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mobilus
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 171 Clay County, TX
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2007-09-28          146212


Has anyone used a second-hand hydraulic cylinder to build a wood splitter? If so, what kind of equipment did you take the cylinder from?

Thanks for any advice you have.
Mark

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candoarms
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2007-09-28          146216


Mark,

A wood splitter requires a 4" diameter cylinder of at least 24 inches in length, and a rod of about 2 inches in diameter. (4x24x2) (any smaller, the shaft could bend)

Cylinders of this size are not commonly found on most implements, but any cylinder of at least this size will work for you.

You'll need to put out about 11 gallons per minute or more from your hydraulic pump, in order to cycle a cylinder of this size in any reasonable amount of time. At 11gpm, a 4"x 24" cylinder will cycle in about 30 seconds.

Fortunately, cylinders for wood splitters are very common items. You can find them at Surplus Center at reasonable prices.

See Item# 9-6890

Joel ....


Link:   Surplus Center -- Hydraulic Cylinders

 
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candoarms
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2007-09-28          146217


Mobilus,

Here's another cylinder -- just a different configuration and a bit cheaper.

Surplus Center Item# 9-7456

Joel

....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-09-28          146220


Mark, a wood splitter is like a recipe, there's lots of way to do it, none right, lots of them taste good.

Joels reference to a 4" x 24" cylinder is a pretty standard size, and pending system pressure, will generate more than enough force to split nearly anything you put in it.

The key though is what you want to end up with, both as a 'normal' and as a 'maximum' ability.

I've seen lots of small splitters made from much smaller cylinders, and only powered by a power steering pump off an old (semi type) truck.

As an example, a 4" cylinder, supplied with 2,500 psi, will produce 31,416 pounds (15.7 tons). However, if you reduce the pressure to 1,000 psi the force drops to 12,566 pounds (6.25 tons), and at 500 psi you will have 6,283 pounds (or 3.1 tons).

On the other hand, if you have just a 2" cylinder, and you give it 2,500 pounds, you will get 7,844 pounds (nearly 4 tons).

The force you end up with as splitting force is a function of the force of the fluid, multiplied by the surface area of the piston. So you can increase force merely by going to a bigger cylinder on the same pressure.

The bottom line is, use a big cylinder, and power it with nearly anything and you will have a decent splitter.

The only other factor is speed, the bigger the flow, the faster the cylinder will move. It can get crazy though, I know several people who bought splitters based on super fast cycle times, however humping wood through it at full speed usually kills several people in short order trying to keep up.

IMHO, stand with an axe and a pile of wood and measure YOUR cycle time working at an easy pace, anything that can split at that speed without all the effort on your part is going to be just fine.

Have a look at my picture # 8 for an idea on an easy one that splits really fast due to a really simple automated valve design.

Best of luck. ....

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mobilus
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2007-09-28          146221


Joel,

Thanks! I knew that I wanted a 24 inch actuator, but the two inch piston was info i didn't have. I've just cut a lot of big pecan, so I need to build a cheap splitter. Thanks again!

Mark ....

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mobilus
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2007-09-28          146222


Murf,

That looks good. I may have access to a couple of smaller diameter cylinders, so I might configure them in tandem if I get them. The price is right if it happens: free-ninety-free.

If I have to buy it, I'll get the 4X24X2 as Joel suggested. The splitter wouldn't be used that much, only on the few really large trees that I get to take down after windstorms in town...so I'm gonna use long hoses and connect them to my loader ports. That way I can use the loader valve...sure, it is slower, but that's okay. Think that'll work? ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-09-28          146223


Mark, I would caution you to be careful and install a "flow divider / combiner" between the valve and the 2 cylinders.

If you just put a couple of T-fittings in to divide the hydraulic flow to each of 2 cylinders the cylinder with the least force on it will want to push farther and faster than the other one. Physics at work, pure and simple.

A "flow divider" automatically divides the hydraulic flow in exactly half, regardless of whether or not each of 2 cylinders are doing different amounts of work.

Hooking it up the way you describe will work, but not well or quickly. If you use the FEL ports as a power source, be sure to use the FEL valve to operate the splitter too. If you have another splitter valve downstream it may cause the FEL system relief valve to operate excessively, leading to early wear.

Best of luck. ....

