What Log Cutting Tools Do You Need in 2018?

log cutting tools

Many homeowners have returned to natural firewood for heating their homes. It’s cheaper and can be much more sustainable than using electricity or gas.

If you’re using wood to heat you home, you’re going to need a few log cutting tools. With them, you can start saving money on home heating costs every winter. Also, they’re lots of fun!

Why Do I Need Log Cutting Tools?

Using firewood has many advantages. Being self-sufficient is one of them. Sure, you can get pre-cut firewood but it’s cheaper and there’s a certain satisfaction in cutting your own. Also, in an emergency. you wouldn’t need to rely on anybody to get the job done.

The right log cutting tools will make processing firewood easier and quicker. You can spend more time relaxing by the fire instead of outdoors chopping wood. Or waiting for your wood delivery guy to turn up!

You’ll also find that cutting firewood is great exercise (think “Rocky” in the Snow)!

Read on to discover the best log cutting tools and learn the ones you absolutely need.

Saws for Cutting Firewood

Your best friend for cutting firewood will be a saw, and there are several types to choose from:

Power / Chain Saw

A power saw will quickly bring the largest of trees down to the ground. It will get it sawed up into fireplace sized logs quick, fast and in a hurry.

Also known as a chain-saw, the power saw is an electric or gas powered tool and will require safety precautions and intermediate skills to use.

Power saws require an occasional chain sharpening, which you can easily learn to do yourself with a special file. The chain and spark plug will also need replacing occasionally too.

Power saws come in a variety of bar sizes and the diameter of trees that you typically will be cutting should dictate the size of bar you purchase. The most popular bar lengths are 16 or 18 inches for the average homeowner.

There are also various adapters that enable you to turn a power saw into a mill saw so you can mill your lumber from the trees you’ve cut down for building or selling.

Hand Saws

Hand saws are another option that can be used instead of a power saw and require no gas or oil to use. However, hand saws are much more labor intensive to use.

They do work well for sawing down smaller trees or pruning off dead limbs for burning in a wood stove or fireplace.

Hand saws come in a one-man or two-man (crosscut) variety and will need sharpening frequently.

Saw Safety Precautions

Before using any type of saw or ax, take a few moments out to implement a few safety precautions.

  • Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris and sawdust.
  • If you are using a gas powered piece of log cutting equipment (which are always loud) wear hearing protection.
  • Tuck in all loose shirt tails or other pieces of loose clothing so they do not get caught in the saw.
  • Keep hands away from a running power saw.
  • Be aware of where everyone else is so they are not struck by a falling tree.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when cutting tree so you do not fall it into a structure, auto or other tree and most especially on yourself.
  • Read all operating instructions for you log cutting tools before attempting to operate it.

Wood Cutting Axes

Once upon a time, a man and his axe could chop down trees, build and heat a home, fence in a pasture, build a barn and do a hundred other chores on the family homestead. He still can.

A sharp axe is one of the most reliable log cutting tools, but it requires a lot of man-power to use. An axe head is sharpened much like a knife is – just with a larger whit rock.

Single-Bit Axes & Double-Bit Axes

Axes come in single-bit (one sharp side) and double-bit (two sharp sides) types. The double-bit type allows you to switch to a new sharp side when the first side becomes dull.

However, there is a sharp ax head coming back at you with every swing so care must be taken when using a double bit ax.

Brush Ax

If your log cutting adventure will be taking you deep into the woods, a brush ax may be a needed tool. A brush ax is designed to make hash out of years of thick undergrowth and clear a path. This tool comes in several sizes and styles.

Check out our page on “Types of Axes” for more information on the many different kinds of axes.

Buschcraft Hatchets

Bushcraft hatchets are versatile all-rounders. When used with a big baton and thin wedges they can split even challenging hardwood like Hemlock and Cedar.

Perfect for Dads who fancy a bit of a challenge or when camping.

Mauls

A maul is often used when splitting wood by hand. A maul resembles an ax, but the head is thicker and heavier (like an iron wedge) so it splits the wood easier.

Wedge and Sledge Hammer

An iron wedge is sometimes needed to help a tree fall right where you want it. A “V” cut is made into one side of a standing tree, then a straight cut is made and the iron wedge hammered into it to make the tree fall.

A wedge is also a handy tool to have when splitting wood for the fireplace or wood heater. A wedge is placed into cracks in the wood then hit with a sledge hammer to help split the wood.

Sledge hammers come in a variety of sizes to meet any of you wood cutting needs. Some axes have a sledge hammer head opposite the sharp side, so the tool can double-up out in the woods.

Tree Climbers

These log cutting tools are only needed when a tree must be climbed and topped or have a rope tied around it prior to cutting. Tree climbers are strapped on over top of boots and secured in place on the feet and legs.

Sharp spikes extend from the tree climbers at the inside of the foot and allow the person wearing them to climb a tree by sticking the spikes into the tree as he climbs upward.

Wood Splitters

Wood splitters make little logs out of big logs so you make quick work out of splitting fire wood. A wood splitter can be either manual or gas powered hydraulic and either one will make the task of wood splitting go much quicker than simply using an ax or maul for wood splitting. Check out our page, “What’s the Best Electric Log Splitter“.

