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01-23-2012, 07:52 AM #1
OT- Log splitter modification question
I had an earlier thread going about fixing the warped head on my Wisconsin VE4 engine on my log splitter and I really appreciate all the help with it. I have never milled down a head before and if nothing else your input gave me the confidence to attempt the fix which worked out very well indeed. I have a question about the basic design of this splitter which I find to be fundamentally flawed. The "pusher" is on the end of the cylinder and the splitting wedge is stationary. The problem is that as the wood is split it is pushed off the end of the splitter and you have to retrieve it and put it back on the I beam for a second split. I am thinking it would make more sense to have the splitting wedge on the cylinder and the stop stationary so that you could just rotate the wood where it is and make another split. The question is, why are some splitters built like mine and is there a problem with doing what I am planning? The "pusher" wraps around the I beam and is captured with ears under the beam so I don't think that flexing of the cylinder piston would be an issue. Do any of you have any experience with both types? Thanks so much in advance for any help.
01-23-2012, 09:04 AM #2
Not the perfect cure but an easy improvement would be to extend a "catcher table" flush with the I-beam, with little canted wings to keep the pieces from rolling off.
At least you wouldn't have to stoop to the ground to pick up the pieces for re-splitting and the extention could be just hooked on for easy removal.
Repositioning the too-large-piece, would take little more effort than it does when the wedge is properly moving toward the stop and you've got the retract time to do it in.
Might be easier than a complete reversal of the parts.
Keeps the "finished pieces" closer to the elevation of the truck bed too. My old back would appreciate that. The truck bit based on my time living in the remote mountains, where I'd take the splitter to slash piles. Not relavent in your back yard.
01-23-2012, 09:18 AM #3
01-23-2012, 09:25 AM #4
Those small homeowner splitters that are designed to operate either horizontally or vertically have the design you envision, with the wedge affixed to the ram and the plate stationary. Maybe you could rent/borrow one to see what you think.
It's been many years since I used a splitter configured this way, and my memory is foggy, but my recollection is that I didn't like it. I can't say why exactly but there it is. One disadvantage that comes to mind is that the wood travels back with the wedge if you stick the wedge in a tough piece of wood. Certainly having the push plate attached to the ram offers many more options, and for the instances where the wood doesn't fall off well before the ram completes its stroke, it discharges the wood away from the operator's station, a good thing. I've found that if I want to double-split a piece I won't run it all the way through the splitter cycle, but only until the wood cracks in half, then I'll reverse the ram , rotate the piece end for end and also turn it a quarter turn, then split it through. This solves the issue of having to retrieve the wood for a second split.
I said the fixed wedge offers advantages, and here are a few. One, you can make a multi-wedge or "star" wedge that yields four or more pieces with one push. I have seen some very innovative ways to accomplish this, sometimes on the fly. But the tweak that will make me modify my splitter is the movable wedge. For many situations a really tall wedge is a good idea, but for really tough splitting a short wedge results in much more splitting ability and will break open some seriously twisted wood. I'm going to make a pocket in my splitter frame so that the wedge can go up and down, moved by a little hydraulic cylinder. I split wood as it comes along and don't have the luxury to cast off the worst, knotty or twisty pieces (if I did, I'd just split by hand) but rather use the power of the splitter to shear the wood that won't play nice.
01-23-2012, 10:11 AM #5
every new splitter I've seen lately has a little "stripper plate", basically
a house where the wedge duck's back into at the end of the stroke to
strip off the wood stuck.
The problem with this idea on the vertical models, is the log (sometimes
quite large and heavy) is now 24" or so up in the air, and the stripping
can't really be throttled. So the big chunk comes crashing down.
01-23-2012, 10:25 AM #6
Actually, in my opinion the only benefit to the garden variety RAM-wedge design is that it can be used horizontally and vertically, thereby eliminating the loading "wings" for large logs.
In all other cases, I believe the RAM pusher with the wedge stationary is a better design simply because there isn't the aforementioned retraction of the stuck log, and you can just use the next one to push through without much of a downtime.
