Mother's Hydraulic Log Splitter

Our crack MOTHER EARTH NEWS research team has designed a powerful, versatile, yet entirely affordable hydraulic log splitter you can build yourself.

| November/December 1979

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    Our hydraulic log splitter will do even more in its completely self-powered form. You can latch the hitch to your car or truck and tow the splitter to the trees, where it will either cut wood while still mounted to the hitch, or can be detached and rolled up to the job. Or you can pull the entire cutting assembly away from the chassis to tackle tougher tasks.
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    The easiest and least expensive way to build and use the hydraulic log splitter is to construct only the three-point tractor mount and the cutting assembly, and let your tractor be the power source . 

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From the moment over eight months ago when MOTHER EARTH NEWS' research team first planned to construct a hydraulic log splitter, the boys had far more in mind than mere economy. Of course, our inventors were bent on conserving your pennies every step of the way, but they also hoped to whip up a log lopper with professional features—plus a few capabilities that even the top-dollar models can't boast—while limiting the cost to about half that of an equivalent ready-made unit. And that's just what they've done!

You'd have to fork over well in excess of $1,000 to buy a splitter that can do the kind of work our firewood cracker is capable of handling. With almost 12 tons of force at the cylinder, this slicer divides logs as big as two feet in diameter and 21 inches long in less than five seconds. In fact, during our test sessions out at MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Eco-Village property, we didn't encounter a single oak chunk that demanded full power from the machines 5-HP gasoline (or, with a few adjustments, alcohol-powered) engine.

What Will It Do?

But sheer splitting power isn't all that our fireplace feeder has going for it. We don't know of another machine at any price that's as versatile as this unit. After all, MOTHER EARTH NEWS' mechanical lumberjack will work for you in three different modes!

Because its wheels are full-size, heavy-duty boat-trailer items, this splitter can be towed to a job by simply attaching its hitch to a 1 7/8" or 2" ball on your car or truck. (In fact, in many states a single-use, unsprung trailer is exempt from licensing ... but be sure to check with your state officials before towing the splitter.) Once you arrive at the old woodlot, you can either split wood with the assembly latched in place, or undo the hitch and roll the motorized maul closer to your work. (To make moving easier, a pair of fold-out handles are attached to the splitter's beam.)

If, however, your downed trees happen to be on the other side of a little rough land—and therefore inaccessible to the wheeled wood chopper—just loosen two 3/4" pinch bolts, slide the cutting assembly away from the chassis (which is held upright by handy swing-out braces), and haul the workin' parts back into the forest with you. The chopping unit can be utilized at a distance of up to 40 feet from the engine, wheels, etc with the addition of hydraulic hose.

There's another benefit to separating the "chopper" from the chassis, too. If you happen to be working on particularly large logs which would be a real strain to lift up onto the splitter, you can just lay the cutting assembly on the ground (where it will be held steady by its handles) and roll the logs into position.

6/6/2010 1:51:47 PM

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