How to Use A Log Wood Splitter

Commercial log splitters have been used to cut high volumes of food for many years. The machines are no longer the preserve of professionals since you can now use a home version of the same equipment in your yard for varied projects. A log splitter can help you save a lot of time. It is also considerably easier to use compared to cutting wood by hand so that you get more done in the time available using less effort.

To learn how to operate a log splitter efficiently and safely in 2 easy steps, read on.

What Do You Use a Log Splitter For?

The log splitter is used to cut logs into smaller pieces as its name might suggest. Once you have cut large logs into more manageable round sections, you can use a log splitter for reducing the section into easy-to-use pieces. A log splitter can be used on either hard or soft wood as long as the log is pre-cut into rounds. Are you aware of the main benefits that log splitters offer?

Home log splitters are often used for cutting firewood. Whether you wish to build a bonfire or heat your home, a log splitter can drastically reduce the amount of work that has to be done to get the firewood.

Types of Log Splitters

The type of log splitter determines how it should be used and the size of rounds that can be processed. Log splitters are of 3 types, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. When choosing the type of log splitter to use, you will notice that each type has a different rating with regards to the amount of pressure the machine is capable of generating. A higher value for the pressure means that the splitter is capable of handling larger rounds.

1. Manual Log Splitter

The manual log splitter is the classic style log splitter. It is hand-powered and ideal for people that wish to use the splitter occasionally for relatively small rounds. While some of the styles can be operated using a foot pedal, manual splitters are still faster and easier to use compared to an axe whether or not a footgear is present.

Manual splitters have the lowest pressure rating out of all the types of splitters. However, because just one individual powers the machine, it makes sense that it is incapable of handling the same size logs as a powered splitter.

Some versions of manual log splitters include hydraulic weights or pumps that drive the wedge into the wood. They are still manual splitters technically because operating the machine requires the use of manpower.

2. Gas Log Splitter

A gas-powered log splitter is the most powerful and typically has the highest pressure rating. The splitter is capable of managing larger sections of wood and doesn’t have to be plugged in. The user is thus not limited when it comes to where the machine can be placed.

Gas splitters are however the most expensive option. Besides having to pay a higher ticket price for the machine, you will also have to pay for gas and maintenance costs such as oil changes.

3. Electric Log Splitter

The electric log splitter is the best option if you want a splitter that’s suitable in just about every situation. The electric splitter has a mid-pressure rating, which means that it is capable of handling larger rounds compared to a manual splitter, but its power is not as much as that of a gas splitter.

The electric log splitter is powered by electricity, which means that it has to be plugged in while it is in use. While this fact might limit the area in which the electric log splitter can be used, it is smaller and lighter than a gas splitter. This makes it is more portable and allows for easier storage.

How Do You Use a Log Splitter?

It is important to be cautious when operating a log splitter irrespective of the type you have. It is incredibly easy to use a log splitter, but even a small mistake can lead to serious injury. It is important to always pay attention to what you do and try focusing on the task at hand.

Here are the two easy steps you should follow to use the log splitter properly:

Step 1: Setting Up

This first step applies to both yourself and the machine. Before turning on the splitter, ensure that you have all the equipment you required to keep yourself safe including long pants, heavy-duty gloves, protective eyewear, closed-toe boots/shoes.

It is important to remove any jewellery before starting. Items such as watches and rings could potentially get caught in the machine. The same applies to any loose clothing. Eyewear such as goggles is important since wood chips often fly off the logs during splitting.

Now that you have finished getting yourself ready, you now need to set up the splitter. Pick an open area free from clutter such as garden equipment or other tools. Ensure that the wood you intent to split is nearby, but it shouldn’t be in an area where you can easily trip over it.

Set up the splitter on a level surface. A paved area will work great since you are sure of its evenness, but it is still safe to set it up on grass as long as it is flat. The splitter should also be sturdy so that it doesn’t tip over when you are feeding logs into it.

Once you have the splitter in position, you should consider placing cinder blocks or bricks around its wheels to prevent it from rolling once the wedge starts moving.

Tip: Ensure that the ground on which you set up the splitter is dry. Wet ground is never ideal for splitters of any types and not just the electric ones. Slipping is more likely on the wet ground than on dry ground.

To remain organized, you should position the splitter’s side where the finished pieces will be coming out towards the area where you wish to stack the firewood. The other side is where logs will be entering into the splitter and should face the pile of logs that you intend to split. A setup of this kind allows you to get the finished logs out of the way without delay, which ensures that clutter doesn’t build up around the splitter. It also means that you only have to carry the completed pieces over a shorter distance.

Tip: When using electric splitters, ensure that you place the cord somewhere that you will not trip over it. It should ideally lead out the splitter’s back directly towards the plug. If it is hard for you to see the cord while working, wrap sections of it in brightly coloured electrical tape.

Step 2: Splitting Your Logs

It is during this step where the type of splitter you have affects how you use it. A manual splitter will require a process that’s slightly different than that of a powered splitter.

Tip: Go slowly until you get used to how the machine operates. You will be able to go faster once you get more comfortable with the equipment.

Manual Log Splitters

It is important to ensure that the jack is tight before you start using a manual splitter. Insert the log into the jack and then tighten the screw. This will ensure that the log doesn’t move when you set the cylinder with the wedge on it into position. If this part is loose, the log will either fall out or be just split partially.

Once you have secured the log, operate the machine by hand or foot pedal to move the wedge into the log. Continue working the machine until you finish splitting the log. Ensure that your hands are out of the way before the splitting starts.

Pull the cylinder back into the starting position if you want to remove the log. Loosen the screw on the jack and remove the pieces. The step can now be repeated for the rest of the logs.

Tip: If any pieces of rounds have squared ends, use an axe to cut off these ends before you try loading it into the splitter. The splitter is designed for cutting sections with flat ends, and a different shape may lead to malfunctioning of the machine. It is also important to remove all the stray twigs from sections you will be cut to prevent them from being snagged or caught in the splitter.

Powered Log Splitters

When using a gas-powered log splitter, ensure that the machine has sufficient gas and hydraulic oil to finish the job. Turn on the machine and then choose your first log.

Position the log so that it is sitting on the wedge. Activate the wedge to split the log. Some machines have a gear that’s usually turned using a lever while others use a button. Once the log has been split, pull back the wedge by setting the handle to reverse. Remove the pieces and repeat.

Tip: Irrespective of the machine that you are using it is always important to familiarize yourself with the different parts before using it for the first time. Locate parts such as the exhaust pipe and power button so that you are not taken by surprise when it is in use.

Don’t forget to only split one log at a time. Trying to split several logs at a time is dangerous and can result in injury. It is also important to ensure that just one person operates the machine at any particular time. The person that places the wood in the splitter should also be responsible for moving the wedge.