Farm Ireland

Monday 23 October 2017

Seamus cutting a dash with firewood processor

Bruce Lett

Last year, Seamus Drumm was one of some 60 contestants to enter the inventions competition at Tullamore Show.

Seamus designed a hydraulic guillotine device which can shear logs up to 94mm in diameter.

The firewood processing shear and splitter subsequently won first place in the labour-saving device class.

The Farming Independent caught up with Seamus to see if, and how, his invention has developed.

Seamus, from Clonaghadoo, near Mountmellick, Co Offaly, served his time as an electrician, working on cranes and lifts, before becoming a safety and plant manager with a large construction firm during the Celtic Tiger era.

That job disappeared following the demise of the boom and, as Seamus says, timber was a way of keeping himself occupied and the household warm.

He started designing his log-shear in June 2011.

"Someone who does an awful lot of timber said to me there had to be an easier way of doing timber," he said.

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Incredibly, Seamus managed to design and develop the machine in time for last year's show, held in August.


"The paint wasn't even dry on it coming to Tullamore," remembers Seamus with a grin.

The inventions competition and the subsequent Ploughing Championships provided Seamus with valuable market research as he spoke to those interested in his log-shear.

"I found people wanted a dual-purpose machine that would both split and cut timber for firewood," he added.

"They also wanted the machine to be a lot bigger so it could cut bigger diameter logs."

Following the feedback, Seamus has developed a new dual purpose log-shear and splitter. It comes with two sets of tools, and newly designed shear and splitter devices.

"It's all the one machine. It splits with one set of tools and shears with another.

"It's just a matter of changing the tools to convert from one job to another," Seamus explained.

"It only takes about 10 minutes to change over from one to the other."

Seamus has designed his splitter to be capable of splitting logs on their sides, too.

"As a splitter, it can't be beaten," he declared.

The new shear jaws can also handle larger diameter logs.

"Last year's machine would shear logs up to 94mm in diameter. This year's machine will handle diameters of up to 163mm," claimed Seamus.

And he has redesigned the shear blades.

"Durability of the blades was a huge issue," said Seamus.

"I have that solved now by using bigger and better materials. Bascially, it's a much higher grade of steel compared to the first machine."

The original profile of the shear's cutting edge was manufactured by hand; now it is 'dished' on a lathe which Seamus says gives it strength throughout.

He likens the design of the cutting edge to that of an axe head.

"But, because they are a different radius, it enables them to grip the timber and be cutting at all times, rather than trying to cut with two straight blades," he said.

As a result, the log-shear works effortlessly.

Two hydraulic rams provide approximately eight tonnes of force, and on the day of my visit, the cutting action never slowed down.

With his foot on the operating pedal on one side of the machine, Seamus fed logs through the cleverly designed guarding system, which keeps body parts away from the shears.

Seamus has also designed an electrical control system, using relays, proximity switches, a foot-operated switch and electrohydraulic valves, which moves the shear device and its hydraulic rams up and down.

The device stopped instantly when Seamus lifted his foot off the operating pedal.

In terms of hydraulic power, Seamus added: "I would recommend a very small tractor because it doesn't need huge hydraulics to drive it."


Seamus reckons his machine is ideal for forestry thinnings, especially now increasing numbers of bogs are closing.

"You could cut down a whole tree and bring it to the machine, run it through and pick up the bag the other side when you are done and go home," he proudly stated.

Prospective buyers can see Seamus's invention at this year's Tullamore Show, as he has once again entered it into the inventions competition.

Seamus has priced the log-shearer at €3,500, plus VAT.

This includes both splitter and shear function, plus comprehensive training.

Seamus can be contacted on 087 2119565 or by email at

Indo Farming