For those of us whose last name isn’t ” Bunyan,” thoughts of splitting logs for firewood can seem daunting. If you’re curious about log splitters this article is for you.
Kinds of Log Splitters
Simply put, a log splitter breaks large chunks of firewood into manageable pieces. There are three basic types: manual, electric and gas. The manual splitters rely on hydraulics and/or human strength. It stores easily and is ready at a moment’s notice. If you burn occasionally, this may be your choice. The electric variety is the most popular and less heavy than a gas splitter. It is more portable and safe for inside work. This option is for someone with moderate tree cleanup, access to trees, and who burns often. Next, is the gas-splitter. It is loud, powerful and handles hardwood trees easily. Find out the types of trees you will be splitting in order to better assess how much power you need from your gas log splitter. A guide to tree hardness can be found here. Always make sure to get in contact with a knowledgeable person who deals with log splitters so you buy what you need.
How to start splittin’
After you bring home your log splitter, take time and read the manual. This is critical. We will go over key points for an electric model as they are most common. First, you will want to find an open area to split your wood. Remember, this is a messy process; think splinters. You must wear gloves, safety goggles, pants and appropriate shoes; earplugs are optional. You must keep children away as they are a distraction and can get hurt. Once you’re garbed for the task turn on your machine. Push the handle toward the wedge without a log to ensure it is working smoothly and to get a feel for your machine. (This article assumes your wood is the proper length for your splitter.) Pull back your handle and place a chunk of wood securely on the log cradle and brace it against the wedge and/or faceplate. Now comes the fun part: push the handle forward and witness the satisfying crack as the machine splits your wood. Pull back the handle and remove the newly split pieces. If you feel a log isn’t splitting correctly, stop the process and readjust your log. It is that simple.
There are fancy features with any log splitter such as lifts to help your aching back, guards to prevent logs smashing your foot, longer log cradles for longer logs, etc. But whatever you choose for your needs: manual, electric or gas, do your homework, ask questions and take your time, and your log-splitter will last many years and make your life easier.
For me, it’s gas-splitters all the way, all the time. They have the power needed to take on any type of wood so nothing else is needed. I like working one and seeing those splinters go all over the place – it’s pretty terapeutic for me ;).
The secret to doing this safely is to put on protective gear (always) and to never, ever hurry while doing this. Needless to say there should never be any kids around when you do this. This is a serious job and shouldn’t be taken lightly.