If you have a wood stove, fireplace, or even just a fire pit in your backyard then it's definitely worth investing in a good quality log splitter.
A log splitter is an essential tool for anyone who wants to split their own wood. It will save you a lot of time and effort and be cheaper than buying firewood from the store.
If you are new to using log splitters, there are different models and types, but the two main ones are electric and gas-powered. Electric splitters plug into the wall like an appliance, while gasoline requires fuel (gas), oil, or both to run properly. Gasoline-powered models are more expensive, but they can be used anywhere.
There are also foot-powered or hand-powered manual log splitters, but they require more effort and are more tedious, especially if you've got a lot of logs to work on.
How Does A Log Splitter Work?
Technically, all log splitters work the same way a person would use an axe to split wood. The slight difference is that electric or gas-powered log splitters push the log into a splitting wedge doing the job in a fraction of the time.
Having a log splitter on hand is one of the most cost-friendly ways to keep your home warm. You can save more money by using natural resources easily found in your farm or garden (still cheaper if buying the logs) rather than rack up expensive gas bills.
How To Use A Log Splitter Safely
Using a log splitter is relatively simple, so let's go over the steps you should follow to get started.
Move The Splitter Near The Wood
Dragging and hauling all the logs to the splitter is tedious, time-consuming, and could harm your back.
Instead, take the splitter closer to the work area where you've stored your logs to reduce your workload. Typically, most medium to large models have large wheels and can be conveniently towed or even easily repositioned by hand if it's only a few yards.
Position You Splitter Correctly
One of the most important things to remember when using your log splitter is that it needs to be positioned on a flat, level surface. This reduces the chances of your machine ever tipping over, an occurrence that could damage the machine or cause serious harm to you or those nearby.
Also, make sure you have plenty of room around to work, stand and move while operating the machine comfortably.
Power On Your Wood Splitter
Once you ensure your splitter is firmly set on level ground, you can power it on.
Electric ones are pretty straightforward. For a gas-powered model, ensure enough gas before you fire it up. You might also need to adjust the choke if necessary.
Load Your Log
Hold the log on either of the long sides. Do not hold it on the (diameter) ends when loading the log to your splitting machine.
Depending on the machine, you will either have to load the log horizontally or vertically. For horizontal models, place the wood log on the bed. For vertical, stack it against the splitting wedge.
NOTE: The wedge in vertical splitters tends to get stuck in the wood. You might have to pry it off.
Activate The Forward Splitting Lever Or Valve
With the log loaded, you can proceed and activate the splitting wedge lever. This will push the log into the cutting wedge splitting wood into two.
Then return the lever or valve to its original position to retract the cylinder and the splitting wedge.
Note: If the wood gets stuck, put the lever back to retract the splitting wedge and reactivate it again.
Remove The Split Log
Once you've successfully split your first log, remove it from the bed and repeat the process with the rest until you are done cutting all of your firewood.
Proper Safety Precautions When Using Log Splitters
Although any machinery is meant to make your work easier and faster, it may not be easy to use, especially as a beginner. Using a log splitter wrongly may lead to severe injuries and damage, resulting in significant losses.
By following proper safety precautions, you can use your log splitter correctly without getting injured.
Protective Gear & Clothing
While chopping logs seems like straightforward everyday tasks, splinters or flying shards of woods can cause injury. Before you start operating your wood splitter, you must wear protective gear and clothing. It's also not unlikely for a log to slip and land on your toes, so wear work boots with steel toes and long pants. Ensure that you also wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
While they may seem overkill or unnecessary at times, we insist and recommend that you always wear safety gear to protect yourself in case of mishaps.
Prepare The Working Area
It would help if you tried to reduce the risk of accidents when operating any machinery.
That is why you should carefully prepare the area you intend to split logs at. Ensure there is no debris lying around, which can make you trip and fall. It is best to choose a flat and dry ground place to give the log splitter stability.
