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Author Topic: Making my own firewood processor.  (Read 1541 times)

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Offline paul case

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Making my own firewood processor.
« on: October 13, 2018, 10:00:43 AM »
I have been contemplating getting into the firewood business. I have around 40 acres of trees that need thinned or clear cut for more pasture or to at least let the trees to grow. I have been sawmilling at my place for about 10 years and started out cutting my slabs to firewood length and selling them delivered by the truck load delivered and I got so busy milling that I didnt have time for it. So we started about 6 years ago bundling our slabs and selling the bundles. Usually I have 50 to 80 of them piled up to sell after the first of October. They cleaned them all out before the first of October this year.

So I have been getting over run with calls wanting firewood. That makes me think of cutting some as the mill is running and making a good profit with me there part time. Add to that we are always getting logs that we will not saw and we have been selling them at a very discounted price as we like to keep the lot cleaned up and I dont want to have to cut and split them by hand.

Processors are very expensive. This one is about the most reasonable one I have found.


It costs over $8000.
I been thinking of building my own and I like the idea of having less moving parts so the catch and slide the log idea looks good to me. 
My plan is to use a 4x26 loader cylinder for the splitter, a 3x10 cylinder for the clamp arm, and a dual spool loader valve that I already have. ran by tractor hydraulics(which I already have) and use one of my stihl 660 with 36'' bar for the cutter. 

I see a lot of homemade processor stuff on youtube and I know some guys on here have made them so I am just looking for advise. 

PC
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.
pc

Offline hedgerow

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2018, 12:46:25 PM »
Paul 
Welcome to the world of firewood processors. I started building one two winters ago I say that as I am not sure if they are ever done. It is in my shop as I write this doing some up grades on the log deck. Sorry I don't have any pictures posted or a way to do that. I burn and process 15 cord a year and like you was looking for a easier way to do that. I don't know what kind and size of wood you have but that is a big factor in how well it will work. I am mostly processing locust and hedge and big logs 20"to 36" that make for a big processor. Running a chain saw will save a lot of money on the build. I built my hyd saw that runs a 48" bar but it takes a lot of GPM of oil and lot of HP. The next problem is pushing it threw a multi wedge and not breaking every thing in it path. My locust and hedge doesn't like multi wedges. Most of the time I can only go four way and that leaves the pieces a little big but I am going into a Garn so its not a problem. I am running a 6 1/2" cylinder and it gives it a work out. Mind was built with some parts I already had like the splitter but I up sized the cylinder and added the hyd  6 way wedge. I run two engines with the big cylinder and the hyd saw my 40 HP engine wasn't enough so I added a 25 HP I had. I have about $10,000 in mine hoses and Hyd  parts add up quick. If you have straight and easy splitting wood you will be fine.  

Offline blackfoot griz

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2018, 01:38:58 PM »
Paul, there have been a number of firewood processor build threads here on the Forestry Forum. GF from Oklahoma had a great build thread and he helped me out on my build.  I am not sure how to post links to older threads. Mike from Maine had one as well.

Online barbender

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2018, 01:46:26 PM »
Paul, I've been wanting to build one exactly like you describe. Now I will be watching you build yours so I can copy/modify it!😁
Too many irons in the fire

Online barbender

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2018, 01:48:06 PM »
Btw, Brute Force makes a standalone model similar to what you're thinking, I think it's a 14-24 model.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2018, 12:10:21 AM »
Put a pilot operated dump valve on the retract side.  When you retract the splitter ram, the exhaust fluid normally has to go through the valve and hoses.  This is much faster.

Tear your cylinder down and weld a 1" nipple in.   Plumb the dump valve into that new port and use a big hose with no return filter on it.  When you retract, pressure opens the dump and it routes all the fluid straight to tank, bypassing the valve.  Your other functions all go through a return filter. 

You can get very fast extension by using a regenerative circuit but it come at the expense of force.  I do think they make 2 stage regenerative valves now that can switch it off at a preset pressure.  Regenerative directs the fluid from the pump AND the fluid from the exhaust side together into the extending end to fill quicker. Its hard to grasp.  I dont know if you can do regenerative and a dump valve. 


If youll be splitting a lot of big crotchy twisty stuff, keep a regular old vertical horizontal single knife, two way splitter handy, dont try to make one machine that can process every piece of wood you see.  Make sure on your multiway wedge that the different tines dont all engage at once, stagger the edges an inch or two and you will get away with less force required.  

