Cutting Wood with an Hydraulic Log Splitter

Logs in a row.
  • 1 hours
  • 400-600
What You'll Need
Manual or gas powered log splitter
Safety glasses
Work boots

A hydraulic log splitter is a useful and timesaving tool if you partially or fully heat your home with firewood. It will considerably cut down the time and energy you spend each autumn preparing fuel for the coming winter months. A wood splitter comes in both manual and gas-powered varieties. Before the advent of hydraulic tools, a maul was used as a firewood splitter. Whether manual or gas-powered, a hydraulic splitter is much more efficient.

Step 1 - Prepare Yourself

When splitting wood, you should always wear long pants and work boots. Always wear safety glasses and work gloves. Splinters, flying shards of wood, and injuring yourself with the splitting wedge are just a few of the mishaps that could take place if you are not careful.

Step 2 - Position the Splitter by the Wood

Rather than haul all of the wood to be split to your log splitter, take the splitter to it. Heavy-duty gas-powered models usually have pneumatic wheels and the really big ones can be towed or attached to a tractor. Manual splitters can be either carried or driven to the woodpile.

Step 3 - Position the Splitter Correctly

The log splitter should always be on flat, level ground. It should be in no danger of rolling or tipping over. Give yourself plenty of room to stand with the wood to be split not in your way.

Step 4 - Turn on the (Gas Powered) Splitter

Gas-powered log splitters have a pull cord starter. Be sure the valve that operates the hydraulic cylinder is off, and check that there is gas in the two-stroke engine and fire it up. Adjust the choke if necessary.

Step 5 - Load the Splitter

Depending on the model, some splitters load horizontally, others vertically. Vertical loading splitters have a tendency to get the wedge stuck in the wood, requiring you to pry it off. Assuming you have a horizontal loading splitter, place a piece of wood on the bed. Do not put the log against the splitting wedge.

Step 6 - Activate the Valve or Manual Lever

Turn the valve on. The hydraulic cylinder will push the log onto the splitting wedge. Once the log has split, return the valve slowly to retract the cylinder. With manual models, operate the hydraulic lever until the log has split against the wedge.

Step 7 - Remove the Split Log, Repeat

Remove the split log from the bed and repeat the process until all of your firewood is split. If you use a gas-powered variety, be sure you have extra hydraulic fluid, gasoline, and oil with you just in case.

A log splitter is easy to use. The most important thing to remember is safe handling, especially if you are using a hydraulic log splitter powered by a motor. Never split or attempt to cut anything else besides firewood. It could seriously damage the machine and injure you.