3746 Winter Garden Road Orlando, Florida 32805
This is submitted to the Iron-Men Album Magazine,
rather than your Gas Engine Magazine, because it primarily
concerns fuel for steam engines or for fireplaces. In short, a
wood-splitting machine shows what happens when you get old!
Fireplaces are much the vogue today. And oak is one of the best
fuels for them. In the south, OAK usually means live oak, which is
unsplittable, even with the use of a woodchopper’s maul
(usually called, by those who use them, a ‘splitting
Enough for the introduction!
Submitted herewith are photos of a portable wood-splitting
machine, comparatively new on the market, and the first one I ever
saw. It is designed and made by my friend and neighbor, Thomas F.
Tavernier, 397 Dobson Street, Orlando, Florida 32805. This is NOT a
sales pitch for Tom for he already has so much to do that he has no
time for sleep!
I watched Tom operate this machine the other day, while he split
a cord of live oak (fireplace length) in just about the time it
took me to eat an orange. It was the first time I ever examined the
wood grain of live oak closely. For sheer contrariness, it has our
northern black gum (which we knew better than to try to split with
an axe) crowded off the map.
Tom makes these machines only on order, both as to width and
length because a wide tread machine will not upset easily. Neither
will it go through a narrow gateway so he will make a narrow width
Tom, incidentally, is a former Davey Tree Surgeon, and he can
run up a tall tree faster than a gray squirrel I’ve watched
him, and I’ll lay my reputation for veracity on the line in
The wheel to left of photo shows the hydraulically actuated
axle, which raises the machine or lowers it flat on the ground, so
that heavy log cuts may be rolled in place without lifting.
In the foreground is the heavy steel splitting wedge. Eleven
tons of hydraulic pressure are developed. Operating lever is
Courtesy of James M. Barnhart, 3746 Winter Garden Road, Orlando,