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  1. #1
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    Default Any suggestions for a type of stand to chainsaw 'unsplittable' firewood billets?

    Not sure where in the forums to put this post, but I reckon the blokes who frequent this section'd have more familiarity with this sorta problem, so...

    I'm down to the last couple of cubes of my firewood pile, but what is left is all the gnarly stuff that my supplier couldn't easily split. (Much of it has marks on one end or t'other where his hydraulic splitter at least tried. )

    Mainly Ironbark, I've manually split what I can (Groan!) but the pieces that're left really need a chainsaw to 'get them started.' Then a splitting wedge/sledgie to finish the job. The pieces vary from 12-16" long, but vary in diameter from 6" to about 16" and many are forks or very, very oddly shaped.

    They're great overnighters on the fire, but that's not what we need... we need 'em of a size that we can start the fire and get a good bed of coals going so I can use this stuff as is.

    My problem is securing the pieces while I chainsaw down the middle, probably about halfway. I don't want to be kneeling for this, so I'd like to knock something up that'd lift 'em off the ground while securely holding 'em. In the past I'd use my Triton supa-jaws for this, but aparently someone took a liking to 'em one night.

    My old man used to lean 'em up against the inside of an old tyre and use one foot to keep the piece steady... but although he got away with it for decades without incident, I just don't like doing it that way.

    I don't have access to any welding or metalwork kit, so whatever I make is going to be basically pine studs and coach bolts.

    Any suggestions?
    I may be weird, but I'm saving up to become eccentric.

    - Andy Mc

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  3. #2
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    Get some pieces of 4x2 timber and make ~3 large "X's" and join the bases of each so the X's face each other about 1ft apart
    Put the pieces in the top section of the X's and saw away.

    With a bit of ingenuity you can probably work out way to lay the X's over and roll the short logs into the maw of the X's, secure the pieces and then using a lever rotate the X to lift teh logs off the ground.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    Get some pieces of 4x2 timber and make ~3 large "X's" and join the bases of each so the X's face each other about 1ft apart
    Put the pieces in the top section of the X's and saw away.

    With a bit of ingenuity you can probably work out way to lay the X's over and roll the short logs into the maw of the X's, secure the pieces and then using a lever rotate the X to lift teh logs off the ground.
    I think the saw horse BobL refers to is called a sawbuck in the Americas. Searching YouToob under this name will show how they look like.

  5. #4
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    Search 'log stand for cutting firewood' plenty of images of examples.

    Just keep in mind when ripping length wise that the chain & bar may bind as you near the completion of the cut if using "X" style stands.

    Personally, I would simply use a scrap sleeper mounted upon saw horses with an end stop screwed in place to hold the log shorts until the dogs on the chainsaw engage. Simply add side stops to prevent the log from rolling. They could be simple Vee blocks, or wedges, or even a series of stacked flat boards.

    or you could get real fancy - Cutting Bench Makes it easy to convert fresh-cut logs into turning blanks - FineWoodworking
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobyturns View Post
    Search 'log stand for cutting firewood' plenty of images of examples.

    Just keep in mind when ripping length wise that the chain & bar may bind as you near the completion of the cut if using "X" style stands.
    If log is a big enough log a couple of wedges tapped into the kerf will prevent that. For logs that are not big enough for wedges this is usually not a problem.

    Another approach is to make a shallower "X"

    So instead of like this "X" make it like this LowX.jpg

  7. #6
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    Thanks fellas, that's pretty much what I'd imagined.

    My main concern is the short(ish) lengths, but I imagine I can improve the stands stability by splaying the frames by a few degrees. Nice to know I'm on the right path.

    Thanks again, you've eased my mind.
    I may be weird, but I'm saving up to become eccentric.

    - Andy Mc

  8. #7
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    Skew

    I am seeing three issues here. The first is the difficulty of splitting the wood, secondly holding awkward shaped pieces while you attempt to deal with them and lastly manoevering them to a comfortable height to save the back.

    It is the last one that is the main problem.

    However if you are looking at using a chainsaw to start the spliting process, why not just cut them into smaller lengths, say six inches long. That is three cuts in the longer pieces: Of course the difficulty there is holding those small pieces steady. For that sort of work I kneel on one knee to save the ageing back. Splitting the smaller pieces could be done by using a car tyre and packing it with the smaller pieces on end.

    I have found that some Ironbark splits very easily and other species of Ironbark split with difficulty and can only be tackled around the growth rings in the same way the Box speices have to be split. However, I think your issue is more to do with crotches and the like. If the firewood provider's hydraulic splitter could not make much impression, I don't like your chances. I think I would be chainsawing them. Once chain sawn into smaller pieces they may even become splitable.

    Best of luck and take care with sawing small pieces.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  9. #8
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    As has been said something like this.
    One thing Id do different is not use those screws. One touch with the saw blade and it will be dead. Ive not hit them yet . Been close a few times.
    Drill and peg with wood pegs could be the go . Maybe another brace down low as well .

