A firewood processor is an essential tool for a handyman and is used to cut and split big rounds of trees at the same time into usable firewood. It can produce a large volume of firewood pretty quickly. It consists of two sections – a log cutter, typically a long blade chainsaw which is welded on the frame, and a log splitter.
In a typical setup, a log is placed on the machine and then lifted onto the upper frame. It then gets pushed towards a steel stop which is set at 22-inch length, which is a common length of firewood. Once sawed, a hydraulic system pushes the sawn piece against a sharpened steel plate which splits the log section to yield the firewood.
There are several manufacturers like Blockbuster, Wood Beaver, Multitek, DYNA, Hakki Pilke, etc who have their products available in the retail market. However, the cost of these off-the-shelf products ranges anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 depending upon the output rate of the product. This naturally does not suit the pockets of a lot of people out there.
And that is the reason many prefer to construct one on their own using tools and separate components. If you are building your firewood processor, you can save a lot of your hard-earned money and create one for about $2500 only. We aim to provide you with a step-by-step process of how you can DIY a firewood processor through this article.
Component & Material Required for Building a Firewood Processor
Here is the list of basic components you will require to build a firewood processor:
- Splitting wedge (2/4/8 way)
- Hydraulic cylinders and motors
- Wedge lift, log clamp, in-feed, in-feed rack lift
- Kohler attached with a pump to run the saw
- Harvester bar, chain, tooth sprocket
- B&S attached with a 2-stage pump to run the splitter
- 2 motors for simultaneous cutting & splitting
Along with this, other smaller components are required. A detailed list of these components can be downloaded from the internet. For the fabrication, arrange for the following material as well:
- Angle iron
- Channel iron
- Steel plate
- Steel box iron, square tubing 0.25-inch thick wall for frame
Before starting building the firewood processor, you would also need to arrange some basic tools which will help you in the assembly.
- Power tools such as cutting saw, grinder, drilling machine, etc.
- Welding tools like arc welder
- Cutting torch
- Basic hand tools like spanners, wrenches, etc.
Step-by-step process of building a firewood processor
- Start with drawing a plan to build a processor. If you are not an expert, you can always buy a commercially available plan available at dealers like Blockbuster or Hudson, etc.
- Power input components can be selected basis your preference if you wish to have electric or hydraulic or PTO driven.
- You might need to split all kinds of woods using your firewood processor. There can be 2-way, 4 way, or 8-way splits needed depending upon the kind & size of the log. Hence, it is best suited that you select a multi-position splitting wedge for your firewood processor.
- A hydraulic lift can be used to lift the logs onto the deck for further splitting. You can use a big tractor or backhoe to perform this specific function or construct a hydraulic system on your own.
- Use the channel iron to build the central chassis and axles and then make the trailer first. Carefully attach the wheels and run a check on their alignment. Build a box frame using channel iron on the top of the axle frame.
- Around the cutting & splitting areas, make vertical guards using steel mesh. Chain saw can be bolted on a frame along with a pivot attachment so that it can be raised and lowered basis the need. At 22 inch length, weld steel stops so that the logs are cut into standard size every time.
- You can now install a hydraulic mechanism that can push the cut log against the section plate. Angle iron can be welded now on the frame as bracing. This will stiffen the whole construction.
- Now comes the testing time. You can run various sizes of logs through your processor and see for yourself if everything is working fine. Typically, a homemade firewood processor can handle logs that are up to 20 inches in diameter. If you are a skilled operator and know how the functioning of your machine, you can easily produce 2 to 3 cords of firewood using your homemade firewood processor.
There are some videos also available over the internet that can be referred to before you plan to build your firewood processor.
While you have now understood the basic process of how to build your firewood processor, it is important that you also keep some safety-related instructions in mind.
- Prefer using steel components as they are high on durability and do not catch rust.
- Double-check on the welding sections as there should not be any gap in the welding.
- Purchase only quality components being used for cutting and splitting. It will ensure no wear & tear.
- Use a steel mesh in and around the cutting & splitting operations.
- Install side rails so that logs are prevented from rolling off the deck.