A log splitter is an important tool for anyone that burns wood. They are a piece of equipment used to split firewood that is cut into sections. There are many advantages of using a log splitter. You can use this ingenious piece of equipment to chop firewood with ease.
Electric log splitters are a great option for people who want to get the job done in a short period of time. Best of all, using a log splitter guarantees your safety since you don’t have to worry about using an axe or a blade for cutting wood into small pieces.
Not to mention, having this useful tool on hand means you are opting for a more environmentally friendly way to keep your house warm. Having a log splitter means you don’t have to use gas to warm up your home. This reduces the quantity of exhaust gas released into the environment.
Types Of Log Splitters
Planning to invest in a log splitter? Here are some of the most important types you need to know about:
Manual Log Splitters
This type of log splitter is lightweight and easier to store. Either you can choose between a foot-powered or hand-powered model according to your convenience. Additionally, some manual log splitters operate using hydraulics while others rely on manpower or weights.
While a manual log splitter does require more effort, it is still more convenient than swinging an ax. This type of log splitter is a great option for people who occasionally burn wood and don’t want to pay extra for an electrical model.
Electric Log Splitter
An electric log splitter is the most popular type of splitter available in the market and is adequate for most situations. Essentially, these tools operate on the same gas models.
The prime difference between the two is that an electric motor is used to power the hydraulics instead of a gas engine. Electric models are lighter and portable, thanks to their compact size. You can set up the machine at ground level, on a stand or even a bench.
The main advantage of using an electric log splitter is you can use the machine indoors, outdoors or practically anywhere as long as you can find a standard electric outlet. This model also requires less maintenance since you don’t have to worry about changing fluids or maintaining a gas engine.
Gas Log Splitters
Gas log splitters are the most powerful kind and are used for performing heavy-duty tasks. These machines are used for splitting larger logs. Unlike, electric models, they don’t have to be plugged to an electrical socket but due to their engine exhausts, you cannot use the machine indoors.
Gas-powered splitters are also the most powerful of the lot because of its powerful design. However, on the downside, these machines require regular maintenance, just like any other piece of equipment that has a gas engine.
This includes spark plug replacements, oil changes, fuel additions on a regular basis and spark plug replacements. Gas log splitters are suitable for all kinds of situations and is best suited for all kinds of users especially those who intend to chop wood on a regular basis.
However, since these machines cannot be used indoors in undesirable weather, you may have to opt for an electrical log splitter as well for emergencies.
If you know that you are going to be splitting tough logs and will be processing a lot of firewood regardless of the season, a gas splitter is probably the best option for you. Who knows, maybe you will wind up investing in more than one gas splitter, depending on your workload.
Hydraulic Vs. Kinetic Log Splitters
When investing in a log splitter, you can choose from two main types. This includes kinetics and hydraulic log splitters. Here’s everything you need to know about both the types:
Hydraulic Log Splitters
Most log splitters in the market feature a hydraulic pump, which means they can either have an electric or gas engine. Once it is switched on, the pump forms a stream of pressured oils that generates power to push the wedge through a log.
Using a hydraulic splitter is a convenient option for splitting wood with an axe, especially if you suffer from back problems. However, these machines do not cut well when they are forced to deal with gnarly and stringy logs. Hydraulic log splitters are available in vertical and horizontal models. They are currently quite popular.
Kinetic Log Splitters
These splitters operate through a different method and are engineered differently. While kinetic splitters are less widely known, Kinetic technology has been around for ages and is designed to propel and store energy from the gas engine.
Kinetic technology is making waves in the world of log splitting. These splitters utilize a hefty flywheel system that extracts energy from the engine in the spinning flywheels. The causes the logs to cut at an alarmingly fast speed so you no longer have to worry about slowly pressing the log all the way and then retracting it yourself.
With no hydraulic pumps and oils, it is safe to say that kinetic log splitters are much easier to maintain as compared to hydraulic units. With this model, you need not worry about messy oil leaks or leaky valves.
The only factor you need to worry about is tuning up the engine every now and then. However, this is not much of an inconvenience since this is done with all kinds of machinery.
How To Cut Wood Using A Hydraulic Log Splitter
Have you recently purchased a hydraulic log splitter but don’t know how to use it? This handy tool is a great investment if you want to cut on fuel costs for the upcoming winter months.
Depending on your personal preference and workload, you may opt for a gas or electric model. Either way, a hydraulic splitter is the most efficient type of log splitter to work with. Read this helpful guide to learn how to use the machine properly.
