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Author Topic: Brush Cutter  (Read 13281 times)

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Brush Cutter
« on: April 23, 2011, 11:09:39 am »
Has anyone experience of owning and using a heavy duty strimmer?

I have had a small strimmer with a 23cc engine for many years. It is old and tired.

I have a 12 acre field and use the strimmer for trimming round the hedges and banks where it is difficult to use a mower on my little tractor. The old strimmer really isn't up to this work. It is slow, gets bound up with long grass and gets very hot.

I am tempted to get a brushcutter to use with a strimmer head. This would have an engine of 40 to 50cc - twice the size and power of my present strimmer. However, these are heavier, use more fuel and cost a lot more.

I have been looking at Stihl, Husquvana and Kawasaki machines at between £400 and £600.

There are also wheeled machines with 5 hp 4 stroke engines (like a rotary mower) but these could be limited over rough ground like my field boundaries.

Searching *bay, I found a lot of ex-council strimmers which are probably junk or close to, some very cheap Chinese brushcutters (£120 - £180 for a 45cc machine) and a few new Stihl and Kawasaki ones at £400 to £500. There are a couple of second hand wheeled machines for around £200 which look fairly new and are tempting at that price.

I am reluctant to go "Chinese" as they could be a disaster; breaking frequently and with no spares. I would like to keep the new machine as long as I can use it (20 - 30 years?). I have had my current machine, for domestic use admittedly, since 1976 (it's older than my kids!). So, if I can raise £400, it should be a good investment. But I wondered if they were a problem to maintain (overheating, etc.) or hard work because of their weight and level of vibration.

So, what do you think?

Any opinions would be appreciated.
Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds
Voss Electric Fence

bloomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2011, 08:43:35 pm »
stihl all the way a secondhand one is better than a new inferior model get one of the bigger units with the bull horn handle and an appropriate harness will make mincemeat of all your rough areas of ground.

wouldn't use a wheeled machine for edges like that ever.

i landscape do grounds maintenance for a living and the big stihl cutters are awesome...

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2011, 04:16:16 pm »
So let me check I've got this right - strimmer = plastic string, and brushcutter = spinning metal disc right?

When do you swap from one to the other then?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2011, 04:22:17 pm »
the heads are interchangable the good strimmers come with both :wave: :wave:
our stihl cost £240   4 years ago it replaced another sthil that we had for years  :wave: :wave:

poppajohn

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • Fenland
  • Grass cutting, what old fellers do!
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2011, 04:37:41 pm »
Stihl is worth the money. I use a brushcutter with harness and cowhorn handles and metal disc on my grass contracts. I manage about three hours at a time. The pedestrian flails are good but hopeless on banks.
Avoid Chinese at all costs, the price is tempting but the fun starts after a few weeks......

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2011, 02:13:46 pm »
Thanks for your comments chaps (and chappesses, of course!).

Hi Womble
The nylon 'string' is good for grass and small weeds but struggles with heavier weeds like big thistles. The metal disc or propeller is fine for these, brambles and small bushes. However, the metal disc cuts a smaller area than the string so there is a price to pay.

So it's a big Stihl strimmer then.

Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds

Coley

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2011, 06:12:46 pm »

If it cant be reached by a towed cutting machine designate it as wildlife habitat :) bliddy hard work brush cutters and strimmers :farmer:

poppajohn

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • Fenland
  • Grass cutting, what old fellers do!
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2011, 07:48:04 pm »
Coley. you skeered of hard work then?????????

Coley

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2011, 09:08:15 am »

After 20 years 'doon the pit' ? hardly ;) no, I am heavily into 'habitat protection' :)

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2011, 09:25:12 am »
Hi Coley

Thanks for your comments.

My field is about 4.5 hectares (roughly 12 acres) and the sides are 200m by 250m. One side is a heavy hedge comprising coppiced ash trees, brambles, blackthorn bushes (nasty) and general weeds. The other 3 sides are open banks with various weeds.

I like to trim the edges once or twice during the summer to stop weeds spreading (good house keeping) but the strips are too rough for my tractor and topper which I use on the rest of the field where appropriate or a lawn mower.

My small strimmer has done the job for the last couple of years but it is slow and isn't working well (old and worn). Hence the decision to look for something better.

I agree it is going to be a tedious job but I have found that anything in the farming line is either hard or impossible and I am not going to give in easily. I would love to have the ideal gadget for every job but often I have to improvise. A tractor mounted cutter on an arm like some farmers have for keeping hedges cut back would be nice but that would cost £thousands which I don't have. Also, it would have little use most of the year.

A strimmer with the option of a brush cutting disc can be used on ground weeds, trimming hedges, cutting round fences and buildings etc. making it fairly versatile. I even have a brush fitting for cleaning the patio!

My wife like the idea of a wheel mounted strimmer with power drive and electric start (she can't manage the recoil start on small engines - arthritis). However, I suspect this would be little better than using the tractor while a strimmer is a go anywhere machine provided you don't mind carrying it.

My concerns about the use of a big strimmer (over 40cc engine) are the tiring effects of its weight and the vibrations from the engine. On the old one have now, the weight is OK (about 4kg) and the vibrations are tiring but tedious rather than killing.

I have seen council workers using these round the town all day so it must be something you can get used to.

Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds

bloomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2011, 11:22:46 am »
the good large units have a lot of anti vibration built in, they feel alot more comfey than a lot of smaller units!!!

Coley

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2011, 11:29:57 am »

Actually I have the perfect brush cutter im me shed, its a Mcculloch back pack machine with a flexible shaft, I used it quite a bit and found it comfortable to use but the steel coupling connecting the machine to the harness snapped and could I bugger get a replacement! I really should try and find someone who could fashion a replacement but I discovered the joys of cutting from a seat :)

poppajohn

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • Fenland
  • Grass cutting, what old fellers do!
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2011, 01:30:20 pm »
Norfolk, I can only manage about 2 to 3 hours with the brushcutter, when you look at a lot of the younger lads using them all day its cos their young!!!!

Do look out for a second hand side flail though, the finger bar type sound like they would suit you and they work from around a 20 hp pto. Other option for the gorse is SBK Brushwood Killer. I used it a few years ago on our sea bank and its a lot easier to flail the gorse now four or five times in summer. Sounds like you just need to clear it and then stay on top of it.  :farmer:

Helencus

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • NW Leicestershire
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2011, 04:42:29 pm »
I've a similar problem with docks and thistles at the edge of my field. I'm torn between a brushcutter/strummer or a topper to control them.. Cost is a big factor as I can't find an ATV topper for less than £1300..

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Brush Cutter
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2011, 04:55:03 pm »
the big problem with topping(with a rear mounted one) the tractor wheels or quad wheels run over what you want to cut it looks OK on the day then the regrowth starts and your field looks a mess :wave:

 

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