|I would suggest, look at all the typical homeowner, mass produced splitters, horizontal and vertical types, look at the specifications of each. You will find some differences, also check the features available. |
There are some tow behind commercial ones out there, usually a lot more expensive, at those prices, I'd go for a processor, or use the value of one towards the purpose. There are some interesting models, log lifts, log trays, multiple wedges, 4-6way etc.
I would agree that the value of what you get with say a Huskee (Speeco) is pretty good, they hold their resale value if kept nice, under a roof, taken care of etc. I did compare spec's from most of these types, and thought the Speeco was fine, look on their site, they used to have models offered both in Honda and Briggs& Stratton engines. TSC obviously sells the Huskee brand made for them. You can get a 4 way wedge, log tray, think those would be about $100, the 35 ton has fenders, and has the best cycle time with the larger cylinder, 2 stage 16 gpm pump, I think its 11 seconds.
I was in the same situation, so much wood around, hand splitting is no longer an option, so I found a used 28 ton Huskee, added the 4 way wedge and log tray. It will split about anything you can put through it, I have tried the "gnarliest" hard maple burls and so on, (watch out for flying pieces!) it has the power, no doubt. I think most similar ones will do the same. The Honda motor a GC 190, is an easy start, sips fuel, though it starts and runs at full rpm, if that is a concern. The return hose from the valve to the filter housing, should have have the spring covering, I would upgrade, plan to do mine, some kind of heater hose on their, split once already. The tank has mount holes for fenders, the tires are 45 MPH rated, not the best, but will work for local towing, do not leave in sun and I would always have a mounted spare if towing is done frequently. The wedge on the end of the cylinder ram works ok, some like the other arrangement, I don't mind as I stack from the tray, pull logs from the ground using a pulp, double hook on thick hose(Baileys offers 3 sizes)or pull from the loader bucket, all to avoid bending over and back fatigue. If I had a conveyor and truck, wagon or what have you, the wedge would have to be the other way around. The 4 way wedge works well, I have used it on green and or seasoned wood, elm, cherry, oak, etc. they say never to use it on hardwood, green wood, but straight grained logs, it works well, but one improvement and they may have done this for safety, would be to move the wedge closer to the base plate, so when splitting it will shear through and not leave all these huge splinters still connecting some logs, it splits what common sense would tell you you can run through it, just if that ram went a little further it may work better, but I will bet they did that so the wedge cannot remove a hand or finger, though you can still crush a hand or finger with one of these, I think for the most part, anyone doing several cord for their use, most of these homeowner types would do the job and the owner satisfied.
If I was selling firewood, I think these are just too slow and labor intense, some may try it and use for that purpose, with extra help for labor, but by yourself, you can split the several cord that you may need in the ideal colder months, and be done with what you need, beyond that, I think a processor would be justified, my opinion after using this one for a year.
I would look at all the different brands and manufacturers, thinking of what and how you will be doing your wood and see what works best with what is offered in a homeowner type, for under 2k you can certainly get what you need used or new. I do not see these kinds of splitters for sale used very often, some with low use, but do see many home made or older low to the ground horizontal models, my friend has a didier on its 2nd motor, thats been in use since the 70's, big ram on it, a little too slow and low to the ground, has no 2 stage pump, and you have to put it up on a table, use a muffler deflector to divert exhaust, but it has many cords every year. One of these would work, but there is a big difference between that and a modern one. I don't use the verticle position much too much on the back, just for large diameter logs, to halve or quarter, then I'll put it back horizontal.
Oh well, hopefully some help, its a task, one I do every year, firewood, and I am thankful for having been able to obtain this splitter, it has provided a means to reduce labor and make firewood more quickly, and thats what counts. I may upgrade to a 35 ton, but want the Honda motor in it, would have to see what Speeco is offering.
One model I looked at, amongst the many and there are many, is an Oregon 28 ton which has a 16 GPM 2 stage pump, and faster cycle time than my 28 ton Huskee. You can get these with a Honda or a Kohler, I am or was a fan of Kohler's due to the K series, Honda is more money if chosen for this model. I thought given the price, features this was a decent model, I liked the faster cycle time, but thinking about it, once split, I have to toss, stack what have you, then reload, so unless there was a continuous flow of wood, that specification is not as important to me, as I do not ever want to be in any hurry when doing firewood. I am not sure if you can get a 4 way wedge made by the Mfr. for it, but could likely source another, modify, make your own.
Some of the features that stand out for one of these is the engine choices, the beam lock is a spring loaded pin you just pull, not a vertical stub that you have to use a lynch pin to lock, much better design, the trailer jack is a crank type, another better feature over a Huskee(Speeco),not sure about tires, fenders etc. It does also have steel coil covered hoses, Huskee does not.