How to Split Wood With a Log Splitter

Log splitters are the latest invention in the world of power tools used to split logs into convenient small pieces. They not only save a lot of time but are easy to operate. Log splitters are also safer and less energy consuming than the conventional splitting maul and axe.

Despite they are the safe and easy version of wood splitting technology, they may be dangerous and can occur accidents if the users don’t know how to operate them correctly. So, it is indispensable to learn how to use them properly to ensure safety and increase the efficiency.

There are mainly two types of wood splitting machines, the manual and the powered one. While the manuals run on physical labor, the powered type either operates on gas or electricity. My article is meant to let you know how to split logs with both kinds. Here are some easy and simple steps you should follow to break apart the woodpile with a log splitter.

Step 1: Precaution

Whether the machine you are going to use is gas powered or an electric one, you must take safety initiatives to avoid injuries. No matter how much experienced you are, you should wear some protective clothing and put off some particular dresses to split efficiently without losing your hands. Here are 8 pieces of safety advice every operator has to follow.

Remove jewelry items you are wearing before you start splitting. Especially loose jewelry such as necklace, locket chain, and so on must be avoided because they tend to get caught in splitting machine.
Never put on loose dresses which may entangle with the device.
Don't forget to use safety gears and clothing. A forgettable and small tool can save you from serious incidents. For example, using an air plug while operating can protect you from hearing damage. Likewise, a pair of goggles will protect your eyes from flying debris which often comes from the machine as logs get broken apart.

Make sure that there is adequate lighting in the workplace. Operating in the dark place or under the low light is not wise and is likely to occur accidents. If your work station has no access to electricity, and you cannot light with lamps, work as long as the sun lightens well.

Never allow children around the splitter while in action because they tend to act whatever you do.

If you are under mental pressure or under the influence of drinking alcohol, don’t go for work with splitting devices.

Don’t try to split more than one logs simultaneously. Doing so may lead you to fall in danger.
Only one operator is allowed to work at a time, I mean the person loading the logs is who controls the handle. If one person loads the logs and another controls the handle, the person who keeps the logs into the machine will lose the hands.

Step 2: Setting Up

Now you have all the safety gears, maybe you are ready to split logs, right? But before you start splitting logs, you have to set up the splitter safely. Find a flat, dry, and cleaned ground and place the machine on it. Avoid choosing a wet ground because it may cause the splitter to fall over and you to get slipped while working.

Keeping the machine stable when in action is the key point to ensure safety. So, it’s very important to put two heavy wood blocks or bricks in front of and behind each tire. This will stop the splitter from moving on when the splitter recoils.

If the splitter you are going to operate is powered by gas, make sure that the machine has enough gas and oil to run. The amount of gas and oil required depends on the model of splitting machine, which you will find in the user manual provided by the manufacturer. However, if your splitter operates on electricity, ensure the availability of the electric source and, you need a plug to plug in the machine.

As the log splitters, whether powered by gas or electricity, come in both the horizontal and vertical positions, you have to decide in which direction you will use them. What direction you choose is your personal preference, nothing wrong with your choice. Whether operating in vertical or horizontal positions, you must know how to convert one position into another.
All you need to do to change the direction is to just release the pin lock and switch the position to your desired direction. Re-lock the beam manually to convert into vertical positioning. The beam will lock by itself if you lower in its position to split logs horizontally.

Then you need to know how to control the handle using three common settings known as forward, neutral, and backward movements.

Forward movement: If you move the control handle forward, the wedge will start pushing through the logs within a moment.
Neutral movement: When the splitting is done, just release the handle then the wedge will return to the neutral position and stop moving.
Backward movement: As you continue splitting next log, move the control handle backward to return the wedge to its starting position.

Step 3: Splitting Logs

Now, all that you know about the safety steps, gears, and important settings, right? This is the right time to start splitting logs. Let’s try to split a few logs!
Before start splitting, cut the wood into small logs that will ease the splitting process.
The first thing you need to do is place the log securely onto the beam against the endplate. While placing the log, don’t forget to keep the log along its grain towards the wedge.
Never put your hands between the log and wedge while positioning the log. Doing so will snatch your hand away!!
What to do now? As you positioned the log securely, now you need to activate the machine that will run the piston to create pressure on the log. All you have to do is simply to switch the power button on to move the piston towards the log.
Push the control handle to the forward and let the wedge move towards the log.
Keep the control handle in forwarding position until the wedge deepens into the log and split the log thoroughly.
Once the log is split, release the control handle to the neutral position then the piston will stop moving.
Pull the handle back to its previous position to move the piston backward.
Repeat these three steps to process the next log.
In case of partial splitting, never try to remove the small part of log with your hands. 

Step 4 : Stacking and Storing

Your hard work for splitting wood will go vain if you cannot store firewood in a suitable place with proper techniques. From my personal experience, I must say this is the storing process on which how seasoned the firewood is depends. Of course, you won’t want the investment on your firework project to be loss one by stacking them randomly and letting the firewood get wet and.

One of the common mistakes most people make is not to keep a gap between two stacks, and between the stack and wall. Keeping gap will allow the air to pass throw the wood pieces, helping dry them easily.

The ground used to stack the firewood must be neat, clean, and dry enough. Using rack on the ground is very convenient and will protect the firewood from absorbing the moisture from the ground. To know the best ways to store and stack the firewood, read my article here.

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