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Log Splitters

Efforts to conserve energy and cut utility bills have brought the woodpile into sharp focus; cutting fireplace and stove wood is much easier with log splitters.

Manually operated log splitters drive a splitting wedge into logs after the wedge is hit with a sledge. Powered log splitters are much quicker.

Engineering techniques may vary from model to model depending upon the manufacturers. Generally, hydraulic action provides the force to drive a splitting ram into a log secured in the frame.

There are also "screw" models that are cone shaped and turn or "bore" their way into the wood to split the log.

Log splitters may be powered by gasoline engines with as little as 3.5 hp. There are also models with electric motors. More horsepower doesn't necessarily mean more splitting power. Splitting power is the result of a well-matched pump, cylinder and engine, which allows the system to operate more efficiently with less horsepower.

To find out how well matched these three elements are, extend the ram to the wedge after starting the splitter. Keep the ram in this position for five to six seconds and if the engine stalls or labors heavily, the system is not properly matched or adjusted. This can result in less than optimum splitting power for the amount of horsepower the unit has.

Engines may range from 5 hp to 25 hp, and most units will split logs up to 24" long. Some splitters can also be towed behind a car to the woods to split logs.

A "deadman" neutral return control handle is a desirable safety feature. Cycling times vary with different models, but the faster the cycle, the more wood you can split.

The Log splitter Manufacturers Association offers the following safety tips when operating one of these splitting systems.

  1. Both ends of each log should be cut as square as possible to help prevent log from riding out of splitter.
  2. Never place hands or feet between log and splitting "wedge or between log and ram during forward or reverse stroke.
  3. Don't straddle the splitter when using it.
  4. Never split two logs on top of each other.
  5. Never load splitter while ram is in motion.
  6. Keep fingers away from any cracks that open in log during splitting operation.
  7. Never move splitter while it is running.
  8. Operate splitter on level ground and always block wheels to prevent movement of the log splitter while in operation.

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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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