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mobilus
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2007-09-28          146224


Cool, I'll check into the flow divider. I hadn't planned on using another valve in addition to the loader valve. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
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2007-09-28          146225


I've bought a few cylinders from Surplus Center and highly recommend them. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
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2007-09-28          146226


Mobilus,

Assuming that your pump puts out about 5 gallons per minute.......(your tractor manual will tell you exactly)

If you use the hydraulic loader ports on your tractor to power the splitter, you can expect a cycle time on a 4 inch cylinder to be about double.....or just over 1 minute. That's 30 seconds out and 30 seconds back. This may be fast enough for you.

If not, the other option is to go with a 3 inch cylinder. It won't be quite as powerful, but you'll be able to split nearly any log you come across.....except for possibly a large, wet log, with many knots.

The best solution......and the most expensive....is to purchase a Prince PTO pump to place on your tractor's PTO shaft. The pump will have to be matched to your tractor's PTO horsepower rating to get the maximum power out of the pump, and to make sure you don't overload your tractor's engine.

If your tractor puts out 20 horsepower at the PTO shaft, you'll want to go with a Prince model HC-PTO-2AC pump. This pump puts out 11.5 gallons per minute with 18 horses, at 540 RPM.......perfect for running even the largest log splitters, with a 4 inch cylinder.

Of course, you'll need to build a hydraulic fluid reservoir and mount it on your splitter, since you won't be using the tractor's pump for this project.

And just one more bit of information......

If you plan on using the PTO pump to power your splitter, you'll want to construct an oil reservoir at least double the size of the fluid flow.........or about 20-25 gallons in size. This will allow the returning fluid to cool properly, before being recycled through the pump.

See the link below.

Joel

....


Link:   Prince PTO Pumps

 
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Murf
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2007-09-28          146227


Joel, there's a couple of errors in your calcs.

First, 'rated' output is just that, hypothetical, and it usually doesn't include the pump even being in the tractor, let alone all the restrictions caused by things like QD fittings or valves.

Secondly, 'rated' output is at WOT (or PTO) throttle setting, hardly a practical way to operate.

Finally, your cycle time is based on a full closed / full open cycle, rarely does that happen in the 'real world', the wood splits in half before the splitter is fully closed, and why open it 24" wide when you're only splitting maybe 16" material? If the actual cycle is from the 16" open to the all but 4" closed point it cuts your cycle time calc. in half.

I do agree with you though, a PTO pump is a better option, but then again, Mark did say he wanted to build a splitter on the cheap, not build the "Tim Taylor Binford 5000" super-splitter.

Best of luck. ....

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candoarms
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2007-09-28          146228


Murf,

You're right, of course. He did say he wanted a cheapy splitter.

However, Mobilus also said he just cut down a large pecan tree....which will be very wet, and therefore difficult to split. I'm sure it won't split all the way down with only 16" of travel.....unless his wedge is 8 inches wide. hehehe.

OK....maybe you got me. The tree could have been dead as a doornail for 16 years, before he decided to cut it down. But, maybe it would be best to ask Mark. hehehe.

You know....I rarely visit this board without walking away with a smile on my face. I truly enjoy this little corner of the net. Many thanks.

Joel ....

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mobilus
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2007-09-29          146242


That tree was so wet that when we were loading the bigger pieces on the trailer, a steady stream of water was running out. No joke...

I know that the optimal project would be to follow your advice and go for a PTO pump with a separate reservoir, but I really don't use one that much to justify the expense. So that's why I'm wanting to try this very simple approach.

Thanks for the advice, guys. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Mark ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
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2007-09-29          146263


There's a much cheaper way to split fire wood if you're not looking for production necessarily.

I bought a "log splitter cone" for about $100 that was designed to be driven off the rear wheel of a car or truck. It's made of steel about 24" long, about 10" at the large end and tapers down to zero. There is a chrome plated tip on it with shallow threads leading up from the tip allthe way up the cone. You can actually have gloves on and it will not catch on the gloves, but it will screw its way through a log.

The one I bought came without the wheel adapter, so I made my own adapter plate so that I could use it on my hydraulic-powered skid steer loader auger drive head. I haven't perfected it (still in prototype stage) in that I have used it (the firewood business around went to crap). But I was able to use it a few times to realize it was worth using, should I get into the firewood business.

The actual product has been around for more than 40 years---my dad demonstrated one at a farm show back in '68 and mounted it to our '68 Ford LTD. (jack up the car, remove one wheel, install cone with wheel nuts, start car engine, and put in Drive).

