DIY Log Splitter Loading Arm

Rural ingenuity makes splitting firewood easier with a homemade log splitter loading arm.

| November/December 2015

  • A pair of push buttons are used to operate the loading arm, and a control lever operates the splitting wedge.
    Photo courtesy FARM SHOW
  • The wedge consists of a 1-inch-thick “razor sharp” blade made from tool steel, with a block mounted on either side of it.
    Photo courtesy FARM SHOW
  • “The loading arm can easily pick up a 24-inch-long, 24-inch-diameter log,” Hollmen says.
    Photo courtesy FARM SHOW

Ed Hollmen, Marion, New York, wanted a log splitter that would be easier on his back, so he designed and built a heavy duty vertical splitter that’s equipped with a log loading arm.

“It makes splitting logs a much easier job, because very little lifting or bending is required,” says Hollmen.

The splitter stands almost 10 feet tall and weighs about 2,000 pounds. A 12-volt winch is used to raise and lower the 5-foot-long loading arm, allowing Hollmen to stack logs from ground level and then raise the arm for use as a table. When he’s done splitting logs, the arm folds up vertically for transport.

“The loading arm can easily pick up a 24-inch-long, 24-inch-diameter log,” Hollmen says. “I like to line up logs on the loading arm platform before I start splitting them so I can work faster.”

He started with a 13-inch-wide by 7-inch-deep, 1/2-inch-thick steel I-beam he found on Craigslist, along with some surplus 1/4- and 3/16-inch-thick steel panels.

A 12-hp Kohler electric start engine from a Cub Cadet is used to drive the splitter’s two-stage hydraulic pump. It powers a 24-inch-long, 4-inch-diameter hydraulic cylinder, which is operated by a splitter valve with a detent in the return position.

Hollmen also developed a two-stage splitting wedge that he says is extremely efficient. The wedge consists of a 1-inch-thick “razor sharp” blade made from tool steel, with a block mounted on either side of it. The log is placed on top of two serrated blocks placed about 6 inches apart.

“The raised blocks help keep tough logs from blowing apart,” Hollmen says. “The system is designed so the wedge can split most logs using only the low-pressure stage of the pump. For tough logs, the wedge will automatically kick down into the second, high-pressure stage and cut right through them. I designed the system so I can add a four-way wedge if I ever need to.

“I’ve used it for six years now, to split about 100 face cords of firewood, and haven’t yet found a log it wouldn’t split or cut.”

The back of the splitter has a pair of push buttons to operate the loading arm and a control lever for the wedge. Hollmen made the hydraulic oil reservoir from a used 13-gallon air compressor tank, and part of the frame and axle are from an old boat trailer.

“I made the splitter’s hitch adjustable for height so I can tow the splitter level behind different vehicles,” Hollmen says.

You can see the splitter in action by going to FarmShow.
5/15/2018 10:34:24 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)



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