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Old 11/07/10, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,416
Weed Eater With Blades Question

I am considering getting a weed eater with blades instead of string to try to get some weeds and overgrown grass under control. I would like some pointers on the good/bad of different brands, types, etc. I have noticed there are even many different types of the blades to use with them. I need a lighter weight one so I will be able to handle it. The weeds are 4 foot tall asters that are dying now, but there is still those heavy stems to deal with.
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Old 11/07/10, 02:24 PM
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Location: West Central WI.
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These are called "Brush Cutters".
And yes the ones with blades do work great. It can "saw" a tree down.
Straight shafts, better then the the bend in a regular weed eater ones.
Mine has a strap that goes over the shoulder to make it balance and it is real easy to use when you start "swinging" it around cutting things up.
The blade that is on mine, is a star shaped and works real good for those tuff type weeds and shrubs and such.
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Old 11/07/10, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: W. Oregon
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I use the Stihl brand called poly cut, plastic cutting blades, work good for small stuff. They do make ones that use chain saw chain too....James
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Old 11/07/10, 02:29 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Manitoba, Canada
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I have used them with the brush cutter wheel, and they work well for cutting brush, thick weeds, etc. I have also used one where a circular saw blade was customized, for doing heavier cutting.

The problem with these, is they are useless for trimming grass and thinner stuff. You can switch back and forth, but changing from blade to cord is a pain.

I actually found that unless I am doing a lot in a heavy brush area, it took about the same amount of time to snip the weeds off at the bottom with pruning shears. More stooping, but a lot quieter.
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Old 11/07/10, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: north Alabama
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I've used blades in mine and have decided that I'm not a fan. A blade that hits something solid puts a TREMENDOUS stress on the engine and drive linkage and is bound to shorten the lifespan. It is disconcerting to be cutting and suddenly have the engine whack and stop dead. The alternative, those blades that swivel, don't work very well at all.

What I do is use a head that takes the heavy orange "string" and stick a pair of cutters in my back pocket, for use on the few stalks that don't break. If it is worse than that, time for the bush hog or machete.
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Old 11/07/10, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Central Texas
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I have been looking at one of those attachments that is a mini chain saw bar and blade..

Weed Eater With Blades Question - Homesteading Questions

I have found the same with the blades, they cut big stuff good, but not grass, and you have to keep switching back and forth.

My weedeater though the shaft couples about right in the middle, so I just use another end shaft and pop one off and the other on.

I use a Troy bilt 4 cycle, seems like a capable trimmer though I haven't had it long enough to know how well it'll last. Love the electric start feature.
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Old 11/07/10, 08:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: W. Oregon
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I have cut sunflowers with this thing. Does not work for very woody stems but goes from grass to weeds no problem....James
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Old 11/07/10, 09:04 PM
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I put a gator head on my straight shaft Husqvarna. It doesn't use string...Rather three replaceable blades that are serrated. Cuts down reedy stuff. Blades last pretty long as long as I don't hit too many rocks with it. Before when I used string, I spent half my time replacing the string
"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow the fields of those who don't."-Thomas Jefferson
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Old 11/07/10, 09:35 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Georgia
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The blades can be a real safety concern. Some of them will take down small trees and/or heavy brush but if you bump it against your shoe by mistake you can do the wrong kind of damage. So please watch out if you decide to use the metal blades.
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Old 11/08/10, 12:13 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,416
Thanks for all the information. The more I look at those blades the more I am not sure I am strong enough to handle them safely.

There are no trees or bushes, just the weeds, mostly asters which have stems 1/4 to 1/2 inches and at this point snap in two fairly easy. I have been pulling them up or cutting them with loppers if they don't pull easy, but there are just so many. Very thick and an area of about 50 feet by 300 feet, then they thin out and the grass is thick and laying over on the rest of the 2 acres. Some weeds over all of it.

I may wait until everything dries out and see if I can get it burned. The biggest problem is it makes good hiding places for things that would like to have a goose meal. Not safe for them. My budget doesn't allow for hiring a bush hog, which is what it needs.
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Old 11/08/10, 07:17 AM
aka RamblinRoseRanc :)
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We use the grass gator on weeds and grass (and the occasional sapling) and have been happy with them.
" It's better to ride even if you get thrown, than to wind up just wishin' ya had."