I was going to see if it would be compatible with my tractor's PTO, but it needs to have the correct rotation since it screws it's way into the wood. And I have not as yet checked the rotation--it's on my list.

....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
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2007-09-29          146265


The cone is called "The Stickler". Below is the link. ....


Link:   The Stickler splitter cone

 
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kleinchris
Join Date: Jun 2007
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2007-09-29          146278


I've got a great story about a splitting screw if af anybody is interested... ....

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earthwrks
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2007-09-30          146286


Okay, I'll bite...is it about a one-night-stand? ....

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kleinchris
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2007-09-30          146288


For a couple of years after college I was working at a summer camp outside of Baily, Colorado. Baily is about 30 miles at about 8000 ft. Very rural. (This was in the eary 90',s) My boss was a volunteer fire fighter with the local department and was often asked to get up infront of rookies, sometimes at neigboring departments to tell a story about his first fire call.
He arrived on a sceene in a sub division called Harris Park, (Harris Park by the way produces some very top notch methamphetamine,) The Sherriffs dept got a call from an annonymous caller saying that an accident had occured. Dave arrived to find a pick up with one wheel off the ground and a splitter on that wheel. The splitter was still spinning at 3000 rpm with most of a womens head spinning with it. Her hair had become tangled around the screw and it very quickly ripped her head off. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-09-30          146289


Good thing I had breakfast already.

The Stickler comes with a supposed remote "ignition cutoff switch". Switches like that are also known by their more practical and applicable name of "deadman switch". BTW the Stikler doesn't need to spin fast at all---the slower the better---probaly the speedometer equivalent of 1-2 MPH, or at idle in DRIVE (automatics).

....

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mobilus
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2007-09-30          146295


Thanks, EW. If I had a setup like you have on the skid steer, I might give it a try...butI'm not up for the challenge involving the wheel. Just seems too dangerous. I've had the crap knocked out of me using my drill press, I'd hate to be in a similar situaton with added weight and power.

Maybe if I actually saw one in use...maybe. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-09-30          146296


The link above shows a video of it being used. It's not a dangerous deal by any means---I was 9 or 10 when I used my dad's demonstrator unit. (Wow, it takes along time typing this with only the one finger I have left hahahaha) ....

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mobilus
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2007-09-30          146298


LMAO!!! ....

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mobilus
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2007-09-30          146299


Okay...so I now have Quicktime installed. And you're right, it doesn't look dangerous. Unless your driveline was running WOT and you had really long hair and were on meth...well, something like that.

I'll do a litle search and see what I come up with. Thanks, EW.

Mark ....

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earthwrks
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2007-09-30          146300


Yup now we're on the same page.

I read somewhere that a guy installed the Stickler on a rototiller for powering it making it very portable---it would practically drive itself to the job if you left the tines on the other side. ....

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kleinchris
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2007-09-30          146301


That surplus site is awesome! ....

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Murf
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2007-10-01          146332


Jeff, the trick to using one of those Sticklers the way you do, on a hydraulic drive head on the FEL, is to split the entire log THEN cut it into blocks.

If you split it log length the entire log can't move since it's butted up against a front tire before it move very far.

Best of luck. ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-10-01          146336


Hey EW,

I think I'm going have to change your avatar to that stickler pix what do you think?

Dennis ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-10-01          146337


Or after you split your first cord LOL! ....

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candoarms
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2007-10-01          146339


Mobilus,

My first log splitter was a handyman jack, with a fabricated wedge placed over the lifting arm.

It will supply nearly three tons of splitting force, and will travel the length of the log.

The base plate can be screwed down to a pallet, or some other base, which will allow it to stand freely on its own. The top of the jack can be turned 90 degrees to be used either as a fence stretcher or....even as a log splitter.

The price of the jack is about 50 bucks.....cheaper than that when on sale.

See the link below.

Joel ....


Link:   Hi-Lift Jacks

 
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candoarms
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2007-10-01          146341


Mobilus,

I forgot to mention that you will have to fabricate a different top clevis to be used when splitting wood. Mine was made from two pieces of half-inch steel, with holes drilled to utilize three lifting holes in the jack.

If you use only the top clevis supplied, it will break. Don't ask me how I know this. hehehe.


Joel ....

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Murf
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2007-10-01          146357


If you have an air compressor a pneumatically operated hydraulic shop press that will make about 30 tons of force can be had for a couple of hundred bucks at HF and such places.

With the addition of a splitting wedge and a base plate you can split wood fine with it, but it's slow.

