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Gimlet

Splitting kindling

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Does anyone know of a decent system for splitting kindling?

I'm a hedge layer and I lay up to a mile of hedging each year, most of it South of England style which leaves me with 3000 + plus hazel stake off-cuts. They're between one and two foot in length and one to two inches thick. Too small for logs but cut to length and split into four they make fantastic kindling. I hand split them for home use but I've got so much of the stuff now I want to split it, bag it and sell it.  

 

I could do with a horizontal electric log splitter for home anyway, probably about 7 tonne. I was looking at a Titan or a Forest Master and I'm wondering whether there are attachments or if I can modify one so that it will split kindling in volume - ie not one stick at a time. 

 

Also what are the fastest splitters? Some of the electric ones look a bit slow.

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I agree there's not much money in it. My annual batch of offcuts is probably only worth about £400 the lot when bagged. But I need kindling at home and I still have to split it. If I don't use the material I've got I'll have to acquire some alternative source and I'll have to split that as well. So if I can speed the process up and sell the surplus I'll be making a home chore a lot easier and making a bit of pocket money as well. The first year would pay for the log splitter too.  

 

I have tried burning the offcuts as logs but they're too small and burn too fast so you're forever up and down feeding the fire. I'm not short of good firewood anyway but kindling is always handy.

On the other hand, if I could rig something up so I could process that quantity in a day it would be economically viable to do more of it. I have some overstood coppice which I cut for stakes and binders so there's no shortage of material if I want it.

 

If I was allowed I'd turn the coppice waste into charcoal on site. There's plenty of it. But the site is an SSSI which means involving the dreaded Natural England..

Edited by Gimlet

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If you really wanted to mechanise it I reckon you would have to get something fabricated in a local engineering place, as a once off build.

I would design a small horizontal ram setup pushing logs through a sharpened grid type setup say 10 inch by 10inch with 1/2 inch spacing between the cells (I'm picturing a butchers mincing machine here). That way you wont have to line up each log accurately, you can just drop into splitting chamber and pull the lever.

The plus side is you wont need much tonnage on a ram for splitting twigs, I'm thinking something like a shear grab/silage grab open/close ram, which will make the cycle fast.

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Yes, that's the kind of thing. Something like an industrial potato chipper. Just wondered whether anyone had modified a log splitter to do this.

I want a half decent splitter anyway for home use. I was thinking about a Venom Rapide kinetic or similar. Liked the idea of a Jansen kinetic but digging through the threads on here reliability looks a bit dicey. 

Ideally for the kindling I could do with a set-up with a nice wide bed and a constantly reciprocating ram driven by a piston rod off a cranked flywheel. Then I could probably devise a hopper feed above the bed so the cut to length sticks can be simply tipped in and the splitter ram continually pushes rows of them through the blades. Shouldn't be too hard to have a sloping tray so the sticks roll off the bed and straight into sacks. I could let the machine get on with it and just keep feeding the hopper and changing the bags. 

 

I'm guessing though that no one makes a reciprocating splitter for safety reasons so that would have to be a home made.

I suppose I could buy a proper splitter for the logs and make up a small reciprocator for the kindling. Like you say it wouldn't need much power to split hazel sticks. A 5 hp Briggs and Stratton turning a belt driven flywheel would probably be ample to split at least half a dozen sticks at once.

Edited by Gimlet
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I would use them as they are . Zero work , free warm  . 🙂

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You tempted to just supplement you normal size logs with a few offcuts each time you load the fire and use them like that? Or add and arm full after lighting the fire to get it kicking th hea out asap then switch to normals?

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Might get a charcoal kiln yet and turn them into biochar..

 

I've got a decent sized stand of overstood coppice which is mine to work for nothing and I'm musing whether I might mitigate the cost of regen cutting by charcoal production. Don't expect to live off it but it could make bringing it back into production worthwhile. 

 

I been thinking more about the kindling. I'd still like to use the hazel as kindling rather than logs because I've got no shortage of those, but I do need kindling. Just keep it for home use. So I reckon I'd be better off with a vertical petrol splitter and rig up a jig so I can split bundles of them at a time. 

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