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How do log splitters actually work?

A log splitter is a machine used for splitting firewood from pre cut softwood, and hardwood. There are many different models of log splitters, including manual and hydraulic ones. Hydraulic models may exert upwards of 30 tons of force while they are working, while most will exert 10 tons.

Electric and gas splitters are also popular choices. Electric splitters are for people who use about 10 cubic meters of wood a year, while gas splitters are better for those who use over 12 cubic meters per year.

Commonly, log splitter engines are powered by hydraulic pumps, gasoline or diesel – older models were powered by steam! Using their power source, the machine drives the log through a stationary blade or rotation cone shaped screw mandrel to split the original pieces.

Pieces of log have to be pre cut into smaller pieces before going through a log splitter. Once the logs have been cut, they are usually picked up by an excavator and placed onto the back of a transport vehicle.

The simplest hydraulic device will contain an engine, a hydraulic oil pump, a valve, a hydraulic cylinder a tank and a filter. The engines provide power for the system, and are attached to the hydraulic pumps. The pump then creates a stream of high-pressure oil, which runs into a valve. The valve then causes the hydraulic cylinder to operate, which splits the log. The tank, holds the oil which feeds the pump, and the filter keeps the oil clean, ensuring the machine runs smoothly.

For those who prefer to use a smaller device, hardware stores such as Bunnings and other local outdoor retailers sell a range of splitters, some weighing less than 50 kilos! These are great for using at home, especially if you don’t have much space, or don’t want to commit to owning a 300 kilo hydraulic splitter.

While these are a great tool to save time and effort of manually hacking down a piece of log with an axe, they must be used safely. Protective gear is a must, appropriate shoes, gloves and eye-protection must be worn. To safely operate a log splitter, someone must be trained on how the machine operates and find a designated safety zone while the machine is on.

Safety zones must be established as in some cases logs split unpredictably, resulting in logs dropping and rolling, or flying splinters. Many machines have now been designed for two handed operation, to keep the operators hands safe. Although, splitters are said to be safer than using an axe or maul, which come with a high risk of accident.

A benefit to cutting wood is that it is a carbon neutral and budget friendly way of keeping warm at home, or running a commercial stove. They also make the clean up process of wood splitting easy, and can be used indoors or outdoors.

For those looking to commit to purchasing one of these, there are plenty of reviews on Youtube and online blogs showcasing different models in action. Plus if you actually want to purchase a log splitter, there’s many review sites out there that will help you choose the best log splitter.


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