The big problem is most of them only have about a 6" stroke, so you have to keep adding shims under the block to get it split if it's a tough piece.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
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2007-10-01          146372


klienchris, seems very little follow up to your story so I will ask...was it true? second question the tire really was running at 3000 rpms?

dennisctb, yes, you need to make the change on avatar for EW. The more I read, the more I understand those circles, well not really circles. kt ....

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mobilus
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2007-10-23          147233


Thanks, y'all! I got the rams I mentioned before, but from your advice I have decided to go ahead and buy a 4X24X2 cylinder from Atwoods...priced at $199 with no shipping involved. That is, if I can slow down enough to get it done. With the winter coming on, there are too many jobs that I'd delayed doing this year. Oh, finally got the latest project done, a car we pieced together for my son. Have less than $300 in it...Oh, if only that was always the case! Check out picture number 7. I think I did well on this one.




[dennisctb] I fixed this one for you, you linked to a photo edit page not the image [dennisctb] ....

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denwood
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2007-11-18          148404


I am not sure I understand the need for a 2" shaft for the ram. Yes it will return faster the bigger the shaft so it cuts return time, heck give me a 3", but if the cylinder is rated for 2500 or 3000 psi and that is what you are giving it and it was engineered with a 1.5 inch shaft, how would you be prone to bend it. It is not like you would be shock loading it like a front end loader cylinder being rammed into an immovable object, nor would you be side loading it by fastening the middle of the cylinder to the beam. It would have a mount at both ends, being fed pressure it was rated for and not shock loaded. If I could think of one instance a minimal shaft diameter could be used on it would be a splitter. I have seen a lot of bent spitters, mostly the cheapy I beam someone found for free or the flimsy base plate that stops the log. None have been the ram, but I have seen a lot of bent rams and they were all on loaders. ....

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candoarms
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2007-11-18          148408


Denwood,

The primary issue here has to do with the cycle rate of the splitter. That is.....the total time of the full cycle, from start to full return.

A 4" cylinder will produce apx. 34 tons of splitting force. (depending on the system's pressure) On the way out, the cylinder will move quite slowly, due to the high volume of the cylinder. On the return stroke, where no pressure is exerted, it's best to have the cylinder retract in a rather speedy fashion. This can only be accomplished in two ways.......

1. Increase the output from the pump during the return stroke.

2. Decrease the volume of the cylinder on the return stroke.

The first option isn't usually possible. Pump output is generally fixed......unless a very expensive 2-stage pump is used.

The second option is easily accomplished by placing a larger shaft in the cylinder, thus reducing the volume of the cylinder on the return stroke by a considerable amount. The larger the shaft, the faster the return time, because the shaft consumes volume that the pump doesn't have to fill with oil.

A 2" shaft usually provides a suitable cycle rate......slow on the way out.....much faster on the way back.

The size of the shaft really doesn't provide any better splitting power. The splitting power comes from the diameter of the cylinder. The larger the cylinder diameter, the more splitting force.......along with a much slower cycle time.

The larger the cylinder shaft size, the shorter the return time will be. With a 4" cylinder, a 2" shaft provides a very efficient cycle rate. With a 5" cylinder, it might be best to move up to a 2.5" shaft.

Joel ....

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kleinchris
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2007-11-19          148419


kthompson
Yep, true story. I have been wondering since this topic came up about the overall safety of the cone splitter. I think I expressed my feeling on the subject as I think it's one of the most dangerous tools I have ever used or seen used for that matter. That said, I was thinking that maybe I was alone on this until I read something EW said about using it on a PTO. Why dont these things come ready to fit on a PTO? Instead you have to take off a vehicle wheel? Could it be that tractor companies dont want this tool on their machines? I know that is about as plausable as George Bush controlling the weather, but, lets think about this. Why wouldn't a tool that's only funtion is turning in circles be adaptable to a PTO? ....

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hardwood
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2007-11-19          148421


kleinkris; You learn something everyday, the cone splitter is a prime example. I honestly never knew there was such a thing till a couple years ago I saw one being advertised on TV. I was almost shocked that anyone would even produce such a suicide machine let alone try to sell it. WOW. Frank. ....

