From a Sledge and Wedge to This

After reading ‘And Now, The Rest of The Story’, David, a reader asked how I split wood. Here’s my present setup.

Let me start by saying that this is not a paid endorsement of DR® equipment in any way. I chose their Dual-Action model a few years back as I liked the idea of being able to split on both the forward and return strokes of the splitting ram/wedge. My setup would probably work with any make of horizontal splitter.

As a kid growing up in Iowa I used an axe to chop wood for both my family’s use and my grandmother’s use. I was lucky enough not to lose any toes or other body parts and soon found out that when I was grown and on my own, I would retire my axe chopping days. Learning experience #1.

Living and teaching in South Dakota, we heated with wood as a teacher’s salary didn’t go very far. I purchased a small chainsaw and used the wood splitter that my FFA chapter bought for a BOSDC (Building Our South Dakota Communities) project. This was learning experience #2.

I started here with a small chainsaw and used a sledge-hammer and metal splitting wedge in gathering and splitting fire wood. I didn’t have the knack it took to be efficient with this method. I spent more time picking up the round off the ground and putting it back on the stump than I did splitting. Learning experience #3.

My step up was the purchase of a ‘real’ splitting mall. This proved to be somewhat easier as I didn’t have to worry about the wedge falling out of or getting stuck in the round. I should have either bought a pair of shin guards or lagged an old tire to the stump to keep the split pieces from trying to mame me. Learning experience #4.

With all the prior experience of wood splitting, I knew it was once again time to use a wood splitter. I looked at many different makes and models and settled on the DR® Dual-Action. I like being able to split on both strokes but it does sometimes require the use of a sledge when I try splitting wood that is too wet. Live and learn. I had been punishing my back by muscling the rounds off the ground and onto the splitting table. (Yes, I squatted down and lifted the proper way using my legs.)

Then I found out they make something called a ‘remote controlled electric hoist’. It didn’t take too much talking to convince the Pickle Queen to let me add this labor-saving device to my ‘operation’. Good neighbor Catfish came up with the idea of using a screw-eye in the round on which to attach the cable. This works great, but I’ve been warned many times to make sure to screw it in far enough to prevent it from being spit out.


I have one of those roller thing-a-ma-jigs like they used to roll groceries out to your car in the drive up lane of a grocery store in the good ‘ole days. I think they’re called a roller conveyor, or something like that. Anyway, right now I use an old wooden bushel basket (retired laundry basket) on this conveyor where I put the split pieces to move them to the racks.


I started out buying the brackets to make the drying/storage racks. Now, I cut my own brackets to which I insert 2×4’s to form the 8 foot racks. They say that fire wood dries about an inch a year, so right now this rack should be ready to use next year at the earliest. I’m running out of room and had to squeeze this rack in between two others. I like to keep some room between racks to allow good air circulation.


This combination of ‘equipment’ should allow me many different arrangements to meet my needs, but I’m sure this is just another learning experience on the tree of wood splitting.

Pictures courtesy of the PQ.

Keep your fork




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