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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Electric wood splitter
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 03:36:56 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 13 Oct 2005 04:15:14 GMT, Albert 4 <>

> I also used a non-hydralic wood splitter.  It was powered by a
>small gas motor; but could as easily been run by electric.  The
>wedge and "ram"(actually a rack) was powered by a large flywheel
>that was spun by the motor.
> The rack engaged the pinion teeth when a lever was pulled
>upwards, when the 'ram' hit the end of its travel it disengaged
>from the flywheel and was pulled back by a spring.
> This thing was FAST. the 24" stroke took less than a second and
>the return was faster than that.
> With one person pulling the lever this machine would keep 3 fit
>men busy.

Sounds neat.  Do you remember a brand name or any other details?  I
wonder if it's still made.

Another non-hydraulic splitter that is VERY fast and a lot less work
is the Stickler:

I've had one of these for over 30 years and absolutely love it.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Electric wood splitter
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 13:10:03 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 13 Oct 2005 06:38:45 -0500, Vic Dura
<> wrote:

>On Thu, 13 Oct 2005 03:36:56 -0400, Neon John <> wrote Re
>Re: Electric wood splitter:
>>Another non-hydraulic splitter that is VERY fast and a lot less work
>>is the Stickler:
>>I've had one of these for over 30 years and absolutely love it.
>A couple of questions:
>How do you keep the wood from tearing out of your hands when the
>stickler bites into it?

You feed the side of the log into the sticker.  One end remains on the
ground and absorbs the torque.

>How does the safety cut-off switch work? Does it wire into the
>ignition circuit?

It's like the dead-man switch on a personal watercraft.  A lanyard
attaches to your wrist.  The switch opens when the lanyard is pulled.
I wired mine in series with the power supply to my truck's HEI
distributor.  They supply a pigtail to connect to the ignition and a
jumper plug to attach when the switch is not in use.

>How do you hold the engine speed to the correct rpm?

They suggest blocking the throttle up a little.  On my old carbureted
truck I could simply reach to the carburetor and flip the fast idle
cam.  Later I used the aftermarket cruise control to maintain about 15
mph in low gear.  This is an instance where an auto transmission
worked a LOT better because of the torque multiplication in the torque
converter at low speed.

On my last truck I rigged up a solenoid (an old idle stop solenoid) on
throttle so that when I pushed a button that I held in my hand, more
throttle was fed in.  That way I could "goose" the system when it
tried to bog on particularly tough wood.

This thing will bust anything fed it.  Hickory crotches are no
problem.  I've had the tip burst through and turn blue from the
frictional heat.  I've also had crotches pop off from the built-up
steam pressure in sappy wood.  Just feed it back in at a different

I've cut and split a 10 cord pulpwood truck load of hardwood cut into
pulpwood lengths before in a casual day, with two other people.  One
feeding me logs and the other taking away the split pieces.

I learned that it was faster to pick one end of the 5 ft log up with a
hook and split the whole thing before cutting it into firewood


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living,misc.rural
Subject: Re: Rent or buy wood splitter?
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 13:16:31 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 12 Oct 2005 21:41:49 -0700, "Bill" <>

>I need a log splitter for my firewood.
>I can buy one which will do the job for $1000.00
>Or I can rent one for a day for $60.00.
>How many cords of wood can you split in one day?

Depends on how tough you are and how fast you can work.  Figure maybe
10-15 seconds to a cycle, depending on the splitter's speed.  A dual
volume pump that feeds the ram fast when unloaded and does a fast
retract will greatly speed things.  If you have good endurance and
have people to feed you wood and take away the split wood, you can do
a lot in a day.

I highly recommend the type where the splitting head pivots down to
the ground and the ram strokes vertically.  That way you don't have to
pick up each log and lift it onto the splitter.

>I don't see any advantage (money wise) to buying one. Seems renting would be
>the better choice???

I agree if you're using it only once or twice a season.  I think the
actual price spread will be much more.  A $1000 splitter will be a
light duty one.  The splitters that the local rental units offer are
heavy duty with large engines.  Probably chosen for the heavy-duty,
customer-resistant design :-)  I'd guess them to be at least $2k.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Wood Grenade log splitter
Date: Sat, 02 Dec 2006 23:24:34 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On 1 Dec 2006 18:54:12 -0800, "Rick" <> wrote:

>   Has anyone here used the "wood grenade" splitter from Lehman's?  How
>about a similar one? These work as a wedge but come to a single
>point--they're shaped differently from a wedge. Here's a picture:
>   If this works better than a regular wedge then I would like to get
>one.  The new wedges available are shaped a little differently and seem
>to jump out more.
>in the Ozarks

Back when I still swung a sledge, I tried one of those.  Got to cut it
out of gnarly hickory about as often as a flat wedge :-(  I believe
Northern carries that thing at about half the price, if you want to
try one.