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denwood
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2007-11-19          148423


Hello Joel,

I was only questioning the first response you made to this post "and a rod of about 2 inches in diameter. (4x24x2) (any smaller, the shaft could bend)". I was wondering why you would imagine smaller shaft would bend. I don't want anyone being scared away from a good deal on a cylinder just because they think it must be 2". If it was designed with less, it will work with less. In fact if you look in Northern Hydraulic, you will see a 4x24" cylinder is much harder to find in with a 2" shaft. It is far more common in 1.75" and 1.5". Sure they will be slower returning, but people here are talking about hooking up every type of abomination to split wood. I don't think most people will mind a tiny slow down if they are on the cheap mission to win. I can tell you The splitter I bought brand new in 1990, rated as 22ton light commercial, has a 16 gpm 2 stage pump with an 8 HP engine, and a 4 inch cylinder with a 1.75" shaft. I split absolutely everything, it will even shear logs and it shows no signs of bending after 17 years of hard use. I am building my new one using OEM splitter parts and the new one will haas a 22GPM pump with a 5" cylinder. The new cylinder has a 2" shaft, but it does have a lot more force behind it being 5". I have no concern about return speed with a 22gpm pump and it is the same cylinder used by some manufacturers on splitters.
....

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Murf
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2007-11-19          148424


There's a much faster easier way to increase cycle times than those listed above.

The standard splitter has, as was mentioned, a 24" stroke cylinder. How many people cut firewood 24" in length? If you are cutting 16" or 12" (the most common around here) and have a splitter with the auto-return valve on it, then the cylinder is opening & closing at least 6" in both directions too far, possibly 10" if you are splitting 12" wood.

If you have a splitter equipped with valve set up for variable stops and auto return only to your set point (like the one in my picture # 8, see below) then you have saved probably 50% of the cycle time in just not wasting time opening & closing the cylinder while it's doing no work.

This is a modification that can be done on every splitter I've ever seen, it's not expensive and fairly easy to do.

Best of luck. ....

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harvey
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2007-11-19          148435


Wasn't gonna but here goes. If you are splitting small straight grain wood almost any cylinder will work as long as it has enough stroke.

If you are splitting knarly knotty maple, beech, oak, etc. it will put a real stress on the cylinder rod. I have seen them bent. The 2" rod is a good investment if you get nasty wood. I have survived with the 1 3/4 rod because of my slide design. Am putting on a 5X24 cylinder this year. Wrestling with a 200# block of wood that is knotty and being careful to find the right grain to start split is a PITA. The 4" just isn't up to some of the wood I split.

Cycle time is a relative thing the older you get the less speed you want. The machine I have now is waaaaaaayyy faster than I need to work. But it has the power and GPM's it is just a little short on muscle even at 3000PSI. So a 5" won't hurt my feelings one bit. Photo # 10.

Just to mention the screw splitter. There are some old threads about them. I will say that I have used those things that were designed for the PTO and IMO they are the most dangerous implement I have every used, trust me I have used some scary stuff. They might be less dangerous in a small straight grain wood but I would not trust them there either. I'd rather take my chances with a Monkey holding a loaded Machine Gun.

....

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candoarms
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2007-11-19          148436


Harvey,

Well, now I don't feel so bad. Glad to see I'm not the only person on earth who was planning to use an automobile engine to power my log splitter.

I've got a Ford 300ci, 6 cylinder engine sitting in my shop that I have no use for. A few years back, I thought I might power my electrical generator with it, but it's a gas hog. It's not being used for anything, so I may as well mount it on a trailer and power a log splitter with it.

My son says I should build dual splitters....one on each side of the trailer....so that two people can split wood at the same time. That old 6 cylinder should handle the power requirements. hehehe. Maybe.....just maybe.

Thanks for the photos.

Joel ....

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kleinchris
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2007-11-19          148438


I am so envious of that log splitter that I am thinking about going to buy a car just to rip the engine out of it for the splitter!

Back to the Stickler, we had one at my old camp that I remember my dad using when I was a kid. (But we called it the Big Screw.) Couse back then, he would be splitting wood with his buddies on a Sunday afternoon in the Colorado fall. Always a couple of cases of Coors Light in an old cooler. That tool had been handed down to different trucks-an old Power Wagon, then a Ford Ranger, and then finally a F-250, so it had about twenty lug holes in it! It's still there, or it was when I left a few years ago. I had thought about putting it on E-Bay, maybe somebody making a horror movie would pick it up. ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-11-19          148439


Harvey,

How about automating the splitting process with another project that builds something like this ;) ....


