Traditional log splitters make the job of preparing firewood easier, but they don’t necessarily make it faster. Recently, when I compared the 6-horsepower DR RapidFire Log Splitter with my 12-horsepower, 34-ton hydraulic splitter, I found that the RapidFire could split about four times more wood per session. That’s right: four times more wood!
The DR Log Splitter completes each split cycle in just a second or two instead of the usual 10 or 20 seconds required for each hydraulic split, and it does this with much simpler engineering than hydraulic units. Instead of a pump delivering hydraulic oil to a cylinder, the RapidFire uses a pair of 75-pound cast-iron flywheels. Flipping a lever engages a rack-and-pinion gear mechanism, harnessing the inertia of the flywheels to push the log forward into the stationary wedge, cleaving the wood. Release the lever and it springs back, ready for the next log. Check out the excellent series of videos on the DR website to see it in action.
I had two questions before using the RapidFire wood splitter: Was this machine as powerful as my hydraulic splitter? How long would the rack-and-pinion gear last?
As I tackled especially knotty hardwood blocks, the RapidFire’s internal drive belts tended to slip. Then I discovered the secret: If a block doesn’t split on the first try, don’t pull it off the wedge. Instead, just push the lever back to the retract position and take another run at the block. This lets the flywheels develop inertia again. I never ran into a tough block that failed to split after a second or third go. As for the gears, after splitting seven face cords, the teeth looked brand new. The huge worktable (optional) makes splitting even easier and more productive.
The DR RapidFire Log Splitter ranges in price from about $2,300 to $2,750, and is available with either manual or electric start. Go to the DR Power Equipment website to learn more.
Contributing Editor Steve Maxwell has been helping people renovate, build and maintain their homes for more than two decades. “Canada’s Handiest Man” is an award-winning home improvement authority and woodworking expert. Contact him by visiting his website and the blog, Maxwell’s House. You also can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and find him on Google+.