New splitter delivered...shameless plug for Northern Tool

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04RevX

Member
Jul 5, 2008
102
Western MA
Just had this splitter delivered on Friday (sorry for the crappy cell phone pic) from Northern Tool. Its their Northstar 32-Ton Horizontal splitter. It appears to be a real heavy-duty workhorse with a 9hp Honda motor and 5x30" cylinder. All the parts on it are beefy and well put together. Most of the parts are bolted on which is a feature I was looking for in case something needs to be replaced. Can't wait to run it through its paces. Also got the 4 way edge for it.

Problem though was during shipping (its delivered completely assembled with hydro fluid) that the shipping company hit the gas tank with something. Put a small dent in the tank with a little scratch. It appeared to be harmless until we filled it with gasoline and noticed a small puddle on the ground after we topped it off. I can't even see a hole, but gas is seeping out of the dent ever so slowly.

We called Northern Tool and they weren't sure they had a part # to replace the gas tank with but they said they would look it up and call us back. They told us to put in a claim with the shipping company while we waited. After about 45 mins of getting nowhere with the shipping company, Northern called to tell us a new tank is on its way and sorry for the inconvenience. Now it wasn't even Northern's fault that the tank was damaged and they are taking care of it! I was skeptical about ordering a splitter through a catalog for reasons like this but Northern is earning two thumbs up for customer service! Thanks Northern Tool!
 

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JustWood

Minister of Fire
Aug 14, 2007
3,596
Arrow Bridge,NY
Northern Tool ROCKS!
All my BIG hand tools are from them. I save a boat load of money by joining their buyers club over the years.
Are they letting you keep the old tank? If so Napa makes a resin for fuel tank repair that is easy to work with and apply. Might want to fix it and have it for a spare.
 

04RevX

Member
Jul 5, 2008
102
Western MA
They didn't say that they wanted it back...won't know for sure until we get the new tank and whether or not it instructs us to send it back.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,143
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Isn't northern the company where the prices are pretty good but shipping is super expensive? What did that unit cost you? It sure looks good.
 

04RevX

Member
Jul 5, 2008
102
Western MA

ikessky

Minister of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
862
Northern WI
I'd like to know what the tonnage is on my splitter if yours is a 32 and is only powered by a 9hp Honda. The old LaFont splitter I use has a 23hp Kohler on it.
 

LLigetfa

Minister of Fire
Nov 9, 2008
7,360
NW Ontario
Engine size is more about what GPM pump is used than tons.
 

Bigg_Redd

Minister of Fire
Oct 19, 2008
4,153
Shelton, WA
04RevX said:
Just had this splitter delivered on Friday (sorry for the crappy cell phone pic) from Northern Tool. Its their Northstar 32-Ton Horizontal splitter. It appears to be a real heavy-duty workhorse with a 9hp Honda motor and 5x30" cylinder. All the parts on it are beefy and well put together. Most of the parts are bolted on which is a feature I was looking for in case something needs to be replaced. Can't wait to run it through its paces. Also got the 4 way edge for it.

Problem though was during shipping (its delivered completely assembled with hydro fluid) that the shipping company hit the gas tank with something. Put a small dent in the tank with a little scratch. It appeared to be harmless until we filled it with gasoline and noticed a small puddle on the ground after we topped it off. I can't even see a hole, but gas is seeping out of the dent ever so slowly.

We called Northern Tool and they weren't sure they had a part # to replace the gas tank with but they said they would look it up and call us back. They told us to put in a claim with the shipping company while we waited. After about 45 mins of getting nowhere with the shipping company, Northern called to tell us a new tank is on its way and sorry for the inconvenience. Now it wasn't even Northern's fault that the tank was damaged and they are taking care of it! I was skeptical about ordering a splitter through a catalog for reasons like this but Northern is earning two thumbs up for customer service! Thanks Northern Tool!

So you have to lift the rounds ONTO the splitter? That doesn't seem easier than hand splitting.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,143
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Oh but it is. Lifting the rounds is the easy part.

You can have a 300 ton splitter with only a 3.5 HP engine with the right size pump and cylinder. It will take many moons to move the ram though.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,143
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Bah ha ha!!!!


That splitter's catalog price is 2600$ Wow I say, that's fairly ridiculous, the optional log lift even adds more cost.