Link:   Bulk wood splitter

 
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kleinchris
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2007-11-19          148440


I would love to see some plans for a double splitter. On a single trailer? Would the engine power one big hydraulic pump? Toss the split wood into te middle of the trailer? Now I'm designing this thing as I type. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-19          148441


As far as rods bending the only time a rod will bend is if the rod is not free to self align to the load OR is overloaded. Hard mounting is not doable--no clevises on either end. And a clevis just on one end is not sufficent.

For grins-and-giggles I looked up typical 3", 3"-1/2", 4 bores x 24" stroke for columnar load capacity. Rod sizes which vary are indicated.

3" bore x 1-1/2" rod: 16,410 lb.
3-1/2" x 1-3/4" rod: 28,860 lb.
4" bore x 1-1/2" rod: 16,870 lb.
4" bore x 2" rod: 37,690 lb. NOTE how increasing the rod 25% equates to more than DOUBLE the capacity!

These were Chief Welded Series 2500 PSI Cylinders; Tie Rod Series cylinders are slightly rated stronger; 3000 PSI cylinders for both series are slightly rated stronger. ....

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candoarms
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2007-11-19          148442


Kleinchris,

I'm thinking about putting a splitter on each side of the trailer, with the splitting wedges hanging over the rear end, on both the left and right sides. The trailer can be pulled ahead as the wood piles grow in size.

I have a friend who owns 4 quarters of land (about 640 acres running down the length of the river) of heavily wooded pasture-land, about 75 miles west of me. He's been asking for help to clear large areas of the land, so that he can construct hay sheds, calving barns, and winter wind breaks for his cattle. In return for the labor, the wood would be "free" for the taking.

Most of the trees are about 10-12 inches in diameter and about 24 feet tall. They aren't very good for firewood, as they're all poplars.

The idea is to make the most of each trip, as gas prices are HIGH.

I plan on bringing the logs home in full lengths, and then cutting and splitting them in the pasture. My trailer is rated at 14,000 pounds. If I put my 6' bed stakes in, I should be able to pile it up pretty good. The stakes can be chained in the middle, and across the top, to prevent them from bending. When the trailer is half-full, I can then run a chain between the stakes......piling more tree trunks on top.

He's got a large tractor with a loader, and has already dug out a loading area, where the trailer can be backed in about 4 feet below ground level, making it easy to load the trailer with logs. When we're done loading out the logs, he's going to expand the size of the hole to provide for summer cattle watering........as he's next to the Mouse River, and wants to take advantage of the Spring floods to fill his three separate watering holes.

So I've got all the free wood I can handle, provided that I can get it home and split when I've got my son around to help.......which isn't very often. If I build a double-splitter this winter, we should be able to cut and split all the wood in a single weekend.

When I'm done with the splitter, I can always rent it out to those who run across a similar opportunity.

Joel ....

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harvey
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2007-11-19          148448


Dennis I'd do that but most processor wood can oly be a certian max size and fairly straight grained.

I was setting up 3' plus maple blocks on their sides with tractor bucket and rolling by hand onto log lift. I had some of the snottiest 24" Maple I have ever tried to split and splitter would not start it thru a knot. Had to find a grain spot to start split. Have some 4+' popple to split. If it's wood I burn it.

I get a lot a nasty wood from various sources at no charge just so they do not have to haul it and pay dump fees at land fills.

Candoarms IMO a dual splitter would be a PITA. 2 guys, me and 30year son have all we can do to feed this thing. If you have a good engine and a good 30+GPM pump you will be in business. 3 guys would make mine very efficient.

My thoughts on design. top of beam mid way between knee and hip. NO BENDING. Log lift that will hold 300# with out tipping splitter. BIG split tray pan to hold split wood so 3rd person does not have to bend and pick up. And or a tappered chute up so split wood can go into a pile and keep pushing up and over not moving the splitter ahead. NEVER lift any block over 40#'s or so always roll. Small blocks I can set 4-6 on lift raise up level and go to work. Boy usually keeps it feed while I split and toss into wagon.

I run mine at about 1400 RPM ran 26 hours so far this year on just over 10 gals of fuel. I am guessing I'm only pumping 18 or so GPM because of RPM. But it's plenty fast. ....

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kleinchris
Join Date: Jun 2007
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2007-11-19          148453


I have an applcation for a two splitter set up for sure. One person on each control and a third getting them set up. I might take it one step further and throw a generator on the thing! How cool would that be! I could probably turn around and sell the design to Binford. ....