Wood Chuck / Log Peavey and Cart

A wood chuck is basically a pole with a hook on one end that grasps a log and helps you to move it from point A to point B more easily by giving you leverage. If you plan on cutting larger trees, an investment into a quality wood chuck won’t be regretted.

Neither will investing some money into some type of cart, wheelbarrow or other wheeled device to help you move the wood before and after its been split.

Saw Horses

Also called sawbucks, a saw horse holds the logs up off the ground. This makes sawing them into smaller pieces of wood is easier.

Since they have a simple ‘X’ design, saw horses are a simple DIY project that can be made from a few logs which you have cut down.

 

Choosing A Digital Torque Wrench in 2018

digital torque wrench

Digital torque wrenchs used to be the butt of many jokes. Unreliable, not particularly accurate and with a penchant for snapping at the head, most mechanics stuck with their ever-reliable old mechanical wrench. Fast forward a couple of decades, and the market for digital wrenches is very healthy indeed. Quality has improved and modern gauges … Read moreChoosing A Digital Torque Wrench in 2018

Choosing The Best Wrench Set in 2018

best wrench set

We’ve all been there, you need that elusive 19mm socket or ring spanner and can you find it? Of course not!

Investing in the best wrench set possible and keeping it in good order is the best thing you can do for your sanity as a home mechanic.

We took a look at the best wrenches on the market in 2018, and here are our top picks.

Sale
Gearwrench 20-Piece Ratcheting Wrench Set, SAE and Metric # 35720
Drake Off Road Tools - Tools & Home Improvement
$62.69 - $5.35 from $57.34
GRIP 89358 MM/SAE Combination Wrench Set, Chrome, 24-Piece
GRIP (GRAND RAPIDS INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS) - Tools & Home Improvement
$25.24
Sale
Stanley 85-783 20 Piece Matte Finish Combination Wrench Set
Stanley - Tools & Home Improvement
$41.99 - $3.49 $38.50

Last update on 2018-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Which Wrench Set Do You Need?

Once you decide to invest in a wrench set, it’s important to consider what measurements you’ll likely be working on most of your time.

For 99% of us, standard millimeter sockets are more than enough, will a sprinkling of imperial measurements for when you work on something a bit old school.

However, if vintage cars are your hobby,or you’ll be working on older European cars such as Land Rovers, Citroen or anything pre-1960, you’ll likely need to purchase a decent imperial set.

As proud owner of a 1968 Citroen 2CV, Ami and DS restoration in progress, trust me when I say that a good imperial wrench set is absolutely key if you’re working on old school mechanics!

Wrench Set Reviews

We’ve rounded up the 5 best wrench sets available in 2018. All offer unbeatable quality and serve up the most common sizes you’ll need.

Husky 28-Piece SAE And Metric Combination Wrench Set

A very, very nice wrench set from a manufacturer that should ping on your radar as a manufacturer of quality tools.

Husky Wrench Set

This Husky set offers most common wrench sizes for the home or garage plus all wrenches are chrome plates and organised in a box, helpful if you’re terrible for loosing tools.

We found the quality of these tools easily up there with other domestic market tools such as Draper. Personally, I don’t think you can get better wrenches at this price point and it’s a thought many in the office agree with me on.

The main issue we have, is that the box is of very poor quality and bits fall of quite readily. If you do purchase this kit, we suggest buying a better quality box to ensure non of your tools get left behind!

Tekton 1916 Combination Wrench Set, SAE/Metric 24 Piece

The Tekton 1916 is a slightly cheaper set, and on first look, you can see where the savings have been made.

Tekton Wrench Set

This wrench set is organised in a wrap around tool bag, something you might remember from the tool packs that came with cars in the 70’s and 80’s.

However, don’t let the bag put you off. The quality of the actual tools is second to none and perfectly up there with others in this price range.

The Tekton range comes with Chrome Vanadium Steel, 15 open ended wrenches and 12 ring wrenches, the sizes should just about cover anything you’ll come up against during home use.

We like the Tekton set, it’s a great choice if you occasionally take on DIY jobs or just need a set of tools in your home for emergencies and quick fixes.

GearWrench 20 Piece Ratchet Wrench Set

If you’ve ever heard of GearWrench, or own some of their products, you’ll know they’re a real quality manufacturer.

I was quite pleased to be reviewing a GearWrench set as I ended up buying a GearWrench digital wrench after being impressed during an earlier review.
Gearwrench Wrench Set
As for this set, you’ll be spoilt for choice with most common SAE sizes and Metric running from 6 right up to 18.

The only gaps in the range are right at the top of the metric sizes, something we would likely want a deep bore socket driver for anyway.

The ring end of the each wrench, also features a high quality ratcheting mechanism. This is a real plus if you’re fed up of taking off and resetting your current ring set for each revolution!

We’re big fans of ratcheting ring spanners here and recommend them highly if you’ve not tried them yet!

As far as testing goes, we found the quality to be pretty good, although not quite as high as we’ve (and certainly me) come to expect from GearWrench. It’s still pretty good, equal to rivals from Draper and Husky in the same price range, but I have to say I was expecting a little more.