Then for shipping to my zip code is an additional 820$ !!!!! Super wow. After adding that 4 way wedge you are well into the 3500$ range.

I sure hope you like it, it does have a 16 GPM pump and appears stout. I wonder what the other premium splitters cost. Is this splitter built like a timberwolf?
 

04RevX

Member
Jul 5, 2008
102
Western MA
I'm not sure why you say its fairly ridiculous but you are entitled to say that I guess. When we wanted a specefic set of components, from a 9hp Honda GX motor, 16 GPM pump, highway rated tires, large capacity hydro oil tank, and overall commercial grade components. We looked at the Timberwolf's in person, and in my opinion those are great machines but carry a very steep price tag. The TW-2HD is pretty much the closest in comparison but carries a price tag of $3,895. The dealer wanted another $400 for a 4-way wedge and that splitter doesn't even come with a trailer hitch which would have been another $100.

So Highbeam, we did our homework with this and we didn't just buy it blindly. If I spent the same amount of money on a Timberwolf (I'm into my splitter for $3100, shipping included) I would not have been able to get the same components i mentioned above. Will this be better than a Timberwolf??? Not really sure there is a way to tell.

I will take better pictures of this unit for you...it is definately a heavy duty unit and looks like its built like a Timberwolf. Not really sure why I'm trying to justify my purchase on the internet but thats what happens I guess.
 

ikessky

Minister of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
862
Northern WI
If you did your homework and are pleased with the price, that is all that matters right? I personally have nothing to compare to the splitter I use. All I know is that it is old, but it runs good and handles anything we throw at it. I can't begin to imagine hand splitting all the wood I cut this year.

You should get a video of your new splitter in action.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,143
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I'm sorry 04revx, I didn't mean to imply that you were foolish for paying your price. You have your reasons and you seem to be happy. You may see it as justifying your purchase but I see it as teaching thousands of people why we should be doing the same thing. You've got to teach and learn on a forum. Show us the freaking light so that we can learn from your decision.

Based on the catalog's description and your photos I find it ridiculous that NT would ask that much money for a splitter that obviously did not cost them that much to make. The 1000$ splitters that are so commonly owned by members of this site are priced such that you could almost beat the price by building at home, meaning they are a good bang for the buck. I just don't see it with this NT splitter. They want 2-3 times as much money for their splitter. Those little skinny tires on the NT splitter hardly justify thousands of dollars and the honda engine is great but the competition is fiercly close.

An extreme minority of folks buy "timberwolf level" splitters and they seem to be professionals. You didn't say that you were splitting 100 cords per year so what made you want to go this route? Did you just like black? You could have each bought a splitter instead of splitting this one three ways.

Seriously, what are we missing?

One last thing. I also consider it ridiculous to buy a 55000$ pickup truck off the lot. They sell them, and people buy them but not me. Fine wines, fine firearms, etc. I'm okay with the concept that some people just like really expensive things.
 

Gooserider

Mod Emeritus
Nov 20, 2006
6,737
Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
ikessky said:
I'd like to know what the tonnage is on my splitter if yours is a 32 and is only powered by a 9hp Honda. The old LaFont splitter I use has a 23hp Kohler on it.

Tonnage is strictly a function of max hydraulic pressure and cylinder diameter - The usual max on most hydraulic systems is 3,000psi, which makes 29.4 tons w/ a 5" diameter cylinder. Many splitter co's exaggerate, but that's what the physics say... Some also seem to run higher max pressures, which may be pushing their components awfully hard. Of course watching the pressure guage on my machine, it's sort of a moot point, as I rarely encounter a round that needs more than 1500-2000psi to crack open - the only time I go to 3,000 is if I hit the end of the cylinder and don't let go of the valve lever...

Cycle time is determined by the gpm of the pump and the cylinder size - how many gallons does it take to fill the cylinder, and how fast can the pump move them...

Horse power needed is determined by the gpm of the pump - an old fashioned single stage pump needs 2hp per gpm at maximum pressure. Modern splitters use two stage pumps, which is sort of like having transmission gears - in high range, you get a lot of volume at low pressure. In low range, you get a lot of pressure, but low volume... Low range is essentially what you have all the time with a single stage pump. The actual numbers have a 4-1 difference in the gpm ratings - with the advertised number being "high" range - so when you see "16gpm pump" that means it pumps 16gpm in high range, and 4 gpm in low range. Thus you still need 2hp per gpm in low range, but only need 1/2hp per gpm in high, so the minimum hp for a 16gpm pump is 8hp, with most companies using 9hp to give them some margin.... Note that this is a minimum engine size, nothing keeps you from putting something bigger on it, however pump output is a function of shaft rpm, so using a big engine at idle will NOT give the rated output... Most pumps are intended to run at about 3,600rpm, average full throttle speed for most small engines....

