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"Big Wheel" Splitter From The Archives
Leopold Valcourt's splitter (see story above) is not the first "big wheel" splitter we've featured in FARM SHOW. Sixteen years ago we ran a story on a splitter built by Hollis Orr, Cannon Falls, Minn., that also harnessed the splitting power of a big wheel (Vol. 7, No. 4).
  I remember driving out to Orr's farm on a beautiful spring day. He was waiting for me beside the splitter, which was mounted on a wheeled trailer. After a little talk, he cranked it up for me and started splitting. It was almost unbelievable how fast and easy it split. The 9-in. splitting blade on the 6 1/2-ft. dia. wheel came around at a speed of 40 revolutions per minute, or once every 1 1/2 seconds. Orr would calmly place one chunk of wood after another on the splitting table. The big blade sliced through the logs like butter and the chunks fell gently to either side.
  Orr did not feel the splitter posed any great safety risk but he would step back as the blade cut through each log. He said you could easily add extra safety shields but he had no plans to commercialize the machine so he saw no need.
  The 1,260-lb. wheel came off a ditching machine commonly used by utility companies to lay wire. It was powered by a 25-hp. Deere combine crank-start engine. Orr painted the blade flourescent orange so he could more easily see it coming around.
  Orr used his splitter for several years and then sold it before moving to Arizona. Orr would come back every summer to Minnesota and used to stop by FARM SHOW's office, often with a gadget or invention he had come up with. He died just a few months ago of a heart attack at the age of 80.

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #1