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Ingenious scrap metal firewood splitter (video)

 
Asbjoern Rohde
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Hello! This is my first real post on permies. Firstly I intend to present myself. You can of course skip this to go straight to firewood splitting!!
I have been self studying permaculture and stayed at permaculture farms for years now. Soon it is time for me to take on some land suffering from unsustainable practices and turn it into a permaculture oasis and eventually a demonstration center. I am based in mid/south Sweden at the west coast, and my dream is to start a permaculture research institute. I am 21 yr old and work as a carpenter and have done natural building, i.e. straw bale and cordwood.
For more than a year i volunteered and lived with natural builder Simon Dale (famous for his hobbit-like house in Wales), before taking on other projects. I love this forum and think it is crucial to the movement and a wonderful and inspirational place where people allow their imagination and ideas to be discussed. Also the behaviour is very social and pleasant compared to other forums, and i have respect for Paul who dedicate so much of his time on this.

Cheers everyone!

And now for something completely different, a man with... a scrap metal splitter!

This contraption would make it easy to split your firewood, if it is of a decent quality (grainwise). I think he is splitting alder which can hardly be the most sought after firewood. It is safe to operate because the axe head hits the same spot everytime and cannot move sideways. Also, it will never reach contact/impact with chopping block as the car-spring stops it at the right height making sure hands wont get crushed (unless between head and firewood - doh!). At least I reckon it could be adjusted so. Make sure you weld it well. The axe head weighs more than 38 kg!


Just thought i would share the concept.. maybe it has even been shared here already. What do I know. I have more detailed info on this if you are interested..
 
John Polk
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Simplicity at its finest.

That seems to work better and faster than some of the $1-2,000 units I have seen.

 
John Redman
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Location: Perkinston Mississippi zone 9a
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I was just at lowes and refused to pay 1200 bucks for a splitter. PM me more details or post here, I'm interested.
Thanks for sharing the video.
 
Asbjoern Rohde
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So for some more details:

Firstly go to this website. It is in swedish, but contains a lot of photographs. Also an improved version of the one in the video is featured. Also another type where a spring works with tensional force instead of compressive (as the suspension spring does). http://www.pidia.se/ingmarsklyv.html

Materials and dimensions are:

- The spring comes from a car suspension. It is 43 (~17 in) cm long unloaded, and 29 cm (~11½ in). The steel diameter is 13 mm (33/64 in) and the whole spring is 16 cm (6 19⁄64 in) diameter. The part of the spring that moves comprises 5 1/3 winds. Trial and error would make other springs work too.. The splitter that uses tension springs (pulling the spring) are easier as you can combine several springs.
The spring sits in place only by means of the weight on top of it and by the aid of small blocks welded as seen on this picture:


- The shaft on which the axe head and weights are welded used was from an old harrow and is a square (hollow) steel bar with the measurements 75x75x4 mm (2 61⁄64 x 2 61⁄64 x 5⁄32 in) and 128 cm (50 25⁄64 in) long from one end to where the axe and weights are welded onto it.

As you can see the shaft has been hightened approx 8 cm (3 5⁄32 in) at the hinch to leave more space for the spring.
The weights and axe head are quite long (62 cm or 24 13⁄32 in) , and the handle has been placed fairly high to avoid having it in the way of the splitting wood. Among other scrap steel, hydraulic arms from a tractor were used for weight and welding the axe head onto.
These weigh 38 kg (83.8 lbs) alltogether.

The Axe head and weights should be welded to the shaft with a bit of an angle towards the hinch in order to direct the force directly from above onto the firewood log. Otherwise the axe head will be pointing slightly towards the operator as it travels in a circular motion.

The tip of the axe should be hovering an inch or so above the firewood log you intend to split when resting on the spring. Otherwise you have to lift the axe to place a log on the chopping block. A tip is to keep the cleaving surfaces that come in contact with the wood clean from rust to limit friction. Keeping the axe sharp is also important as this allows for the axe to cut through knots etc. This is of course optional. It can also function with a round edge for minimal risk of cutting injuries. Height of the axe position can be adjusted by moving spring closer or further away from the hinch.

- For a handle you can pretty much choose whatever you think will work for you. Don't go too thin as this may be uncomfortable.

- The hinch needs to be very robust and the one used here is from an old 'grip' from a small forestry tractor.

Be creative and find some steel bars etc for the rest of the construction.

To give a rough idea of the remaining measurements I will comment on the following picture:


The long steel bar on which the hinch and lower spring platform are welded onto measures approximately 155 cm (61 1⁄32 in).
The lower components in the frame forming a 'V' measures: The right side pair: 95 cm (37 13⁄32 in) and the left side pair: approx 75 cm (29 17⁄32 in).
Distance between the 'legs' comprised of the 'v' frame is 100 cm (39 3⁄8 in).
Lower spring platform sits approx 92 cm (36 7⁄32 in) above ground/feet.
Distance between where the 'v' frame joins onto the longer steel bar is approx 115 cm (45 9⁄32 in).

The left side of the 'v' is cast/imbedded in a block of concrete. Alternative would be another frame construction, bolting it to a floor etc.




The sturdier it is, the safer and more precisely it is, too.
Here he is making kindling using this big contraption, showing it is versatile.


If you keep the hinch well greased it should function without making much noise allowing you to enjoy the birdsong or a trickle of water while splitting wood

Cheers
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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So simply its beautiful. Love the video.
I also went to the website. google translated it for me. It was a good read.
 
John Redman
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Looks like art work, and with such precision.
Thanks for sharing this.
 
Dale Hodgins
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There are electrically powered blacksmith hammers that work in the same way. They are often made from scrap metal. With interchangable heads, I could see one machine serving both functions. With a flat plate attached, it might be possible to pack forms with adobe or to make compressed earth blocks or to soften your muckluks ... or punish tresspassers...
 
chris glazier
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Location: noth western michigan, petoskey
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I want to mark this since we need something like that.
 
Max Kennedy
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Nice. For those of us without the metalworking tools or experience I could see this being framed up with 4x4's and just the head being metal. Neat ides!
 
allen lumley
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WOW THIS NEEDS TO BE CO-LOCATED IN BOTH WOOD STOVES AND ROCKET STOVES ------ HOW DO WE GIVE THIS GUY THE APPLE ? ! ! ! ! BIG AL
 
Rick LaJambe
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This splitter is excellent! I love that there is no gas needed to operate it, and that it is simple to make. I am definitely going to make one myself!
 
William Bronson
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http://www.permies.com/t/12286/green-building/Vertical-plunger-wood-splitter-converts


Bumping this as It relates to Dale's post above.
 
John Pollard
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Hmmm. I've got an engine hoist I rarely use that would be the perfect frame for this. I'll be putting new springs in the front of my truck soon too. Thanks for the thread.
 
Jeremiah wales
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Hmmm, I remember when I was younger and wanted to show off for a girl. I would get a bunch of Cedar or Straight dry Pine and split it so Easily. Sure made me look like Macho Man. My Wood is real wood now and it has a bunch of non straight areas in the wood. Some of my stuff fights me and just does not want to split no matter what.
 
Peter Ellis
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Combine one of these with the chain or bungie around the log and you could move through some wood in a hurry.
 
paul wheaton
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I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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