US Pride in the News

Posted on April 14th, 2011

VanDusartz Unveils Patented Woodsplitter

By Michele DeLong Lyksett: Central St Croix News
Published Thursday, July 19, 2007

According to his wife, Charlie VanDusartz is full of ideas – lots of them. One of those ideas has officially earned him the title of “inventor.” In April, VanDusartz received a patent for the “Hands Free Log Splitter,” and this weekend at the St. Croix County Fair he will be presenting it to the public.

“I’ve been cutting wood since I was 10 years old,” VanDusartz said. “I’ve always split by hand with a maul. I love doing it that way, but I got too old for that. I don’t like those hydraulic splitters – they just don’t make sense to me. I just got thinking ‘There’s got to be a better way.’”

VanDusartz built a prototype of his “better way” a couple years ago and began using it. Later, with the help of Roberts’ Steve Nelson and Hancock Steel, he built a heavy duty version that had “all the bugs worked out of it.”

“My catch phrase is ‘It’s so easy you could split logs in a tux’,” VanDusartz said of his invention, a pointed metal cone that attaches to a skid steer. (He said he is getting a tux, but won’t be wearing it at the fair this weekend.) “You can split all the wood you need to split for the winter in one day because you don’t get tired.”
VanDusartz and his wife, Joni, have owned and operated VanDusartz Quality Woodworking, a custom cabinetry business, on 110th Avenue between Hammond and New Richmond for 12 years. They heat their shop and spray booth with wood, using about 10 full cords per year – “That’s a lot of wood!”

“The beauty about using this is you can do it alone. You don’t need any help,” VanDusartz said. “If it’s hot outside you can sit in your skid steer with the AC on and stay comfortable. If it’s cold outside, turn on the heater.”

Just because he got his patent (a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a patentee for a fixed period of time in exchange for a disclosure of an invention) doesn’t mean VanDusartz has stopped coming up with ideas – especially ideas to add onto his invention. “I’m working on accessories to go with it,” he said. “It’s also a posthole auger – it’s got an attachment for that. Now I’m working on a fence spooler attachment.”

“We had many sleepless nights because there’s always something new,” Charlie’s wife Joni said. “I’d wake up and ask him ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I gotta check this out,’ he’d say. “He always had tons of ideas. I got him a book about how to patent because I was like ‘You need to have this book. You have to have a book.’”

VanDusartz said he has several Hands Free LogSplitters ready to sell. He is promoting his product to implement dealers and plans to hit rental businesses as well.

It is also featured on his new company’s website: “I just had to fi nd somewhere for people to see it. I thought ‘I’ll try it at fairs to see what the reaction is.”

As for future inventions, VanDusartz said he has some ideas up his sleeve. “I suppose I’ll probably patent something else down the road,” he said. “It’s kind of fun. We’ll see how this one takes off first.”