Log splitters make winter prep quick and easy
In the middle of a hot summer, it may seem strange to discuss prepping for cold weather, but when it comes to firewood—it’s the perfect time! The reason is that wood needs time to season which means drying it out so the moisture content drops to a low level which enables the wood to burn better. Cut wood can have up to 50% moisture by weight. Well-seasoned wood should have between 15-20% moisture by weight to burn optimally.
To get your wood fuel supply ready, here are four tips:
Cut wood to the right length for your stove, fireplace or furnace. A good rule of thumb is three inches shorter than the firebox width or length depending on how you load your wood. Pieces longer than 16 inches are generally more awkward to handle.
Split it to the right size depending on where you’re burning it. When splitting, keep smaller pieces for kindling. Splitting can be a real chore—but with a log splitter, it can be real fun! Consider these models:
10 Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter
You can split logs up to 18 inches long and 6-1/2 inches in diameter (depending on wood density) with this Central Machinery log splitter. Manually work the jack handles to generate up to 10 tons of splitting force. The extra-long handles provide good leverage. The compact size is ideal for convenient storage.
5 ton Log Splitter
Split logs up to 10 inches in diameter with this Central Machinery electric log splitter featuring a powerful 1.8 horsepower motor. The unit also features 6-inch wheels for transport, easy grip handle and compact size for convenient storage.
20 ton Log Splitter
Put the power of a 212cc gas-powered 6.5 HP Predator engine behind your firewood prep! This heavy-duty unit tackles logs 23-1/2 inches long and 16 inches in diameter. It has 16-inch wheels for easy transport and is towable. Note: this unit is not for sale in California.
Pile in a single row exposed to the sun and wind to get the moisture content under 20%. The pile should be placed in an area where the sun can warm it and wind blow through it to faciliate drying. The wood should be raised off the ground to prevent rotting and mold. Also, do not stack the wood too high for safety and be sure to stabilize the stack with cross pieces and solid ends (e.g. a post driven into the ground – see pic).
Let the wood dry at least six months for proper seasoning. If you live in more humid areas or use dense wood like oak, you may have to give it more time. Come fall, move the wood to a dry sheltered area that’s fully protected from rain and snow. It’s ill-advised to store a large amount of wood in your house due to the potential of mold growth which can contaminate your indoor air. To determine moisture content, you can use a wood moisture gauge or go by as many of these indicators as possible:
- Check for cracks in the end grain
- Look for wood that darkens from white or cream color to grey or yellow as it dries
- Bang two pieces together—dry pieces sound hollow while wet pieces sound solid and dull
- Split a piece—if the exposed surface feels damp, it’s not seasoned enough
- Burn some—dry wood ignites and burns easily while wet wood is hard to light and hisses in the fire
Don’t get caught in the cold! Preparing for winter can be a fun warm-weather project with a little help from log splitters available at your local Harbor Freight Tools store!