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Murf
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2007-11-20          148493


Jeff'ry ole son, get some new batteries for your calculator, a 1' increase on a 3" cylinder is a 33% increase in diameter, not 25%, that would be a 3/4" increase.

Now 4" down to 3" IS a 25% decrease though.

The significant difference in strength is due to several factors, mostly the increased cross-section area of the rod. A 3" rod has an area of 7.07 sq. inches in cross section, a 4" rod has an area of 12.57 sq. inches in cross section, that's 1.78 times the area in rod size as far as the cross section goes.

Every time I've seen a bent rod on a splitter it was a result of an uneven load. The ends of the cylinder are captive, so if the unsupported end of the wedge hits something harder than the inside edge, it makes for a torsional load on the cylinder.

I agree with Harvey, we split lots of wood every year, and have for many years, the most efficient way we've found of doing it is with 3 guys working, one putting wood on the splitting table, one splitting and one dealing with the finished product, then every so many minutes rotating so nobody gets to beaten up. We tried 4 guys working 2 splitters, the throughput was almost the same as 3 guys on one splitter was.

Best of luck. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-20          148502


Murf ol' boy yer slippin'--- those numbers were for the two different ROD sizes in a 4" cylinder, not the cylinder size itself.

And you mistakenly---YES YOU! :)--used the word ROD when referring to PISTON area.

And as far as designing or having a wood splitter with rod and/or cylinder being "held captive", that just isn't good engineering--ideally both ends of the cylinder should be allowed to move in two axis to prevent any lateral forces due to misalignment.

And I'm just keepin' ya' honest buuuuut...the "torsional load" you speak of is technically a "lateral force"--hydraulic cylinders can take torsional loads all day with little or no ill effect (think MacPherson struts on a car for example) ....

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Murf
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2007-11-20          148515


Oh now Jeff'ry, yer splittin hairs now, and I got precious few left to split, but here goes all the same. ;)

How do you make a wood splitter WITHOUT having both ends of the cylinder captive? One kinda needs to be attached to the wedge or push plate, and the other needs to be attached to the top or it doesn't develop much push power at all.

As for a torsional load, my dikshunairey calls it an adjective that means "The act of twisting or turning." Since the bottom of the push plate or wedge is stuck by the slider mechanism, and as I mentioned above, the further end is hanging in space, there would be a torsional force on the rod if the wood jammed up the outboard end of the wedge, not in line with the rod at all.

Other than that, 25% of 1.25" is 0.3125", not 0.50" that would be 40%.

Best of luck. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-20          148519


S-o-m-e-b-o-d-y needs a hug!
And I accept your apology. That was an apology right? Jis' checkin'
Well Murf yer the Professional Engineer aren't ya? I was hoping to see you flex your "mental muskles" (You don't people to lose respect fer ya, do ya using the wrong nomenclature?) hahahaha

Seriously, it is easy to mount the cylinder to the ways or base just like you would anything else---free to move, right? And at the wedge, the same thing. It would take some fairly precision machining to get the rod in the wedge, and the end of the cylinder in perfect alignment to prevent bending. And that is taking into account that the wedge is not allowed to torque (like that??) sideways or up and down. Then there's the deflection of the ways/base/beam itself to consider. If one of those things is allowed to happen, failure is inevitable.
All that to say that if you have a moveable mount front and rear, that is, at the wedge and the rear end the entire system can be sloppy and the cylinder/rod won't care.

Your serve! ;-) Feel the l-u-v. tehehe ....

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kleinchris
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2007-11-20          148520


Since we are on the subject of building a better mousetrap, what's wrong with this idea: Instead of using an I beam for the rail and frame, using 2 4" pipes that would act as a cradle for the log. The ram would weld to larger pipes that would sleeve over the 3"ers. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-20          148525


Chris, if you were using the pipes in-line with the cylinder you're going to bend them due to the leverage created by the offset wedge and cylinder. And the the taller the wedge the more leverage you'll get. Think: wet noodle. I have to wonder that even if those pipes were solid (bar stock) they would still need to be welded to a vertical member likely 1/2" thick and 4" tall the entire length to prevent flex. Also, take a look at round pipe bollards aka bumper posts commonly used at corners of buildings to keep trucks from hitting them. I have removed some that were 6" Schedule 80 (thick wall) pipe filled with concrete that were significantly bent from a semi trailer whacking them.