You can put heavy blocks of wood in front and behind the wheels of the log splitter to lock it in place.
Understand The Type of Log Splitter You Are Using
It is essential to understand how to maintain and operate the type of log splitter you are using. While a manual log splitter requires more manual input, it's easy to maintain and operate as it depends on manual pump-action or hydraulics pump to operate.
A gas-powered log splitter requires more attention as they are mechanical and more powerful. They also use more machine fluids compared to an electric log splitter. Ensure you have extra hydraulic fluid and oil, just in case.
Be Extra Careful with Unevenly Cut Logs
Certain kinds and shapes of wood react differently when they are split.
If you are dealing with logs that aren't straight-grained, or don't have a flat surface for the wedge to split, be prepared for them to split irregularly. If you can't avoid them and absolutely must split them, be extra careful as they can slip from the machine.
Other Safety Rules
Aside from the safety guidelines above, here are some more considerations to consider when splitting logs.
- Never operate a log splitter without first reading and understanding your manual instructions. Remember to do pre and post-operating machine checks on your splitter to keep it in good working condition. Test and see if everything works before and after you are done splitting.
- If working as a group, exercise a high level of caution and communicate each person's role clearly to avoid accidents. It's recommended that only one person operate the machine.
- If you're unsure how to use your machine or aren't familiar with it yet, don't hesitate to reach out for help. You can also ask someone who has experience in using a log splitter with you.
- Don't try to operate the machine if it's damaged or malfunctioning. Don't just assume that everything will be okay and continue operating it. Instead, try to find and resolve any issues before proceeding further.
- Avoid splitting wet or frozen logs. They can cause damage to your machine, and in the case of an electric log splitter, it could cause electrocution.
- Alcohol, drugs (medicinal and non-medicinal drugs) can alter your reasoning and affect your judgment. Avoid operating a log splitter until they are clear of your body.
Tips On How To Maintain A Log Splitter
You should regularly inspect your log splitter to ensure that it is always in good working order. A quick inspection once a week or after every use can help you spot issues before they become big problems. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your log splitter and extend its lifespan:
- Do a thorough inspection every week or after heavy use and do the repairs when necessary.
- A common culprit for damaged splitters is inadequate or drained hydraulic fluid. Always be on the lookout for leaks.
- Invest in a self-lubricating log splitter
- Sharpen the blades regularly
- Store the log splitter in a clean, dry place to avoid mould and rust
- Ensure you replace any worn out parts
- Service the gas engines once per year or more depending on how much you use the log splitter
- Do not expose your log splitter to various weather elements. Instead, ensure that you clean it and store it indoors in a dry place to protect it from getting wet.
A log splitter is a fantastic piece of equipment that helps you save time and energy. You can split a large pile of logs in minutes that'd have otherwise taken you hours to split using an axe. When you follow the safety guidelines and maintain your splitter, it's a significant investment that should last for years.
There is no need to hire someone else to split logs for you as this equipment helps save money and time (for years). You can do everything yourself (including when you want to spend time off the grid) with ease if you invest in one of these machines, so go ahead and get one today! You can also view our DK2 splitter range, and our Power King splitter range.
How To Use A Log Splitter; FAQs
Is a log splitter easy to use?
A log splitter is about as easy to use as an axe or sledgehammer but requires more care. You have to be aware of your surroundings and ensure no objects are behind the blades so you don't trip over them and lose your balance.
Manual log splitter Vs. Gas-powered log splitter. Which is better?
It depends on what you need and how much work is involved in splitting logs manually. A manual log splitter requires less maintenance but operate at the same speed as using an axe. In contrast, gas-powered splitters require more attention to maintain but operate faster and are more powerful than an electric log splitter.
How does an electric hydraulic log splitter work?
In general, an electric hydraulic log splitter and other powered log splitters use a hydraulic pump system to generate power to either push the log towards a splitting blade or the blade towards the log, depending on how it's designed.