Back in 2011, I cleared about an acre with a hundred or so trees to make my goat pasture. This resulted in a woodpile about 250 feet long, stacked across one side of the pasture.
This winter I decided to start chipping away at getting this all split. I started this colossal wood splitting project for a few reasons:
1) This wood has been out for about two years now, and despite being loosely stacked, it really isn’t drying. Some of the pieces are getting a little spongy (I’m sure some of it was spongy when it was cut down) and I want to split it and get it under cover so it thoroughly dries.
2) Since I stacked the wood away from fence (to keep the goats from climbing up and over). It is taking up considerable real estate in my pasture (I would say about 10% of an acre). I want to get this all moved so I can plant additional pasture grass.
I first started to split this all by hand… but it was very slow going. Unless I made this a full time job, there is no way I would have gotten this all done before it rotted. Many of the pieces are big, burly, and knotty pieces of pine (some of it approaching 30” across) that require a sledgehammer and wedges. Luckily, this past Christmas, I was the happy recipient of a Huskee 35 ton log splitter. Having never used a log splitter before, I was amazed at the raw power of this model. It easily slices through even the thickest, knottiest wood. It is so powerful, that if you really challenge it with a monster knotty log… it will simply shred it into fibers… but the hydraulic ram simply will not bog down. Here is a video of it slicing a 30″ pine round that is frozen solid:
It also easily converts from a horizontal position (easier on the back) to a vertical position (for those super heavy rounds).
I have read some mixed reviews on Tractor Supply’s website about this particular model. Looks like about half the people hate it, and the other half love it. I have had no serious trouble at all with mine, but after having spent about 30 hours with this machine splitting wood, I do have some comments.
1) Definitely invest in the optional “log catcher” (this is basically a metal shelf). The factory one is a little pricey ($50), but it is heavy guage steel and has held up extremely well to all kinds of abuse. Without this log catcher, I was quickly growing tired of bending over to pick up the other half of the split log. The log catcher is really a big improvement, especially if you plan to split for a long periods of time
2) The plastic fenders are a piece of crap. These are touted as an “extra” when upgrading from the 27 or 22 ton models. However, they are really flimsy and due to the design of the splitter the very first I split ended up bouncing right onto these fenders.. which aren’t designed for such abuse. No doubt they would be doomed to snapping off after the first day of normal use. However, it is simple enough to take them off (two bolts each) and you don’t even need them at all.
3) The muffler has a wire mesh guard around it (to somewhat protect objects from the red hot muffler). However, due to the design of the splitter, the return stroke of the hydraulic ram ends up pushing little pieces of bark and wood (debris left in the “track” of the ram) directly onto the muffler. Inevitably, small pieces fall through the grid and right onto the muffler, which then proceed to catch fire. I honestly can’t believe some engineer designed it this way. However, this is relatively easily fixed by bending an aluminum cook tray over the top of the muffler to keep the debris out.
4) This thing is ungodly heavy. You can’t even budge it by hand (unless it is on very smooth pavement). I think it weighs in at almost a 1000 pounds. This makes it really tough to move around the yard (digging ruts in the turf due to small tires). On the other hand, it is built like a brick shithouse… so you don’t have to worry about bending the frame.
5) One option I am still “on the fence” about is the 4-way adapter. On one hand, this splitter easily has the power to split a log in four pieces. On the downside…. the side wedges are fairly short and often do not go all the way through. The log has to be just the right size… not too small, so the resulting four pieces are too tiny and not too big so that the side wedges don’t cut all the way through. I just didn’t have enough logs of uniform size to make this efficient. I ended up spending more time switching out the adapter and re-splitting big pieces. I suppose if you had a huge amount of average size logs this would work. Also, more than once the log got hung up on the adapter and on the return stroke the adapter got twisted and bent the “arm” that holds it on. It is easy enough to fix with a few blows from a sledgehammer… but obviously this can’t happen too much or it will fatigue and fall off. Anyway, here is a video of the adapter in action:
Other than some of these ridiculously obvious and avoidable problems, this machine is of very high quality and virtually unstoppable! I wasn’t sure I would appreciate a gas powered splitter, however, I literally sailed through this mountain of wood (maybe 20 or 30 cords) and the splitter never missed a beat!