Green pine sucks to split

LOTF

New Member
Feb 4, 2020
9
NY
That is all.

P.S. Please correct me if I'm wrong and this is spruce. Either way, pine or spruce - it sucks. In the first pic you can see I found a HUGE load on the side of the road, got permission to take whatever I want, and my buddy promptly buried two wedges and two mauls into the worst piece there that had 47 knots in it and was 22" tall and 30" wide. Had to buy a few more wedges (which I needed anyways) and a bit of noodling and out it came.

Every single piece had a knot in it in some form. Had to resort to using the small 5-ton electric splitter from HarborFreight. The Fiskars X27 would just stick and juices would flow. Lovely times I had this week dealing with this. Still not done either.

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NickW

Member
Oct 16, 2019
83
SE WI
I just split some similar looking stuff last week. It was a breeze with the 22 ton gas powered splitter...;)

Seriously, anyone who cuts and splits for themselves in any real quantity should seriously consider how long it takes to split a cord manually vs with a splitter, plus those knotty buggers are way easier to deal with. I literally aim for knots now to help the seasoning process. You can get them brand new for under a grand, sometimes under $800. At that price if it lasts only 5 years the purchase is less than $200/yr and your back (and shoulders and arms) will thank you. Cutting, hauling and stacking are enough for me. Don't put me out there with a wedge and sledge...:eek: I'm getting too old, but I still like processing wood...
 
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LOTF

New Member
Feb 4, 2020
9
NY
I just split some similar looking stuff last week. It was a breeze with the 22 ton gas powered splitter...;)

Seriously, anyone who cuts and splits for themselves in any real quantity should seriously consider how long it takes to split a cord manually vs with a splitter, plus those knotty buggers are way easier to deal with. I literally aim for knots now to help the seasoning process. You can get them brand new for under a grand, sometimes under $800. At that price if it lasts only 5 years the purchase is less than $200/yr and your back (and shoulders and arms) will thank you. Cutting, hauling and stacking are enough for me. Don't put me out there with a wedge and sledge...:eek: I'm getting too old, but I still like processing wood...
I like the workout. Like I said, I do have the 5-ton splitter for the stuff I can't do with the maul. It won't bust through some of those crazy knots though. Also, I did all the limbs with the splitter. More efficient that way for sure. But I just love the sound of a maul splitting a nice round in two. So satisfying, simple, and pure.
 

CincyBurner

Feeling the Heat
Mar 10, 2015
446
SW Ohio
+1 for spruce
Yep, lots of knots, very tough to hand split. Pretty thin on Btu's.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,133
Northern NH
Looking at some of the photos they show a lot of pruning, that means a lot of knots. If the trees are mature and out in the woods the space between knots is far longer and its can split pretty easy. Every pruned branch usually leaks sap so that is another reason to deal with trees in the woods. Spruce/fir can be great kindling and camp firewood but unless that is the local prevalent wood most would use denser wood.
 
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NickW

Member
Oct 16, 2019
83
SE WI
I get it LOTF - I didn't mean to sound like a big donkey.:(

I split small quantities by hand up north camping and agree with your reasons, just saying that at multiple cords in the stove per season I've got too many other things that need my energy. If you enjoy it, have the time, and watch your toes; it's a great workout and can be an awesome attitude adjuster...
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,822
Downeast Maine
I think conifers are worse to split than broad leaf trees. Especially if they grew near the edge of the forest and have limbs the whole way up. Red and Sugar maple seem to almost split themselves but my maul would bounce right off red spruce from a yard. Even dead standing spruce trees can really put up a fight. Hitting perpendicular grain right in the middle of a piece of wood is tough to get through.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,625
Eastern Ontario
Pine Or Spruce with lots of branches sucks to split wet or dry
unless you have a hydro splitter and it still sucks
 
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Feb 2, 2020
43
Madison, WI
I finished hand splitting nearly a cord of pine last month by hand. I know your pain...
 

JohnDolz

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2015
521
Burlington, CT
I have split at least 10 cord of big white pine of the years - splitter and ax, depending on what I was in the mood for. Split it because it was from my trees and would have cost to have them removed - yes it sucks. I could get any amount of pine I like delivered for free but when I factor in the effort: maybe a bit uglier to split with a splitter, but mostly the effort involved in moving stacking, space it takes,etc. Too few BTU's for the effort - prefer to go pick up hardwood and put in the same effort once it is here for more BTU's. Hope that makes sense.
 

