Prepper Diary January 14: More Water Woes and Log Splitting Choices

I get to look forward to another chilly, muddy adventure climbing a mountain to repair or spring-fed water system.

A pile of freshly cut fire wood. Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash.

Around 10:30 on Tuesday, I noticed that the water pressure had started to drop again.  That means I have to climb the mountain tomorrow, locate and repair the leak.

Having done this before, I have no issues with it.  I am well equipped with spare parts.  This time, I am going to bring the propane torch and if inserting the replacement fitting is as easy as I have been led to believe it is with a bit of heating, I will re-do my original repair as well.

The good news is that tomorrow will be the warmest day of the week.   The bad news is that it will probably be the muddiest as well.

Kindling Cracker Update

I have been looking at log splitters, trying to find something as easy and cost effecting as the Kindling Cracker I reviewed a few weeks ago.  By the way, continues to impress.  My daughter used it over Christmas and my wife has chopped kindling with it as well.  In fact, the last time I went to split kindling, she said, “Hey, are using my hammer?” To which I replied, “Yes, unless you would prefer to split the kindling.”  I guess it should be no surprise as she was happy to let me do the work, although she did help carry the resulting piles of kindling inside.

One thing we learned when my daughter used the Kindling Cracker is that you don’t need to be too rough with it.  She was whacking the logs too hard, possibly trying to show off.  With good dry firewood, a tap or two sends a small piece of firewood popping into two smaller pieces. Rinse and repeat, and you can make a great deal of kindling in no time.

I have to mention a funny video by Wrangerstar that came out some time after I published the Kindling Cracker review.  He unboxed his new Kindling Cracker and crammed a log into it that was as big around as it was.  As a result, the ring kept the wood from cracking.  Clearly, he had done little or no research on how best to use this handy device.  He recovered nicely, and I give him credit for running the video on his channel, which I subscribe to.  I think many YouTubers would have been likely to erase that footage and start over!

Check out the video below and make sure you look through his back catalog of videos.  He has many good homesteading and prepping videos.

Log Splitters

OK, so on to log splitters:  As I get older, the fun of splitting firewood with an axe or a maul and some wedges looks less and less appealing.  I’ve been looking into log splitters and these are my impressions: What is generally available is too small, too slow, or too expensive.

On the small and slow end, there are:

  • Manual options that may be safe and less taxing on your back than a sledge and wedges. Otherwise, not much of an improvement.
  • Manually pumped hydraulic presses that split wood very slowly and require lots and lots of pumping.
  • Electrical hydraulic splitters, which are faster and quiet, but are usually limited to 8” logs.  Frankly, 8” logs are not the problem.  Properly seasoned, they should split with one blow form an axe.  I’m worried about the big rounds.

On the expensive side, we’re looking at hydraulic units that are powered by a gasoline engine.  These tend to start at $700 to $1,000 with 20 or 25 tons power and decent ones are closer to $1,300.  And it just goes up from there.  And when I mean up, I mean you can spend $3,000 to $7,000 in the blink of an eye.

My Plan

In the grand scheme of things, I think Iwould rather save my money for a side-by-side than spend it on a wood splitter.  So I’ve decided to look for a used gas model on Craigslist or at an auction and see if I can get a steal.  I think this is the only way I’ll be able to get the power I want at the price point I want.

If you want to have some fun, just search for commercial wood splitting machines on YouTube and watch some videos.  The complexity of those commercial firewood processing machines that cut and split wood are impressive.  I saw one that would split a large log into 18 pieces!

If any of you have specific product recommendations for splitting firewood, please post it below in the comments section.

Author: The Pickled Prepper

Pete the Pickled Prepper lives on an isolated homestead on the side of a mountain deep in in rural America. He has been preparing for the end of the world for more than 25 years.