How to Use a Log Splitter
No matter how old you are, how experienced you are, or how many logs you’ve split before, you can never forget to implement safety measures when you’re splitting logs. There are a lot of things that could cause injuries if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips on how to use a log splitter safely.
Wear Protective Gear
Before you start splitting, make sure that you’re wearing all of the appropriate protective gear. This includes safety goggles to protect your eyes from any pieces of wood that may fly at your while you split, heavy-duty gloves to keep your hands safe from any splinters and from sharp blades, sturdy shoes to keep your feet safe from any shards of wood that may fall, and noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to keep your ears safe from the overexposure of loud noise. If you don’t wear any of this safety gear, you are increasing your risk of getting hurt.
Take Proper Safety Precautions
Never wear any jewelry when you’re splitting wood. It could get caught in the machinery and lead to a severe accident. This also applies to loose clothing — make sure you’re wearing clothes that can’t get caught in the machinery. You should also only operate a log splitter in the daylight. Working at night when visibility is low can increase your chances of getting seriously hurt. You should also keep your work area clear of any wood you could trip over, and always only split one log at a time.
Position the Splitter
When you have all your safety gear on, and you’re ready to start splitting logs, make sure that the splitter is set up safely. It should be on flat, solid, and dry ground. You should never set up your log splitter in a wet area because then you’re running the risk of your splitter falling over, or yourself slipping. Either of these situations could create serious injuries. You should also be sure to put heavy blocks of wood in front of and behind the tires of the log splitter. This way, if it happens to move, the blocks will keep it in place.
Become Familiar with the Controls
A log splitter has a control handle that has three settings: forward, neutral, and reverse. When you’re ready to split a log, move the handle to the forward setting. The wedge will cut through the wood easily. When it’s through, release the handle, and it will go back to the neutral position. This neutral position serves as a hand brake for the log splitter — the wedge will stop moving, and you can get your next log ready. Once you’re ready to split the next log, move the handle to the reverse position, which will move the wedge back to its starting position.
You should only ever have one person operating the log splitter at a time. If you’re the one loading the logs onto the splitter, you should be the one in control of the control handle. If multiple people are trying to use the splitter, miscommunications can happen, and therefore accidents can happen. Make sure you are always aware of the people around you as you use the log splitter.
Save Your Back
Lifting heavy logs on and off the log splitter can hurt your back. You should always adjust your log splitter so that it’s at the appropriate height for you that won’t hurt your back. If your log splitter is portable, you may want to move it closer to the place where you want to store your split logs to cut down on the distance you have to carry heavy logs. Don’t get too close to any people or buildings but get close enough that you won’t throw your back out carrying logs to your storage area.
Read the Manual
Before doing any splitting, you should make sure to read through the owner’s manual. This will tell you exactly how the machine should be operated and will also give you further safety instructions that are specific to your log splitter. It may seem tedious or pointless, but you can avoid a lot of accidents by knowing how the machinery works and how it’s intended to be used. Any questions you may have about the machine can usually be answered in the manual.
Log splitters are handy tools, and when they are used correctly, they are a lot safer than axes. You can get a lot of wood cut up in a relatively short amount of time for your winter firewood supply by using a log splitter. If you follow all the safety rules and precautions as you work, you can have a great experience with your log splitter.