Take a look at the the Husky-brand splitters at TSC. They use a special I-beam that has a thicker top than the bottom. The top portion is nearly 3/4" thick to reduce flex. Of course the bottom chord and the vertical web make it stronger.

Editorial note: Yup! I wasn't thinking when I erroneously used the term "wedge" when referring to the cylinder mounting. What I should have said was the "pusher" or "plate". Reason being if the wedge were mounted on the sliding portion there would be a tendency for the split wood to envelope the cylinder and possibly damage the hydraulics. The wedge needs to be stationary on the other end of the ways or the beam so that as the wood splits it comes away from the splitter. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-20          148526


Chris, if you were using the pipes in-line with the cylinder you're going to bend them due to the leverage created by the offset wedge and cylinder. And the the taller the wedge the more leverage you'll get. Think: wet noodle. I have to wonder that even if those pipes were solid (bar stock) they would still need to be welded to a vertical member likely 1/2" thick and 4" tall the entire length to prevent flex. Also, take a look at round pipe bollards aka bumper posts commonly used at corners of buildings to keep trucks from hitting them. I have removed some that were 6" Schedule 80 (thick wall) pipe filled with concrete that were significantly bent from a semi trailer whacking them.

Take a look at the the Husky-brand splitters at TSC. They use a special I-beam that has a thicker top than the bottom. The top portion is nearly 3/4" thick to reduce flex. Of course the bottom chord and the vertical web make it stronger.

Editorial note: Yup! I wasn't thinking when I erroneously used the term "wedge" when referring to the cylinder mounting. What I should have said was the "pusher" or "plate". Reason being if the wedge were mounted on the sliding portion there would be a tendency for the split wood to envelope the cylinder and possibly damage the hydraulics. The wedge needs to be stationary on the other end of the ways or the beam so that as the wood splits it comes away from the splitter. ....

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denwood
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2007-11-21          148538


The pipe idea has been done and it was a commercial manufacturer. I sort of remember it being on the light side with a small diameter cylinder. It may have been a 3 point mount if I remember correctly. I saw it on ebay some time ago.

As far as the wedge mount goes, aren't most (largest number sold) log splitters sold today vertical/horizontal and have the wedge mounted on the end of the ram, the movable part. I wouldn't have it any other way even if it wasn't necesitated by the vertical aspect. First if I break my butt lifting a huge log up there, the last thing I want is both halfs being pushed off the end so I have to pick them both up again or at best catch one and drag it back each time I split another chunk off. With the moving wedge, at least I have one half in just the right spot for the next split and each time the remaining piece is right there ready for the next split. If I had a log lift, the other half would just drop on it waiting for its turn. When it was time, just reach over and slide it on, no wrestling with it. I understand if you have an elevator at the end and you want pieces pushed off onto it, but that is not what most of us have. I have had both kinds and to me it seems like a old idea that no one could see past and improve on. They just see everyone else doing it so monkey see monkey do. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-11-21          148551


Denwood, as far as using pipe, I was making my comments in the context of the larger pressures and forces being discussed. The moving wedge, at least on the commercial ones I've seen like the Husky are the convertible types and like you pointed out would be impossible to use other wise. How about if I said "generally speaking" a non-moving wedge on units that have interferences such as hydraulics; the mounting or carriage system such as an axle, all play a part on preference of which end has the wedge. Case in point a buddy built a unit and it was relatively short and compact. As such, the axle under it precluded standing next to it waiting for the split wood to fall off. And the hydraulics would have been ripped away when the wedge split the wood. ....

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Murf
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2007-11-21          148567


I'm not sure how the split wood could affect the hydraulics.

Taking as an example, a 24" stroke splitter with the wedge on the rod end, like my own (the newer one, not the green one in my pictures) 3pth one is, when the cylinder is fully retracted there is a 25" opening, so the wedge can never meet the base and mash it up.

If I'm splitting 16" wood that is resting on the base, the closest the wood ever gets to cylinder body itself is 9" away, and the closest hydraulics, the line to the rod side are a further 2" -3" away from that for a total of about a 1' clear of the wood.

The wedge itself is wider than the rod is, so when the wood passes the wedge it is already open wider than the rod is thick, and as the wedge goes deeper into the wood the top gap between the pieces opens up exponentially further still.

Besides, a movable wedge, especially in a vertical splitter is almost a requirement, otherwise you would need to hold the wood in place standing balanced on the tip of the splitting wedge.

Best of luck. ....

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