Garden Tractor Log Splitter

Mark Adelman cut a 14 hp Murray garden tractor down to the engine, hood and dash to build a low-cost, pull-type log splitter.

“My son and I built it two years ago. We made it entirely from recycled materials except for the hydraulic components and the trailer jack,” says Adelman, who pulls the unit with his 4-wheeler.

The back end of the splitter rides on the axle and wheels off an old grain elevator. They welded a steel frame together to support the tractor’s engine. A 4 by 8 by 1/2-in. thick I-beam is welded to the frame and axle. An 8-in. wide by 5/8-in. thick steel plate is welded on top of the beam and serves as the table. They used 5/8-in. plate steel to make a 14-in. high wedge and a square push plate. The push plate is operated by a 30-in. stroke cylinder with a 15-second cycle time.

“It’ll split anything I can put on it,” says Adelman. “I built it because I heat my house and shop with an outdoor boiler and go through 10 to 12 cords per year. We plan to add a hoist to lift heavier blocks of wood.
“The tractor engine has plenty of power and can easily operate the splitter in high idle. The tractor still has the original ignition key, throttle, and gas tank. We installed an hour meter where the steering column used to be in order to keep track of how much we use it.”

He says his dad got the tractor in trade for a set of tractor chains that they weren’t using any more. “The tractor had a bad transmission but we didn’t need it. We did a lot of horse trading to get the hydraulic parts, which helped keep the cost down. Our out-of-pocket cost was only about $300,” he notes.