Ah the glory of days gone by and the
manual method of tiring endless hours spent with your
axe and maul splitting wood and covering your hands with
The log splitter changes all of that!
A log splitter is a machine with several
make short order work of splitting firewood quickly and with
much less effort. Before you shell a whole bunch of cash
to buy or build a log splitter, lets
review the wood
splitter hydraulic components that make up this wood chopping
Hydraulic Log Splitter Components Include:
Hydraulic fluid tank and hoses
Hydraulic cylinder or ram
Hydraulic control valve
Wood splitter head or blade
Motor or power source
The main factors that decide the power of your log
splitter outside of the frame system that holds all the components, are
the hydraulic cylinder, hydraulic pump, and the power source.
These three units are calculated in combination to
determine the tonnage capacity of the wood splitter.
Generally there are three
main types of power source:
Electric: Electric splitters are generally
the most simplistic units and they are a popular choice for limited
firewood needs and home use. Obviously you need to be near an
electrical power source to use one of these which in turn is the
detraction of these units as well.
Gas Powered: Gas powered units are the most
popular since these log splitters can operate independently from any
other power supply, (besides a can of gas). Gas operated splitters can
produce much more force than electric units generally produce.
Tractor Powered PTO: Tractor or skid steer driven
splitters are generally found on farms and in commercial forest and
firewood operations. The splitters connect a tractor's hydraulic system
that powers the PTO splitter unit in the manner for which it was
designed. PTO log splitters models are usually extremely durable and
made for commercial use..
Vertical or Horizontal Wood
Stand alone hydraulic splitters come in horizontal and vertical units.
Vertical units are preferred for heavy logs that can be rolled onto the splitter,
whereas horizontal log splitters require you to lift the log up and place it on
the unit for splitting.
The Hydraulic Cylinder or Log Splitter Ram
The hydraulic cylinder as it the
backbone of any hydraulic log splitter. Its force the log into a metal wedge
to split it into pieces (see splitting wedge heads). These hydraulic cylinders
can be mixed and matched to the pump and power source but the hydraulic cylinder
tonnage rating must not be below the hydraulic pump tonnage rating. Otherwise
the pump pressure can damage the cylinder.
Cycle Time: The cylinders cycle time is how long it takes for
the ramp to push forward into the wood and return back to its starting position.
So obviously a multi direction cylinder is needed.
Hydraulic Control Valve
The hydraulic control valve includes a
lever for operating the log splitter and transferring
the hydraulic fluid in the right direction for the
splitting stroke and the return stroke.
that this valve be placed in a convenient location for
easy access and safe operation.
2 Stage Hydraulic Pump
Oil capacity, pressure and operating time of the hydraulic pump
needs to be considered for calculating how it matches up to the motor and
hydraulic cylinder to produce the desired operating pressure and cycle time.
This includes important calculations so that you don't over pressure the
The Log Splitter Wedge or
Head, Blade or Wedge of any log splitter is another key component to consider
when you are deciding what to build for a log splitter.
There are basically three
different types of wedges that are typically found on log splitters:
Simple Two Way Splitting Wedge
Four Way Splitting Wedge
Six Way Splitting Wedge
two way wedge: Similar to an axe, the splitting wedge splits the wood in
half to cut it into 2 pieces. It is most often welded directly to the wood
splitter unit on top of the main beam with reinforcement.
Four way splitting wedge: A 4 way splitting wedge will
quarter the log into 4 pieces allowing you to get twice as much splitting done
in the same amount of time in most cases.
These heads may be welded on but some models install over the
top and bolt on to a two way wedge that is welded to the wood splitter main
beam. This way they can be removed if desired. This also allows them to be
removed for repair or sharpening.
way splitting wedge: The 6-way wedge is most often found on high-end
commercial log splitters, or as an accessory. They can be welded on or bolted
over a two way wedge as well. These heads allow a log to be split into 6
different pieces. Due to the nature of these six way heads, you will generally
need a more powerful unit to take advantage of the pressure required to make
these multiple cuts through a log, especially in hardwood.
If you are buying or building a log splitter you should
check to see what additional wedges are available as accessories.
Getting the right blade for your type of splitting needs can save you time and
effort. On the other hand, it may be wise to go with the w way and add a 4 way
or 6 way accessory head so that you can remove it if desired for different log splitting tasks
and needs. Again, it's also easier for repairs and sharpening.
How to build a log splitter?
For those who decide to build you own log splitter, keep in mind
that safety is everything and while you may use one of our plans or someone
else's, alterations are common but safety should always be considered first.
Making sure all component are up to the pressure produced is important.
Most build-it-yourself plans are often altered by the fabricator
in order to use available supplies they already have. Usually building a wood splitter starts with one or more
components that you may already have left over in your yard or workshop.
An old hydraulic cylinder or Briggs and Stratton motor that has been sitting
around the shop. Or even an old I-beam and other metal out in the yard.
Starting with some basic parts
to build your own log splitter
can be a great way to save some money. Just be sure that safe
operation is being considered for the end result!