Usually I write silly stories and jokes. Lets face it, if you can’t make a joke about spindle diameter you don’t belong in a garage. That said I’m just going to provide a few facts. These are crude generalizations and I may have the nomenclature a bit off. All I can say is that all fabrication starts with understanding the underlying situation and once I was stuck with a one wheeled wood splitter I had to brush up on a few details. If you already know this stuff, you may ignore this post.
First of all little tires suck because they have small circumference. They’ve got to spin faster to go the same speed. This annoys the Gods of friction, makes bearings hot, and is generally un-good. The solution is big tires.
On the other hand every increase in tire radius means I’ve got to lift a cookie higher. Every inch I lift is a chance to buy my chiropractor a new boat. Also the splitter is narrow. Tall things that are narrow tend to fall over. If sparks from a rim are a “bad day”, an inverted splitter sliding down the highway is “nuked from space”.
So bigger tires are both good and bad. Life is like that.
Bigger spindles can accept bigger hubs. Bigger hubs have studs for lug nuts. At this size they come in either 4 or 5 bolt patterns. Four bolts wheels hold tires that range from small to a bit bigger. Five bolt wheels cover the full range of the 4 bolt pattern but also goes all the way to full sized vehicles. I never figured out what the point of a 4 bolt hub was if a 5 bolt does the same thing and also opens a larger range of options. Nobody else knew either.
The spindles are welded on to the frame. The frame is actually the hydraulic fluid reservoir. This also serves as an axle. So what you’ve got is a beefy metal box that is frame, reservoir, and axle. Cutting off the spindles and welding on new ones requires equipment I don’t have.
Little tires come in “high speed” and “not high speed”. Think of it as “boat trailer at 55 MPH on pavement” versus “lawn tractor at 5 MPH on grass”. Obviously the OEM wood splitter tires were “not high speed” and I had deserved what I got after several years of gingerly limping around at 45 MPH. I had no intention of messing with anything like that again.
Spindles welded to a solid frame/axle/reservior have no suspension. No suspension means no give (except the tires themselves). There’s a reason why everything has a suspension. Even if I welded on monster spindles and ginormous tires I’d have no suspension.
Trailer suspensions come in two flavors; leaf spring and torsion axle. Both are suitable. I found a thousand parts for leaf springs in every hardware store. They’re common on utility trailers, ice shacks, boat trailers, you name it. They’re cheap. Torsion axles are almost impossible to find and much more “fiddly”.
A leaf spring requires a few feet between a front mount point and a rear mount point. Not possible on a five inch (about) wide fluid reservoir. If I wanted leaf springs I’d almost end up making a whole mini trailer frame. This isn’t without it’s own possible neato magic… but I like the “smallness” of the splitter for slipping around the forest behind an ATV. Mounting on a 5′ wide trailer would be kinda cool because I could stack the wood on the same place as the splitter… but I’d have to lean waaaaay over on every cookie I lifted. Ergonomics is very important to me. I ruled it out and started wandering the earth looking for a torsion axle… which wasn’t working out so well.
Bored yet? Not all sagas are about dragons you know.