However, GearWrench are a very good quality manufacturer and my reservations are based on an extremely high bar, something not many manufacturers come close to given the price.

We recommend this set if you want a ratchet set that’s of decent quality and covers a far wider range of imperial measurements compared to the competition.

GRIP 89358 24 Piece Combination Wrench Set

This is a budget set that really does cover almost all sizes is the best way to sum up the GRIP 89358.Gearwrench Wrench Set
It covers pretty much all SAE sizes from ¼ to 1 Inch whist on the metric side of things you’ll find everything from 7mm up to 22, including some nice odd numbered sizes, a boon if you’re a frequent worker on French or Italian cars.

As with the GearWrench listed above, you’ll find a nicely made ratchet mechanism on the ring end. In our test we found it worked well and didn’t have any sloppiness sometimes associated with ratchets at the lower end of the market.

These wrenches are made from Drop Forges Steel, quite a good feature in of itself and in our view better than Chrome Vanadium manufactured wrenches.

We actually rate these wrenches and as much as I hate to run against GearWrench on this one, the quality is certainly better here.

The only negative we have, is the lack of a case to store the wrenches in. However, the quality is superb and at this price, we’d rather purchase a good box to store them in separately and enjoy the quality instead!

Stanley 85-783 20 Piece Combination Wrench Set

Stanley can sometimes be a variable make as regards quality. Their tools can be superb and become real go to tools in your arsenal, or they break within a few weeks and put you off Stanley for life! Thankfully, this wrench set is of the former!

Gearwrench Wrench Set

These wrenches feature the Stanley patented Max-Drive system, quite a boon at this price range and really does help when using the ratchet ring end to loosen tight bolts.

The system is designed to avoid the pain caused by rounding and allows far greater torque to be applied without shattering the ratchet system.

This set covers most of the sizes you’ll need for home and modern car, with a range of both Imperial and Metric units included.

The only issue here is that you might need to bolster this set if you’re working on particularly classic cars or on any project with old fashioned sizes.

As far as quality goes, this Stanley set is easily up there with the GRIP set above and as it comes with a neat little carry case, it could be a better buy depending on just how wide a variety of sizes you need.

Tools Daddy’s Pick

If you’re looking for a general purpose set and don’t require unusual imperial SAE sizes then you should be fine with the Stanley set, and bag yourself a neat box too.

If you’re looking for the best wrench set possible, the GRIP is probably more up your street but you’ll likely want to invest in a box to keep everything in.

GRIP 89358 MM/SAE Combination Wrench Set, Chrome, 24-Piece
GRIP (GRAND RAPIDS INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS) - Tools & Home Improvement
$25.24

Last update on 2018-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What are Some Of The Best Log Debarkers in 2018?

log debarker

If you’re undertaking a woodworking project like making furniture or a log cabin,  you’ll probably need a log debarker.

Some masochists also debark logs for firewood. In their defense, insects can nest in between the bark and the wood (especially if you’re storing firewood over the summer).

People also use bark for mulch and kindling, though peeling it from a log is very time-consuming.

In this article we found some different kinds of debarking tools that could save you a lot of time.

Here is a summary of the ones we’ll feature:

Sale
Log Wizard Debarking Tool, Model# LogW-4000 [Lawn & Patio]
Goldec Int Equipment Inc. - Lawn & Patio
$199.71 - $0.68 $199.03
Timber Tuff TMW-08 Bark Spud, 24"
Timber Tuff - Lawn & Patio
$49.06
Sale
Timber Tuff TMB-08DS Straight Draw Shave Tool, 8"
Timber Tuff - Tools & Home Improvement
$29.99 - $3.00 $26.99
Ox-Head 10" x 1-3/8" Straight Drawknife, OX3752500
Ox-Head - Tools & Home Improvement
$58.10

Last update on 2018-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Types of Log Debarkers

There are two main types of log debarker.

The first type fits onto the end of a chainsaw and uses the rotating head to power the tool. This provides a nice automatic shaver that can strip bark in seconds.

The second type, is the completely manual shaver tool, probably something that many of you are used to using.

These are tough work to handle but something many carpenters like, as it retains the natural beauty just under the bark.

Some other methods people use are air chisels, pressure washers (which are good for removing sap), and even pry-bars!

The method you should use depend on the results you are looking for. If you want quick results and are not too bothered about the appearance of the log, go with a chainsaw attachment.

If not, a barking spud or good drawknife is probably what you’re looking for.

3 Tips For Debarking Logs

1) Check Your Chainsaw Is Strong Enough

Always ensure your chainsaw is strong enough to handle the extra strain a log debarker will add.

Sometimes, bearings will quickly wear out on a cheaper chainsaw while using a log debarker.

2) Save Money For Sharpening Tools

Another thing newcomers to woodwork might forget, is that if you do purchase hand debarking tools, you’ll need to leave a little in your budget to purchase a quality sharpening block and oil.

Nothing is worse than working timber with dull blades.  We recommend sharpening at least every month if you’re a daily user.

3) Try To Debark In Spring

It’s also easier to debark logs in the spring when cambium (cell tissue) becomes active and the buds begin to break. This is why basket makers cut in the spring.

