2007 - Volume #31, Issue #2, Page #04[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Self-Propelled "Double Vertical" Log Splitter
"It lets us split wood twice as fast as a conventional log splitter," says Steciak.
The one-of-a-kind unit is equipped with a 33-ft. long, home-built conveyor on back that leads up and over the truck cab. Two work stations on either side are equipped with two hydraulic-operated, hinged log lifters and with vertical, hydraulic-operated splitting units, which can be operated independently of each other.
Hydraulics are provided by the truck's front pto-driven hydraulic pump that was originally used to raise and lower a snowplow. The conveyor is hinged at the middle, just behind the truck cab, and is raised and lowered by a scissors hoist for highway transport.
"It makes splitting firewood an enjoyable job. There's no need to bend over while splitting wood, and no need to lift any big blocks of wood at all. There's even a roof over the operators to protect them from rain," says Steciak.
The 1982 GMC 5-ton snowplow truck was equipped with a 6-cyl., 238 hp Detroit diesel engine. He built two big H-beam work stations on back that bolt to the truck's frame just behind the rear wheels. Each H-beam work station is equipped with a pair of 30-ton hydraulic cylinders that extend or retract a pair of star-shaped wedges. The operator stands at either of the waist-high platforms and uses a pair of hinged, L-shaped log lifters to raise logs onto the platform. The wedges can split the wood either two ways or four ways, depending on how the operator positions the log. Each wedge extends 1 1/2 ft. from the vertical I-beam and has a single knife edge at one end and a double knife edge at the other end.
A new Prentice 120 2,500 psi tandem pump, mounted on the truck pto, allows each splitter to work independently of the other. "I can use either one or two splitters all day, separately and with equal effectiveness," says Steciak.
Each log lifter is raised and lowered by a hydraulic cylinder that mounts horizontally underneath the platform. The operator places the log horizontally on the log lift, then pushes a lever to bring the log lifter - and the log - up to a vertical position. To extend the cylinder down to split the wood he steps on a foot treadle. As soon as he takes his foot off the treadle, the cylinder automatically returns to the top of the I-beam.
To build the conveyor he laid a 33-ft. long I-beam flat, then had heavy duty chain and steel paddles made for it. A Charlyn hydraulic motor at the top is used to pull the conveyor up.
"When people first see it they can't believe their eyes, but it really works well," says Steciak. "I just drive it into the woods, back up to a pile of logs, and raise the conveyor. Then I back a dump truck under the chute and start splitting wood. Sometimes our two daughters roll the big blocks onto the log lifts for us. My wife operates one splitter while I operate the other one. We guide the split wood into the conveyor and it's loaded into the dump truck. The wood falls through a cement mixer chute, which slows down and guides the fall of wood.
"The operator uses the same lever that originally was used to raise and lower the snowplow, to raise and lower the conveyor.
"I paid $100 for the truck and bought new cylinders, pumps, and valves. All together I spent only about $5,000 for the entire unit.
"The truck was originally equipped with a sander on back and a variable speed dial in the cab to control the speed of sand ejection. I hooked the conveyor up to the dial so that I can easily adjust the conveyor's speed.
"My only regret is that I didn't buy a used truck in better condition. This one is pretty rusted out."
The lifters are adjustable for uneven terrain via bolts that go through the hinge point, so no matter how uneven the ground is, the lifters will always reach the ground.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Steciak, Jr., 2892 St. Hwy. 29, Dolgeville, N.Y. 13329 (ph 315 429-3496).
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