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Thread: Wood Splitter Project

  1. #1
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    Wood Splitter Project

    I have been doing a bunch of landscaping on my property and took down a number of trees......I do burn firewood, but 4 years ago I got lazy and started buying it ready to burn, so I sold the last wood splitter that I built. It was a good size splitter with 14 HP......big and heavy. I haven't had much for shop projects lately so I decided to build a splitter and use the trees I felled for some firewood.

    Started ordering all the parts, engine (Briggs vertical shaft, approx. 6.5 hp, 2 stage 11 gpm hydraulic pump, valve, 4" x 24' cylinder, hoses, fittings, filters, strainer, etc. About $600 in parts. I figured I had all the steel I needed.

    Here it is after a good day in the shop. Every piece of metal was cut either by hand with a Powermax30XP (I have a 45, a 65 and an 85, but I wanted to use the 30XP on all the structural pieces and all hand cutting up through about 3/8" thick. The Powermax85 was used for CNC cutting the motormount, the Ram , the wedge and a few other pieces.

    Bolted things together and it all fits, pressure tested (air pressure at 40 psi) the main beam....which is the hydraulic tank....had a couple leaks (rusty at welding), fixed them. I'll post when I make more progress such as the hitch, some log shelves, and of course need to fab some nice fenders, then disassemble, paint reassemble and try it out!

    I had on old set of 7 series BMW struts....which I stripped and used the lower half with spindle for the axles, had some old snowmobile trailer tires in the barn....of course I had to fab some bolt pattern adapters on the cnc plasma. The wedge is a unique design that has a small center area that allows penetration of some gnarly woods like apple, beech and some others that are hard to split. Before it (the wedge) is done it will have some wings added for more efficient splitting. This was just putting the pieces together to ensure everything would fit....

    Jim Colt

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    Last edited by jimcolt; 05-28-2015 at 06:39 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Very professional job Jim, Very envious of your shop, Looks great.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Nice Jim, Now you'll need to find some young people to use it. Most of us old people don't bend over and get back up too good any more. I burn coal, open the basement window, takes about fifteen minutes to fill the bin with 3 to 4 ton and I'm done. No more cutting, splitting and stacking wood.
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Good start Jim,
    It's nice to get some stuff re-purposed and free up some space. What is the wall thickness on the tube you are using for the beam? I would have made the slide longer but that's just me.
    ---Meltedmetal

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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    The tube is 5 x 5 with 1/4" wall thickness....there will be a 2-1/2" square tube welded on the bottom the full length as additional structure for the bending stress, as well as a place to put the front folding support and the front hitch assembly. The slide handles 24" wood, my stove only takes 18".....so it is perfect for my needs! I'll follow up with better pics as I progress! The motor was a good find.....came from factory overstock from a pressure washer manufacturer, 6.75 foot pound Briggs and Stratton for $98! When buying vertical shaft motors that are often used on mowers....you need to be sure it has a heavy flywheel, many use the mower blade as a flywheel and do not have enough rotating inertia to run without the blade!

    Today I don't have much spare time, but will fabricate the mount between the engine and the hydraulic pump. Can buy one for about $40......but why?


    Quote Originally Posted by Meltedmetal View Post
    Good start Jim,
    It's nice to get some stuff re-purposed and free up some space. What is the wall thickness on the tube you are using for the beam? I would have made the slide longer but that's just me.
    Last edited by jimcolt; 05-29-2015 at 08:14 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    I still enjoy cutting and splitting firewood (turned 59 yesterday!) as long as I can do it at my pace. While this splitter will have a decent cycle time, it will only need to be as fast as the operator! I also like the unit up high as I can spend most of my time standing straight up. When the back starts to complain.....shut off the splitter and come back in a couple of more days!

    Quote Originally Posted by GerryM View Post
    Nice Jim, Now you'll need to find some young people to use it. Most of us old people don't bend over and get back up too good any more. I burn coal, open the basement window, takes about fifteen minutes to fill the bin with 3 to 4 ton and I'm done. No more cutting, splitting and stacking wood.

  7. #7
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    The tube is 5 x 5 with 1/4" wall thickness....there will be a 2-1/2" square tube welded on the bottom the full length as additional structure for the bending stress, as well as a place to put the front folding support and the front hitch assembly. The slide handles 24" wood, my stove only takes 18".....so it is perfect for my needs! I'll follow up with better pics as I progress! The motor was a good find.....came from factory overstock from a pressure washer manufacturer, 6.75 foot pound Briggs and Stratton for $98! When buying vertical shaft motors that are often used on mowers....you need to be sure it has a heavy flywheel, many use the mower blade as a flywheel and do not have enough rotating inertia to run without the blade!
    Good info on the motor. I bought a horizontal shaft engine with the pump already mounted as an assembly. I'll cover my head when I say that the engine is Chinese. IIRC it cost me around $600.00 CAD. It works fine except that in the winter I'd like to be able to uncouple the pump for starting. I might try lighter hydraulic oil to see if that helps. I don't have a heated space to keep it in.
    My question on the tube dimensions was more a concern that your foot plate might tear off rather than the tube might bend. I used 8" x 8" H-beam for mine and I kept the foot plate small. At the time there were a few guys around here building with large foot plates and they ended up twisting the beams. I never had that problem. I used a 5" cylinder with a 30" stroke but like you I cut most wood 18" or so. I can burn about 20".
    Re: the slide. As I said it's just me and I'm not an engineer so don't get too concerned about anything I might say. My concern would be the possibility that you will induce rotational forces on the blade(depending on how straight you can cut your wood, often mine is not straight at all) causing the slide to gouge into the beam. Lots of grease will help.
    I built mine over 30 years ago and a few years ago I changed it from a vertical only 3 point hitch mount with PTO drive to a trailer type horizontal engine drive that if I'm motivated enough I can stand up vertical. I like the horizontal configuration since I got tired of working on my knees. Enjoy your build.
    ---Meltedmetal

  8. #8
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Looks great ! The only issue is that it appears that your Hypertherm plasma cutter is resting on the floor on a 2x4 in the third photo. According to page 4 of the manual you maybe brought up on charges for not having it properly displayed on a cart. Kidding !

    I like the recycled parts and material usage. I don't have scrap only small pieces that are left overs.

  9. #9
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

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Size:  93.9 KBHere is the last one I built....and sold about 3 years ago. Between myself and my friends that like to borrow things.....we ran maybe 100 cord through this. Same basic tube design although this one had a 5 x 6, 1/4 wall tube. The footplate bent after some use (it was 1" mild steel) so I straightened it (used heat and the splitter cylinder to pull it back straight) and reinforced it. The welds where the plate connected to the tube were untouched. This splitter is still running and being used commercially. The name on the log shelf is so my buddies remember where they borrowed it.....

    The foot plate on the new one is a layer of 3/4" steel (welded to the tube, then another layer of 5/8", also welded to the tube and the 3/4") for a total of 1- 3/8". The new one has a 6.5 HP vs the old one at 14 HP....so I am guessing the footplate will survive, we will find out!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Meltedmetal View Post
    Good info on the motor. I bought a horizontal shaft engine with the pump already mounted as an assembly. I'll cover my head when I say that the engine is Chinese. IIRC it cost me around $600.00 CAD. It works fine except that in the winter I'd like to be able to uncouple the pump for starting. I might try lighter hydraulic oil to see if that helps. I don't have a heated space to keep it in.
    My question on the tube dimensions was more a concern that your foot plate might tear off rather than the tube might bend. I used 8" x 8" H-beam for mine and I kept the foot plate small. At the time there were a few guys around here building with large foot plates and they ended up twisting the beams. I never had that problem. I used a 5" cylinder with a 30" stroke but like you I cut most wood 18" or so. I can burn about 20".
    Re: the slide. As I said it's just me and I'm not an engineer so don't get too concerned about anything I might say. My concern would be the possibility that you will induce rotational forces on the blade(depending on how straight you can cut your wood, often mine is not straight at all) causing the slide to gouge into the beam. Lots of grease will help.
    I built mine over 30 years ago and a few years ago I changed it from a vertical only 3 point hitch mount with PTO drive to a trailer type horizontal engine drive that if I'm motivated enough I can stand up vertical. I like the horizontal configuration since I got tired of working on my knees. Enjoy your build.
    Last edited by jimcolt; 05-29-2015 at 09:37 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Sell one of those Plasma cutters, and buy a bigger welding machine.. You might be surprised just how far the later model Mid-size inverters have changed the game there. Much more impressive then what has happened on the 120-240 plasma front. (IMO)
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Perfectly happy with the Millermatic250, I bought it used a number of years ago.....probably close to 25 or more years old? I also have a Hobart Handler210 that I use with .023 wire for lighter material. I don't claim to be much of a welder, and I have no reason whatsoever to "upgrade"...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brand X View Post
    Sell one of those Plasma cutters, and buy a bigger welding machine.. You might be surprised just how far the later model Mid-size inverters have changed the game there. Much more impressive then what has happened on the 120-240 plasma front. (IMO)

  12. #12
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Had about a half hour between "honeydo" tasks on my day off......so I drew up the pieces for the hydraulic pump to motor bracket. About 10 minutes measuring and CAD drawing right at the machine (Plasmacam has the easiest CAD / CAM software in my opinion) about 2 minutes cutting the six parts from 1/4" steel, about 15 minutes jigging and welding......looks like it will work!

    Cut with a Powermax85 on a Plasmacam DHC2, 45 amp shielded consumables. Had very light dross that you could pick off with your finger.

    Jim Colt

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  13. #13
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    Name:  IMG_2846.jpg
Views: 517
Size:  93.9 KBHere is the last one I built....and sold about 3 years ago. Between myself and my friends that like to borrow things.....we ran maybe 100 cord through this. Same basic tube design although this one had a 5 x 6, 1/4 wall tube. The footplate bent after some use (it was 1" mild steel) so I straightened it (used heat and the splitter cylinder to pull it back straight) and reinforced it. The welds where the plate connected to the tube were untouched. This splitter is still running and being used commercially. The name on the log shelf is so my buddies remember where they borrowed it.....

    The foot plate on the new one is a layer of 3/4" steel (welded to the tube, then another layer of 5/8", also welded to the tube and the 3/4") for a total of 1- 3/8". The new one has a 6.5 HP vs the old one at 14 HP....so I am guessing the footplate will survive, we will find out!


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    I can't argue with a proven design. I only put a shelf on the back side, and made it longer, wider and it has a "lip" at the back so the blocks don't fall off. There are a couple of pics somewhere on here in another person's thread. And I put the hitch at the other end. It's mine...I like it. We probably split 20 to 40 stove cord a year but I trying to renovate my house so that it will be easier to heat when I can't or don't want to burn wood any more. Biggest obstacle to wood heat right now is the insurance company. I still would put a longer slider on there even though yours works fine. I'm just a little contrary.
    Carry on.
    ---Meltedmetal

  14. #14
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Mick120 View Post
    Nice work Jim.
    The thought of going out cutting firewood makes me ache......trouble was, we had chainsaws, axes and manual block splitters......
    I agree Mick ! I prefer to use a thermostat.

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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    Perfectly happy with the Millermatic250, I bought it used a number of years ago.....probably close to 25 or more years old? I also have a Hobart Handler210 that I use with .023 wire for lighter material. I don't claim to be much of a welder, and I have no reason whatsoever to "upgrade"...
    If you have a MM-250 there is about every reason in the world to upgrade..
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  16. #16
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    I cannot think of a single reason. For my hobby shop the MM250 works perfectly and owes me nothing.

    Jim


    Quote Originally Posted by Brand X View Post
    If you have a MM-250 there is about every reason in the world to upgrade..

  17. #17
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    Name:  IMG_2846.jpg
Views: 517
Size:  93.9 KBHere is the last one I built....and sold about 3 years ago. Between myself and my friends that like to borrow things.....we ran maybe 100 cord through this. Same basic tube design although this one had a 5 x 6, 1/4 wall tube. The footplate bent after some use (it was 1" mild steel) so I straightened it (used heat and the splitter cylinder to pull it back straight) and reinforced it. The welds where the plate connected to the tube were untouched. This splitter is still running and being used commercially. The name on the log shelf is so my buddies remember where they borrowed it.....

    The foot plate on the new one is a layer of 3/4" steel (welded to the tube, then another layer of 5/8", also welded to the tube and the 3/4") for a total of 1- 3/8". The new one has a 6.5 HP vs the old one at 14 HP....so I am guessing the footplate will survive, we will find out!


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    The slitter is nice but that dog looks to lazy to split wood!!!

  18. #18
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    That picture with my dog Ruger was from about 4 years ago.....he's 12 now, a bit lumpier but still kickin'. He enjoys laying right next to the wood stove almost as much as eating. Yes....he appears lazy but will still go anywhere I ask him to....hiking, boating, or just for a ride.


    Quote Originally Posted by gxbxc View Post
    The slitter is nice but that dog looks to lazy to split wood!!!

  19. #19
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    After putting the log splitter project aside in favor of a lot of "HoneyDo" projects.....finally was able to spend a few more days. Here are the latest pics. I have fired it up and cycled it....but no wood split yet. I just made the fenders last night....but am not sure that I like them, radius seems too big. Tonight I will either scrap them and start over, or paint them and be done with it! Can't wait to try it out, all trees on my property seem nervous.

    All of the hand cutting (all tubing, angle iron and stripping the BMW struts) was done with a Powermax30xp, the cnc cut parts (wedge, foot plate, fenders, brackets, etc.) were cut with a Powermax85 on a Plasmacam 4 x 4 machine.


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    Last edited by jimcolt; 07-15-2015 at 11:27 AM.

  20. #20
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    I like it. I've always preferred the moving wedge kind like you made since the wood stays in one place and I'm not having to pick it up off the ground to keep splitting it.
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  21. #21
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    Re: Wood Splitter Project

    Tested yesterday on some fresh cut apple and some beech......excellent power and about an 11 second cycle time. Now must take down some more trees!


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