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This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the sand badge in Metal Working.

Kindling crackers, whackers, splitters, bifurcators, etc are very cool devices that can turn pieces of firewood into kindling.  If you have a rocket mass heater you mainly need kindling sized pieces.  So let's make one!

The official design we are taking our inspiration from is here: www.kindlingcracker.com


David Huang made this one and documented it in his blog post Here:


Here is one on YouTube made from rebar:


And here's one with more wood than metal:


To complete this BB, the minimum requirements is to make a kindling creator:
  - cage accepts wood at least 8 inches in diameter (9 or more inches preferred)
  - bolted to a chopping block
      - lots of knots in the block if it's a soft wood (possibly a taller than average chopping block)
      - bolted (optionally offset (the creation is not centered on the chopping block - so some of the chopping block can be used traditionally))
  - stamp “made by XXXX” somewhere on it where XXXX is your name

To document your completion of the BB, provide the following:
 - two pictures of your creation at two points of construction
 - A picture of the finished product with a tape measure showing the the size of the wood that can enter
 - a picture of the stamped name

Clarifications
 - This is the metalworking badge so the part above the stump should be more metal than wood

COMMENTS:
 
gardener
Posts: 497
Location: St Paul, MN/Tularosa, NM and now a gapper at Wheaton Labs
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i would like to make the following suggestions for changes to this BB:

the chopping block should not be tall. it should actually be much shorter than usual, so that the blade of the cracker is about the height of your normal chopping block. that way the top of the kindling-to-be will be at the normal height and you will not have a leverage disadvantage from trying to chop wood at shoulder height.

following from that, the cracker should not be offset on your chopping block. if you still need a chopping block for using a maul, axe, or hatchet, that is best done on a block that is a different height than that of the cracker (about the height of the blade). Also, if you have many inexperienced choppers (like we do at wheaton labs), then there is a chance that someone will miss the wood (or it will kick to the side) and the maul will hit the metal of the cracker.

i understand that paul wants all objects to be made for use by giants, but chopping blocks are safer and easier to use if they are the appropriate height for the most common user.
 
steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Fred Tyler wrote:i would like to make the following suggestions for changes to this BB:

the chopping block should not be tall. it should actually be much shorter than usual, so that the blade of the cracker is about the height of your normal chopping block. that way the top of the kindling-to-be will be at the normal height and you will not have a leverage disadvantage from trying to chop wood at shoulder height.

following from that, the cracker should not be offset on your chopping block. if you still need a chopping block for using a maul, axe, or hatchet, that is best done on a block that is a different height than that of the cracker (about the height of the blade). Also, if you have many inexperienced choppers (like we do at wheaton labs), then there is a chance that someone will miss the wood (or it will kick to the side) and the maul will hit the metal of the cracker.

i understand that paul wants all objects to be made for use by giants, but chopping blocks are safer and easier to use if they are the appropriate height for the most common user.



I tried to update the wording to facilitate all of your suggestions.
 
Posts: 32
Location: Hemingford Nebraska
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Here is my attempt at a kindling cracker. Sure beats standing the log up every time I miss!

A tack weld to this old stool keeps the rebar in place while I heat and bend it.



An oxy-acetylene torch works quickly to heat 1/2" rebar.



Cutting angle iron for the feet using a metal chop saw.



Here I drill a 1/2" hole in each end of both feet. A pilot hole of 1/4" allows for easier cutting.



Cutting the legs with a band saw.



Here the unit is all clamped up. The feet have been tacked into place and the hoop is resting upon two locking pliers awaiting their turn.



Metal stamped my name into a side of one foot as per requirements.



The open hoop on our unit will accommodate 11" logs.



Kindling cracker setup and in use. It works very well on smaller dry material but I ran out of "oompf" on the larger diameter wet stuff.



This blog post can be seen in its entirety here.
Staff note (Mike Haasl) :

I hereby certify this BB complete!

 
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Location: Joint Base MDL, New Jersey
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forged the blade of the kindle cracker out of 9/16" coil spring i found. I didnt want the blade any longer than it had to be, but while shaping the blade the steel stretched an extra inch. Also my quench tank is only 10" long so that was also a factor.

I flattend the sides and punched a 1/4" hole on each side to mount the blade. I thought it might double as a draw knife so i didnt want to permenently weld it to anything yet.  Also because the spring steel has a high chrome content so it doesn't weld to other metals

Before hardening the blade i stamped "MADE BY FOX" in the side of the blade with a cold chisle (some day ill find my letter stamps), and did some final sharpening.

For the legs I used perforated angle iron salvaged from a shelf.  1/4" bolts secure the blade in place.

I welded together a cage from some 3/16×1 1/4 bar stock. Then welded the cage to the top of the legs.

The chopping block is a cut off of a broken electrical pole buried to a sutable hight, but the pole was too narrow for a base mount so I mounted the the whole setup to the sides of the chopping block.
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Staff note (Mike Barkley) :

I certify this BB is complete.

 
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