5 Tips To Get the Most From Your Log Splitter

Log splitters are often regarded as an invaluable piece of equipment, taking a lot of effort and hassle out of having to cut up logs manually. However, it is a large and potentially hazardous piece of machinery. It is important to know the correct way to use this equipment for safety reasons and achieve the desired result.

Here are five handy tips you can use to make the most out of your log splitter:

  1. Safety First

Before operating any type of log splitter, safety must be your first concern. Here are a few guidelines related to this topic:

  • Wear The Correct Protective Equipment And Clothing

Before you operate your log splitter, you should be wearing the right clothing and the right protective equipment. One of the dangers that occur during standard operation is the wood splinters that fly about. This is why it is very important to wear protective eyewear, such as goggles, to ensure your eyes are always protected.

Flying wood chips that land in one of your eyes can result in serious damages, so make sure you invest in a pair of safety goggles. You should also be wearing boots that come with steel toecaps to protect your toes and feet from a falling log.

Your clothing should also not be baggy as it can get caught up inside the machine. Gloves are another piece of protective gear that is useful to protect your fingers or hands from rough logs and splinters. It is also important to remove jewelry such as a watch, bracelets, or rings.

  1. Only One Person Should Be Operating The Machinery

This is one of the rules that you should always follow. The person that is holding and placing the logs on a splitter needs to be the same person that operates the controls.

This is very important to avoid injuries when the mechanism has started and the other person is not ready. These types of accidents often result in crushed fingers, hands, or any other parts of the body.

  1. Always Position The Log Splitter On Solid, Even, And Flat Ground And Secure The Wheels Using Blocks

When setting up a wood splitter before you start using it, ensure that that the wheels are blocked off with wood or bricks. Once the machine starts to split logs, particularly with the best log splitter, the force that is generated is often significant. When the machine starts to recoil, and it’s not secure, it could cause the machine to start rolling forwards. You need to make sure this never happens.

You should also never use your foot or any body part to steady the logs. This is just asking for trouble for very obvious reasons. To stop the risks of serious injuries, never use your leg, knee, or foot to hold the logs in place.

  1. Make Sure The Beam Is Locked When You Switch Between Horizontal And Vertical Operation

Most log splitters feature a function that allows you to use it in either a horizontal or vertical position, with most locking automatically when you decide to change the current configuration. However, when changing from vertical to horizontal or the other way around, always make sure the machine is correctly locked into place. If it hasn’t locked, it can result in a dangerous situation.

  1. Only Load Logs That Are Cut Off Squarely

Loading the wrong shaped logs could cause the logs to fly off or ride up the splitter when pressure is exerted. This can also be extremely dangerous.

Final Thoughts

Log splitters come in different variations, which is why you should always refer to the instruction manual before you get started. Even when you have experience with log splitters, it is important to find out how to use the one you plan to operate as it might be different from one’s you have used before.

To make sure you achieve a desirable result with your log splitter, make sure that you keep up with maintenance to ensure the machinery remains in the best working order. Some tips to remember include checking on the hydraulic pipes for leaks. The gas-engine models will also require a bit more maintenance when compared to the electric models. If you own a gas model, they should be serviced at least once a year.

How to Split Firewood

If you swing and hack away, you will eventually reduce a chunk of wood to its desired dimensions for use in your wood stove or fireplace. But, if you hope to split a lot of wood and maintain your endurance throughout the project, you will need some skills and the right tools. The following article will provide a beginner’s overview to splitting wood manually.

Fire Wood

Your project will begin with the wood you gather. Many people prefer splitting wood when it is still green. Greenwood is not only easier to split, but will dry out in time and avoid having to stack your wood twice. Dry wood can also be split, but you will find the task is a little more challenging.

A chain saw is the tool of choice for reducing logs and larger limbs to pieces of wood between 15” and 20”. 15” logs are also much easier to split than 20” logs.

Tools

Mauls & Splitting Axes

Most people assume a hatchet or axe will be the logical tool for splitting wood, but this is not the case. What you really need is a traditional maul or innovative splitting axe. A regular axe is great for hewing your wood, but it’s thinner sharper blade will easily become lodged in the log you are splitting and require extra effort to complete the task. The wider cheeks and duller design of the ponderous maul is the perfect tool for splitting obstinate lumps of wood with minimal effort.

A maul is typically 7 to 10 lbs and features a flat-faced hammer-like face on the other side of the blade. If buried in an especially tough wood like ash or oak, this hammer face can be struck with a sledgehammer to drive the maul deeper into the log and make that satisfying split.

Splitting axes are lighter than a maul, and this makes them a versatile tool for a variety of tasks, including splitting logs and removing limbs from trees when gathering firewood.

Using Wedges

A metal or plastic wedge can make the task so much easier. When the blade of your tool has become embedded in a log, the split you just made can close again when you remove the axe or maul. To prevent this from happening, insert a wedge into the split you have made to hold it open and lengthen the split with your next stroke. Wedges can greatly reduce the strokes and exertion needed to split wood and finish the task.

Chopping Block

It is safer and more energy-efficient to place your wood on a chopping block12” to 16” off the floor. It is also best if the block is a few inches wider than the wood you will be splitting.

Splitting Wood with an Axe or Maul

When working with especially heavy tools like the maul, it is important to remember that the heft and shape of the maul or splitting axe does most of the work. Your primary concern is exerting as little force as necessary to complete each stroke successfully. With a little forethought and strategizing, you will find that very large tasks can be done very efficiently.

You can maximize the efficiency of your effort by assuming the correct posture and fine-tuning your execution of the swing.

Measure the distance to your target by touching your objective with the center of the blade, arm extended. Now that you are a proper distance from your wood, spread your feet apart shoulder’s distance. Take a second to loosen the hips. The real secret to a low-effort swing is moving your hips with the motion.

In the starting position, your dominant hand will be gripping the handle just below the blade and your other hand toward the base of the handle.

With your eyes fixed on your target, raise the maul or axe above your head and allow it to drop gracefully downward. No need to force in this motion as this is an unnecessary expenditure of strength.

As the maul drops down, your dominant hand will slide downward toward your other hand at the base of the maul.

Here is where your hip action will add considerable force to this downward motion. As the maul falls, bend your knees, swing your hips and stick out your butt as much as you can. This motion is what will make the difference between depleting your energy levels quickly and quickly completing your task.

Final Notes on Splitting Wood

Planning your swings and how you will take apart a large log is a good way to reduce your efforts. Always work from the outside of a large log to the inside. Because wood is weaker at the edges, this will shave a few swings from your task and improve your efficiency.

Remember, this is a potentially dangerous task and should be practiced with extreme caution. Make sure no one in the vicinity could be struck with flying pieces of wood. Placing an old tire on your chopping block can help to catch this flying debris.