In the summer the bark beetles come out, and you’ll want your work done by then! The sooner you peel a log after it hits the ground, the easier it will be.


Here’s 4 quite different log debarkers for different preferences and budgets.

Log Wizard Log Debarker Review

This tool falls into the chainsaw mounted mechanical type of debarker. It’s been designed to attach to all chainsaws that are 65cc or under.

Log Wizard

We tested this debarker on pine softwood, striping the bark of trees that had recently been felled. We found it really did make light work of bark, stripping it off in one go and easily working through an individual log in double quick time.

The tool is reasonably easy to dismantle, although we feel you’ll be best to have a chainsaw dedicated to stripping if you’re regularly working felled logs. The blades can be replaced with standard 3 1/4 ones from most makes, including Makita.

We liked this price of the Log Wizard and also liked the ease at which is stripped wood. The only issue was the dismantling on the tool which could become a pain if you were using it frequently.

Timber Tuff Bark Spud Review

Okay, we’re looking at a totally different type of tool here. This time, we’re reviewing a barking spud.

For those of you who don’t know, a barking spud is something that’s used to gently pull back the bark of a tree. They’re also known as “Log Peelers”.

Bark Spud

The bark spud is perfect if you’re looking to get your hands dirty and want to strip your logs in a more refined way, with a finish to match.

Spuds are better than draw knives for thicker bark such as Eastern White Pine, Poplar and similar, thicker-barked trees.

Whilst using this spud, we found it to be extremely well made, easily putting it into the category of craftsman’s tool. It has a nice wooden handle (No plastic here!) and the tip is made from toughened steel.

The handle and tip are jointed very well and should last for many years before being replaced.

As far as dimensions go, it’s 24″ long and 2 3/8″ wide, about right for this type of tool and easily held in your hand. It’s also 3lbs so there is enough heft to help cutting but it’s not overly heavy.

Obviously, you can’t compare this tool with a mechanical bark stripper. However, it’s an effective tool if you want to achieve a more sympathetic job or need to use your debarked logs in a decorative setting, such as a bridge or decking construction.

Timber Tuff 8 Inch Drawknife Review

Another all manual tool, this time we’re sticking with the stripping rather than peeling bark off with a good drawknife – again from Timber Tuff (no bias but they are leaders in this field!).

Timber Tuff

The Timber Tuff drawknife, has an 8 inch blade, 5mm thick at the top of the wedge and has a 30 degree angle, suitable for most people.

As with the barking spud, we’ve picked this one for quality too, as it offers a good quality pair on handles that look somewhat inspired by old Stanley tool of decades past, something I remember my father using.

During our test, it performed admirably, although as with all hand carpentry tools you’re mileage will vary depending on the training or experience you bring to the table.

What we can say though, is that the little Timber Tuff will certainly power through most barks and does leave a nice pleasant finish.

As for maintenance, the steel is HRC 30 rated in strength so if should last fairly well between sharpening. Of course as with all hand cutting tools, you’ll have to invest in a decent sharpening block and oil to keep this blade working at it’s best.

We recommend this as as log debarker if you need to be a little gentler on your timber as your stripping it.

It’s perfect if you’re building garden furniture or you have smaller construction jobs that require nicely finished debarked timber.

Timber Tuff make drawknives for 5″ all the way up to 13″ so you can size accordingly.

Ox-Head 10 Inch DrawKnife Review

Ox-Head have been making axes, hatchets and other blades for around 250 years, so they bring a heck of a lot of skill and experience to the table.

oxhead drawknife

The OX3752500  is another drawknife, this time of the 10″ variety. It is made one one solid piece of steel.

You can expect it to last for 3 – 4 hours of hardwood use before it’s needs sharpening. The contoured wood handles are mounted well so there’s no blade play or wiggle.

When this knife arrived we needed to give it some attention with a grinder or stone to get it hair-shaving sharp. So you need to be mindful of this, but to be honest it’s not uncommon for blades to arrive in this condition. The reason is the workman can put on the type of edge they need for specific tasks.

We used it to shave the bark of an oak limb. Once we got the hang of it, the bark came off it sheet. We also noticed it cuts through logs and branches stumps pretty easily too.

One thing woodworkers will really appreciate is you can use this tool to round and square-off posts to give that classic hand-made look. Overall, this drawknife was a lot of fun!

On the negative side, it’s be better if this knife came with a sheath. It’s also not stainless steel so on the plus-side it holds an edge better but you need to keep it oiled.’

 

What’s The Best Electric Log Splitter in 2018?

electric log splitter

If you run a wood fuel fire or have a lot of trees to maintain in your garden, an electric log splitter will make your work a lot easier!

After extensive research, we put together a list of the best electric log splitters available in 2018. Scroll down to find the reviews!

Sale
Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter, 7-Ton
Boss Industrial, Inc. - Lawn & Patio
$449.00 - $49.01 $399.99
TR Industrial TR89130 15 Amp Electric Log Splitter with Ergonomic Stand, 5 Ton
Capri Tools - Tools & Home Improvement
from $15.00
Pow' R' Kraft 65556 4-Ton 15 Amp Electric Log Splitter
Magneto Power - Lawn & Patio
$399.34

Last update on 2018-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Size Log Splitter Do I Need?

