what is a kindling cracker? simply a stand alone splitting axe to break split wood into smaller pieces. You can buy these online for $75 to $100+.... but why do that? I had the materials laying around and decided to make one myself. This does require some welding and cutting of metal so take care to use safety precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE)
Step 1: Materials and Tools
There is a variety of materials you can use to make this. I have seen someone use rebar, pipe and other metal objects. I happened to have 1in square tubing laying around along with some scrap flat and angle iron.
You can purchase various types of metal stock from home improvement stores and supply yards. To keep things simple I will list what i used
3 - 4 foot pieces of 1in square tubing with at least 1/8in wall thicknes
1 - 10 in piece of 1/4 in thick flat bar roughly 2 - 3 inches wide
Welder (I prefer stick)
Grinder with grind, cut, and wire brush
some way to cut the steel (I have a metal chop saw but sawzall or cutting disk will work)
clamps to hold work for welding
Safety glasses, Gloves and welding gear
Step 2: Design
You can modify the measurements to fit your needs, I decided to go a little bigger than what could be purchased in stores.
I decided to go with 2 10 inch squares for the top and bottom and then a height of 18 inches. The flat bar will be ground sharp and welded just above the center point on the vertical pieces. See crude drawn plans here.
Step 3: Cut and Tack!
Pretty simple, I cut 8 sections of square tubing with 45 degree angles on them 10 inches in length to the long sides. I didn't think to take pictures as I wasn't going to make this at first but decided it would be a fun project to share.
I then took my very low budget HFT wire welder and tack welded all the corners on both squares. Remember that when tack welding on tubing to alternate opposite corners to prevent warping, much like tightening lug nuts on a tire.
Once everything was tacked up, it was ready to weld! I welded full beads around all the seams on the corners and then cleaned them up with the wire wheel. Don't get discouraged if your welds aren't great looking this is a project to learn and increase you abilities... for obvious reasons only the decent looking beads are photographed!
Step 4: Partial Assembly
I don't believe it is necessary but at this time I gave the 2 newly welded square frames time to cool to prevent warping. Next we will find the center points on 2 sides of the squares and tack down the vertical supports to the top and bottom. Once tacked and cleaned proceed to finish welding the joins.
As added support i cut 4 more pieces of square tube with 45s on them as well and welded them in place to prevent any bending and add ability to withstand years (hopefully) of abuse. These will vary in length depending on the original size of your top and bottom frames but I cut mine to 5 inches and welded them in place.
Step 5: Make the Blade!
Here is where heavy gloves and a face shield, not just glasses, will be your best friend! We now need to make a blade to split the logs. Take the 1/4 in flat bar and grind a sharp side to it. you can use anything you want either a bench grinder or grinding disc on a hand held once, whatever is easier. I used a bench grinder.
Step 6: Final Assembly and Testing!
Find a good place to mount the blade based on your dimensions(assuming you made yours a different size). I just eyed it a little higher than the center point on the vertical supports.
(****AFTER THOUGHT*** once i welded the blade in place i noticed higher was better for my application)
knowing this will take all of the force and abuse, I used some 7018 rods and made multiple passes to really build up strength. Again stick welding is just my personal preferred method to use. The budget gas-less wire welder is completely capable of a project like this.
Step 7: Paint and Done!
I recommend giving this a good heavy coat of paint as welding slag will rust quickly.
There is nothing left to do no besides get cracking and stacking! I use wood to heat my shed which doubles as a shop in winter. (there will be plans for the redneck wood stove soon)
I hope you enjoyed my first instructable feel free to leave feedback and ask questions as I am sure I overlooked a step somewhere on here.
Thanks and enjoy