Going back to your splitter, I would guess that you either had an oversized engine, and a 16 or 22gpm two stage pump, or about a 12gpm single stage pump. Can't guess about the tonnage w/o knowing the cylinder size though...

Gooserider
 

04RevX

Member
Jul 5, 2008
102
Western MA
Highbeam said:
I'm sorry 04revx, I didn't mean to imply that you were foolish for paying your price. You have your reasons and you seem to be happy. You may see it as justifying your purchase but I see it as teaching thousands of people why we should be doing the same thing. You've got to teach and learn on a forum. Show us the freaking light so that we can learn from your decision.

Based on the catalog's description and your photos I find it ridiculous that NT would ask that much money for a splitter that obviously did not cost them that much to make. The 1000$ splitters that are so commonly owned by members of this site are priced such that you could almost beat the price by building at home, meaning they are a good bang for the buck. I just don't see it with this NT splitter. They want 2-3 times as much money for their splitter. Those little skinny tires on the NT splitter hardly justify thousands of dollars and the honda engine is great but the competition is fiercly close.

An extreme minority of folks buy "timberwolf level" splitters and they seem to be professionals. You didn't say that you were splitting 100 cords per year so what made you want to go this route? Did you just like black? You could have each bought a splitter instead of splitting this one three ways.

Seriously, what are we missing?

Highbeam...no disrespect intended. I've received advice from you in the past about my Hearthstone stove and I value the knowledge that have. You definately have a lot of information to provide. But you've got me confused here. You say you didn't intend for me to justify this, but you are absolutely trying to make me. You got me...I'm not a professional. I didn't know I couldn't buy a professional grade splitter if I wasn't a pro. And do I just like the color black? Thats almost insulting to me. And each of us buy a splitter? No offense to the people that have purchased a MTD splitter for $1,000...but they are not made very well IN MY OPINION. I'm sure they work just fine for the folks that bought them. Sure the 3 of us could have spent $1000 each on a lesser quality machine...but why should we if we wanted to buy 1 really good unit? We HOPE that this splitter will last a really long time...a lot longer than an MTD splitter. If not...well Highbeam I will come back here to let you know that we over spent on a splitter. Do you find it rediculous that Timberwolf charges so much for their splitters when their costs are probably pretty close to Northern Tool? I would hope so. Believe me, i was in sticker shock when we were shopping around.

The intent of my thread was to throw a bone towards Northern Tool because they provided me with a great level of customer service...those stories I feel go untold way too often. Normally all we hear are complaints about some companies. Now its totally off topic.

I have my reasons for buying this splitter. Reasons that I give value to. I have no idea why you are trying to pry this info out of me. If you don't see the value...thats no problem Highbeam, thats your opinion. To be perfectly honest, we spent our money the way we wanted to. If you want to take this farther, please PM me.

*EDIT*- Not sure if you looked on NT's website or not, but they have other splitters in the same price range as MTD splitters found at HD, Lowes, etc. Depending on where you live paying for shipping may or may not be worth it.
 

04RevX

Member
Jul 5, 2008
102
Western MA
ikessky said:
If you did your homework and are pleased with the price, that is all that matters right? I personally have nothing to compare to the splitter I use. All I know is that it is old, but it runs good and handles anything we throw at it. I can't begin to imagine hand splitting all the wood I cut this year.

You should get a video of your new splitter in action.

Thanks ikessky, I definately will.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,143
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Ugh, I am confused then, I guess you just really wanted that splitter, it's okay to say that.

Please carry on and I did receive the positive message about the customer service. Glad to hear it.
 

ikessky

Minister of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
862
Northern WI
Gooserider said:
Tonnage is strictly a function of max hydraulic pressure and cylinder diameter - The usual max on most hydraulic systems is 3,000psi, which makes 29.4 tons w/ a 5" diameter cylinder. Many splitter co's exaggerate, but that's what the physics say... Some also seem to run higher max pressures, which may be pushing their components awfully hard. Of course watching the pressure guage on my machine, it's sort of a moot point, as I rarely encounter a round that needs more than 1500-2000psi to crack open - the only time I go to 3,000 is if I hit the end of the cylinder and don't let go of the valve lever...