    IMG_2027a.jpg IMG_2028a.jpg

  10. #9
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    Brass screws can be used as chainsaw chain will chew straight thru those without any problems.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushmiller View Post
    I am seeing three issues here. The first is the difficulty of splitting the wood, secondly holding awkward shaped pieces while you attempt to deal with them and lastly manoevering them to a comfortable height to save the back.
    You got it, except for the last. For me that is less back strain than sawing from a kneeling position. If I had to load a trailer with the stuff, it'd be t'other way around but for this job I can have a few mins rest between each lift while I procrastinate over each cut.

    However if you are looking at using a chainsaw to start the spliting process, why not just cut them into smaller lengths, say six inches long. That is three cuts in the longer pieces: Of course the difficulty there is holding those small pieces steady.
    I'd considered that and decided against as the Ironbark really needs a good bed of coals before it starts to burn and the easiest parts to get going are the edges and split faces. I need to either break this stuff down enough to throw on top of kindling with a chance it'll take... or start dipping into my more valuable timbers. Most of my offcuts have already met this fate as I've procrastinated about tackling this job.

    I take your point that shorter lengths will have a much greater chance of splitting, though...

    I'll try a few of the less cantankerous ones tomorrow and see how I go. I feel happier cutting into sections than trying to rip such short lengths when loose, even if I can get away with only enough depth to get a wedge in. (Doubtful.)

    In all likelihood I'll probably still make up a frame as I doubt next years firewood will be any better.

    I have found that some Ironbark splits very easily and other species of Ironbark split with difficulty and can only be tackled around the growth rings in the same way the Box speices have to be split. However, I think your issue is more to do with crotches and the like. If the firewood provider's hydraulic splitter could not make much impression, I don't like your chances. I think I would be chainsawing them. Once chain sawn into smaller pieces they may even become splitable.
    And right again.

    It splits around the rings quite nicely, radially is a nightmare. Many of the pieces the splitter failed on I've already managed with an axe along the rings. It's the crotches, old lightning struck pieces, all the stuff that is 'Buckley's choice' that I'm stuck with. The bushfires cleaned out many of the better quality firewood stooks around here and it shows in both the pricing & the quality of what's available.
    I may be weird, but I'm saving up to become eccentric.

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  12. #11
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    I use my band saw, no mucking around and no challenges in holding the piece to be cut.
    CHRIS

  13. #12
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    Nothing is unsplittable - you just need a longer run up . Choice of blocksplitter makes a difference too; I just use the old fashioned large heavy head "brute force" type, but recently borrowed a rather more refined splitting axe from Fiskars. Very effective.

    I've been logging and splitting a LOT of large timber recently from burned trees dropped after the bushfires, with a variety of grain. Everything from Eucalyptus Firewoodiana (dead straight grain, pings apart at the lightest tap) through to Eucalyptus Bastardyexus sub. sp. Twistyonia. Some stuff has such cranky grain that a chainsaw along the grain is frankly the only way (even a hydraulic blocksplitter just tends to mangle these up). On moderately tricky stuff though, I just cut a shallow (1") groove in the end grain with chainsaw before reaching for the blocksplitter. Provided you can hit this groove (repeatedly) it'll split. Saves excessive chainsawing and fuel, while still retaijning the bracing (?) physical effort of the manual blocksplitter.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Brush View Post
    ) through to Eucalyptus Bastardyexus sub. sp. Twistyonia. Some stuff has such cranky grain that a chainsaw along the grain is frankly the only way (even a hydraulic blocksplitter just tends to mangle these up).

    That stuff seems to be more common these days! along with E. insipidous available through most hardware retail chains though very expensive, bland in colour and grain does split well.
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  15. #14
    Boringgeoff is offline Try not to be late, but never be early.
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    This is an interesting question Skew, because I use a saw bench for my firewood, when a crotch needs ripping I can do it easily on the bench, I've never used the chainsaw for this. I put a bit of thought into how I'd do it with the chainsaw and came up with this quick demo.
    I clamped two pieces of timber, vertically, to the chopping block with a pair of ratchet straps.
    IMGP1497.jpg
    I hunted out a fork, a bit light, but ok for this demonstration, sat it on the block, and strapped it to the pair of uprights. As I tightened the strap I found the uprights got pulled toward each other so had to jam a block between them. IMGP1498.jpg

    I ran the blade of the chainsaw into the crotch between the two uprights, working from the side away from the block so as to pull the crotch back against the uprights. IMGP1500.jpg
    Now all you need to do is unstrap the fork, insert the wedge and split away.

    Cheers,
    Geoff.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by yvan View Post
    I think the saw horse BobL refers to is called a sawbuck in the Americas. Searching YouToob under this name will show how they look like.
    Dunno if it was a local name or not, but I knew the stands that Bobl and Yvan reference as log horses.

    But they were not made from the wussy 4x2 in the yootoobs, but from real timber:
    • If sawn timber, then 6x4 or so, or
    • if round bush timber, then 150mm minimal diameter, and
    • From a really tough timber like Tassy blue gum or spotted gum.


    They were always built from what was available and designed and built to last for at least 50 years, if not for a 100.

    They were quite different from saw horses which were used in the workshop.

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