Chris Ledoux
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Old 11/08/10, 10:42 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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I have a heavy duty string trimmer that I have converted to use a table saw blade. I do not switch back and forth from weeds to saplings. My setup is used to cut small trees up to approximately 2 inches and brush. The blades are bought at BigLots and I drill the mounting hole to fit the arbor of the tool. One does need to wear safety gear when operating the trimmer.
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Old 11/08/10, 08:22 PM
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Location: Central WI
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for just grass and weeds I would try the plastic blades.
They are available at most home improvement stores and are easily installed on your weed eater.
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Old 11/10/10, 01:05 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: northcentral Montana
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Rather than buying something right now, you might consider renting a brush hog (or whatever) to go over this area now. Then, if you use a string trimmer on a regular basis next season, the asters and grass won't get so tough and long and you'll be able to keep them under control without drastic measures.
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Old 11/10/10, 01:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 192
I have the Troy-Bilt that accepts attachments. I've had it for a few years and burnt the motor up on the first one and stepped up to a 4 stroke. I had already bought some of the implements and didn't see myself abandoning for a different brand. Now I have 2 trimmer shafts, 1 straight, 1 curved. I keep my brush cutter set up on the straight and use a string trimmer on my curved shaft...change out takes about 20 seconds this way and is far short of the pain in the behind that it could be. I also have the pole saw with an extra extension to reach out to about 12 feet and the cultivator which is nice to use in smaller areas that my tiller is overkill for.

I like the brush cutter although I was very skeptical at first. Clearing some brush along my fence line, this thing would take down pretty decent saplings of this trash brush on my place. It made quick work of what would have taken hours by other means. Of course your mileage may vary.
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Old 11/10/10, 07:11 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I've used various brush blades and saw blades, and pretty much been underwhelmed by them. Some would saw a sapling down well, but none of them did a very good job on general brush (small vines, stemmy weeds, etc).

I have used the plastic blades. They worked ok, but required frequent replacement. Didn't do well up close to fence lines as they would snap off when caught in the fence. Required complete replacement after every run along my creek. This was the good Stihl and Echo units.

String type varies tremendously. There are strings that last a few seconds, and others that seem able to last hours. Cutting effectiveness varies as well. None of them are particularly "awesome". The closest I've found is some no-name red square stuff a friend of mine has a big spool of. Seems to have about the best combination of cutting effectiveness and lifespan I've run across so far.

I have not tried the chainsaw blade type heads, and have no plans to. Nor the metal wires. There are some head designs I just don't want to have spinning around my ankles.
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Old 11/10/10, 07:29 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 144
I have the Roybi weed wacker that you can change the heads for different tools. The brush cutter blade works great and will cut through a 1/2 inch little tree in no time. If you do use one, of any brand, please make sure no one is close to you as it can throw chips very hard and fast. And definately make sure your feet stay clear...treat it like a gun; knowing where its pointed at all times! If you do end up with one that has changeable heads; the little cultivators are great. Mine chew up dirt in no time.
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Old 11/12/10, 11:01 AM
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Location: Southern/Lower Michigan
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Power Scythe from Stihl.

Weed Eater With Blades Question - Homesteading Questions
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Old 11/12/10, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by foxtrapper View Post
I've used various brush blades and saw blades, and pretty much been underwhelmed by them. Some would saw a sapling down well, but none of them did a very good job on general brush (small vines, stemmy weeds, etc).....
I have had the opposite experience. I use my Jonsered straight shaft brush cutter all the time. It has a circular saw blade with carbide-tipped teeth. I saw thru brush and saplings like nobody's business. I use this brush cutter a lot and have had for 15 problems. It also has a automatic string trimmer head which I use around the yard on occasion after mowing.

Honestly, you could never cut your ankles/feet using this brush cutter....if you use it properly. You have to use the harness and have the brushcutter clipped to it. The shaft is long enough that you could never get it close to your feel unless you lifted the handlebars to about chest height or so.
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Old 11/12/10, 12:00 PM
bee bee is offline
WV , hilltop dweller
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,598
hmmm..good thread! I ran onto a "deal" a cubcadet with brush blade that the first owner permantly installed the brush blade and then returned it to the store. For 49 dollars I could not walk away from that one! So now I have a unit for grass(troybuilt) and a brush cutter(cubcadet)...both scheduled to get a workout in the next 2 weeks as I put the place "to bed" for the winter!
" As needs-MUST!!"--- in other words..a gal does what a gal has too!
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