Cycle time is determined by the gpm of the pump and the cylinder size - how many gallons does it take to fill the cylinder, and how fast can the pump move them...

Horse power needed is determined by the gpm of the pump - an old fashioned single stage pump needs 2hp per gpm at maximum pressure. Modern splitters use two stage pumps, which is sort of like having transmission gears - in high range, you get a lot of volume at low pressure. In low range, you get a lot of pressure, but low volume... Low range is essentially what you have all the time with a single stage pump. The actual numbers have a 4-1 difference in the gpm ratings - with the advertised number being "high" range - so when you see "16gpm pump" that means it pumps 16gpm in high range, and 4 gpm in low range. Thus you still need 2hp per gpm in low range, but only need 1/2hp per gpm in high, so the minimum hp for a 16gpm pump is 8hp, with most companies using 9hp to give them some margin.... Note that this is a minimum engine size, nothing keeps you from putting something bigger on it, however pump output is a function of shaft rpm, so using a big engine at idle will NOT give the rated output... Most pumps are intended to run at about 3,600rpm, average full throttle speed for most small engines....

Going back to your splitter, I would guess that you either had an oversized engine, and a 16 or 22gpm two stage pump, or about a 12gpm single stage pump. Can't guess about the tonnage w/o knowing the cylinder size though...

Gooserider

Guess I'll have to take another look at it and see if I can get any info. Maybe the engine is over sized, but after using it for the past two years, I couldn't see going with a smaller engine. This thing never bogs down, no matter what we throw in it. Went through some knotty 20+" maple the other day without missing a beat. If the log kinks and you don't catch it in time, you sometimes need a sledge hammer to get it off the wedge!
 

Gooserider

Mod Emeritus
Nov 20, 2006
6,737
Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
Well I can top that a bit... I have a 30 ton HF H/V splitter - 5" cylinder, 16gpm two stage Haldex pump, 9.5hp Subaru-Robin engine (same as the Honda engines except the color scheme) - I did a bunch of mods on the unit so that it fit my workstyle a bit better, you can find a long thread where I discuss them a while back, but nothing that changed the basic specs. One of the things I did was to put a pressure guage on the pump output, so I can actually see what the unit is doing...

Thus far, as long as I've had the engine at full or nearly full throttle, it has never died on me, or slowed significantly - though you can feel the engine dig in and work a bit when I get a tough bit... So far I haven't found ANYTHING that stopped the wedge, including the other day when I was splitting some curly maple cookies from a real monster log - one was a crotch that was at least 30" x 48" x about 20" thick, really made me glad that I had a vertical splitter as the hardest part about busting it up was to get it in position under the wedge - w/o power assist - I used several levers to lift and slide it, but I never would have gotten it up on a horizontal splitter beam... The worst splits on that log got up to about 2,500psi; but most were in the 1500psi range.

What I see generally is that just moving the wedge up and down w/ no log takes about 200psi going down, and 300 going up. Most logs break at about 500psi, and the gnarly stuff goes up a bit higher, but seldom over 1500. Typically what I see is the wedge comes down at about 200 till it contacts the log surface, then it slows as pressure builds and possibly the engine will "grunt" a bit until the log pops, then pressure will drop back down to 4-500 as the wedge goes the rest of the way down to finish cutting the "strings" between the peices (if the round falls apart, I stop the cycle and pull the wedge back up) The only time I see it do something different is if I get into wood that is running cross grain to the wedge, in which case the pressure will go up as it shears through.

I've never had to beat a log off the wedge - my wedge is on the cylinder, and pushes down to within an inch or less of the platform, which is enough that almost everything splits on the downstroke. For the stuff that does't, the unit has a "log ejector" built into the plate that holds the bottom end of the cylinder, and that pops off anything that gets stuck on the wedge.

For what it's worth, my wedge is a double taper unit - it has a sharp point that tapers out at what looks like about a 30* angle to a body that is maybe 1/2-3/4" wide, that goes up an inch or two, then it tapers out again at about 45* to a little wider than the piston rod - maybe about 2.5" or so... It tends to shear through what it can't split.

