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How to Safely Operate A Log Splitter

Learn how to safely cut a log using a log splitter

When using a log splitter or other outdoor power equipment, it's important to review your owner's manual to ensure you are operating the machine safely and efficiently. Log splitters reduce the time it takes to clean up after you've taken down a large tree, or cut wood for your fireplace each summer. For safe operation, read your owner's manual and make sure you have all the right log splitter parts from the original manufacturer. At MTD Parts we have the tips you need to safely operate outdoor power equipment and a Part Finder that makes it easy to locate replacement log splitter parts when you need them.

Prepare your logs

Logs should be cut with square ends prior to splitting. To square your logs, cut through about halfway . Then, roll the log over, line up your saw with the first cut, and cut through. If it's a large log you can mark it with a chalk line before cutting to ensure you're cutting along the same plane.

Follow procedure when loading a log

When loading a log, always place your hands on the sides of the log, not on the ends, and never use your foot to stabilize a log. Failure to do so, may result in crushed or amputated fingers, toes, hands, or feet.

Use only your hands to operate the controls

Attempting to operate outdoor power equipment with anything other than your hands, such as feet or elbows, significantly reduces your control and increases the possibility of injury. 

Split one log at a time

Never attempt to split more than one log at a time unless the ram has been fully extended and a second log is needed to complete the separation of the first log.

Know how to properly cut logs that aren't square using a log splitter

For logs which are shaped oddly and cannot be cut square, place the least square end and the longest portion of the log toward the beam and wedge, and the square end toward the end plate.

Stabilize logs before splitting them vertically

When splitting in the vertical position, stabilize the log before moving the control. Split as follows:

  • Place log on the end plate and turn until it leans against the beam and is stable.
  • When splitting extra-large or uneven logs, the log must be stabilized with wooden chips or split wood between the log and end plate or ground.
  • Avoid stabilizing a log with your hands.

Keep fingers clear when using a log splitter

Always keep fingers away from any cracks that open in the log while splitting. They can quickly close and pinch or amputate your fingers.

Get more tips on safe operation of outdoor power equipment from MTD Parts

It's important to have proper safety protection when operating outdoor power equipment. Wear work gloves, sturdy boots and protective eyewear, and avoid loose clothing while using a log splitter to help reduce your risk of injury. Also, make sure you check your log splitter parts before each use and tighten any loose nuts or bolts, or replace work elements to keep your machine running safely and smoothly. Find more tips on safely using a log splitter and other outdoor power equipment from the MTD Parts Knowledge Center.