Self-Propelled Splitter Makes Firewood Fast

Building a self-propelled wood splitter solved many of the problems inventor Lloyd Williamson had experienced over the years with commercial pull-type splitters.

"I designed and built this go-anywhere splitter for convenience," explains Williamson, Luther, Okla. "It allows me to travel through the woods at up to 17 mph and it holds wood at a comfortable height so it's not so hard on the back."

Williamson started with the frame of a Ford Courier pickup equipped with 4-speed transmission. He replaced the wrecked front end and steering system with one off a Ford Pinto car. To power the splitter, he mounted a 40 hp Wisconsin engine out of a Versatile 100 swather up front. Its drive shaft belt-drives the pickup transmission with a 2.8 to 1 gear reduction.

A belt-driven 20 gpm hydraulic pump mounts on the pickup frame near the right front wheel. It powers the splitter's home-built 6 1/2-in. dia. cylinder with 29-in. stroke. The cylinder is welded to a length of 8 by 6 1/2-in. I-beam, which slides out on a track to extend 4 ft. past the tailgate for splitting.

Hydraulic oil is contained in a 10-gal. reservoir Williamson fashioned out of the pickup's fuel tank.

The splitter's wedge, which flares out to 6 1/2 in. wide, is made from a piece of I-beam. It pushes against a "backstop" made from pieces of plow beam. "I had to build it strong because the cylinder produces over 50,000 lbs. of force," Williamson notes.

When driving the machine, he sits on a seat made of 2 by 12-in. wood mounted in front of the pickup bed. He also has a tow bar mounted on front of the machine so he can transport it on the highway.