Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Smart Splitter

Knowing Limitations

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As if a physical experiment was even necessary, I tested the difference of splitting our stringy ash logs with my kindling splitter on a warm day yesterday and successfully demonstrated the obvious limitations of the otherwise wonderful tool.

In extreme cold, the logs pop apart with much less shredding of the fibers. The temperature was in the 40s (F) and the limitations of that 20-pound weight to force the wedge through the tangle of grains were plain to see. Even at the advertised force of 14-tons. That’s verticle force, I’m sure, not horizontal.

That Smart Splitter® works amazingly well within its obvious limitations. I’ve successfully accomplished manually splitting the wide variety of the types of wood on our property, especially if the logs are cut reasonably short. I just need to remember to save the complex grain woods for the coldest of winter days.

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Written by johnwhays

February 28, 2021 at 11:14 am

Managing Well

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We managed to survive the coldest weekend so far this winter without too much trouble. Our heated waterer for the chickens didn’t fare so well, though. Cyndie brought it inside to thaw and tried a second time, but when it froze again, we put the backup unit into use.

I took advantage of the brittleness of frozen firewood logs and busted a bunch of them open on the manual splitter.

Full disclosure: That graphic wasn’t from this weekend. I keep my hat on when the windchill is minus-25°(F). Still, the exercise generates plenty of body warmth. Another reason I don’t need a gym membership for working out.

The ol’ Norwegian Smart-Splitter® is ideal for making kindling. Snaps off little bite sized pieces with one stroke. I push the limits a little bit and use it along with a separate wedge to split full-sized logs. Takes a few extra throws of the weight to coerce the more stubborn logs. If you look close, the once-yellow wedge is stuck in the wood beside the green wedge of the Smart Splitter. I’ve got a maul in my left hand and I switch back and forth between the two to increase expansion pressure until the wood finally gives.

Even though the wood was easier to split, I was less interested in being outside long enough to get it all done. Truth be told, I had a greater urge to lean back with my feet up in the recliner under a snuggly blanket.

Happily, Pequenita felt similar to me about spending the rest of the day on the recliner.

That’s what I call managing well to deal with a crazy, bitterly cold day.

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Written by johnwhays

February 15, 2021 at 7:00 am

New Parts

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I decided to practice a little preventative maintenance on my log splitter and ordered spare parts before they completely failed. I had noticed that the nylon impact bushing was beginning to deform and one of the washers on the bottom spacer had already fractured.dscn5773e

In a quick search, I found that both of these parts were readily available to extend the life of the product, so I made the buy. In this picture, I’ve already installed the new parts and bagged the old ones, which I’ll store in the off-hand chance of future unexpected failure.

I saw in the review comments for the parts that some folks had the impact bushing fracture. It has helped me to be more aware of how my use of the splitter stresses these parts. I am less driven to pound away on a log that is obviously not giving in to the idea of my wanting it to split.

The temperature was just about to climb above freezing when I started yesterday and the frozen wood was snapping apart with minimum effort. I was thinking I should get Cyndie to record a video to demonstrate how slick this tool is. I’m glad I didn’t, because no sooner than having that thought did my luck swing and the wood changed to stringier oak. I also came to a few Y-shaped pieces. These reveal the amazing strength at that junction which allows branches to support such incredible amounts of weight in big old trees.

You need to pick your angles carefully to convince the wood to separate at the junctions where branches Y off.

When a log is particularly resistant to the intrusion of the Smart Splitter wedge, I employ the added incentive of the orange twisting wedge and some pounding with the traditional splitting maul. It makes for a lot more effort, but I surprise myself by the eventual success I’ve been able to achieve in the face of some pieces that look like they would require the power of a machine.

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I had a nice session of progress, saving a couple of the bigger challenges for later, since my energy had declined as morning turned to afternoon and it was time for some lunch. Later, on my way to another task, I stopped to muscle the last two challenges.

I have incentive to get our current piles of wood split and stacked in the shed. This coming Thursday and Friday is our appointment for the tree trimmers to come cut high branches from our old trees. I’ve instructed them to focus solely on dropping branches that are out of my reach.

I will cut and split, or shred with the chipper, all the wood that comes to the ground so they don’t end up wasting any precious time (or our limited funds) on something I can do later. I think that cleanup project has the capacity to become an ongoing chore that will last me for the rest of the year.

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Written by johnwhays

February 11, 2017 at 10:42 am

Frozen Season

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DSCN4121eThe frozen season has finally arrived. It’s got me wanting to have a fire, and since we still aren’t able to have one indoors due to the cracks in the flue, I started one in our outdoor pit.

I was working nearby to change out the base of my Smart Splitter® log splitter. Having a fire nearby provided more than just a place to warm up, it created an ambiance of purpose and energy.

I get great pleasure from finally knocking off tasks that have lingered untended for far too long. The base of the splitter was a necessary project because the old one finally started to break up from the pounding that the old decaying wood was taking. In contrast, the task of adding boards to the pallets that form the floor of the wood shed was one of convenience which had been too easily postponed, again and again.DSCN4122e

Yesterday became the day.

First, I needed to dismantle more of the spare pallets I had collected from work, just as I had done to build hay boxes recently. In previous years, the pallets I brought home from work had a full surface of boards, but the supplier figured out they could accomplish the same goal with less lumber. Now they come with half as many boards.

In July when we were stacking hay, I needed to steal some pallets from the wood shed. They were the old ones with a full surface of boards.

The next pallets that became available when I was seeking replacements, ended up being the ones with every other board. That became a real ankle twister when I was trying to stack wood.

Yesterday, I dismantled new pallets to get boards that I could use to create a complete deck on the ones already in the wood shed. My ankles are saved! Now it’s time to take advantage of the below freezing temperatures and split some logs.

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Written by johnwhays

November 21, 2015 at 11:09 am

New Normal

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Wednesday brought a return to normalcy at Wintervale, as Cyndie ventured out in the rental car in the early morning hours and drove herself to work. A form of “getting back on that horse,” if you know what I mean. I don’t know what that was like for her, but her safe departure brought a return to the usual weekday routine for the animals and me at home. Although, it was ‘usual’ under the guise of our new normal which involves WINTERY weather!

DSCN2590eThe horses appear to have adopted seamlessly, and happily paw the ground in the back pasture to reveal grazing available that still interests them. Regardless, I have begun to increase the daily ration of hay that we put out in the paddock to assure they have access to all the fuel their bodies require to be comfortable in the cold temperatures.

I suppose I should probably increase my daily intake of peanut M&Ms to help my body beat the cold, as well.

I finally made it to the bottom of the pile of split wood that my very generous neighbor helped create, moving it all into the woodshed. Now the stack of logs remaining to be split stands out a little more. I was too busy with other priorities in my race to prepare for the impending snow last weekend, to accept his offer of returning to finish all the splitting.

Much of what’s left is little stuff that will be easy to do by hand, anyway. Not that that would have stopped him. I look forward to using my fancy Swedish Smart Splitter to split a few logs at a time, and working on getting that shed filled to capacity. Everything going in there now is for burning next winter. Right now we’ve got barely half the amount of seasoned wood I’d like to have available for burning this year.

Who knew winter would arrive so early?

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Written by johnwhays

November 13, 2014 at 7:00 am