Has anyone ever used a shop press to split a particularly difficult piece of wood?

Ok so I have a couple of large (3' diameter) multi-forked maple chunks from the base of a tree. I have tried everything to split them by hand, and I don't have a log splitter yet. But I do have a 50 ton pressure shop press, and I think I can wrestle the chunk into it. Just wanted to know if anyone had ever done this? What kind of wedge can I use?
Thanks!
Dean
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Hardest part is going to be getting that sucker to the press. It should have enough force, but watch the wedge as you don't want it to pop out as the press comes down. do you have enough stroke? I guess you'll know that if the wood splits.
I've split pieces like that by hand. They are a summer projects in themselves.
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It can't be as hard as trying to split the buggers! I fought for an hour with a couple of them, and they are still sitting in my yard, completely whole:(
Press has a 6" ram travel and a hand winch for lifting up the table.
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Why not just chain saw it and be done?
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Chain saws don't work as well with the grain as they do cross cutting unless you use a blade designed for it. Done right, as in a mechanical splitter, it is much faster and easier to split than to saw.
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I'd have to respectfully disagree. Of course a ripping chain would be nice, but a well sharpened crosscut chain will rip this piece in 30 seconds, and you don't have to lift it. If you have a log splitter right there then this will do nicely, but if you want to use the wood for some spectacular project the splitter will just make a mess. I just can't imagine trying to split it in a shop press.
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I agree with TM. If they are big, bring the saw to them instead of moving them whole to an uncertain fate with a shop press.
-j

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I have to agree. I've ripped with my chainsaws plenty before. Makes some big chips! I've never invested in any ripping chains since it's so infrequent that I've had to do this, but with a good sharp chain, it's no big deal.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Sorry to go OT but I'm reminded of my Dad's solution to this sort of problem. When he got hold of something he couldn't split, he'd call his friend Alby. Alby was not particularly impressive to look at--he was about 5 feet tall, skinny, over 70 years old, and a gentleman to the core. Not the sort of guy you'd expect to be capable of particularly remarkable feats of strength. But he had another quality--he had spent a long life laying track for the Seaboard Coastline Railroad, and what that man could do with a 20 pound hammer had to be seen to be believed--he handled it with greater ease than most men handle a tackhammer. Only once that I can recall, he encountered something he couldn't handle, part of a live oak stump. That time he called "The General". The General was much like Alby, with one difference, he was quite possibly the largest human being I have ever met.
Watching those two at work gave me a new appreciation for John Henry. They're both dead now--didn't realize I'd miss them until they were gone, but they were old when I was young and that's the way of the world I guess.

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J. Clarke wrote:

Thanks for the post.
I'm apparently related to a man known as "Old Chris." Chris used heavy wheelbarrows in the 1800's and early 1900's and built up almost unbeliveable upper body strength. The story goes that in his 70's Chris could still lift a full grown man with one arm and toss him out of the mess tent.
-- Mark
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J. Clarke wrote:

Our guy is named Clyde. He's younger, and still alive. He usta could split damn near *anything* in one whack. It was amazing to see the man work through our "ugly stack" in just a few short minutes.
He bought a hydraulic log splitter though. I think he just had enough.
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Sun, Feb 27, 2005, 8:01pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com claims: Ok so I have a couple of large (3' diameter) multi-forked maple chunks from the base of a tree. I have tried everything to split them by hand, <snip>
I'm taking it you're after firewood, but you don't say, so I'm thinking you want big chunks. Unless there's something you're leaving out, I go along with TaskMule on this - chainsaw. If you're willing to make kindling, I'm sure that would be no prob - thought of that? - otherwise, with no log splitter, I don't really see why you'd think of anything "but" a chainsaw.
Or, you could just use an axe, and cut it into chips, and use them as kindling. Or, make it a coffee table. Or, use it as a seat in your shop. Or, use it as a base for an anvil. Or, use it as a base for one of your machines. Or, cut it into slices, and make cutting boards, coffee table tops, large wall clocks. Or, get a honkin' big wood lathe, and turn a honkin' big bowl. Any number of uses, just use your imagination.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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The tried and tested way. Obtain from your local saw sharpener and paper guillotine grinder, in the uk they do both, and receive from them 2 matching pape knife blades approx 24" long is about right. Then weld or bolt togethe as they are ground one side only to make a long wedge shape. Proceed to chainsaw a notch in the end of log and place wedge in slot. Now put all the protective gear you can find and hit with force first one side and then the other. When it disappears below the surface use wooden wedges to follow through. Have fun but do not forget the goggles. But it does work.
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