Now, where your splitter appears to be flawed is that they've neglected to put on a catcher table on the end. Normally, at the end of the splitter there is a welded wire table, which allows the garbage to fall off, but retains the splits. You can then either re-split them into smaller pieces or throw them on the pile from there, or for that matter just keep splitting and the successive logs just will push each other off.
Look at this page to show what I'm talking about:
Log Splitters | Firewood Processors | Conveyors | Timberwolf Wood Processing Equipment
And this one shows the loading wings:
01-23-2012, 10:38 AM #7
Thanks so much. Bob...I have thought of adding some wings on my I beam to catch the wood and that is an option. Ciszewski.... I have also seen pictures of the four way devices and they would be nice in certain situations. I would think that I would need some sort of "progressive" wedge that would start out with only one edge and then a little farther back it would have a horizontal edge to follow through. sa100.....along the lines of having a smaller wedge I thought about having a "shoe" that would slip over my wedge to accomplish this. My wedge is about 12" tall and sometimes when I get a really big knotted log in there it is a little tough to make the initial split. I split some serious wood with this thing. Lately it has been left over red and white oak from the last big storm we had and it is about 25 to 30" in diameter and 36" long (to fit my stove). This means the wood weighs about 400 lbs a slice and I don't want to do more moving of the wood then need be. That's why I was thinking about moving the wedge to the ram. digger doug.... I like the idea of a "stripper" and this would not be hard to come up with. The return stroke would have more then enough power to strip the wood from the wedge if it gets stuck.
01-23-2012, 10:54 AM #8
My splitter has a traveling wedge and I've tried to stall it and haven't been able to, my biggest complaint is the federal regulation that states there must be at least 2" clearance between the wedge and foot when wedge is fully extended, so if you have a stringy piece of wood it won't split all the way, but 2 short pieces of 2X6 on the foot allow me to split all the way thru. The 2" clearance is for the IDIOT who wants to see if it will cut his hand off, the only time any one gets hurt is when there are 2 people working the splitter 1 loading 1 running the control handle, and then 1 person not paying attention, somebody loses a body part.
01-23-2012, 11:00 AM #9
Several things that I incorporated into my log splitter.
1. two stage pump. Low pressure high volume until the crotch wood, then it switches to a high presser stage.
2. Automatic stop and return controls on the valve. The linkage only stops the ram, it does not start it, as in auto return. That would be dangerous.
3. Collapseable splitting wedge. The front part of the wedge is narrow and solid to the I-beam. Where a lot of splitters have a second, high angle wedge welded to the main wedge, I attach the second wedge to the primary wedge with a hinge. The key is that links 3 and 4 form a toggle with stop 5. That way, the more the log pushed on them, the better they stay in place. If a log gets stuck on the wedge, a flat bar is used to undo the toggle and the wedge collapses. See sketch.
4. Jib crane. Used to lift those gut busters onto the I-beam and hold it while the log is split.
5. Chain hooks on the push plate so that a stubborn log can be pulled off the wedge if necessary.
I have often thought about a fold down shelf as Campbell describes but have not incorporated one.
AlphaGeek liked this post
01-23-2012, 11:32 AM #10
I hope this link works and I hope it's OK to do...here are some pictures of the splitter I built. It has small wings to cradle the split pieces and two uprights to strip the wood off the wedge if it gets stuck. It works horizontal or vertical...really well.
01-23-2012, 11:49 AM #11
01-23-2012, 11:52 AM #12
I've worked wood since the 70's and it has been both My father and my sole source of heat since then. We have 180 cord under roof right now and that's about an 8 year supply for us. we just enjoy doing it together.
I've used a lot of different splitters and it all boils down to what you want. There are pluses and minuses with the designs as noted above. We have 2 splitters currently and I'm making my splitter now from everything I've learned/wanted over the years.
I'm getting older and looking towards the future to make it easier. I have a boiler so if I can carry it, I can burn it. Dad likes them smaller so everything gets split to reasonable size.