About the best improvement I made to the common wedge was to "hollow
grind" the leading edge.  Just like with a knife blade, the hollow
ground part presented a very gradual taper at first which made it easy
to get started and then wedged sharply as it got driven in.

Being a sledge operator quickly got old so in the late 70s I got a
Stickler ( I think.  Web's not working right now.)  I love
that thing.  I once cut and split 10 cords of pulpwood-length hickory
that I had delivered to my house.  I eventually got tired of mounting
and unmounting it to my truck so I fabricated a roller setup that I
could simply drive the truck up on.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Wood Grenade log splitter
Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2006 15:43:15 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On 3 Dec 2006 08:25:57 -0800, "Harry K" <>

>I have seen the ads for them beginning way back in the 60s.  Just
>watching them scares the p*** out of me thinking about all the things
>that can go wrong.  I did see one 'stand alone' mounted on a couple of
>small wheels and driven by a Brigs.  Yeah, they are cheap and do a fast
>job but I wouldn't want to even be around one that is working.
>Harry K

I see comments like that on occasion, invariably from someone who's
never actually used the unit.  Or seen it in action.

Actually there is very little to go wrong.  Certainly less than with a
chain saw.  The axle of the truck is blocked up and the Stickler
attached.  The cruise is set to about 15 mph if possible, otherwise
the throttle is blocked to that speed.  The operator straddles the
thing, rolls a log into place, lifts up one end and taps it against
the point.  The stickler slowly screws itself into the log, busting it
into 2 or 3 pieces.  The operator never has to lift the full weight of
the log.

The kit comes with a dead man's switch similar to what comes with a
jet-ski.  The small cord is attached to the wrist.  If anything goes
wrong (clothes caught in the thing, for example), a tug of the cord
kills the engine.  With an automatic transmission like I had, the
thing stops almost instantly.  With a manual it takes perhaps a whole
revolution to stop.  Hardly a major hazard.

One uses the same precautions as when operating a chain saw.  Clothes
tucked in, no dangling sleeves, etc.

This unit seems to me to be somewhat safer than a hydraulic splitter.
No pinch points or places to get a finger or hand cut off.  Everything
happens in relatively slow motion.  The wood sorta groans apart.  I've
had my shin bashed by brittle wood suddenly giving way and flying off
a hydraulic splitter, propelled by the stored energy in the frame and
hydraulics.  No stored energy to amount to anything with the Stickler
so even with brittle wood, the pieces just fall to the side.

After some experimenting, I found it easier to split a whole 5 ft
stick of wood and then cut up the pieces.  Much less handling of heavy
logs.  I simply made a little dirt ramp beside the Stickler so that
when a 5 ft stick was rolled up the ramp, the point was positioned
correctly about 2/3s the way down the log.  A little tap got things

The most impressive thing to watch is to see it split a gnarly hickory
knot where a tree split into two trunks.  The thing just burrows in,
steam spitting out from around the thing.  On more than once occasion
I had steam pressure pop the log back off the Stickler, with the point
getting hot enough to turn blue.  Sending it back in at a slightly
different angle got the job done.  This is the type of job that would
stall all but the largest hydraulic units.

The day we processed 10 cords in a day, I had the pulp wood truck dump
the hickory load beside my setup.  I cut the logs very rapidly with a
McCullough SuperPro 80 (80cc engine) and a brush bar with
carbide-tipped chain.  My wife rolled the logs to me, I split 'em and
my mom tossed the pieces onto a flatbed truck for hauling back to the
house.  Not bad for a guy and two small women!  Try that with a
hydraulic splitter.

A major improvement with the current model over mine is the
replaceable point.  Mine has the hardened steel point welded on.  I've
had to sharpen it a couple of times.  With the current one, just
unscrew the old one and screw in a sharp one.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Wood Grenade log splitter
Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2006 23:51:09 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On 3 Dec 2006 19:43:50 -0800, "Harry K" <>

>I forgot to ask and I have always been curious.  What about limited
>slip differentials?  Is there a way to use one on them?  Seems almost
>everything built today has one.

