How to Build a Manual Log Splitter

stacked logs
What You'll Need
An adequately-sized cylinder
5-gallon hydraulic tank
Control valve
4 Steel blades 1/4 inch thick, 10-inches long, and 4-inches wide
Steel pipe about 20-inches long and 2-inches thick
Steel support and wedge system
Welding torch

Breaking logs and wood up by hand can be painful, time-consuming, and dangerous. And, while electric log splitters are highly effective, they are also expensive. Instead, you can build a manual wood splitter at home with simple parts for less money than even a used splitter.

Warning: As with any machinery, it is essential that you take proper precautions when building and operating your manual log splitter to avoid injury. Be familiar with how to use your splitter and wear protective equipment. Always keep hands, feet, and other body parts away from the blade system. Thoroughly clean your splitter after each use, and regularly sharpen the blades to increase the lifespan and safety of the machine.

Step 1 – Weld the Blades Together

Weld the four blades together in a cross shape. Be sure to wear proper safety attire for this step, and complete it in a well-ventilated area. To weld the blades, you may find it helpful to cut off the inner corners of them. Start by welding two blades together at a 90-degree angle. Repeat this step for the other two blades, and then weld the two pairs of blades together.

Step 2 – Weld the Blades Into the Pipe

Cut about 20 inches of steel pipe, and cut notches on one end to match up with the four blades. Weld the blades into the pipe, reinforcing a tack-weld with a stronger weld or filler bar for reinforcement.

Step 3 – Set up Your Hydraulic Pump

Home-improvement centers carry basic hydraulic-pump systems. A working pressure of about 1,500 pounds per square inch should be adequate for the average log splitter. Set up the hydraulic pump according to any instructions given by the manufacturer.

Step 4 – Attach the Blade System to the Pump

Fit the blade system to the completed hydraulic pump. Ensure that the pump is deactivated while setting up the blades. Once the blade system is attached, test the log splitter with a piece of practice wood and make any adjustments to the blades or pump as necessary.

Warning: Be sure your system is deactivated while setting up the blade. Not turning it off while completing this step could result in injury.

If you have any questions or concerns about your log splitter, consult with a home-improvement specialist for further advice.