US Pride in New Richmond News

Posted on April 18th, 2011

Inventor finds new way to chop

Shay Yilander: New Richmond News
Published Friday, July 20, 2007

Wood-burning has long been a staple of the Midwest. The crackling fire providing warmth and relaxation to homes in the winter. Or simply sitting around the fire pit telling stories of times gone by.

The only hassle of enjoying the serenity that a fire brings is getting the logs to burn. They can be purchased, or split on one’s own. The only problem that exists is that is a physical task. Often one that people like to sidestep.

Enter the Hands Free Log Splitter.

The device was invented and patented by Hammond resident and entrepreneur, Charlie VanDusartz. VanDusartz, who said he has cut wood all of his life to heat his home, came up with the idea for the device two years ago and has started to market it in the area. After chopping wood the traditional way with a maul and an axe, VanDusartz, who admits to going through 10 chords of wood a year, said the chopping began to take its toll on his back.

“I’m not as young anymore,” he said when explaining the motivation for inventing the Hands Free Log Splitter.

The device mounts universally on any skid steer loader mount. A skid steer is a rigid frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms used to attach a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments. Once mounted, the Hands Free Log Splitter allows the operator a simple and effortless method of chopping wood.

The Hands Free Log Splitter is basically a large cone-shaped screw that burrows into pieces of wood until they split apart. VanDusartz says a single person operating the device can split more wood than three people with a maul and/or a hydraulic splitting machine. The device has free range of movements, tilting up and down, like a pendulum. It is controlled with the skid steer’s on board hydraulic controls and mounts universally on any brand machine, including Bobcat, Case and John Deere brands.

VanDusartz says that the operator can effectively chop wood with the machine all day long, without getting tired. The device can also be used in the winter with frigid temperatures, while the operator remains warm, as long as the skid steer has an enclosed cab.  Aside from its non-physical solution to splitting wood, the machine is also much safer than traditional methods of chopping wood.

“It’s virtually impossible to get hurt using it,” VanDusartz said. “The machine won’t run if the driver is outside of it.”

VanDusartz is hoping to market the machines to local implement stores, as well as the general public. He also hopes to get them into rental companies who already have skid steers, so those who don’t own a machine can rent one. Of course, in order to use the $4,295 machine, the operator must first have access to a skid steer.

Currently, VanDusartz’s machine is being fabricated by American Structural, a company out of Somerset.

The Hands Free Log Splitter will be available for demonstration at the upcoming Polk and St. Croix county fairs, where VanDusartz will take orders for purchase.

A video of the Hands Free Log Splitter can be viewed at