10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes

   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes #1  


Platinum Member
Nov 12, 2020
Pageland, SC
BX 1880 with FEL and canopy
I have a 10 ton manual wood splitter that is powered by a two stage bottle jack. The thing is pretty slick, and works well.

I have been pondering how to power it with the rear remotes or the third function valve on my bx1880. I think, if my calculations are correct, it would take about a 3.5" piston on a new double acting cylinder in place of the bottle jack to give me approximately 10 tons of force at 2,000 psi (which I'm shimmed to be close to).

I'm curious, though, about this. The manual "pumps" on the jack have a threaded connector to the body of the jack. It stands to reason that I could remove one of these, and make an adapter from that, to a hose to connect one of my rear remotes directly to the jack.

I need to measure it, but I think it's a 2.5" piston on the jack. That would only give me 5tons (approximately) of force from the tractor if I successfully converted that jack to a single acting cylinder. If I used the port on the jack for the quicker and less powerful stroke, and left the alternative manual pump on the jack intact, I want to believe I could still use the more powerful manual pump lever as well. So if I got into a stubborn log and the tractor force couldn't split it, I could use the manual lever to finish it.

I'm curious about this because it would give me the ability to still use the splitter full on manually (but slowly with the slowest "stage"), or with the tractor for easier splitting. I'm envisioning being able to do this at just the cost of some hose and fittings.

But, is 5 tons of force any use at all? Would I find myself still manually pumping the jack with every piece of wood?

Will a single acting cylinder work fine on the rear remotes? I think I've gathered when you move the lever to retract, the fluid can move back to the pump without a return line. If not, I'll scrap the idea entirely until I just get a DA cylinder to replace the bottle jack with. I have to decide if I want to completely give up the ability to use it without the tractor present.
   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes #2  
If your tractor has the remotes It make more sense to use a DA cylinder... Keep in mind sometimes a splitting wedge can jam in a log and you will need to use power (manual or hydraulic) to extract it....And the more "tonnage" of splitter means more efficiency....
   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes
  • Thread Starter
I know it does, just thinking out loud and wondering what I can do for minimal costs (and also retain either tractor or manual operation). I have a front third function and rear remotes. Seems worth a try to just plumb one of the remotes in place of one of the manual "pumps", but I'm not totally sure a single acting will work properly. The screw to release pressure will still be there on the jack. I believe it also serves as a relief valve.

As is, the splitter has no powered retraction, only some large springs. That has always been adequate.
   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes #4  
Make sure the port on the bottle jack is an actual pressure port direct to the internal cylinder, and not simply a fill or drain port for the reservoir. Otherwise you will blow the thing apart.

A 10-ton bottle jack will look like a big cylinder. But the real cylinder is MUCH smaller and inside. The outer housing is simply the reservoir.

And most bottle jacks arrive at their rating at 10,000psi. So a 10-ton jack will have ~1.5" cylinder inside.
It looks like a 2.5" cylinder cause that extra inch surrounding the ram is simply a thin piece of metal (can) to contain the non-pressurized oil.

Putting 1/5th the pressure to it, you can expect 1/5th the force....or about 2-tons.

The "best" you can hope for is to buy a cylinder of appropriate diameter and replace the bottle jack. But how are you going to control it. Are you ALSO going to put a valve at the splitter....or constantly have to reach up for the tractor valve.

The cost of a cylinder, valve, hoses, fittings.....you probably be better off selling what you have and actually buying a 3PH splitter.
   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes
  • Thread Starter
About the size of the piston, I see. Just to make sure, I was measuring the diameter of the rod that extends out of the housing that does the work, not the diameter of the housing itself. I was also trying to guess from photos though, I still have not dug mine out to measure in person. I was calculating it by diameter squared, multiplied by PI, divided by 4, then multiplied by the pressure. I believe this is the equation for lbs of force of a hydraulic cylinder.

If it's a 1.5" piston it's not worth messing with. At 2.5" it came up to 5 tons, and there are some electric 5 ton rated splitters which seem to do okay for what they are. At that size it might have been worth a try.

A double acting cylinder with a piston large enough to reach 10 tons force is very expensive. I priced a few last night.

As to the ports, the ports I'm talking about are where the manual lever "pump" moves in and out of the housing. For that part of the puzzle, it should work. In this area


I don't know why it would be a problem to operate by the levers on the tractor for the third function. If I'm working by the three point area it's right beside me at waist height. Still though, the cost of a cylinder alone is cost prohibitive.

A better option might be to replace the jack with a 10 ton air over hydraulic jack and use a cordless air compressor. I have one that works well and an assortment of 6 and 9 amp batteries for it. I thought it would be nice to use the tractor but I don't think that's the best course of action.
   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes #6  
The air over hydraulic is not gonna be a good idea. They will consume alot of electric, and now you are wearing out a compressor.

Dont know what the stroke of the existing bottle jack is, but I cant imagine its more than 8 or 10". I can find 3.5 x 8 or 3.5 x 10 cylidners for a tad over $100. And if you think that is too expensive you should just stick with what you have. You are gonna have $100 or better in hoses and fittings to even hook to your remotes. then risk blowing the bottle jack....and still being spring return....what a PITA.

Watch market place or craigslist in your area. I am frequently seeing 3PH splitters for $300 or less.

But if $100 is too much to spend....again id suggest just leave it alone
   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes
  • Thread Starter
I saw more like $500. I'd spend $100 for a cylinder in a heartbeat. I think the stroke is just a little over 8".

I was assuming an air over hydraulic jack would use very little air, thanks for the warning!
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   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes #8  
Complete waste of time. Tractor pressure will blow the ram apart. Awkward control position, wood in location A. Controls in location B. Dangerous if 2 person's trying to work together. Most common cylinder size is a 4"x24". Thats 15 tons at 2500 psi. Used splitters all over the place around here for under $1000. Sell the manual 1 to a Twink and get the job done with a dedicated splitter. Been there, done that.
   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes #9  
I realize this has nothing to do with your question but I get disgusted when I think back about all the time and money I spent on wood splitter rigs over the years. I would have been better off throwing more $$ at it from the beginning and gone with something like this:

No lifting required. It splits the wood on the ground and moves it to a pile as well.

Well out of your price range though.
   / 10 ton manual wood splitter, convert to run on remotes #10  
good luck w/project, you'll find good info here better than i can offer. Question: is this splitter conversion a cost effective project for you, or just a challenging home project you want to pursue? seems to me you could save the existing manual splitter for your family/friends to use :), then get a stand alone gas splitter (at least 25t). might be able to pick up a deal after holidays. best of luck

also, please be careful when testing your hyd project...stay clear of hoses, etc, hyd blowouts are extremely dangerous cheers
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