

Member
Nov 2, 2018
97
California
I agree with how difficult it is to use the splitter in vertical mode. I think it has to do with the amount of upper body strength one has. I'm built like a marathon runner. Even though I have lifted weights in the gym for decades that's not changed. OTOH my back and legs are strong, so I can pick up logs just fine. However there is still a limit. I "noodle" large rounds with the saw most of the way through then split them with a maul.

I'd like a log lift but the large wheels on my Oregon vertical/horizontal splitter are in the way. I've been designing one that will get around that. It will need an additional trailer jack to stabilize the splitter.

The hydraulic plumbing is easy. You can either get a new valve that has the splitter spool combined with an aux spool for the lift. Or buy a second valve with power beyond for the lift and plumb it between the pump and splitter valve. The splitter valve's tank port is not rated for full system pressure, usually its about 500 psi. Which may be enough depending on the cylinder size and geometry of the lift. But thats not how you're supposed to do it. Putting the lift cylinder first adds only one extra hose as there's tank and PB off of it.
 

laynes69

Minister of Fire
Oct 2, 2006
2,669
Ashland OH
I suffered with this issue for a number of years. I don't know your financial situation or amount of land you have, but a loader tractor (even a sub compact) will save your back. When I didn't have a loader, I would stand up my splitter, sit on a round and roll rounds to be splitted. Even breaking them down vertically just to be able to split horizontally will help.

I bought a military trailer that I can load rounds with my bucket and roll those directly off on my splitter. Saves my back. The round in the picture I would leave to rot. The wood doesn't look like it's worth anything.
 

duramaxman05

Minister of Fire
Aug 17, 2014
646
Perryville, Mo
What works good for us is stack wood on our forks of our tractor and park it by the splitter. I usually put it to where I can just roll the block right on the splitter
 

vbu

Member
Mar 3, 2019
68
MS
Thanks for all the replies guys. I know I can cut them up first with my saw and all but I was looking for a better solution. I don't mind doing all the work involved with firework, but I'd like to make it as easy on my body as I can. If I spend 5-600$ and my back doesn't hurt anymore, that's a win for me.
@laynes69 , That's how I'm currently doing it, I halve/quarter the big ones with the splitter standing up and then split the rest with it in the horizontal position. I'm currently not in the position to buy a tractor (new house, baby, wife needs a new vehicle, you know the drill), but it's certainly on the list. I'll have to disagree with you on the value of the wood though. It just had some mud on it from the rain, that's all, wood was in perfect shape
splitter3.jpg
 
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vbu

Member
Mar 3, 2019
68
MS
I agree with how difficult it is to use the splitter in vertical mode. I think it has to do with the amount of upper body strength one has. I'm built like a marathon runner. Even though I have lifted weights in the gym for decades that's not changed. OTOH my back and legs are strong, so I can pick up logs just fine. However there is still a limit. I "noodle" large rounds with the saw most of the way through then split them with a maul.

I'd like a log lift but the large wheels on my Oregon vertical/horizontal splitter are in the way. I've been designing one that will get around that. It will need an additional trailer jack to stabilize the splitter.

The hydraulic plumbing is easy. You can either get a new valve that has the splitter spool combined with an aux spool for the lift. Or buy a second valve with power beyond for the lift and plumb it between the pump and splitter valve. The splitter valve's tank port is not rated for full system pressure, usually its about 500 psi. Which may be enough depending on the cylinder size and geometry of the lift. But thats not how you're supposed to do it. Putting the lift cylinder first adds only one extra hose as there's tank and PB off of it.
Thank you for the reply Eric.
I did think of buying a second valve with power beyond option after posting this thread, and that's probably the way I'll do it. I've done some research but I'm not quite sure on how the power beyond exactly works. Is it an extra port on the valve, or is it a sleeve which enables the T port on the valve to take full system pressure? I wouldn't think the valve needed it's own drain to tank, since it could just drain through the splitter valve (I won't be using both at the same time anyway).
Any valves you'd recommend for this? pressure lines are 1/2"
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,432
Lackawaxen PA
I find splitting real big stuff. It splits on one side and then needs rotating and another shot to get it in half. Try doing that on the splitter bed. And then the back breaking getting it out of the woods. So for me I tow the splitter to the woods. Go vertical and bring back splits ready for the wood pile.
 