Most splitters are measured in tonnes, the higher the weight, the easier it will split logs. For most farms and homesteads, they range for 4 tons – 10 tons. The rating will not only limit the size of logs you can cut, but also the type of wood that you are dealing with.

Another reason you might want to purchase an electric splitter with a higher weight rating, is that you deal mostly with wet wood as opposed to dry.

Wet wood still has much of it’s strength from when felled, meaning it will take much more force to split it apart. Dry wood in contrast, is much more brittle and will sheer with relatively little force required. This is why dry logs are so easy to chop by hand for your log burner!


Electric Log Splitter Reviews

Our team of reviewers got to grips with 5 of the best electric log splitters on the market today. Here are their findings.

The Boss Industrial ES7T20 Review
(7 Ton)

The Boss is a really nice, industrial grade log splitter that really does pack a punch. It’s rated at 7 ton which is more than enough for cutting recently felled wet wood.

Boss Log Splitter

The really great thing about this log splitter is the one handed operation of the machine. You can actually split your logs with one hand that’s how easy it is to use.

As for the power it produces in everyday work, it’s pretty good and splits most wood, even dense woods such as Elm can be split pretty easy using the Boss Industrial.

We think this electric log splitter will make the perfect choice if you who have a considerable number of trees to maintain, or need something decent for creating log fuel.

TR Industrial TR89130 Review
(5 Ton)

The  TR Industrial TR89130 is a great value cutter seeing as it is rated for 5 tons. It comes with its own stand for splitting wood and can split logs up to 12 inches in diameter.
TR89130 Log Splitter
It doesn’t have the one handed operation of the Boss Industrial, yet it does have it’s own wheeled stand, making it quite nice to use from a standing height.

This is probably the main selling point of this log cutter, we loved that you can cut wood without bending down each time.

The power is pretty good. We found that most dry and wet woods could be split, however, sometimes the machine would have a little trouble cutting wood with heavy knots in it. Still, the motor is rated at 1800W so it’s a more than capable machine.

Overall, we were impressed by the stand, reasonably pleased with the power and because the stand is foldable, it’s quite easily stowed in the back of a car or truck.

Pow’ R Kraft 65556 (4 Ton) Review

The Pow 65556 is a neat entry into the more budget end of the home log splitter market.

Even so, it offers up a 1500W motor, up to 10 inches diameter capability (Although it does say 12 inches for easy to cut woods) and is manufactured from steel – keeping the durability up there with the best.

Pow R Kraft Log Splitter

This electric splitter does only offer two handed operation, which could put some people off. However, we found during testing that the Pow’ R Kraft was quite easy to use and had enough power to get through most woods, wet or dry.

This splitter is great if you’re using it for logs under 16″ in diameter and less than 20″ long. For bigger sizes (and tougher wooods like hickory) you will need something with a bit more power.

Still, the price of this Pow’ R Kraft reflects this, and if you don’t need industrial power it’s a great choice.

YARDMAX YS0552 Electric Log Splitter (5 Ton) Review

The Yardmax YS0552 packs a lot of punch for the price. A 5 Ton splitter, this can handle logs up to 20.5″ in length and 10″ in diameter.
Yardmax Log Splitter

Something we really love about this one is it’s good to go as soon as it arrives. There isn’t any complicated assembly required, it works off a standard power mains and you don’t need to buy any hydraulic fluid for it. Just plug it in and get to work!

The really surprising thing (for the price) is the thought that has gone into this design.The assembled stand height means you don’t need  to bend over as with other splitters and the attached log tray also helps save your back. This makes it ideal if you’ve previously been using an axe or a maul and need something reliable to take over.

Another great feature that makes things easier (and safer) is it has a self returning stroke arm. Just remember to keep the vent valve open.

The only drawback with the Yardmax is pretty hefty at 100 lbs. If your wood pile is up hill it will probably take two to get it there. It does have 7″ wheels so flat surfaces are less of a problem.

For the price, we have absolutely no hesitation in saying this is the best electric log splitter for the money in 2018.

Powerhouse XM-580 (9 Ton) Review

We finish our round-up with a real industrial powerhouse. (Excuse the Pun!)

This Powerhouse log splitter is an extremely solid beast with a motor that could easily rival gas log cutters for power.
Powerhouse XM-580
At 9 Tons weight rating, this is an absolute beast when splitting wood. We found that it cut through all types of logs without any hesitation at all. Even hardwoods and dense timber was no match at all for the Powerhouse cutter and given the choice, it’s what most of our testers would use on a daily basis.

The sheer power is also matches on the quality side too. The frame, power buttons and levers are absolutely solid and the wheels so give it a degree of manoeuvrability. Even some of our testers who swore by gas log cutters were impressed and this splitter has given them some pause for thought.

Again, as you’ll probably guess, the main downside is the price. Yet we would rate this machine as so good it almost falls into low end commercial cutting, such is the quality of the machine.

If you have the cash, lot’s of wood to split and you want the best electric log splitter, this is the one!

How To Buy Good Firewood For Less!

how to choose firewood

More and more families are discovering the advantages of firewood to heat their home. Unfortunately, when you first buy firewood there’s a few things you need to know to always get the best deal.

