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Log Splitter Table Grate: A Little Ingenuity Saves Lots of Money

Red Pine Mountain logoGrate or grater, what’s the difference? Ah, but I was soon to learn one had nothing to do with eating when Mountain Man announced one morning, “I really need a table grate.”

“Why?” I asked. “Our grater is working just fine.” Visions of parmesan cheese atop mounds of Mountain Man’s homemade spaghetti sauce started to float through my head. Yum, now I was hungry.

“No, not a grater. A grate. For the log splitter. It’s a platform for the logs, so I don’t have to keep on bending over and picking them up to run the big logs back through.”

“Oh.” Now that I knew I wasn’t going to experience a new gastronomic delight, my attention span immediately ran out.

“Well, never mind. They are too expensive.” Mountain Man sighed as he perused catalogs and web sites. And when I saw the prices of the graters I sure agreed they cost too much after just paying a king’s ransom for a new tractor tire. No way a table grater or grate or whatever-the-heck-it’s-called was in our budget.

But wood is fundamental to our existence here on Red Pine Mountain and firewood not only keeps us warm all winter, we also sell it, and it comprises an important part of our income. We had purchased a fantastic log splitter a couple of years ago, but we couldn’t afford the grate at the time, but Mountain Man, well, he’s not getting any younger (shh, don’t tell him I said that) and bending over and picking up huge logs was starting to wreak havoc with his back.

And I knew we’d get our grate because once Mountain Man gets an idea in his head, there is no stopping him. Two days later, he announced, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll just build my own.”

And so he did.

Out in his shop constructing the table grate from materials he already had on hand.

Mountain Man constructs Table Grate.

Preparing to weld the grate on to his wood splitter.

Mountain Man prepares to weld the table grate onto the log splitter.

On to welding.

Mountain Man welds the grate onto the splitter.

Positioning the wood splitter into place on our log landing with the help of our tractor. The black piece on the front is the grate Mountain Man built.

Mountain Man moves the log splitter into place with the tractor.

A head on view of the table grate Mountain Man built.

A head on view of the table grate made by Mountain Man.

Getting ready to test his table grate with big logs waiting to be split.

Logs waiting to be split.

Lilly, our German Shepherd, wonders “What’s the hold up?”

Mountain Man checks to see if splitter needs adjusting while Lilly watches.

But Mountain Man is a perfectionist and before he starts, he wants it balanced just so.

Mountain Man adjusts log splitter.

It’s working perfectly.

Mountain Man splits wood to test the new grate.

The table grate is working.

Mountain Man surveys his work and is pleased with the results.

Mountain Man is pleased with his table grate.

Now, thanks to his ingenuity, Mountain Man has his table grate for the price of his effort, and me, well, I’ve learned a table grate has nothing to do with cheese.

If you want to read more about life on Red Pine Mountain, please visit us at

mountain woman
5/28/2010 5:26:02 AM

Hi Oz Girl, It's really wonderful to reuse everything and to try to save money through ingenuity. Here Mountain Man has all the ingenuity and I just watch amazed. I think it's so wonderful your Oz Man (is that the right way to say it) is so creative. Thanks for the visit.

oz girl
5/27/2010 8:21:27 PM

As a city girl, I'm always amazed at how ingenuous my hubby can be... I think he could join the MM and FM club, LOL. He loves using castaways to make useful items. He's also a problem solver extraordinaire... sometimes to the degree that I feel s.t.u.p.i.d. Oh wow, what a great idea honey, why didn't I think of that??! LOL Great post, and loved the pics of MM making his grate and getting it into position. :)

mountain woman
5/20/2010 2:02:49 PM

Thanks Pam. I know MM and FM would be great friends if they were to meet. He is always building something or fixing broken things because we have to stretch a dollar. Thanks for visiting!!!

5/20/2010 9:55:07 AM

Your Mountain Man reminds me so much of my husband here. He is always making and building something! Isn't it wonderful?! I never know what I will see next when I go out to his workshop. Mountain Man did a great job on the table grate. Have a great day. Pam Life on a Southern Farm

mountain woman
5/16/2010 5:45:54 AM

Hi Cindy, I ramble quite a bit and my mind is always on food and when it doesn't pertain to food or animals, I just kind of tune it out. Thank goodness for MM or the farm would be a shambles. Thanks so much for visiting and have a great weekend!

cindy murphy
5/15/2010 7:43:12 PM

Shredded parmesan...mozzarella, and cheddar, Oh! glorious cheese! Nothing is better! Except, of course, for Mountain Man, Who had an idea, and formed an ingenius plan, To make a grate greater than grater. Don't ask, Mountain Woman - it's been a busy, long day at work, and I think I'm not just rambling, but also kind of slap-happy right now. Nice post - it's always interesting to me to see ingenuity at work! Enjoy the weekend. Cindy

mountain woman
5/15/2010 5:19:27 AM

Nebraska Dave, I'm so citified I'm discovering new things every day. It's been an adventure and learning experience for sure. We are so thrifty and Mountain Man is so very conscious of waste and sending things to the landfill so we have lots of items hanging around waiting to be reused. He tried taking a part to the repair shop a couple of weeks ago and they told him they didn't do repairs any longer. Just cheaper to buy a new one so he decided to try to fix that himself too. Anyway, I haven't finished my morning coffee and I'm rambling for sure. Maybe we'll be able to meet when we head to the Ozarks next winter. I'd love to see your beautiful home. And I'll be able to say hi to Mountain Man because he'll be home today. Thanks so much for visiting me!

nebraska dave
5/14/2010 1:59:14 PM

MW, I didn’t know what a grate was either. I figured it was something to do with a fireplace. I think what you set a log on a grate to burn in a real fireplace. Well, that’s what we city folks think anyway. Of course now we just flip the wall switch and the fireplace lights up without any logs or ashes to clean up. It’s not about heating but just about looks. Looks are everything to city folk. Ah, well, except for a few rebels like myself. If it’s not practical or functional then I don’t want it. Farm life is always about figuring out a way to make what is needed. To live on a farm many skills must be acquired or it will never work. My Dad told me at a young tender age that on the farm one must buy retail, sell wholesale, and make a living. Hmmmm, that didn’t sound like the way to financial security to me so I decided to take up technology and electronics for my life’s occupation. I still like to dabble with fabrication as you most likely have noticed by my posts here on Grit. I think it’s still that farm yard DNA that was injected into my soul long ago. Say Hi to Mountain Man for me. I’d like to meet him some day. Have a great week and see ya on the next post.