Rethinking my position on a wood splitter

I haven’t purchased one yet, but I am starting to rethink my position on not getting a wood splitter soon. Originally I thought “why pay that money to be lazy and not work out / get in better shape”. Makes sense right? I’m not old, I’m not decrepit, I am just a bit out of shape. Well, I also am quite busy with work, and the time outside of work is filled with family time, fun time, and household responsibility time. I was thinking how I am gone for work (between work and commute) 50-55 hours per week. While we normally don’t go to sleep until 10-11, the latter part of that time is never going to really be used for much other than watching TV with the wife. So realistically, I have from 6-9pm on week days, then I have Saturday and Sunday. If I figure the weekend as 12 hours each (really its less on Sunday since church ends up blocking out a chunk of time), I have 15 hours through the week and 20-24 hours on the weekend as usable time that has to be split with family, fun, projects, and responsibilities (and eating dinner, etc). That really isn’t a lot of time, and I sure don’t have nearly as much fun or project time as I would like, and I probably don’t spend as much time on household responsibilities as my wife would like.

So, all this time is being taken up, and its NOT being spent splitting firewood. Particularly in a usable time of the year. If something gets split in August, its not ready to burn most likely. Things really need to be cut and split by May or so to have enough time to dry out. I am going to hopefully be installing my wood burner this year to offset propane costs. I don’t intend on COMPLETELY heating my house with wood, and I don’t intend on completely filling my wood needs with wood from the property. I can probably cover 80% of my heating with 4-5 cords per year (said with no experience with wood, just going by how many gallons of propane I use and the supposed efficiency of my wood furnace). My intention is to cut and split maybe 2-4 cords per year, at least, that would be the idea. What I’m finding is the wood is taking WAY too long to split by hand. The white oak is TOUGH, and many of the red oaks from this year have a lot of branches and knots making them tough as well. I have a head start from last year, but I don’t want to burn my WHOLE supply. Buying wood is still cheaper than propane, so I may end up buying a couple cords. This realization is what got me re-thinking my thoughts on a wood splitter. If lack of time ends up making me purchase an EXTRA couple of cords over plan, that is $175 per cord = $350. Guess what a wood splitter costs? A basic one that uses tractor hydraulics is about $300. Sure, its not GREAT, its not high tonnage, and its not fast. But, its probably faster on the large logs or the tough splits than going by hand. So, if I get that and can then split more wood and NOT buy it, it has paid for itself in 2 cords.

So that is where I’m at in my thinking. I may well pick up a 3 point splitter to take care of the tough things and then split the smaller stuff by hand (for the most part the 6-12″ stuff splits pretty easily by hand).

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