HisTreeNut

Minister of Fire
Nov 3, 2014
1,071
Burnsville, NC
I got some pine from a guy at Church. Knotty pine sucks in general but if it sits for a while, it s nominally easier. Between my mighty, mighty Fiskars & my mighty, mighty, Fiskars maul, this was about 6 hours of work by myself. Not gonna lie, I was a little sore when I was done. Actually, I was a lot sore.
 

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LOTF

New Member
Feb 4, 2020
9
NY
+1 for spruce
Yep, lots of knots, very tough to hand split. Pretty thin on Btu's.
Yeah I know it's not as good as the hardwoods....but it was free and I enjoyed the challenge (a little). I have 11 holtz hausen stacks (~2 cords each) and I have red oak, sugar maple, cherry, black locust, cedar, and this load of pine/spruce so I'll be sure to mix the pine with hardwoods.

Looking at some of the photos they show a lot of pruning, that means a lot of knots. If the trees are mature and out in the woods the space between knots is far longer and its can split pretty easy. Every pruned branch usually leaks sap so that is another reason to deal with trees in the woods. Spruce/fir can be great kindling and camp firewood but unless that is the local prevalent wood most would use denser wood.
Yeah this is just north of NYC in Westchester so definitely not in the "woods". I'll use the short pieces for kindling. Already made a whole 45 gallon bucket full today and it was so loaded with resin it was almost fat wood. I also burned up a bunch of scraps and brush, cleaned up the yard a bit using the fire pit and man this stuff burns even when 30%+ MC. I can see why people get in trouble burning unseasoned pine because it burns so well even when green.

I think conifers are worse to split than broad leaf trees. Especially if they grew near the edge of the forest and have limbs the whole way up. Red and Sugar maple seem to almost split themselves but my maul would bounce right off red spruce from a yard. Even dead standing spruce trees can really put up a fight. Hitting perpendicular grain right in the middle of a piece of wood is tough to get through.

Yeah this pine/spruce by far has been the hardest thing to split. The pin oak load I just got was also quite difficult because it was so heavy to maneuver....but splitting wise it was much easier than the pine.

Pine Or Spruce with lots of branches sucks to split wet or dry
unless you have a hydro splitter and it still sucks
Lmfao.

I finished hand splitting nearly a cord of pine last month by hand. I know your pain...
Yeah, it's not always ez street, eh? :D I always go for the easiest piece I can see.......so at this point I've done 90% of the load and all I've got left are the ginormous knotty pieces. Looking forward to that!

I have split at least 10 cord of big white pine of the years - splitter and ax, depending on what I was in the mood for. Split it because it was from my trees and would have cost to have them removed - yes it sucks. I could get any amount of pine I like delivered for free but when I factor in the effort: maybe a bit uglier to split with a splitter, but mostly the effort involved in moving stacking, space it takes,etc. Too few BTU's for the effort - prefer to go pick up hardwood and put in the same effort once it is here for more BTU's. Hope that makes sense.
Makes sense. I don't like seeing things go to waste so like I said before, I wanted to make sure I "recycled" that wood before it just went to the dump and rotted away.

I got some pine from a guy at Church. Knotty pine sucks in general but if it sits for a while, it s nominally easier. Between my mighty, mighty Fiskars & my mighty, mighty, Fiskars maul, this was about 6 hours of work by myself. Not gonna lie, I was a little sore when I was done. Actually, I was a lot sore.
Yeah I wanted to get it split and stacked as soon as possible and make room for the new wood that will be coming in soon. :D Suprisingly I'm not that sore but today I felt a bit tired.

I get it LOTF - I didn't mean to sound like a big donkey.:(

I split small quantities by hand up north camping and agree with your reasons, just saying that at multiple cords in the stove per season I've got too many other things that need my energy. If you enjoy it, have the time, and watch your toes; it's a great workout and can be an awesome attitude adjuster...
I didn't think you were being rude at all :D Right now I don't need the speed of a splitter and it is a nice way to spend the day with my new neighbor who is also into it. If and when I start selling and have 5 trees guys waiting to dump 20 yards of rounds each then I will consider getting a trailer and a splitter. For now the Tacoma is working out nicely with the 6' bed.

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hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
401
Indiana
Looks like spruce.

The little white pine I've split was super easy, but it wasn't real green and didn't have any big knots or twists.
 