Where To Buy Firewood

It is not hard to find firewood for sale. One can buy wood at a wide variety of places. Supermarkets, gas stations, landscape companies, firewood dealers and even internet retail websites sell various types of firewood.

While most  firewood dealers are honest, there are some unscrupulous dealers who will cheat unsuspecting customers by inflating measurements and/or providing low quality wood.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when buying  firewood for a stove or fireplace. They will help you understand what type of woods should and should not be used, how firewood should be stored, and more.

Measuring Cords of Firewood

Firewood is measured in cords. A full cord should be four feet deep, four feet high and eight feet wide. It is also possible to buy a half cord of firewood, which would be two feet deep, eight feet wide and four feet high.

Measuring FirewoodThere is also a measurement known as a face cord. A face cord is not the same as a full cord of wood. A face cord is sixteen inches deep, eight feet wide and four feet high. Three face cords make up a full cord.

Never buy wood from a firewood dealer who claims that two face cords make up a full cord. This is not true and is a common tactic used by unscrupulous dealers to cheat customers.

Firewood can be measured with a tape measure once it has been stacked. It is a good idea to have the firewood stacked by the delivery person to ensure that one has gotten all the wood that he or she has paid for.

Types Of Cuts

There are various ways to cut  firewood. If the wood is to be burned in a wood stove, it should be cut in pieces of twelve to eighteen inches. Wood that is meant to be burned in an average fireplace should be cut in pieces of twenty to twenty four inches.

However, when using a fireplace, one will also usually need small, medium sized and large pieces or logs of wood. Small strips of wood, such as slab wood, are a good buy, as they will enable a person to start a fire quickly and easily. Slab wood is cheap and can often be purchased from a saw mill.

Once the fire is going, one should avoid using slab wood as it contains a high level of bark and will clog up the chimney. A fire will burn well once the kindling has gotten going and one can add pieces or logs from one to two feet long. Such logs will take time to burn, giving off plenty of heat. Larger pieces also do not clog up the chimney as fast as smaller slab.

Types of Firewood

There are several different types of firewood often divided into the terms hardwood and softwood.  In terms of tree identification, have nothing to do with how hard the wood is.  A softwood tree is one that has needles while a hardwood has leaves.  Another way of describing trees are  deciduous and evergreen.

Poplar is called a soft hardwood because the wood is physically soft yet it comes from a deciduous ( broad leafed) tree.  Some types of wood burn better than others. Softwoods such as pine, aspen (technically a hardwood ~yet softer than pine)  and poplar create creosote in the chimney that will have to be cleaned out by a chimney sweep.  These woods are lighter in weight and will also burn faster than heavier hardwoods.

Hardwood v Softwood

Many people find these softwoods attractive as they are relatively cheap, especially when buying wood by weight.  However, when buying  firewood, the best buy is hardwood instead of soft wood.

Hardwood v SoftwoodSome good hardwoods to choose from are Pinion, Cedar and Oak. These types of wood are relatively common, so most dealers will have at least one of them.While hardwoods may cost a bit more than softwoods, they burn for longer and do not contain as much creosote.

However,  Please note that statistics indicate that more creosote is created from hardwoods than from softwoods, such as pine.  The main cause for creosote buildup is a “smoldering fire”.

A fire and chimney need to be hot so that all of the acids and combustible gases in the chimney and flue are ignited before they have a chance to harden and leave the creosote residue on the inside of a chimney.Be sure to ask your chosen dealer what type of wood he or she is offering before finalizing the purchase.

Firewood Humidity Levels

When buying firewood, it is important to make sure that the wood is not overly humid. Good wood should be dry. Moist wood is hard to burn and it will also cause the chimney to get clogged up faster.

Avoid wood that is sold wrapped in plastic, as it is moist and will not burn well. Ideally, it should be seasoned for at least six months and have a moisture content of twenty percent or even less. However, it is also possible to buy wood that has a moisture content of over twenty percent and let it dry out at home.

Many people save a lot of money by buying “green wood” a couple years in advance and then letting it dry out. Green wood, as the name implies, is wood that has just recently been cut down. It usually contains a humidity level of around thirty five percent.

Firewood Storage

Firewood storage is important. Many people simply pile the logs in the back yard. This is never a good idea. Firewood that is exposed to the elements will get wet, which is something that should be avoided at all costs.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”300″ identifier=”B000I1R41Y” locale=”US” nw=”y” src=”http://toolsdaddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/51r7vQ8J4ML.jpg” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″ width=”300″]On the other hand, it is usually not a good idea to store large quantities of wood inside the house. In some instances, termites and other small pests will invade your home and cause damage to wooden furnishings.

The best option is to invest in a metal firewood rack and store it outside on a porch. Metal racks come in varying sizes and can be purchased at a local brick and mortar store or via an online retailer. Good firewood should then be stacked in the rack and the top layer should be covered with a tarp to protect it from getting wet.

Knowledge is Power!

By learning about firewood, one will know which type of wood is the best buy. It is not hard to find, but not all dealers provide good value for money.

Take the time to find a reputable dealer that provides good hardwood that has been properly seasoned as it’s always worth the additional cost .