I guess it would depend on what kind of limited slip and how much
speed differential it takes to activate it.  At worst, you just jack
up both wheels and let the other one spin.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: which is better to split wood.
Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2007 04:23:21 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sat, 02 Jun 2007 21:11:27 -0700, Don Bruder <> wrote:

>Going back to the topic in the subject line...

>So the question: Who's right? Am I correct that I'm expending less
>effort swinging the axe, or is the bystander correct in thinking that
>I'd be "working smarter, not harder" if I were to trade the axe for the
>I know what *I* think. And what the bystander thinks. But I want an
>outside opinion to convince this rather hard-headed person to just shut
>up and let me split the damn firewood.
>Anybody want to offer one?

Well, like the answer to a lot of simple questions, the answer is complicated and "it
depends."  The main "depends" is your size and your swinging style.  Whether you
waste left-over energy after the split by bringing the blade to a halt after each
stroke, how big you are, etc.

Everything else being equal, including the swing, then obviously the lightest tool
that will get the job done is the least work.

OTOH, if you adapt your swing to the tool then the least work determination becomes
more complicated.

In my younger days when I split a LOT of wood by hand (before the splitter), I
developed a swing that took great advantage of a heavy maul (I came to like the Stotz
all-steel maul the best) and my long arms.  This swing involved an overhead wind-up
motion.  Imagine swinging a baseball bat in a vertically oriented warm-up rotation.
I'd stack up several sticks of wood a few inches apart.  I'd do a couple of warm-up
loops to get the maul velocity up without exerting too much energy on any one loop.
I'd hit the wood with the maul.  The wood would fly apart and the maul would continue
on its arc with most of the energy intact.  I'd swing the maul on around while
stepping sideways for the next stick.

I could do maybe 8-10 sticks like that without having to stop the maul and only
having to add back the energy absorbed by the stick.  I kinda learned this from my
grandfather who was a rock cutter and who had to manually drill blasting holes.  Four
guys would work one drill with sledges.  They'd start the swings, get synchronized
and then hit the drill one after another.  Several blows a minute resulted and they
never collided.  I adapted his swing to splitting wood.

In this instance, the heavy maul definitely has the advantage over the axe because it
never comes to a stop.  Energy is conserved and no strength need be expended bringing
it to a halt and re-cocking for the next swing.

Where this did NOT work well was when the wood was tough and required more than one
stroke.  I still used a round-house swing, starting from near the ground, but only
one revolution.

Bottom line: work out what feels good and stay with it.  Try the maul (with a sharp
edge, of course).  If you don't like it, go back to the axe.  Being very tall and
lanky, I was a velocity guy but I didn't generate much torque.  I needed sufficient
weight that when I accelerated it to high velocity it had enough momentum to get the
job done.  Other shorter, stouter guys, the "torquers" would probably like a much
heavier tool operated at lower velocity.

Of course, today, being much older, smarter and weaker, my exertion consists of
picking up one end of the log and touching it to my Stickler.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: which is better to split wood.
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 12:32:52 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 10 Jun 2007 05:49:06 -0700, Sheldon <> wrote:

>Don Bruder wrote:
>>  A  Veteran wrote:
>> > anyone tried that cone shaped spiral grooved thang that attaches to a
>> > a truck axle/ like replaces a wheel?
>> Not personally, but after watching my dad, a 6'3" 275+ pound fellow, get
>> flipped ass over teakettle three times in less than five minutes, while
>> getting exactly one log split into two pieces, I'm convinced that
>> they're good for one thing, and one thing only: A painful way to commit
>> suicide.
>Your dad was extremely lucky that stupid thing didn't cripple or kill
>him... why did it take him three attempts before he quit???  Any power
>driven rotating member is extremely dangerous... I've seen grown men
>knocked on their butt using a 1/2" drill motor... and that thing
>attached to a motor vehical drive axle has probably well over 100
>horsepower behind it, way excessive for splitting logs.  And those
>things are way expensive for what they are, $250+... even were it safe
>$50 is too much for that piece of crap.

Sheldon's off his meds and posting again, I see.

Don, don't have any idea how your dad could have been tossed around by a stickler
unless he completely ignored the instructions.  Heck, even my ex, a small lady of
about 120 lbs, operated it easily and enjoyed it.

This wonderful splitter seems to continuously get bad raps, almost invariably from
people who've never used it.  OTOH, I've never talked to anyone who's actually used
this splitter (and followed directions) who didn't like it, especially (ex) hydraulic
(note the spelling, Sheldon) splitter owners.