LOTF

New Member
Feb 4, 2020
9
NY
So I finally decided I'd take the plunge and pick up a hydraulic splitter. Did my research and compromised. I'd like a Super Split but I can't afford it at the moment. What I can afford is a CountryLine 30-ton from TSC. So I went to the closest TSC (21 miles) with my Tacoma all ready to tow it home (yes, less than 45 miles on local roads although I would have had to cross a bridge) and I saw the 25, 30, and 40 ton units sitting outside (1 of each).

THEY WERE ALL RUSTED.........and rusted all over the place. I couldn't believe it.

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So I spoke to the sales guy and he said he'd ask his manager.......best he could do is $50 off the 30-ton price of $1499. What in the hell are these people thinking? And why the hell would anyone even want to buy a brand new unit that has rusted....without even leaving the lot? I said thanks but no thanks. Maybe for $999 I'd take it but not $50 off. Pretty bad quality control if you ask me.

Off to Lowe's I went to take a look at their 27-ton for $999. Two units were sitting outside and a third one (different brand). They were all rusted to hell, even worse than TSC. I mean this is just pathetic. I spoke to the manager and complained about the quality after asking if they had any in the back (of course they didn't).

The guy said "Well, you don't have to buy it." and I promptly replied "Ok, well I wanted to buy it but given the fact that you don't seem to care at all makes it an easy decision for me. You can't sell these products in this condition."

These people are useless. "Performance built" my ass.

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Sailrmike

Member
Sep 20, 2017
97
06371
that's awful. I looked at a splitter tsc left out in the rain, the oil fill cap was loosely installed, allowing rain water into the crankcase. Not cool
 

LOTF

New Member
Feb 4, 2020
9
NY
Well I decided to pull the trigger on a Champion 34T hydraulic splitter from the Depot. $1499 + $45 for shipping to my house + 125 tax. I got $100 off for applying for a HD credit card + 6 months 0% interest financing. Also I redeemed $200 worth of gift cards from Amex but unfortunately could not use towards this purchase. However, I will be using that for other things I'm sure. So in my mind, $1199 + $45 + $125 = $1369 delivered to my door!

I decided to go with the 34 ton because these pieces are so nasty I don't even care about the cycle speed. I only use the splitter if I need a break from the axe. I work with my neighbor buddy and we just work at our leisure and there's no rush at the moment to go as fast as possible and possibly hurt ourselves. I also use the splitter for the smaller limbs. I could alternatively shove them into a tire and whack at 'em with the maul as well if I'm so inclined.

Here's where I am with those 3 truckloads of pin oak, red oak, pine + 6 pickup truck loads of spruce. Had some NASTY knots in the pink oak. It's nice to split when there's no knots but man those knots are nasty. The spruce/pine knots are nasty too. Very lightweight wood but impossible to split with the 5-ton electric HarborFreight splitter or the Fiskars x27 or a wedge.

I had a reject pile that I was going to give to my neighbor but he was too lazy to come and get it so now it's mine. The Champion should be here Apr-6. Woot!

Oh I also got a set of metatarsal guards for my RedWing 4404 boots. I love these boots but man I had a couple of splits fall on the top of my foot and that was not pleasant. I chose the ones that attach with two straps but ended up just using the top strap and using the holes for the laces (you can't see the laces they are underneath the hinged part). I didn't even feel the guards at all while walking or working so that's awesome. Got them on Amazon - click on the boot to see the product. Fits perfectly and reaches all the way past the steel toe. Size 9.5 boots for reference. I also ordered some damn soccer soft shin guards because I got a nice cut and bump on my shins from a falling round.





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mcdougy

Feeling the Heat
Apr 15, 2014
303
ontario
IME, let the spruce sit out as rounds for the summer. By fall it will split no problem by hand. Put your splitter to work with it if you like or if you need the space. In general if the wood is horrible to try and hand split green, it just needs some dry time. I find some of the hickories the same.
 

LOTF

New Member
Feb 4, 2020
9
NY
IME, let the spruce sit out as rounds for the summer. By fall it will split no problem by hand. Put your splitter to work with it if you like or if you need the space. In general if the wood is horrible to try and hand split green, it just needs some dry time. I find some of the hickories the same.
I don't know. I think those knots were so nasty it would still be hard. That said I need to clear my driveway and I want to dry the wood asap. It makes amazing kindling, almost as loaded up with resin as fatwood but not quite........I will shove those through the new Champion 34 ton that is arriving Mar-31 now!
 
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Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
368
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
I bought a splitter last fall since I have a ton of green pine. You are correct, its a hassle to split.

On the other hand I can walk right through dry pine with my Fiskars X27

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