Big hydraulic tank and a big cooler.  If you use an independant low pressure circulator pump, a car radiator and electric fan can be looped on the hydraulic tank for lots of very cheap cooling.  Pressure rated hydraulic coolers are very expensive. 

A chainsaw on a manual pivot saves a lot of money, as does a winch with a hammer in cleat for drawing the logs in.  conveyor beds dont like really twisty, knobby logs. But a winch will pull ugly wood along a bare I-beam or roller table without issue. 

You can also make a winch into a capstan mover.  A little pushplate trolley rides a groove from one end to the other, back it off to the far end, advance the next log off your live deck, then the buttplate pushed it to your stops.  

A rake tine or a bigrig mudflap spring will make a cheap and easy stop gauge for length.  Weld it to a vice grip and just clamp that to a pipe stub.  If you go too far it just knocks off, no big deal. 

If youll be stationary, consider gutting out an old chainsaw with a smoked top end, welding a coupler on the flywheel end of the crank and powering it with an electric motor via lovejoy.  So you get a regular bar and chain,a clutch and an oil pump, but with electric on off and no refueling.  It could be triggered by a switch every time it leaves home.   Gasket seal a blank off plate where the jug was and fill with oil for the bearings.  The bar lube can be a gravity hung oil jug or pail of 303/wmo with a hose barb into the saws oil tank.  Its redneck but the point is to make more money with the machine than you spend on it right?  
Revelation 3:20

Offline paul case

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2018, 08:10:16 AM »
Mike, that is a lot of advise but I guess you didnt read my post.

I am using a tractor to power the splitter so changing all the hydraulic fittings to bigger will not help me at all. 

I am using a cylinder and valve that I already have. 

Tractor hydraulics will require no resevior or tank. Tractor has its own cooler so I will not be adding one of those either.

If you look at the video this design doesnt require any winch, or trolley to reposition the log for the next cut.

I like the mudflap idea, but I was thinking of hydraulic hose so it dont block my sight to any of the processor.

PC
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.
pc

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2018, 08:41:44 AM »
- The mudflap spring bar, with mudflap removed. Its a positive yet flexible stop.

-It doesnt matter what motor or valve you use, a dump is how retract speed is increased and a regenerative circuit is how extend speed is increased.   big ports in the cylinder are a fairly large part of maximizing the effectiveness of those components.  The point is bypassing the control valve to move more fluid faster when you retract. its how super fast processors are super fast.

-any hydraulics that run non stop at high pressure will get hot.  

-you said you have some parts and it'd be "ran by tractor hydraulics" that you have.  That can mean a lotta things.  I read your post twice.  
Revelation 3:20

Offline Pclem

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2018, 08:17:12 PM »
I made a cutoff conveyor when I started out. Welded up a trough with a hydraulic motor driving the chain, running off the tractor hydraulics. I just bungeed the tractor valve open, and had a single spool valve on the conveyor. Mounted a 372xp on a pivot at the end. The cutoffs fell in another chain driven conveyor and piled away from the cutoff table. Of course it was just like any firewood processor, the straighter the logs, the better. Not sure if you wanted to go the conveyor feed route, But I had less than a grand in it.
Dyna SC16. powersplit. supersplitter. firewood kilns.bobcat T190. ford 4000 with forwarding trailer. a bunch of saws, and a question on my sanity for walking away from a steady paycheck

Offline Gearbox

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2018, 08:38:20 PM »
Paul did you see the one I built a few years back . It is on here BT6870 also on you tube . Simple fast [ 10 seconds ] 12 volt HF winch motors to drive the feed and live deck . The only hydraulics is the splitter and adjustable 4 way . I built this for less than $ 2000 .
A bunch of chainsaws a BT6870 processer , TC 5 International track skidder and not near enough time

Offline jimbarry

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2018, 08:43:12 PM »
For what its worth, there's a China company that makes these for half the price of a Halverson. On facebook https://www.facebook.com/lin.mike.16547 I have no affiliation to the company, just seen it a while back and thought it was interesting.
Jim

Online Hilltop366

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2018, 09:35:41 AM »
I find gravity fairly cheap and reliable, could one make a sloped log troth to feed the log?

I figuring it would need a good sturdy log stop, a lot of log stops seem to retract when cutting I assume to prevent jamming the block in between the stop and the saw bar.

So running the log advance is taken care of by gravity and holding the log and log stop with the splitter cylinder perhaps by using a ramp(s) that travels back and forth with the splitter pusher.