I also spend a lot of time with a friend's splitter that is smaller - 20 ton, 4" cylinder, 11gpm pump and 6.5hp motor - I have found a FEW chunks - maybe a dozen in over 100 full cords that stopped his machine where the valve went into overload bypass mode... Each time I simply eased off, repositioned the log a little, and hit it again, no problem... I don't have a guage on that machine, but I suspect it shows a similar pressure pattern, but shifted to a bit higher range. The other big difference is his wedge tapers out immediately to the piston width - I notice that this tends to cause it to crush the stuff that it can't split rather than shearing it.

Gooserider
 

rdust

Minister of Fire
Feb 9, 2009
4,580
Michigan
I've always wondered how does the 4 way wedge work when you're splitting a 20" + round?

I can't imagine trying to lift large rounds up onto that beam since I usually split by myself. Anything that's a struggle I start with the beam vertical and quarter them out then move it back to horizontal and work from there.
 

Gooserider

Mod Emeritus
Nov 20, 2006
6,737
Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
rdust said:
I've always wondered how does the 4 way wedge work when you're splitting a 20" + round?

I can't imagine trying to lift large rounds up onto that beam since I usually split by myself. Anything that's a struggle I start with the beam vertical and quarter them out then move it back to horizontal and work from there.

I don't use a 4-way, as I don't feel that it would gain me all that much - I split stuff ranging from about 5" to as big as I can horse onto the vertical platform, and I want the control and ability to work right up close to the wedge that you get with a single and can't do with a 4-way... I quite often do 4 splits with two passes - split once, hold the sections together, and turn 90* and split a second time... If the log cooperates, I can sometimes get a long pair that I split 3 or 4 times the same way... Using a single wedge I can keep a very consistent size range on my splits. With a 4 way, I see a lot of cases where you get an off centered hit with a couple of real small splits, and a couple of really oversized ones - I see that with processor wood as well for the same reason.

I also do ALL my splitting in vertical mode - I put a short stool (i.e. a milk crate) in front of the beam, and stack my raw material around it - depending on how ambitious I am, and whether or not I'm using my pulp hooks, I can easily pile up enough rounds to keep me busy for an hour or so... I just sit on the crate, grab a round, split, and toss the splits into my done piles (I keep three, one for "ready to stack" one for stuff that turned out too long and needs to be cut down before stacking, and one pile for "chunk wood" that is too short for the regular stacks) When I'm working with my friend, he has a conveyor that sits to the right of me, and he uses the FEL on his tractor to dump a couple buckets of rounds to my left - I split and toss onto the conveyor which loads his truck or trailer... As I use up what I can reach he pushes up the pile and dumps some more.

I don't do all that much lifting of rounds, mostly I do a combination of tilting and rolling, very easy w/ practice.

The only time I stand and split is if I have to deal with a "monster round" - say 24" or bigger that is to heavy to move easily while sitting... Then I will stand up to horse it onto the platform and bust it up into whatever chunks it takes to get it into easily handleable sizes, then I sit back down and finish busting up the chunks...

Standing to split is too much like work... :coolsmile:

Gooserider
 

SolarAndWood

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2008
6,788
Syracuse NY
rdust said:
I've always wondered how does the 4 way wedge work when you're splitting a 20" + round?

It depends on the wood you have access to. When our property was selectively logged five years ago, the logger left me a 50 cord pile of straight 20 ft logs 12 to 16" in diameter that this splitter with a 4 or 6 way would have ripped through. The blowdowns, deadfall, cleanups, thinnings and scrounges that I more typically have access to are a different story. The horizontal with a 4 way probably isn't saving you a lot of time with a 20"+ round. If you watch the demos on Youtube or at one of the shows, you will see smaller diameter straight grained rounds going through the N-way wedges.

RevX, it looks like a nice simple stout splitter that will last a long time and it is good to know that NT takes care of their customers. After splitting everything with a horizontal wedge on beam splitter this year, you may want to get their work table accessory to help catch the pieces to be resplit.
 

ikessky

Minister of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
862
Northern WI
My splitter has a "V" of spring loaded plates that run horizontal above the beam. You rest the round on these and then split them. The plates can be lowered with a handle on the side so that you can go below the 3-way wedge and just single split if you want to. Depending on how big the round is, I will run it through the 3-way and then run those splits through the single wedge once more. Most rounds sit decent enough that I only have to re-run two of the three.
 
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