I went out yesterday experimenting, on a lark, with splitting some
large oak logs. They range from 3' to 4' in diameter and are about 6'
long. I thought I'd just chainsaw a shallow line down the length
(about 3" into the sapwood) then use sledgehammer with wedges to split
it down that line.
My goal was to get a few slabs.
The oak just laughed. It wouldn't budge, and I wore myself out pretty
quickly slinging that 18 lb sledge. The wedges went in (maybe) 1/2"
then acted as if I were hitting concrete or iron (except they weren't
dulled really). I guess the mass is just too much for a single wedge
Do you know of other ways than sawing to split a log this thick?
Portable hydraulics? Anything?
Curiouser and curiouser,
You are kidding, right? That's got to be one gd big froe. Did I
mention the log is about 4 FEET in DIAMETER? Hey, if you know that a
froe can do it, then I'm all ears. I've seen chairmakers use froes on
smaller diameter (and length too: don't forget I'm working on a 6 foot
long piece, and want to keep it that long) oak, but this wood is
On 25 Nov 2003 07:55:33 -0800, email@example.com (Hylourgos) wrote:
Split in half with wedges, then take a froe to the 2' segments. Hard
work, but you can do it.
I can't help wondering why you're splitting this, rather than milling
it. Round here, 4' oak logs are worth good money when sawn. We only
fool around splitting the skinny stuff.
As others have said, split it from an end, not the side.
Another point when splitting oak is that it only splits radially. You
have to align the froe _exactly_ between the rays, because it's one
hell of a job to try and go through them.
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
After whacking it all afternoon and breaking one sledge? Hell yea,
that was my first thought! Teach that SOB oak to mess with me.... But
then I thought, "what would Jesus do?" (who was, after all, a
carpenter) and immediately removed those revengeful thoughts.
Yeah, He would look at the log and say "Be split" and not only would it
be divided into regular sized bits, but they would be neatly stacked to
Not terribly useful, I know.
=======================================================================Charles Jones | Works at HP, | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hewlett-Packard | doesn't speak | ICQ: 29610755
Loveland, Colorado | for HP | AIM: LovelandCharles
USA | |Jabber: email@example.com
Work from the end of the log just like a log splitting machine would do.
Pound in a couple of wedges till you get a crack and then pound some in from
the top. I've split some big logs this way but never a four-footer. My Stihl
064 would take care of that bad boy.
Get them good and cold. They'll split.
Freezing the logs will freeze the moisture in them allowing the wood fibers
to cleave easier.
Trust me, Minnesota Red Oak is no fun to split on a summer day. Get it near
zero and it will split like a breeze.
Cold, freezing cold. There is nothing quite like the feeling of splitting a
cord of oak in 20 degree weather. Steam coming from your body, radio playing
whatever you like to hear, a thermos of something hot, or spiced, (probably
not spiked, that can wait) and the anticipation of a warming fire. But not
the wood YOUR splitting!!!!
Thanks, Phil and David.
It just got down to 29 here last night, so maybe I'll try it again
One problem is orientation: it won't be easy to work on the endgrain
since these things are so big, and in cramped quarters. There's no way
I can move them much. Maybe the freeze will help split them though,
I'll give it a try.
How about you cut just a wee bit deeper with the chainsaw. Let me guess,
you don't have a chainsaw with a 32"+ bar. You could rent one, or I bet
someone out there would be willing to help you out in exchange for one
of those slabs.
I have the exact same situation. 3-1/2' diameter white oak logs, 6' long.
I am planning on getting a ripping chain for my Stihl 066 (28" bar) and
cutting almost the full length of the bar into the log. Slow going, but it
will split when done. I plan on quartersawing the log anyway on my
Wood-Mizer, so it will work out fine. Something that big *needs* to be
cut - you will not be able to split it just with wedges unless you have a
dozen or so and a much bigger hammer (and a lot of muscle).
Old timer? It is MUCH easier to split when frozen. I used to do a lot of
splitting when it dropped to zip. People think you're nuts working in a T shirt
in taht kind of weather, but almost anything else and I'd sweat, which is no
fun when it's really cold.
I used wood to heat almost exclusively from about 1973 until 1986. Then I
married a farm girl who wants no part of it. She's been there, done that, with
the hard work and the extra dirt.
The truism used to be that wood warmed you twice, once when you cut it, and
once when you burned it. But it gives a moderately good warm up during
stacking, carrying inside, and cleaning up the debris before and after burning,
"Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the
pleasant fact that there are only ten of them." H. L. Mencken
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.