As the splitter pusher is traveling down the beam at about 1/2 way one ramp engages a follower on a leaver that advances the log stop into position the when the pusher is near full extension the second ramp (or the pusher just pushes on a leaver) to release the spring loaded hold down and lets the log advance. When the pusher retracts the hold own is reactivated and you can start your next cut as the log stop is retracted. 

I have been thinking about a way to do this for a while (being able to run everything on the splitter cylinder with one valve) and have come up with several ideas but so far I'm thinking this is the best and simplest yet with the least amount of moving parts and no special components so I thank you for getting me to think about this again paul case!

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2018, 11:31:52 AM »
You can advance the log for free by slaving the log trough to the splitter push plate.  
Revelation 3:20

Online Hilltop366

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2018, 02:10:09 PM »
Yes like the video in the first post is what I think you are talking about, when I watched the video and my first thought is it seemed to take extra time and required an extra valve, cylinder and hoses for the clamp and a bit of frigging sometimes to get the log in position for the next cut.

With a positive log stop and auto clamp that is all eliminated and hydraulics are replaced with steel parts and a couple of springs.

Will it work and how much slope would be required?

I'm not sure just thinking out loud.

The trough would have to be smooth so I was thinking of steel or heavy sheet metal over wood or perhaps plastic truck bed liner over wood.

Offline paul case

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2018, 07:23:19 AM »
I am sure there could be a way to get that to work. I see a couple issues. If you had enough slope to get the log to roll forward, it would probably have enough weight to pinch the sawbar. even if it didnt pinch too hard my guess is it would be very hard to return. That could be overcome by having the saw completely clear the log and make the next cut upward, but how do you get enough space for the cut off piece to fall into the trough. Would it fall against the wedge crooked?

I am not trying to reinvent the wheel here. I am kind of impressed that a machine with only 2 cylinders could take away most of the hard hand to hand combat of cutting and splitting firewood.

I ordered some of the steel yesterday. The main beam is going to be an I beam 12'' tall with a 5.5'' lip and weighs 40 pounds per foot. I have plans to use a 8'' channel for the log trough and quite a bit of 1/2'' plate. 

I am keeping track of the cost and I will give you a run down when we finish with some pics if I can get my sweet wife to take them.

PC
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.
pc

Offline hedgerow

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2018, 09:20:58 AM »
Paul 
 I would spend a lot of time on U-Tube and watch the firewood processors that use a slide to advance the log. Those slides have there issues. If you have uniform straight logs I think the slide will work good. The other thing to watch is your push plate and chamber design make sure you choose a design that does a good job centering the wood to the wedge. I used a splitter I already had when I built my firewood processor and it limited the design of the wood chamber and getting the wood to center on the wedge. My wood size vary's so much the smaller size is harder to center on my set up. 

Offline Ivan49

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2018, 09:23:14 AM »
Look at the one WoodLand Mills makes to give you an idea. It is simple and the only thing I don't like about it you have to push the log thru. If I had one of those I would add a winch to pull the log. I built one 15 years ago to cut slabs from my sawmill and then I added a splitter to cut fire wood when I moved to our new home. I used a Hyd saw and it woud cut like mad but the motor went bad and no parts were available. The one I replaced it with cuts but is much slower. I am cutting now and I have cut  full cords(4x4x8  in 2 days. I usually burn around 6 of these a years. For me I let the machines handle the wood and I just stack it after it falls into the trough cut to length. If it needs split I just pick it off the table after the splitting all at waist height

Offline Ivan49

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2018, 09:29:14 AM »
Paul
 I would spend a lot of time on U-Tube and watch the firewood processors that use a slide to advance the log. Those slides have there issues. If you have uniform straight logs I think the slide will work good. The other thing to watch is your push plate and chamber design make sure you choose a design that does a good job centering the wood to the wedge. I used a splitter I already had when I built my firewood processor and it limited the design of the wood chamber and getting the wood to center on the wedge. My wood size vary's so much the smaller size is harder to center on my set up.
If you plate that pushes the log is narrow enough you can bolt a mudflap on each side of your chamber to center the log. Just make sure the plate cannot hit it or it does not last long> Mine just barely touched the corner on one side and I figured it would wear off will it did not last long after the first time splitting

Online Hilltop366

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2018, 10:40:11 AM »
By using a chainsaw you will be standing right by the log, could be that you don't really need a hydraulic log clamp, if I understand correctly your design idea sounds more like one of these than the one in the first video.


Offline dean herring

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Re: Making my own firewood processor.
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2018, 08:24:22 PM »
How do you oil the chain on your hydraulic chainsaw?
Failure is not an option  3D Lumber


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