My Woodsplitter Goes to Eleven: Part 2.5

Since I’m ranting about firewood, I want to endorse two products.  I’ve already written a review of my woodsplitter here and my chainsaw here and I still recommend both products. I bought both several years ago and have used them fairly hard. I’ve had to do the usual routine maintenance and anything else is due to my stupidity and not the product (I’m thinking about woodsplitter tires which I simply overused.) If they were junk I’d know by now.

Both are name brands that don’t play pussyfoot with product designations (so you know model X from one vendor matches model X from another vendor). The make and model is important so think it over carefully, but once you’ve made your choice you don’t save much (if any) based on where or from whom you buy the model you’ve selected. Not all products are like that but I’ve found no huge upside to comparison shopping for Troy Bilt or Stihl.

I bought both locally several years ago but I had the option to buy the splitter on-line. If I were to do it again I’d buy it from Amazon and spare myself some hassles from the local guys. (This whole e-commerce thing isn’t all about iPads and collectors Star-Trek plates you know!) The whole idea of trying to establish a rapport with local service guys is bullshit and we might as well put a stake in it. Unless you live in 1950 they won’t recall you fondly or give you better service or even care whether you live or die. My local guys hose up most interactions, probably shouldn’t be using tools, and would rather be selling something like basketballs. My point being that buying on Amazon and having delivery straight to the house is a miracle and I wish I’d done it rather than letting those chimps get their greasy mitts on my money.

As for my recommendations; am I biased observer? Hell yeah. I bought both products myself and I tend to think I’m a pretty awesome guy. Secondly, if you buy ’em I get a tuppence and a pat on the head from the corporate overlords at Amazon. I’ll enjoy the cash but that doesn’t mean I’m trying to sell you crap. The stuff I recommend is what has served me well.

Woodsplitters:

I own a Troy-Bilt 27 Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter with 160cc Honda Engine. I’ve had good luck with Troy-Bilt products and the wood splitter in particular has been a big win. You can buy from Troy-Bilt on-line and the price is just about as good as you can possibly get. (Nor will they kill you on shipping.) The link on the Troy Bilt website is here.

Unfortunately, Troy Bilt’s website is proof that there are companies in 2015 that still can’t manage a decent web presence. Go figure? They’ve got the goods and a killer shipping deal but I just loathe their website. YMMV. Having made a zillion purchases through Amazon I’m happier with Amazon. Here’s the lame little image you’ll find on the Amazon web site:

wood splitter

You know you want it.

This is a representation of the product at work:

hephaestusI bought mine about five years ago. The price has gone up a bit (like the price of everything else… despite the fact that there’s supposedly no inflation… but that’s another story). Also the components (mostly the engine) seem to fade in and out. Models with Honda engines seem temporarily rare. I figure there’s a factory somewhere that ran out of widgets in a way that affected a container ship in Timbuktu? I found two options; a Honda Engine or a slightly larger non-Honda Engine that costs a little less. Odds are both engines are fine and even the sexy Honda makes an unholy racket. But I bought a Honda and like it so I can’t say much about the other engine. Both are Troy-Bilt products shipped by a third party. I’ve never bought from either one, I wouldn’t expect hassles but you ought to do due diligence (make sure it comes with hydraulic fluid, etc…). Caveat emptor and all that.

Chainsaws:

I own and recommend a Stihl MS 361. Stihl is like Troy Bilt in that I never find it cheaper or more expensive by comparing stores. What this means is that if you find a Stil Model X in wherever, you’re unlikely to save a bunch by driving to six other stores (which is what I tried).

I couldn’t find Stihl on Amazon. They should be drawn and quartered for that. I’m going to assume there’s an army of lawyers shitting on free trade in a legal (but dangerous) tool, so screw them and their European aversion to selling stuff on the internet. (Note: while you don’t see a lot of complete Stihls on-line you can probably buy most parts in a heartbeat. As soon as I break something I’ll put that theory to the test.)

Photo of me cutting firewood.

Photo of me cutting firewood.

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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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6 Responses to My Woodsplitter Goes to Eleven: Part 2.5

  1. cryptical says:

    Do you have much trouble with plain gas vs ethanol? I know that most gas powered tools aren’t calibrated for ethanol, which is a real problem up here in the land of the corn subsidy.

    • Yeah, corn in unleaded is a place where ivory tower wishful thinkers simply denied the reality of the situation. I wouldn’t try E85. The beast only sips fuel anyway so it’s worth feeding it what it wants.

      When I can, I buy non-oxygenated. It seems a smidge better but I can’t rule out the placebo effect. If I can’t find non-oxygenated I buy plain unleaded but I won’t touch E85. I think it’s under 15% ethanol. All of my stored unleaded has Sta-Bil, no bad effects from that.

      There’s a warning sticker on the engine that says exceeding a certain percent of ethanol in the fuel will cause the engine to punch you in the nuts. I heed the sticker. It hasn’t punched me in the nuts.

  2. Southern Man says:

    Hmm…the link to Troy-Bilt on your earlier review prices it at $1400, quite a bit less than Amazon.

    • The original review is five years old. (But there’s definitely no inflation of any sort anywhere… the Fed tells me so.) TroyBilt has the splitter at a smaller price than Amazon but it’s “out of stock”. I’m not sure what to make of that. Also it looks to me like the non-Honda engined model is much cheaper than the Honda engined model. Back when I bought mine the difference was only a smallish amount. Don’t know if that means Honda is the greatest thing ever or overpriced (or both).

      Incidentally, looking for the cheapest but still good quality woodsplitter is super frustrating. Five years ago I figured I could find one used or even build one. However every used woodsplitter out there looks like it’s been to war and is only slightly cheaper than new. Also when you start pricing components you get the sinking feeling that you’d spend a month welding and scrounging with only limited savings. I’m glad I bit the bullet and bought new. If you burn a lot of firewood the machine will pay for itself pretty quickly.

      One last thought. Unless you’re a total maniac you’ll have the machine off and stored most of the time. If you have a very very trustworthy friend who uses firewood and lives nearby you could split the cost. One splitter can easily serve two households. Then again ideas like that never work out and I’d guess that’s what started the Hatfields vs McCoys.

  3. Tennessee Budd says:

    From what I’ve seen, everything marked “Honda” is overpriced, much like “Toyota”. Then again, how much over is a question, ’cause they make good machines.
    At least it isn’t like H-D. I mean no offense to Harley riders, but they have from time to time allowed their brand to be attached to some shit.

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