For professional users, skid steer and PTO log splitters are considered the default tools for turning fallen trees into manageable logs. However, not everyone needs a commercial-grade log splitter or has access to a vehicle they can use with a splitter.
Good news: splitting firewood with a gas log splitter doesn't have to require a lot of muscle, even if you're working with large logs.
With the right techniques and the right tools, any David can conquer a Goliath-sized piece of wood.
So before you go trying to hack a tree into firewood, consider using these tools along with these tips to learn how to split large logs with ease.
For the home or semi-pro user, horizontal log splitters are a common choice, as they allow you simply to rest the log you want to split on top of the machine and let the beam and wedge do all the hard work.
However, some logs are too big to lift easily or safely. Before you split them into smaller pieces, you'll have to cut those monstrous logs into halves.
With a vertical and horizontal log splitter, splitting large logs becomes a series of easy steps:
Combination vertical/horizontal log splitters are available with force ratings between 20 and 37 tons, so they're made to handle the big stuff. Features like specially placed handles on the cylinder make switching between the vertical and horizontal functions quick and simple.
Once you've gotten that big, bad log cut down by half, you'll have a far better chance of being able to lift it onto the splitter.
You can cut that half into quarters after you get it onto the splitter, but the pieces may still be too large to catch as they're cut.
Larger, more powerful log splitters often come with log tables and cradles included. Log trays are also available as add-on accessories. Always check that a cradle is compatible with your brand of log splitter.
If you end up with a lot of medium-sized logs that need to be split into quarters, you may not want to spend as much time on each one.
To power through many logs in half the time, you can use a 4-way wedge to cut your workload in half. By incorporating wings on the side, a 4-way edge can split one log into four pieces at one time instead of the standard two pieces.
You can find 4-way wedges designed to work with either small or large log splitters. However, the largest logs still might be easiest to split with the concentrated force of a traditional wedge.
Fortunately, 4-way wedges are easy both to fit onto and take off of compatible log splitters, so you can choose the style of wedge that works best for the logs you have at the time.
It's not just the thickness or the width of your logs that determines how easily your logs will split—it's also the length.
Generally, the shorter the log, the easier it will be to split into smaller pieces. Before using your log splitter, use your chainsaw to cut 14-18" logs. Not only will these fit nicely on your log splitter; they'll also be the standard size to fit inside most fireplaces and furnaces.
Also, knots in wood can make splitting tricky. While you have your chainsaw out, use it to cut any obvious knots out of your logs as well.
Large logs don't have to be a large problem. The right tools can cut them down to the size you need.