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Buildings and Renovations,Heat and Cooling,Power Tools

Splitting Hardwood Logs with a Ryobi 4 Ton Electric Log Splitter

17 Mar , 2014  

Just before winter, my neighbour took pity on me and gave a heck of a deal on an used Ryobi 4-Ton Electric Log Splitter $100 Bucks! Awesome!

The plan was to use the log splitter at the cabin but, the extreme cold made it difficult. So, I decided to take the log splitter home to the suburbs for a backup. There is plenty of donated wood from the neighbors. I’ve been gathering wood of all shapes and species, including a stack of solid Birch. It has been seasoning for about 2 years and should be ready for splitting. When it was finished, the split pieces would be loaded into a large Rubbermaid tote, transported by car to the cabin for the weekend.
I was doing most of splitting by axe. Picked it up from a big box store. Rockforge-Splitter
Even thou it was advertised as a splitting maul, the fibreglass handle failed near the head.
So back to plan B. Picked up a short 12/3 extension cord rated for cold weather and ran it from a dedicated plug. The plan was to uses I took it home and ran a few big, hardwood logs through it. It worked like a champ and spit everything I threw at it. Some logs took a little bit longer, mainly due to there size. So just had to nibble away on the sides, taking small chunks off.
All-in-all it was faster, easier and safer.
Totally recommend this type/size of log splitter. A was a breeze to plug it into the home electrical socket. A few years ago, I’ve used another brand with the same specs with a generator. The massive Blue Wave 6500 watt generator had no problems powering the splitter. For off grid use, you will need a decent gas generator, like 4000 to 6500 watts and a thick extension cord.Check out he link below for reviews.
Thanks for watching!

Music Credit: Eviction, by Silent Partner, YouTube Audio Library,

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Heat and Cooling

The Joys of Moving Firewood Logs when it’s Super Cold Outside!

17 Feb , 2014  

Cold_firewood_Thumb The project for the weekend was to build an outside fire to warm some pieces of wood splitting equipment. The equipment runs off of hydraulics and the fluid needed to be thawed out. The logs could be split by hand, but they are over 24″ in diameter and the wood splitter would make the task so much easier. Plus, with the monster generator running, I could charge the deep cycle batteries at the same time.

Now one may criticize me for not having enough firewood and why make the effort to search for logs under the snow? I do in fact have great wood for firewood. It’s nice cut and perfectly dried hardwood firewood, but, this particular firewood has been reserved for only the indoor wood stove. Unlike the Pine, the mix of Maple and Birch hardwood firewood give really high BTU’s and long, clean burn time. So, I don’t want to waste the good wood for outside fire. I guess it stems back to my woodworking hoarding days, where you want to save the perfect piece of birds eye lumber for the supreme project.

Back in the summer, when my folks came out and we had cut down 5 standing dead Pine trees. Each tree was cut into lengths and piled in a log cabin style. This type of wood was ideal for an outdoor fire. The only catch was the 4 to 6 foot long logs needed to be hauled a short distance. Plus, it was wicked cold outside, minus -27 degrees celsius without the wind chill. The whole process took 4 times longer than planned. As many people may already know, doing anything outside when its bitter cold is difficult. Aside from the fear of freezing your fingers and toes, the amount of clothes you have worn makes movement cumbersome. I would dress in 4 layers of clothing for legs and 4 layers on torso. When comes to simple tasks, like chopping wood or using a hammer, it’s easy to make mistakes. It feels like you are the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

After some complaining to the neighbors about the cold, I’m told that -27 degrees Celsius (-16 degrees Fahrenheit) in February is nothing. Normally, it get down to -40° C at night. (I stopped complaining and sucked it up.) I guess on the flip side, cold nights are good, because it will kill off the Mountain Pine Beetle. This small beetle has killed all the healthy Lodgepole Pine trees in North West Canada.

Anyway, back to transporting logs. A YouTube viewer made a comment that he/she doubts the “cheap plastic sled” mega_utility_glider could transport logs. The sled I used was from Pelican. This company makes cases for photographers, kayaks, paddle boards, canoes and awesome utility sleds. There was five different sizes of utility sleds for transporting cargo. The model I use was called the Mega Utility Glider. Picked up from Home Hardware for around $25.00. The rope limits the use for pulling. You have to worry about drawing down on you when going down a hill. A draw bar works better for control. But, for the money, it works great and can even be used for sledding down hills.

So this video was made to show how the logs are loaded into the sled. There is a few more parts to show, but, since most of my viewers can’t watch more that 1:30, it will be in the next video. Thanks for watching.

Note: This is a fill in story/video while I’m off to Disneyland for a few days. This was day 2 of the three-part series. The first is finished, but I’m having a problem with the audio sync. Should have it finished soon.


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Solar Power Projects

How to Charge a Generator Battery with a DIY Solar Panel, MPPT Charge Controller and the Sun

13 Nov , 2013  

DIY 60 watt panel

DIY 60 watt panel

The project for the day was to do some firewood splitting. Off camera, there was a pile of 18 – 24 inch tree rounds. They were a freebie given to us by a city dwelling neighbour (it cost $$ to dispose of trees in the city, most people are more than happy to give it away for free!)

Splitting firewood starts with of the big blue generator, 5 ton electric wood splitter, few extra hands and pile of firewood nearby. The generator was pulled out from the genny hut, hooked to the exhaust pipe and the starter battery. To my dismay, found out the battery had no juice. Bummer! Maybe it was showing its age or the below freezing nights must have sapped the power out of it.
So, I was in a jam. No spare 12 volt batteries, didn’t have long enough booster cables to use the car and the pull cord mechanism was broken. Didn’t want to give up. I had people waiting and didn’t want to spend another weekend doing firewood.

After I calmed down, I looked around and noticed there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Checked the forecast and it said that it was going to be above normal day in November for a warmth. Hmm… I thought that if I could get a couple of hours of charging into the battery, it might be enough. It was a small 7.2 Amp hour Gel battery, so it would need a lot of time to charge. (Just need enough for the generator started, once it’s running, it can charge the battery too)Dug through some of the old ebay solar stuff. Found an 60 watt DIY solar panel, MPPT charge controller, alligator clips and some wire. Sat down on the steps and rigged up a quick charging station. I kept the battery and the solar panel in the sun the whole time.

As the sun travelled across the sky, the panel was adjusted/moved to

DIY solar panel can be mounted anywhere

DIY solar panel can be mounted anywhere

get most charging. By 3:00pm, the battery had charged for 6 hours. Decide it was a good time to see if there was enough juice to start the generator.

Hooked it up to the starter, crossed my fingers and it turned the motor over! Sweet! It worked. Now the firewood project could finally get started.
So, in a nutshell, the sun charged the battery and it turned an obstacle into a solution. Plus,  keep old parts around, never know when they will come in handy.

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