Maybe you can’t get to the Woodsmen’s Field Days in Boonville, New York, Aug. 19-21, to look at log splitters. And maybe you can’t talk with knowledgeable woodlot owners like Matt Mackey to get their input or log splitters, so here’s the rundown on several choices for your commercial woodlot needs.
We’ve listed the manufacturers, how to contact them and some salient features. (All manufacturers are searchable on Google.)
There are two types of log splitters available: hydraulic and kinetic. Prospective buyers should check features of both, since they offer different approaches to splitting logs, as well as different speeds and capabilities. Kinetic machines use energy stored in flywheels; hydraulic splitters use force (measured in tons) generated by pump-driven hydraulic cylinders.
In many cases, manufacturers offer videos of their machines in action – and they are also worth checking out.
Iron and Oak
20195 South Diamond Lake Road, Suite 100, Rogers, MN 55374; 800-817-1005; Faribault, MN; 800-822-0295; http://www.ironandoak.com
Model BVHVH3715GX has a 37-ton splitting force. The unit has a 270cc Honda engine, 6-inch reinforced I-beam construction, highway-rated tires and a 25-inch log opening. The 20-ton model BHVH2015GX splits in both directions.
Timber Wolf Manufacturing Corp.
126 Spruce Street, Rutland, VT 05701; 800-340-4386; http://www.timberwolfcorp.com
Model TW6 offers a four-way splitter wedge or optional six-way, hydraulic log lift, table grate, Honda GX630 engine and 13-inch wheels/tires for towing. The TW-6 log splitter is built for speed and power to ensure maximum commercial firewood production, the company says. This model is great for large, hard-to-split chunks. Optional log lift and table grate.
American Conveyors & Log
Honeoye, NY; 315-773-4460; http://www.americancls.com
AM-26W offers a four-way hydraulic cylinder, Honda 390 GX engine, 12-inch splitting wedge, oversized heavy-duty frame, 13-inch highway tires, optional electric start and/or hydraulic log-lift.
All Wood Log Splitters
P.O. Box 43, Petersburg, MI 49270; 743-369-7115; http://www.allwoodlogsplitters.com
The 2016 Bloodwood series offers a 38-ton splitting force with 24-hp Honda GX690, four- and six-way splitting wedges, hydraulic log-lift, a log table, and a 15-inch trailer wheels/tires on torsion axle.
2 Bert Drive, Unit 7, West Bridgewater, MA 02379; 508-427-5800; http://www.supersplit.com
The HD model features twin 90-pound flywheels, two-and-a-quarter-inch wide rack gear, a pivoting pusher design with four bearings and has force ideal for tough woods, the company says. It can give follow-up shot using full momentum of flywheels to push logs through wedge.
750 East Hill Road, Ludlow, VT 05149; 800-757-2520; http://www.built-rite.com
The unit tows from either end and has a 24-hp Honda (35hp Kubota diesel option), single-stage hydraulic pump, optional eight- or 10-way wedges, chip and bark separator grate and tool box.
Bells Machining Company
2044 Rogers Road, Perth, ON, Canada K7H1P9; 888-995-1965; http://www.bellsmachining.com
The 2000 Log Splitter has a 50-hp CAY diesel motor, 20-inch diameter cut, 14-foot max log length, four- or six-way splitter, standard 12-foot conveyor, operator station and single joystick control.
Northstar by Northern Tool
2800 Southcross Drive West, Burnsville, MN 55306; 800-221-0516; http://www.northerntool.com
The Model 11967 42-ton horizontal log splitter features hydraulic log lifter, 688 cc Honda motor, I-beam construction, adjustable four-way splitter wedge, large hydraulic fluid reservoir with fluid filter. It has a high-speed towing package with 15-inch wheels and trailer lights.
1602 Corporate Drive, Warrensburg, MO 64093; 800-222-8183; http://www.swisherinc.com
The Swisher Commercial Grade log splitter (model LSEK14534) is made in the U.S., comes standard with electric start and a14.5-hp commercial-grade Kawasaki V-Twin engine, the company says. This wood splitter offers 34 tons of splitting force, heavy-duty two-stage 22 GPM pump for maximum splitting performance and speed, functions in both horizontal and vertical splitting positions and includes the Swisher exclusive cold-weather clutch. Features include a 25-inch opening and 15-gallon hydraulic tank to keep fluids cool.
DR Power Equipment
75 Meigs Road, Vergennes, VT 05491; 800-687-6575; http://www.drpower.com
The RapidFire Flywheel Log Splitter K34 Pro-XL claims splitting power equivalent to a 34-ton hydraulic splitter and a cycle time of just three seconds, the company says. The model is for home or commercial use. Inertia created by twin 75-pound flywheels blasts apart dense hardwoods, like locust and hickory, and features DOT wheels with tapered roller bearings to tow unit on roads (at up to 45 mph), according to the company.
809 South Hamilton Street, Sullivan, IL 61951; 800-448-9282; http://www.agri-fab.com
The Split Second Log Splitter uses kinetic technology with twin 90-pound fly wheels and a high-strength, heattreated steel rack and pinion gear to generate the splitting force, allowing splitting a cord of wood in one hour, the manufacturer claims. Four times faster than hydraulic splitters, according to the company, the kinetic log splitter brings features such as adjustable height to help operators avoid bending, the company says. An extra-large, 33-inch worktable helps operator manage partially split wood to minimize bending; two-handed activation control ensures operator safety.
What The Log Splitter Says
Matt Mackey owns and operates Treetop Firewood in Amish country. He bought his first log splitter (a Timberwolf TW-6) after digging into his retirement savings, then a year later added a conveyor and a self-loading trailer. After 10 years of selling firewood part time, he bought a firewood processor, which handles 26-foot logs, as well. He custom cuts firewood for people who have stoves or special requirements. He now cuts 200 cords a year, has a full-time employee and hires seasonal help, too. He cleans up behind loggers and land-clearing operations.
“It’s not going to be profitable from the get-go. It is not easy, and you have to work hard,” Mackey said.
The business may not be for everyone. “I enjoy the outdoors. If you don’t like working out in the elements, stay away from it,” Mackey added.
He noted that planning ahead is critical in the firewood business. “You’ve got to be working a year to two years ahead at all times. You have to figure out where you’re going to get the next supply of wood, and be ready to jump (at) a good deal when it comes up,” he said.
“There is a lot of responsibility, but there is also a lot of freedom,” he said. “We don’t have to run 365 days a year, so I can spend a little time with friends and family.”