A wood burning fireplace can heat a home or just be used for ambience, but in either case you will need firewood. Splitting your own wood will save you money; however, it is a labour intensive process. You can make the process easier by making a log splitter. The best homemade log splitter will be easy to load, easy to move and powerful enough to get the job done quickly. Always observe safety precautions and wear protective eye gear when using a splitter.
Easy to Load
One of the most back-breaking aspects of using a log splitter is lifting the large pieces of wood into place for splitting. To avoid this problem, look for plans for a homemade log splitter that is oriented in a horizontal fashion and low to the ground. This way you can roll the wood that needs splitting into place without lifting. Choose a spring-activated foot pedal to operate the log splitter; when you move away from the pedal, it should automatically return to the "off" position.
Easy to Move
The best homemade log splitters can be easily moved to where the wood is and then returned to storage until needed again. If you have more than one fireplace to service, say your home and a vacation cabin, then you'll definitely want portability in your log splitter. Or perhaps you just want to let your next door neighbour use your splitter. Look for plans for a homemade log splitter than can be mounted on a trailer with wheels, such as a boat trailer for example. Choose larger wheels over smaller ones for ease of relocating the splitter. Observe all state rules and regulations regarding the use of trailers when moving your log splitter. Alternatively, you can construct your splitter so that it can be operated at a distance from the trailer.
Choose a wedge that is large enough to get a good break on the first strike. The wedge should be easy to sharpen. You may want to construct your homemade log splitter so that it can accommodate more than one type of wedge for splitting logs into halves and fourths. Your power supply can be electric or hydraulic but should be able to generate enough force. Look for a 5 horsepower motor capable of generating about 12 tons of force. When working with hydraulics, use materials (oil and hoses, for example) designed for use with hydraulic equipment.