How To Use A Log Splitter?

Log splitters have been invented to make the chore of chopping wood much effortless and less physically intensive. This invaluable equipment lets you blast in a job in a fraction of the time it would take while using an ax. But log splitters are a potentially dangerous piece of machinery, so it is mandatory to know how to use a log splitter to ensure safety issues and achieve the best results in the least time.

There are different types of log splitters to meet people’s needs, but even the best splitter should be used, keeping safety issues in mind.

Things needed to split wood with splitters are as below:

  • A log splitter
  • Logs
  • Safety goggles
  • Work boots
  • Hand gloves

The safety measures are as follows:

1. Put on the appropriate clothing with protective equipment:

Before operating the splitter, make sure you wear the proper dress and protective gear.

  • One of the biggest dangers during the operation is flying out of wood splinters. So, to protect your eyes from severe damage, you must wear safety goggles, not specs or sunglasses. To protect your hands, you should wear gloves.
  • Always wear sturdy boots with steel toecaps to save your legs from falling logs.
  • Never wear baggy clothing or jewelry that may get caught in the splitter.

2. One person operation:

The basic rule that always should be followed is, the person who places the logs on the machine should be the same operating and controlling the device. It should be followed to avoid injuries where the mechanism starts before one person gets ready. It can result in crushed body parts like hands. However, you are in a team; you should know what other team members do when you do the splitting job.

3. Do not operate the splitter if you are under the influence of alcohol:

Another must-follow rule is not to run any large and serious machinery if you are under the influence of alcohol. It should be followed strictly to save yourself from serious injury.

4. Clear the work area from debris:

Make sure the work area is clear before you start to work. A clean space will help you avoid tripping over any lying logs. This way you will be able to prevent serious accidents.

5. Use blocks to secure the wheels:

The forces generated while splitting the logs can be massive. As a result, the machine can roll forward to you when it recoils. So do not forget to block off the wheels with woodblocks while setting up the device for cutting wood.

6. Position your splitting machine on solid, even, and flat ground always:

As the device can move due to recoiling, it is obvious to place the machine on a stable, even, and flat base for its operation. Otherwise, it may tip over, or the worst case that may happen is to fall on you. Also, choose a place where there is plenty of space to stand so that you can work comfortably.

7. Never use your foot to steady a log:

It is strictly prohibited to use your leg, knee, or foot to hold the log in a position. Breaking the rule may cause a severe disaster.

8. Make sure the beam is locked:

Some gas splitters can be used both horizontally or vertically. If you need to split the log vertically, manually relock the beam. Otherwise, you may face a severe accident. If you want to do horizontal splitting when you lower the beam into position, the beam will lock itself automatically.

9. Load the logs that have been cut with squared-off ends:

Loading a wrongly shaped wood log may cause the wood to fly off the machine under pressure. Hopefully, you can understand how dangerous it is.

10. Read the user manual carefully:

Though the basic mechanism is almost the same, the operating procedure may vary from brand to brand or from model to model. So it is recommended to read the machine’s user manual that you are about to use, even if you have operated log splitters before.

How to use manual splitter:

Manual splitters are widely used because of their affordability and effectiveness. After reading the user manual and taking safety measures, the below steps need to follow to cut woods.

  • Tighten the jack and place a log in the machine.
  • Tighten the screws so that the log cannot move once you set up the cylinder. The wood will be split partially or fall out before it is cut if you do not tighten the screw properly.
  • After screwing the log tightly, pump with foot or hand pedal to move the wedge into the wood in the machine.
  • Keep using the pedal until the log is cut. Do not put your finger near the wedge when the wood is being cut.
  • After the log is split into two, pull the cylinder to the original position. Then loosen the jack screw to let the split wood fall off the splitter.
  • Continue this process until all woods are cut.

How to use gas and electric splitter:

The operating system of gas-powered and electric-powered machines are almost the same. They are more powerful and efficient than manual splitters and can be used commercially. Follow the below steps to run a gas splitter.

  • After checking that it has enough gas and hydraulic fluid, turn it on. First, you have to pull the cord starter. Make sure the cylinder valve is turned off.
  • Then place a log on the splitter. If you want to cut horizontally, then position the wood log on the bed. Next, place your left hand upon the log opposite to the beam to keep it steady. It is highly risky to put your hand at the end of the wood log or between the wood and the endplate. In case of vertical splitting, place the wood against the wedge.
  • Now turn on the manual lever or valve. Move it to the forward position and look at the wedge doing the rest of the work. As soon as cutting is done, reverse the lever. So the wedge will be pulled back, and you can remove the cut woods. Repeat this process until all woods are cut into pieces.
  • If the wedge only splits partially or the wood gets stuck, then move the control lever to the backward position, then forward position. As a result, the wedge will gain momentum and push through the wood. It is forbidden to try with a hand to remove the stuck or partially split timber.
  • Follow the same procedure for an electric device. The only difference is you will need to plug in the machine in a power source.

Maintenance of log splitters:

It is mandatory to maintain any machines properly to keep them in sound working condition and achieve the best results. The maintenance points of the log splitters are below.

1. Check the hydraulic pipes:

You should check the hydraulic pipes each time before starting work to ensure that there is no leakage.

2. Service engine once a year at least:

Engines of log splitters require regular servicing for better performance. However, gas engine models need more maintenance and servicing than electric or manual splitters.
If you are an occasional user, before the splitting season begins, you have to check the fuel, top up the engine oil, check the spark plug wire and replace it if necessary.

3. Check oil level:

Though many splitting devices have the auto feature of checking the oil level, you should also check the oil level. But, again, it is only a matter of few moments.

4. Keep the wedge sharp:

Keep the wedge sharp all the time to get the best result. Otherwise, you will not get clean.

5. Remove fuel:

If you decide not to use your gas splitter for over one month, remove the fuel from the tank. If you leave the tank with gasoline for more than one month, it will become sticky and damage the engine.

Frequently asked questions on how to use a log splitter

• How to sharpen log splitter wedges?

Start with examining the wedge for symbols of excessive cracking or wear. Then assess the condition of the wedge’s splitting point. With a coarse file, shape the rolled-over part of the edges of the wedge. Then file the whole splitting point with the same metal file. When you are done with the coarse file, take a fine metal file and sharpen the splitting point with it. Now, hone the wedge and make it sharp by filing the full length of the splitting point. File both sides of the spitting point equal times.

• Is it hard to use a log splitter?

Using a log splitter is quite easy, but you must be very careful while using one, especially if you use a motor-powered splitter. You should never try to cut anything without woods with this splitter. Experimenting with this machine can cause serious injury to both you and the splitter.

Final thoughts

Safety and maintenance are the key factors to run a log splitter successfully. Hopefully, you are now capable of using a splitting machine properly. However, if you are still confused, you can contact a professional or discuss this with a friend who can operate this machine.

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