If your running production with a conveyer then a fixed wedge with adjustable, 4 or 6 way is the way to go. Push it out the end and plie it. Fixed wedge are great for people Bring the wood to the splitter or buy log loads. Again, personal preference applys here as I can't do horizontal. I'm 6'6" and the leaning over or sitting moving stuff around kills me.
With that said, I'm building mine with the wedge on the ram this time. I, Like you, don't like the dragging back and we have a fixed table on one of ours. I'm going with swing away tables on both sides so you have the option. Boom crane on the end with cordless remote winch with log tong to retrieve/lift the big ones off the end and swing around to the splitter. I'm putting stabilizers with cylinders(think backhoe type) on the end . My beam will be 40" high as that is my comfort zone on leaning. I put our old splitter up that high and it was astounding the difference on how I felt at the end of the day. Roll off's and such weren't a problem.
When we cut big trees we back the splitter down the log length and throw the wood to the sides. then when it all split we back the trucks in and load from both sides. This method just works the best for us. I don't skid logs.
I've dealing with a guy who has built splitters and knows his stuff:
LOG SPLITTER | WOOD SPLITTERS | HYDRAULIC CYLINDERS
He's supplied some parts and I'm doing the build. I'm using a 6" X 8" box beam that is 1/2" thick. They use this as well and weld a 2" thick mill plate on top of that for a slider. When Mounting the wedge on the ram he said no more than 8 inches high as it will put too much strain if higher. Two stage wedge as others have said will help with the sticking but the stops are needed in case. Another secret is to have the backstop big enough that the wood doesn't "curl" around it. If it Holds the corners the wood actually moves TOWARDS the wedge and busts quicker. Hard to explain but think about how it would split with a wall behind it.
Check out Tempest splitters on Utube. They have a pretty neat design as well and send wood out both sides. Too small for me as they make a lot of slivers but interesting .
01-23-2012, 12:54 PM #13
01-23-2012, 01:34 PM #14
You should sit down with a beer and watch some log processor videos on you tube. Probably the coolest practical thing I've seen is a sliding wedge. The wedge sits in a slot in the beam, and when it is down it is like a conventional 2 way wedge. But... when you want to split 4 way you just grab a lever on an additional spool, and a small ram pushes up the wedge, exposing the 4 way section of it that was flush with the top of the beam. Presto, 2 way or 4 way, at the grab of a handle.
01-23-2012, 03:17 PM #15
Thanks again for all the replies. I think Kevlo and I have a lot in common when it comes to the scope of our splitting. I don't do this to have a nice cozy fire to back up to. I have been heating in my wood furnace for over 30 years. It is my only source of heat. I burn about half a cord a week when it is really cold. My problem is that I am getting on in age and I just can't keep lifting 400 pound logs up and then having to split them into two 200 pound logs and do that over and over. TDegenhart.... I am going to come up with some sort of crane system this summer. Do you have any pictures? atomarc.....nice looking splitter. You should hang it over the mantle. Really nice. Bentworker....Got beer? My issues is not so much splitting four ways but that is a great idea you have there. I usually just split these logs into quarters. The wood furnace I built is pretty horsey and if I can quarter the logs then they go in there. duckman....regulation smegulation!!. i can't believe there is limit to how far the ram can go. I can think of a thousand ways to lose a finger but that is not on the top of my list. Thanks anyway for the heads up. Thanks for all the input. It never ceases to amase me how much I don't think of when I am planning. When I built this splitter I was 30 years younger and never even thought about the fact that I might have to bend over for hours and pick up heavy logs that fall off the end. Thanks again.
Ugly as a mud fence log splitter
Note safety shroud on flywheel
01-23-2012, 03:59 PM #16
01-23-2012, 04:37 PM #17
01-23-2012, 05:03 PM #18
01-23-2012, 05:28 PM #19
that Hahn cutter/splitter on the video is amazing- splits the log into 8 parts.
too bad its $32,000, plus the cost of the bobcat...
01-23-2012, 05:36 PM #20