[OT-kinda] Log Splitter

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I'm debating buying a log splitter or going the old manual way, the way that has served me well for many years, but thats the problem, many years. So I'm considering getting one but have no expertise in them at all. Any suggestions on brands, important features, gotchas etc would be most appreciated. From there I'll decide if I need to get another maul and wedge (axe is still good) - Grrrrr....<sigh>. BTW, most of my pieces are 18" long, and between 12" & 24" in dia, and mmost are pine with lots of pitch and branch knots. About 50/50 semi green vs dry.
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Grandpa, My only comment would be to get one that "converts" or stands the splitter part upright. That way all you have to do is roll the wood to it, stand the chunk on end and slide it in place, rather than have to lift it up anywhere from 12 to 16" to put it on the splitter rail. Nahmie

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Makes perfect sense to me - thanks for the tip!
Norman D. Crow wrote:

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Greetings ...

We have an MTD / Yard Machines 31 ton splitter and love it. Can't seem to find the mall or wedge :)
Scott
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Getting old, eh? I'm still splitting the old way too. Mine is normally 50" hardwood, as my furnace will accommodate that length.
But - my neighbor still used an axe until age 80. He could split yellow birch or even elm with that axe. He reminded me of a bit of elementary physics, as he used a 10" tall splitting stump, not, as many of us do, another of the 16-18" long pieces we're splitting. That way the axe made contact at a point just below the waist, so it didn't load through his arms back to his spinal column. Your inseam may vary, but having the point of impact too high or too low is one reason why the task is so fatiguing, and one way to maintain the speed of manual splitting later into your life. With one kid spotting and me splitting, we easily outwork a hydraulic.

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How much does that ax weigh? I remember beating my self to death trying to split some wood while my uncle was having a merry time. Only difference was that my maul as 6# and his was 8#. Seems like mass makes a huge difference.
Wes
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Once again, I believe that Newton gives the equation as mass times the _square_ of velocity, so for each person there's a crossover point, I'm sure. The Goldilocks in me has settled on 8# as the standard in both maul and sledge, though I have to say that not all maul shapes are equal either. I've gone through a handle perhaps every two-three years on mine, but after using others', I'm not going to part with him.
BTW, I burn about 7 full cords a year, so I'm not just clumsy!
.

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[snip]

[snip]
Thanks for the confirm on 8# being a sweet spot. That old 6# maul is still laying out in the woods against a tree after I compared it to uncles 8#. Some tools don't get lost, they get abandoned.
I'll wave at it this November when I am out deer hunting.
Wes
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http://www.thestickler.com /

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That looks like something that Red Green would come up with.

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Lordy, is that thing still around?
I saw it for the first (and last) time at the Polk County (Arkansas) fair around 1976. The demonstrator had his Dodge truck up on a jack stand and was idling his way through a substantial pile of wood.
While ingenious, it struck me as not the safest system in the world.
Kevin
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Kevin Craig wrote:

I agree, if you fell against that thing I'm pretty sure you'd be screwed.
ARM
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You burning that? Just wondering. I have a lot of red pine but never thought of burning it due to creosote worries and such.
Thanks,
Wes
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snipped-for-privacy@lycos.com wrote in