Here’s what you will need:
- Gas or manual powered log splitter
- Work boots
- Safety glasses
Once you have prepared all the necessary items, follow these simple instructions:
Take Proper Safety Precautions
Before you start splitting wood, it is imperative you prepare yourself first. We recommend wear long pants and working boots. Wearing gloves and safety glasses is also important to protect your hands and your eyes respectively. Chopping would be seem like a simple task but flying shards of wood and splinters can result in injuries. Follow these safety guidelines to prevent mishaps and accidents.
Position The Splitter Near The Wood
Rather than dragging and hauling all of the wood to the splitter, take the splitter to it instead. Heavy gas powered models typically have large wheels and can be conveniently transported from place to place. However, the really big models need to be attached to a tractor or towed to your desired location. Manual log splitters must be either driven or carried to the pile of wood.
Ensure The Splitter Is Positioned Correctly
Ensure the splitter is on flat, level ground. The machine should be in no danger of tipping or rolling over. Not only will this damage the machine but can lead to dangerous consequences. Ensure that you have plenty of room to stand while so you can comfortably work with the machine.
Switch On The Machine
Once you have set up the splitter, it is time to turn it on. If you have a gas powered model, you need to pull the cord starter. Ensure the valve that operates the cylinder has been turned off and ensure there is gas in the engine before you fire it up. Also, don’t forget to adjust the choke if necessary.
Load The Splitter
How you plan on loading the splitter will depend on the machine. Some splitters can be loaded horizontally while others must be loaded vertically. If you have a horizontal model, place the wood on the bed instead of putting it against the splitting wedge. Vertical splitters have the tendency to get the wedge stuck in the wood, hence you may have to pry it off.
Activate The Manual Lever Or Valve
Now, it is time to turn on the valve. This will cause the machine to push the log into the splitting wedge. After the log is split, you must return the valve in order to retract the cylinder. If you are working with a manual model, operate the lever until the log has been split.
Remove The Split Log
Once the log has been split, remove it from the bed and repeat the process until you are done cutting all of your firewood. If you use a gas-powered machine, ensure you have extra hydraulic fluid and oil, just in case.
So, you see, a log splitter is quite easy to use but you must be careful about safe handling, especially if you are using a machine that is motor-powered. Also, never attempt to split or cut anything else aside from firewood. Experimenting with the machine can cause serious damage to it and might also injure you.
Quick Safety Tips You Should Keep In Mind
Undoubtedly, safety comes first especially if you are using a powerful machine, such as a log splitter. Here are a couple of safety tips you must keep in mind to avoid cutting your finger, or worse:
Determine What Kind Of Wood You Are Working With
Before you get started, you need to understand the type of material you are working with. This is because certain kinds of wood react differently when they are split. First off, place your hands on either side of the log and not on the ends before inserting the wood inside the machine.
If you are using wood that isn’t straight grained or has markings, be prepared for it to split irregularly. It is best you identify and remove such pieces of wood before you start the process.
Be Prepared To Give It Your All
Splitting wood is not an easy task. Before using any high-powered machine, you must ensure you are well rested and completely alert. If you find yourself dozing off or resting your hands on the wrong log, stop right there and switch off the machine. Better be safe than sorry. Only use the machine when you are fully awake and can completely concentrate on the task.
Adjust The Height Of The Log Splitter
Lifting rounds of heavy wood can result in painful back injuries. Bending over to frequently lift heavy wood can strain your lower back. Adjust the height of the machine for added convenience if it allows you to do so. It is best that you invest in a piece of equipment that will allow you to customize its settings according to your needs.
Work Alone Or Pay Close Attention If You Are Part Of A Team
To reduce the risk of accidents, don’t allow more than one person to use the log splitter at a time. A single person must be responsible for loading and operating the machine. However, if you are working with a team, ensure that you are fully aware of your surroundings and what others are doing while you are splitting the wood.
Read The Instruction Manual
The instructional manual is your ultimate guide to using the machine properly. Ensure that you read it thoroughly. Also, do not disregard the safety instructions and concentrate on following the recommendations.
Wear The Right Clothing
You obviously don’t want your long shirt to get caught in the machine. Wear comfortable clothes that aren’t too loose and baggy. Additionally, do not forget to wear safety goggles and glasses. Do not wear accessories and jewelry that might get caught in the machine. Consider wearing boots or comfortable shoes with non-skid soles. Never operate the machine while wearing sandals or when you are barefoot.