DIY Tips for Home Painting Projects

DIY Tips for Home Painting

Applying a fresh coat of paint adds a new lease of life to your home. It can also significantly increase the resale value of your property. While painting is not difficult, there are a few tips to know that will greatly improve the way a finished wall, ceiling or surface will look.

It’s well documented that colors can affect people’s mood. But did you know paint color changes varies depending on the time of day?  Subtle variations between paint finishes can make or break the room.

Use these tips for your exterior and interior home painting projects.  Your home will be the envy of the neighborhood without breaking the bank.

DIY Exterior House Cleaning

Before embarking on an exterior house painting job, start with a little cleaning. Remove all loose or peeling paint by scraping and sanding the exterior house.  Follow this by washing with a power washer or garden hose and scrub brush to remove dirt and loose chalking.

If mildew is found on the house exterior, treat and clean with a solution of one part water and three parts bleach. Apply the bleach solution to the mildew and allow to set for 20 minutes. Rinse the bleach solution off, wash the area with soapy water to remove all traces of bleach and mildew, then rinse again. Allow the house exterior to dry completely, which can take up to a week depending on weather conditions, before painting.

DIY Repair, Replace And Prime

While waiting for the house exterior to dry repair or replace any rotten, cracked or split boards. Replace the dried chalking that was removed during the prep work and fill in any cracks around doors and windows. Apply a coat of primer to any new boards or other bare wood surfaces of the house exterior.

Mix Paint to Avoid Shade Differences

Subtle shade differences in paint color can occur if the paint batch numbers differ. Or if the paint is mixed at different stores or by a different sales person. To avoid paint shade differences after application, first mix all the paint together in a large container then return the paint to the original cans.

Paint a Small Test Patch

Paint a 2 foot by 2-foot test patch on a wall and observe the paint color at different times of the day before you commit to painting the entire exterior or interior. The way the sunlight reflects off the paint can turn a color you love into a color you hate.

* This is also a good DIY tip when painting the interior of your home.

Check Weather Forecast

A weather forecast of between 60 and 85 degrees with no wind or rain forecasted for at least 24 hours is an ideal weather setting for DIY exterior house painting. Applying the exterior paint in direct sunlight can cause the paint to blister, so don’t tackle the DIY painting job on a hot, sunny, summer afternoon.

Choose The Right Paint Brushes

A power spray painter will enable you to get the DIY painting job quickly, but there will always be a few surfaces that must be painted with a brush. Using the right brush is essential for achieving smooth paint coverage for the surfaces.

Choose a synthetic or natural bristle paint brush when using oil based exterior paint and only use a synthetic bristle paint brush for latex paint. Natural bristles are hollow and can clump during the painting process when using latex paint as the natural bristles absorb the water in the latex paint.

A paint brush with angled bristles will allow for better precision painting around the house trim, doors, and windows. Test the paint brush for a snug hand fit and dampen the paint brush before the first use so the bristles will load the paint more evenly.

Interior Painting

Before choosing a paint color for an interior space, consider how the room is used. Paint colors set the mood of a room and you want to select a paint color that embodies and evokes the desired mood. For example, red stimulates the senses and the appetite, making it a perfect paint color for a dining room or restaurant, but not for a bedroom.

Color Cues

When you don’t know where to start on the paint color wheel to pick a color, start by looking around the room you want to paint. What’s in the room that you love and what is the dominant color of that object? It could be a rug, a chair or a painting. If there’s nothing in the room you love and you plan to refurnish the room after painting, then it’s time to go shopping.

Find something that you want for the room and choose the wall paint color from the object. Repeating the wall paint color throughout the room will help tie everything together.

Be Bold

Any room can handle a bold color paint, even small rooms. Neutral paint color come in bold shades, so if you want to stick with neutral, go with bold neutral. Try a deeper shade of the traditional beige or green, like warm caramel or sage green, if you want to remain true to neutral colors but also add a pop of bold room color.

Look Up and Around

Consider painting the ceiling the same shade as the walls. It will erase the stark line between walls and ceiling and make the ceiling appear to be higher. Since the wall and ceiling surfaces are on different planes, the ceiling paint color will appear to be a shade or two lighter than the walls.

Look around the room and make any architectural elements pop by painting them in an accent color. Any unsightly elements you wish to minimize, paint in the same shade of wall color to make them blend in.

Flat / Matte Finish Paints

The paint finish needed for an interior room should be determined by the function of the room and the condition of walls, cabinets, etc.

A flat paint, also called ‘matte’ finish, will give a room an elegant chalky look. Flat paint hides imperfections, is easy to touch up, but difficult to clean. Flat or matte finish paints are best reserved for rooms that are seldom used, like a formal living or dining room. A flat finish is perfect for ceilings too.

Eggshell Finish

This is the most popular paint finishes because of its versatility. An eggshell finish has a slight sheen, hides imperfections and creates a surface that is easy to touch up and easy to clean.
Satin Finish

Aptly named for the smooth, satiny surface it creates, satin finish paint works well in high traffic areas like kitchens, children’s rooms, family rooms and bathrooms. The satin finish is durable, has a slight sheen and easy to clean.