If you dry the pine well, there is no problems. Stove adjustment is a key also, the pine should not be smoldering while burning. (I use a woodstove these days) I have burned cords and cords of pine as I have it in abundance, and have never had any problems. The key thing is to split the pine into small enough splits, that it can dry, and dry it good in a covered shed, or cover it with a tarp or such. It should be VERY dry before using it. If you try burning it while it is still green, you will have the problem of creosote building up in the chimney/stove pipes. Once upon a time a friend brought me loads of pine that I decided to burn while it was yet fairly green. After several months of burning this stuff in my fireplace, A great rushing, roaring sound, likened unto a jet engine filled the living room, I did not at first have a clue as to what it was. I walked outside to see this pretty blue tapered flame about 10 ft long coming from my chimney. It lasted about 5 minutes or so and all was well. I had never burned wood before, I was a green young punk and did not know anything of such things. But since that time, I have learned the way of the Woodsman, and have found if you split the pine in small enough splits and dry it well before use, you will have no problems. Another thing I do to prevent this from happening, is when I load the stove first thing in the morning, is to burn a load of pine full bore for several minutes, to burn up the creosote that builds upon the chimney/stove pipes walls, turning it to ash. The only down fall of using pine in a woodstove, is the fact that you have to load it quite often. On the upside, you do not have to clean the stove of ash so often.LOL! There is an art to burning each and every species of wood, you have to set your stove dampners and draft control differently for each, if you want the best efficiency from each. That said, pine burns nicely, you have to "burn it" as it does not develop nice coals as the hardwoods do.(it should always be flaming good another words in the stove, not just smoldering along) I burn pine in the day, and hardwoods by night, unless I have things I need to get done, then I burn hardwoods, so I do not have to be tending the stove every hour or so, as you have to do when using pine. Most people dislike burning pine mainly for this reason that you have to tend to the stove more often.
Kruppt
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All woods when burned green (wet) will produce creosote. Sweetgum is also one of the worst offenders. I would shy away from pine high in resin (heart). I have seem many houses down south burn down from the chimney catching on fire. At one time, someone made a deal like a huge candle that you threw in the fireplace when it caught on fire to put it out. Anone know if this is a worthwhile product and if it is still made?
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Yes all green woods produce creosote when burned. I split and stack my wood four years in advance.(these days) What I split and stack this year will not be burned for 4 or 5 years. The wood I will burn this winter will be 5 years in drying. That said, I never burn nothing but seasoned wood. The only reason I burn pine at all here, is that it is from slabs and such from pine timber that I have milled into lumber, and instead of wasting it, I burn it for heat, I just can not stand waste, so I burn it. I purchased a house in the south myself, and the chimney was made of flagstone and mortar. There were cracks/gaps and such in the chimney. I installed a interlocking clay liner in the chimney and filled in around the liner with mortar. I do not use a fireplace, but two air-tight woodstoves, at each end of the house. I wonder if the homes that burned down that you knew of, had these older chimneys with no liners? I don't know why a chimney fire would burn a house down, unless heat/sparks escaped through some hole or crack in the chimney. The chimney fire I had many years ago in another house was quite uneventual, other than the sound, and the visual effect of the blue flame licking at the night sky.LOL! Even the sparks from the ash coming from the chimney were sparse and went out quickly, long before they landed on anything like the roof or such. I looked into the chimney of that house and it had a steel liner in the chimney though. All my neighbors have cautioned me against burning pine, they all told of horrors of houses burning down also. In some places all you have to burn, is pine. I'm just curious if it has more to do with holes or cracks in the chimney that caused the fires. I have heard of techniques and such as you mentioned in putting out chimney fires but can not remember nothing of it. One fella was telling me they get atop the house and drop sand down the chimney. I'm sure there are a lot of inventive ways people deal with such. I was surprised to hear burning pine in the south had such horror stories attached to it. There is pleanty of hardwood here, and someone that burns pine has to have a screw loose in their head to be burning it. So they tell me. LOL!
Kruppt
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Kruppt wrote:

I've never experienced a chimney fire, but I always heard that what gets your house is when the heat reaches a point where the mortar melts and the extremely hot chimney collapses, destroying by weight, and igniting everything in the hot bricks' path along the way to boot.
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I've experienced lots of chimney fires. (A 32 foot chimney, moderate temperatures, high humidity... worst possible conditions to cause lots of cooling, condensation, and creosote buildup.)
With a damper-controlled wood stove, they were easy to stop... just close the intake damper, and the fire smothered.
The mortar isn't going to "melt" under the heat of a flue fire. It might crack and break, allowing an exit path for hot gas. Even if the house burns down, the chimney is likely to remain standing. The real danger from a chimney fire is the shower of gooey burning tar-like creosote showering down on the roof.
Kevin
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Kevin Craig wrote:

Thinking back on this, I'm visualizing a pink, badly photocopied brochure from a chimney sweeping service fishing for business. They probably painted a bizarre worst-case scenerio and made it sound like it was going to happen to you tomorrow.
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Now that's a pretty good pull!(32' chimney/draft)
Thanks for clearification Kevin. Silvan had me goin' on that one! I have heard a lot of "stories" on this chimney fire/pine deal.
I pictured the fire reaching some amazing temps, that exceeded a iron smelting furnace or sumptin'! LOL! Once I started burning pine, all the "nay-sayers" came and told their stories of horrors. I see you have one of the basics down, just shut off the freakin' oxygen source! LOL! Not having a good shut down source on a stove/fireplace is like driving a car with no brakes!
The showering sparks from the gooey burning tar-like creosote does sound like a more plausible cause.
Another thing I could see being a problem is if someone had a chimney fire in a chimney made of regular stove pipe, that was not replaced on a regular basis, and had been corroded thin from creosote, and then they have a chimney fire in one of them flimsy, tin stove pipes. That would burn down a house real quick.
Kruppt
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