duramaxman05

Minister of Fire
Aug 17, 2014
646
Perryville, Mo
Before we got the forks for the tractor, I rip the blocks down with a chainsaw to manageable pieces. It makes handling them on the splitter whole lot easier. Especially if the splitter doesn't have a table
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,767
Northern Canada
I have a table next to my splitter that all my wood goes over.
Back my truck or trailer up to the table unload from truck to table till table is full
Fire up the splitter roll rounds from table to splitter,wood from splitter right into the stack.
I try to handle the wood as little as possible,every time you touch a piece of wood your cost( your time is valuable) of the wood goes up
load 7a.jpg
wood4.jpg
 
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ericm979

Member
Nov 2, 2018
97
California
Thank you for the reply Eric.
I did think of buying a second valve with power beyond option after posting this thread, and that's probably the way I'll do it. I've done some research but I'm not quite sure on how the power beyond exactly works. Is it an extra port on the valve, or is it a sleeve which enables the T port on the valve to take full system pressure? I wouldn't think the valve needed it's own drain to tank, since it could just drain through the splitter valve (I won't be using both at the same time anyway).
Any valves you'd recommend for this? pressure lines are 1/2"
The PB is usually a second port, so there's three ports in addition to the work ports. You can tee the tank output into the return from the splitter valve. I'd use a valve rated for 125% or more of system flow so it won't slow the splitting. As for a valve, whatever is cheap and handy to mount. I don't think it'll need a relief though that would be safest in case the lift is blocked by something immovable. The pressure will probably be pretty low. Ideally you'll want the max pressure to the lift cylinder to be below the switchover for the 2 speed pump. Otherwise the lift will slow down. If the lift is too fast you can use restrictors to slow it.


Another option is a GorrillaBac (or make your own). It's basically a boom crane with an electric winch. There's a nice web site with videos.
 

vbu

Member
Mar 3, 2019
68
MS
The PB is usually a second port, so there's three ports in addition to the work ports. You can tee the tank output into the return from the splitter valve. I'd use a valve rated for 125% or more of system flow so it won't slow the splitting. As for a valve, whatever is cheap and handy to mount. I don't think it'll need a relief though that would be safest in case the lift is blocked by something immovable. The pressure will probably be pretty low. Ideally you'll want the max pressure to the lift cylinder to be below the switchover for the 2 speed pump. Otherwise the lift will slow down. If the lift is too fast you can use restrictors to slow it.


Another option is a GorrillaBac (or make your own). It's basically a boom crane with an electric winch. There's a nice web site with videos.
Thanks! Looks like my splitter has a brand LS series valve, which does not offer a PB kit, so I'll have to find a valve that does have that option. I'm not sure where to look for that, I guess a supply house would be a good start? Anyway, thanks for the help!

@salecker , nice setup! how do you load the logs on that little truck?
 

ericm979

Member
Nov 2, 2018
97
California
You could put a regular valve with PB in line before the splitter valve.

I.e. Surplus Center pn 9-7974

That would let you avoid buying both a new splitter valve and the new control valve.
 
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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,767
Northern Canada
@salecker , nice setup! how do you load the logs on that little truck?
By hand,dry spruce isn't that heavy.
The odd one or two i will use other rounds to set them on to lift into the truck
I get 1/2 a cord on the back of the truck,used 1/2 a tank of fuel in it for my firewood this year,around 7 cords cut.
One year the blue trap will be gone and a green house will be on top of my woodshed.
 
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