Semi-Gloss Paint

Slightly glossy, this is the paint finish applied to trim work and molding around the room. Semi-gloss finish is easy to clean and very forgiving when a baseboard or door molding gets bumped or scuffed.

High Gloss Paint

High gloss paint is a finish that provides a lacquer-like look to whatever it’s applied too. It’s usually applied to kitchen or bathroom cabinetry, room molding, and furniture. High gloss paint provides the most durable, easy-to-clean finish of all paints, but it also highlights every imperfection.

Primer

Never skip applying primer when undertaking a DIY painting job. Applying a coat or two of primer will smooth out surface imperfections and make paint adhere better, leaving behind the smoothest and most durable finished surface possible. paint color sets the mood of a room and subtle variations between paint finishes can make or break the room.

How to Remove Oil Stains From Your Driveway

How to Remove Oil Stains from Driveway

Is your once pristine concrete driveway now spotted with oil stains? Want to know how to remove oil stains from your driveway?

Fortunately, we can help! The following tips can help your driveway look new again in no time at all.

Kitty Litter Method

The kitty litter method is a tried-and-trusted way of removing oil stains from concrete. Here’s how it works:

  • Purchase the least expensive brand of [easyazon_link identifier=”B004UMLZXA” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]super-absorbent kitty litter[/easyazon_link] you can find. Don’t buy the clumping type, it will not be as effective as the cheaper brands for this task.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of kitty litter (completely cover the stain) on the oil stain, then wait.
  • Give the kitty litter plenty of time to absorb every bit of oil. A small, new oil stain will need about 15 minutes to be absorbed. A large, old stain may need to be left alone overnight so the kitty litter can do its work.
  • After the kitty litter has been on the stain for an amount of time you deem sufficient, put on an old pair of hard-sole shoes and grind the litter into the oil stain by stepping on it repeatedly.
  • Really work the litter into the concrete. This will crunch the kitty litter into tiny particles and force it into all the nooks and crannies where the oil was absorbed. Sweep up and discard all of the litter.
  • Apply a concentrated form of liquid detergent to the spot and scrub into the concrete with a stiff brush. Scrub detergent in using a circular motion and with a heavy hand right where the stain was located.
  • Use a lighter hand to scrub the concrete around the location of the stain. This will help blend the color of the concrete and make the location of the oil stain seem less noticeable once it has been removed.
  • Rinse with water from the water hose set at full blast.
  • Once all the detergent has been rinsed away, inspect the stain location.
  • If the oil stain is still visible, repeat the scrubbing process.

Chemical Removal

A good chemical stain remover can remove oil stains from your driveway. You can get over-the-counter products like “[easyazon_link identifier=”B005FMZ40Y” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]Krud Krutter[/easyazon_link]” pretty cheaply.

Here’s how to get rid of that oil stain:

  • Start with a clean, dry surface.
  • Sweep away all dirt and debris, then apply the chemical product as directed bythe manufacturer.
  • Let the cleaner settle on the stain for the recommended amount of time and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for rinsing and product removal.
  • If any trace of the oil stain remains, repeat the cleaning process again.

Alternatively, you can DIY your own solution using powdered laundry detergent and water. If any stain remains after scrubbing, you can try[easyazon_link identifier=”B00BFIRBTY” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]Esp Granilozorb[/easyazon_link] or a [easyazon_link identifier=”B005OQUGZ4″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]cheap, clay-based kitty litter[/easyazon_link].

Oil Eater Cleaner

It may sound like something taken from a SyFy movies, but oil-eating microbes can and will remove oil stains from your driveway. A product that has got great reviews for this is [easyazon_link identifier=”B000EALHHG” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]Oil Eater[/easyazon_link]. Here’s how you can use it to remove stubborn oil stains:

  • Wet the stain with clean water, then mix one part Oil Eater with three parts water.
  • Place mixture into a spray bottle and thoroughly spray stained area, then brush with a stiff-bristle brush or broom. The brushing action will activate the microbes and get them started eating away at the oil below the concrete surface.
  • Observe he area carefully so you can determine what the next cleaning step will be.
  • The microbes will do their work below the concrete surface, then froth up above the surface. the color of the froth will tell you what to do next. If the froth color has a brown tint to it, that means some of the oil has been captured and pulled up by the microbes.
  • The brownish colored froth must be rinsed into a receptacle and properly disposed of, then another application of Oil Eater needs to be applied and brushed in so the microbes can finish the oil removing job.
  • If the froth is white, do not rinse with water. Allow the spot to air dry.
  • If any of the oil stain remains visible, repeat the microbial removal process again in seven days.Stubborn, deep-set oil stains in concrete may require 2-4 treatments before completely disappearing, asphalt may require up to 10 treatments before the oil stain is no longer visible.

Follow-Up Cleaning

If removing the oil stain left you with a white patch in your driveway which is almost as unsightly as the former oil stain, a little follow up cleaning may be needed. Cleaning the entire driveway with a pressure washer will lighten the color of all the concrete and blend the colors together so the former oil-stained area won’t be as visible.

Clean any subsequent oil drips as soon as possible with an application of kitty litter to prevent them from becoming unsightly stains on the driveway.