Let's correct the many, um, misunderstanding that Sheldon has written in his post.  I
have no idea what he meant by "motor vertical drive axle".  He probably doesn't
either.  The Stickler attaches to a driven axle on a vehicle.  That's a horizontal
axle :-)  100 hp?  More like 10 or 15 since the vehicle's engine runs at idle or a
little above.  I ran into a fella who got tired of taking this thing on and off his
truck so he built a stand-alone unit, powered with a 17hp Vanguard engine.  More than
enough power, though without reverse, he lost the ability to back out of a
particularly stubborn piece of wood to get a different bite.

The most important concept is that the operator never deals with that motion.  One
end of the log remains on the ground.  As the Stickler screws into the log, the end
pushes against the ground.  The operator just stands there watching until the pieces
fall away.  Yep, the diameter of the big end of the Sticker is large enough that all
but the stringiest wood separates cleanly into two, sometimes 3 pieces.  Only after
the splitting is finished does the operator touch the wood again.

The only significant hazard that I can see in operating this thing is the same as any
other rotating machinery - getting clothes caught up in it.  If one wears loose
floppy clothes then there's a possibility but geez, compare that to operating a
chainsaw.  In any event, the kit includes a dead-man's switch with a cord that
attaches to the wrist.  If a pant leg or something gets caught, give the cord a yank
and the engine dies.  The unit turns slowly enough that there's plenty of time.  If a
person is prone to get hurt using this thing then I hate to think what he could do
with a hydraulic splitter....

>For the home wood burner that
>needs only a few cords a year I'd recommend an inexpensive electric
>splitter.  They operate hydrolically same as the noisy smelly gas
>powered type and you can use it indoors; inside the wood shed, garage,
>even the basement... and they're as safe as using an electric can
>opener... safer than swinging an axe and practically no effort other
>than lifting logs.  Unless you're going into the cordwood business
>something like this is more than adequate for home use:

Ummm, yeah....  Where to start.  First off, this toy isn't hydraulic.  It uses an
Acme leadscrew inside that thing that looks like a hydraulic cylinder shaft. Northern
claims 2 HP and yet only 1500 watts.  At 100% efficiency (NOT), 2 HP would be 1492
watts.  Given the ChiCom origin of the motor and the aluminum housing, I'd guestimate
maybe 1 HP.

I happened upon the Chattanooga Northern store's Demo Days last winter and one of the
things they were demonstrating was this unit.  I'd been casting a hard eyeball on the
unit as a candidate to carry in my motorhome to split wood on-site.  Glad I saw it in
action before I wasted my money!  They were demonstrating it using Poplar which falls
apart if you look at it wrong, and yet the machine was straining and the wedge moved
so slow I felt the need for time-lapse photography! :-)  Any oak or hickory log big
enough to need splitting would likely stall the thing flat.

Probably the worst defect was that the wedge didn't reach the anvil.  This means that
for very fibrous wood, say, Hickory with a knot in it, the stroke is over before the
wood is split.  With really gnarly wood, the wedge needs to contact the anvil to cut
the last fibers, that is, unless one wants to have to follow up with some axe work.

Finally, I can't imagine the thing lasting long, given the extremely plain ACME nut
that follows the leadscrew.  I couldn't get a really good look at it but it was
evident that it wasn't a recirculating ball or other anti-friction type.  Even with
constant lube, I'd not expect it to last long.

The "positive" reviews of the product on the Northern website confirm my overall
assessment.  Nobody who wrote a review was doing serious splitting.  Splitting pine
and little 8 and 10" logs (that I burn whole) isn't serious, nor is 2 cords a year.

One of the more ironic things is, that toy costs about the same as a Stickler.

I have no problem with cheap or light-duty tools when they still get the job done.
For example, I love my $39 B&D electric chainsaw.  When I got it I figured it would
be essentially disposable.  Going into the 4th winter, it's still trucking right
along.  Since I live in the middle of a national forest, most of my firewood comes
from downed trees.

I have a 1500 watt inverter in my truck that runs the little saw just fine at the end
of the 100 ft power cord I carry along.  I can pull up to a downed tree, cut it up
and have it in the truck in the time it used to take to get my gas saw fueled and
cranked.  I cut a couple cords a year and buy the rest so I'm working it extremely
heavily but it get used and it works.  I just can't say the same for that splitter.
I'm still looking for something to carry in my motorhome.


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