Other Safety Rules
Other important safety rules include:
- Ensure you have read and understood all the instructions printed in the owner’s manual before attempting to assemble or operate the machine on your own. For more information, contact the brand for advice on how to use the machine.
- Ensure you are familiar with all the control buttons and know how to operate the machine. In case of emergencies, you must know how to stop the machine at once.
- Children under the age of 16 years must not be allowed to operate the machine. If older kids are using the machine, ensure they have read all the instructions carefully. Your kid must be trained and should only use the machine under adult supervision.
- Keep pets, children and by standards at least 20 feet away from while you are operating the machine.
- Accidents are likely to occur when more than one person is using the machine. For added safety, we recommend that a single person uses the machine at time. If you have a helper, ensure they are standing at least 10 feet away from the machine.
- These machines are likely to develop high pressures during operation. Hydraulic systems create high fluid pressure during operation that can be dangerous. Ensure that there are no leaks as high pressure fluids can penetrate your skin and lead to blood poisoning or other dangerous conditions.
- Use the machine for ONLY splitting wood. It is not suitable for any other purpose unless you want to risk your life.
Tips On How To Maintain A Log Splitter
A properly maintained machine is likely to last longer as compared to one than one that has been allowed to wear down. Use these simple and easy maintenance tips to ensure your log splitter runs as smoothly and as efficiently as you had first purchased it. Here are some tips:
Inspect For Leaking Hydraulic Fluid
To reduce the risks of accidents, check for leaks in the hydraulic fluid. You can do this by placing a piece of cardboard underneath the damaged area. If the fluid leaks on the cardboard, you have a problem here. Wear gloves to protect your hands from dangerous chemicals. Increased exposure may even result in allergic reactions.
Fill The Hydraulic Fluid
Your machine will have noticeably less power when the hydraulic fluid is running low. However, to determine the right amount of fluid to add, you will have to remove the oil filling plug. Fill the unit till it is ¾ full.
Discard Air From The Cylinder
Now it is time to remove air from the cylinder. Once you have added the appropriate amount of fluid in the machine, you must remove or bleed the trapped air. To do this, you must push the piston rod to maximum length. Remove the oil filing plug. Now, it is time to twist the screw at a clockwise motion. Try to do this as fast as you can. This will cause the air to be released.
Invest In A Self-Lubricating Log Splitter
For added convenience, it is essential you invest in a self-lubricating log splitter that will automatically clean the machine after every use without you having to lift a finger! The solution keeps the machine maintained with minimal effort on your part.
One of the most notable advantages of using a self-lubricating log splitter is that it will routinely clean the blades so that it stays sharp for a longer period time.
Regularly Sharpen The Blades
As with any other machine, it is essential you sharpen the blades of your log splitter. This can be done effectively with the help of a coarse metal file. Use it to sharpen the dull areas of the blade and to even out the chips and nicks. Smooth down the sides of the blade so that it retains its sharp form again. For the finishing touches, run the metal file along the edge of the blade.
Clean The Log Splitter Regularly
If the log splitter is not self-cleansing, be prepared to clean the machine regularly to remove debris, grease and oil. However, ensure the machine has been switched off before you initiate the cleaning process. Also, wipe off dirt around the machine so that nothing gets lodged into the log splitter during the process. This will prevent the machine from malfunctioning.
Store The Splitter In An Appropriate Place
To prevent water damage and stop mold from growing inside the machine, store the log splitter in a cool, dry place. We suggest you store the machine in a shed or a garage so it remains dry throughout the year. Additionally, cover up the machine using a water-proof tarp for added protection.
Replace Worn Out Parts
For best results, replace any worn out parts that no longer function as well as they used to. Immediately replace broken or worn out parts before operating the machine. Before making a purchase, compare the model and part number to ensure you have purchased the right product. This will ensure you purchase the right component for your specific hydraulic log splitter.
These are some important tips you need to keep in mind if you intend on operating your hydraulic log splitter throughout the year. Most machines offer specific instructions according to the model. Proper maintenance will ensure the machine runs correctly and efficiently throughout the year, allowing you to work at a faster pace. Consider talking to a professional if you want to learn more about maintaining a log splitter properly.
Hopefully, this article has helped you learn everything you need to know about operating a log splitter. For more information, consider contacting a professional. If you still can’t figure out how to use the machine, contact a friend who may be able to help you out. Good luck!