Farmi's WP36 firewood processor has several unique features that might be easily missed by the casual observer. The design philosophy behind the machine is as simple as the machine itself. The machine should be easy to use and maintain, self-contained, and inexpensive to purchase and operate. Where most firewood processors use separate cylinders and hydraulic motors to load the logs, advance the wood on the infeed table, and split the firewood, Farmi does it all with one cylinder. As technical developement and service manager for Northeast Implement, Mike Sackett knows the machine well. "It's really simple," he explained. "Three valves and one cylinder."
When loading logs, the cylinder powers a mechanical linkage that lifts the log sideways. Even the Firewood Shoot-Out logs that were several hundred pounds heavier than the device was designed to lift caused no problems. Once in place on the infeed table, the cylinder moves the log forward on a shuttle. Each time the cylinder splits a piece of wood, it also slides the shuttle forward, moving the log into position for the next cut. The only other hydraulic device-the chain saw-operates on a hydraulic motor that only activates when the saw is needed for cutting the wood. A spring-loaded clamp holds the log in place during cutting, and forward-angled teeth hold the log in position when the piston moves the shuttle back to move the log for the next cut.
Another innovation on the WP36 is the operation of its 2-stage splitter. Rather than using a conventional 2-stage hydraulic pump, Farmi has come up with a system that gives the operator control over the splitting power. After cutting off the firewood bolt, the operator lifts the cutoff lever to activate the splitter.
Lifting it one notch gives a low speed, 8-ton force pressure for the big or knotty logs. Lifting it two notches sets a 2-ton force, but faster cycle that works for smaller, straight-grained pieces.
The slower, high-pressure side got a real workout as the oversized logs took the machine to its maximum capacity and beyond. As Mike recalls, "The wood caused us a BUNCH of problems." One oversized log jammed so tightly that the Farmi team had to bring in a skid steer loader to pull it back out. "Even the stuff I got through, the saw blade didn't cut all the way through it, and we had to get a cant hook to turn the log to finish the cut. The wood provided was bigger in diameter than the machine was designed to cut or split. Operators will have no problems with logs that fit a 14-inch or smaller diameter." The Shoot-Out also provided Mike his first experience with black gum, which is known for its difficult splitting properties.
Farmi used a 20-hp Honda V-twin for the Shoot-Out. Mike noted that this makes the machine self-contained and towable, allowing it to run with no support equipment. It is also available as a PTO-powered processor, requiring 10 hp from the tractor. Mike noted that many customers run the processor inside a building with a PTO shaft through the wall, attached to a tractor running at just over an idle.
Still, the Farmi team came through in good spirits and is determined to be back for the next Firewood Shoot-Out. Their first Shoot-Out might have had some glitches, but Mike asserts that they will return in 2014 to give it another go.
Sawmill & Woodlot