Chopping wood is now made easier thanks to the help of log splitters. These machines are often built with a hydraulic pump which exerts pressure to push the wood onto a sharpened wedge which causes it to split.
Log splitters vary in size depending on the amount of force the pump pressure can apply. However, the type of log you have to split also affects the amount of force you have to apply since there are small softwood trees and same-sized hardwood trees. And the harder the wood, the more force you have to apply to cause them to split.
Fortunately, you don’t have to buy separate log splitters just to chop up different types of wood – as long as they’re almost the same sizes. The simple trick you have to do is to adjust the pump pressure on a log splitter, and it could only take about a few minutes to do.
You don’t have to hire the services of a professional mechanic to do this trick. The engine on a log splitter is simple enough for you to navigate through, and the steps you have to take are really easy to do.
Step 1: Start Engine
The first thing you have to do is to start the engine of your log splitter. The reason why we want to turn on the engine is that this will help us determine the capacity of the engine.
Depending on the model of the log splitter, you start the engine by either pulling the cord or by switching the key, in case your unit uses keyed ignition.
Once your engine is turned on, wait for a few moments for the hydraulic fluid to warm up. As soon as it reaches its idling speed, we can now proceed to the next step.
Be wary, however, of the engine picking up its speed. It must be at an idling pace so that we can test its capacity properly.
Step 2: Expose the Pump
To properly work on this project, the hydraulic pump and other engine parts must be exposed. To do so, simply set down the log splitter’s shields – otherwise known as log splitter guards – to expose the internal working of your unit.
Step 3: Set to Neutral
As soon your engine is at idling speed, the next step that you have to do is to set the log splitter to neutral.
You can do this by simply locating the pump’s level and simply set it to neutral. All gasoline-powered log splitters have this function, so you won’t have a problem locating it.
As a word of caution, make sure to steer clear of other moving parts to avoid any possible accident – especially the split wedge.
Step 4: Locate the Screw
Once your pump is set to neutral, we can now proceed to the adjustments.
But before we can make the necessary alterations to your pump’s pressure output, you must first be able to locate the screw responsible for regulating its pressure.
In most models, the screw is hidden behind a cap on the hydraulic jack. Simply remove that cap, and the screw will expose itself. In other models, the screw is simply located at the side of the pump.
Step 5: Adjust the Screw
With a flat-blade screwdriver, you can now adjust the screw to test the pressure capacity of the pump. Usually, turning clockwise increases the pressure, while turning counter-clockwise decreases the pressure.
To make sure, check with your log splitter’s manufacturer if the same works for their units.
Step 6: Test the Pressure
As previously mentioned, it’s important to check your pump’s capacity first before settling to a specific speed.
To do so, simply turn the screw clockwise and take note of how the engine wheezes. If it makes a sound that you’re not comfortable with, it means that it has reached its limit. In some cases, the engine completely turns off if it has reached its limit.
If you want to decrease the pressure, simply do the same procedure in the reverse.
Step 7: Set the Shield Back
Once you have determined your desired pressure adjustment, you simply have to set you to log splitter’s shield back up to protect the pump and the engine.
And that’s it – you have successfully adjusted the pump pressure on your log splitter.
As a final note, here are some of the things that you should bear in mind in making the necessary adjustments.
First, bear in mind that this tutorial was made specifically for gasoline-powered log splitters. Nevertheless, electric-powered log splitters can be adjusted similarly – as long as it also uses a hydraulic cylinder. Just look for the screw behind the cap located at the hydraulic jack.
Second, if you own a manual log splitter – one which doesn’t have a pump – you can also make adjustments by adjusting the position of the split wedge. Since this type of log splitter exerts pressure depending on your strength, that’s all you can do to change the amount of pressure you exert onto the log. Take note, however, that most manual-powered log splitters can only exert up to around 10 tons of force.
And finally, if you want to revert to your log splitter’s old settings, you can simply follow the same instructions as above. It is best to take note of how far you twisted the screw so you would know the exact rotation you need to set it back to its normal settings.
Log splitters usually come with limited pressure output, and this may only work for limited types of wood. However, since different types of wood require different degrees of force to be chopped up, it’s not practical to buy another unit – which can exert greater pressure – just for this purpose.
Fortunately, there is a way to adjust the pump pressure that your log splitter applies. You can do so by simply adjusting the screw located on the hydraulic jack. Of course, this means that the detailed tutorial stated here only works for log splitters which utilize a hydraulic cylinder to slice up wood.
With this little trick, you can already work with a wider range of logs of varying densities and diameters – albeit still limited by the maximum pressure your unit can hold. Nevertheless, it’s still better than just exerting one particular tonnage.
Also, doing so will potentially lengthen the longevity of your log splitter, since it will keep on applying the necessary force that is needed to split a particular log.
I’ve been cutting wood since I was 8 years old with my father. I have been using log splitters for 7 years now and have a great deal of experience with them. Now I’ve got my own wood cutting & logging business and want to share my experience with my readers.