brush hog alternitive for small land holders

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by PyroDon, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    I suppose you could call it a poor folks brush hog .
    I picked up this old snapper for $50 took the torch (a sawzall would have worked ) and cut both the front and the back of the deck nearly to the top, I then cut the chute opening wider to allow debri to exit quickly without clogging.
    These older snappers can be found for a little bit of cash and dont burn much fuel . With an 8hp on 30" deck they will mow anything you can bend over with them If your lucky enough to find one with 4 lug wheels you can replace the 2 ply back tires and wheels with 4 ply traction golf cart wheels . If your using them as I am for cutting brush I would also suggest filling the front tires with cheap silicone caulking to avoid flats and about two bottles of slime in the back tires .
    I mowed this over grown half acre on less than a gallon of gas
    [​IMG]

    with this $50 mower the weeds ,saplings and briers were 6 -8ft tall , the sumac didnt even slow it up .
    [​IMG]

    as I said I have two of these now this latest one has the 8HP the other had a 13 HP and as well as modifying the dec I also cut the blade off and installed free swinging straw chopper blades to the end . The straw choppers were picked up at atwoods farm supply they run about $4 each but the bolts to mount them cost close to $7 . Still they are much harder than any standard mower blade and stay sharp for a long time even when cutting brush.
    to mow the above with the 8HP it stayed in 3rd gear the 13 HP can zip through the weeds in High
    Some might wonder why bother with such a small mower .
    Well its true I have a 6ft mounted brush hog for the tractor and a 4 ft self powered for the garden tractor but for getting into tight spots between trees or cutting a walking path through the timber these are hard to beat .
    if you only have a couple acres and cant justify buying a full sized tractor to brush hog briers or weeds these are a cheap alternative .
    If the motor runs and the tires arent flat theres only two things that can really go wrong either the friction drive wheel ($13) or the belt going to the deck ($12) . These old snappers and jacobsons can be found all over for $100 or less
     
  2. FordJunkie

    FordJunkie DH to Bay Mare

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    The secret is out dangit. Boy I thought I was the only one using a $60 mower to clean old pasture land up. I too have a tractor and 5 ft. hog but can mow fence lines and ditch edges much cheaper and safer with the mower.

    When we bought this new place the fields hadn't seen a mower of any type for years. My FIL, DW and I probably reclaimed 7 acres or so before I got the tractor. Now I knock the big stuff down with the tractor first then go back and clean it nicely with an old mower.

    Scrounging now for a new old junk mower as I have killed the Statesman that I have. It is far cheaper to buy a whole mower than to get a rebuilt engine for one that has been used up.

    Beware of the variable speed belt drives though as the rear differentials have a design flaw and the shaft with the main drive belt becomes loose in the housing so when you try to back up it throws the belt %#@*&^. I have become very good at putting this back on in the field.

    Tony
     

  3. HisWorker

    HisWorker Member

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    Only have 3 acres, but i definetly bought the wrong mower.
    Almost 7-8 years ago when i bought this place, i bought a 20 hp 46 inch cut
    Craftsman Garden Tractor. The discharge is horrible, but the 20hp Kohler
    engine has held up well.

    Now off to find a snapper :)
     
  4. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    I have a about a mile of the Trans Canada trail that crosses my place, and I am responsible for mowing it a couple of times per year.

    My neighbours sold me their old Sears Craftsman for $200 and I have been beating the daylights out of it by mowing the uneven trail through bush and pasture for two summers.

    The engine keeps ticking along, but the mower deck is taking a pounding. The front guides on the mower deck, which help lift the deck over bumps, have both snapped off. I have had to replace the tensioner pulley, but otherwise no major repairs.

    Having read this, I am going to give serious consideration to cutting the back part of the deck off and enlarging the discharge for next summer.

    My long term goal is to see if I can rig up an old sickle bar to an electric golf cart somehow, so I can mow the trail emission free...
     
  5. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    If you can find an old horse drawn sickle bar you shouldnt have any problem .
    the bearing/bushing in them are pretty standard sized . its a bit of work but replacing sickle teeth isnt very hard .
    you could also get a sickle off a gravely and use a high geared rearend to drive it
     
  6. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    Ive got a 23 hp sears dgt4000 the neighbor gave me when the pto clutch locked up ($289 for a replacement from sears , $50 including shipping off ebay:) )
    I use it to mow the nice smooth areas as the decks aren't very heavy duty.

    What is nice about the old snappers is they have a nice heavy duty deck and a single blade they aren't real fast but take a heck of lot of abuse without complaint .
    I personally wouldn't waste money on one of the new garden tractors from sears or murry. for the cost of a newer one you can find and completely restore an old 1970s or 80s JD,bolens, or wheel horse that are actually built to handle plowing and brush cutting .
     
  7. jross

    jross swamper

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    I concur about old mowers. I just put on a 28 inch Meg-Mo on our J.D 56 and once it gets up to speed with that 6 hp engine, look out. The local Deere dealer charged me $46 for a blade that lasts only one year. The Meg-mo blades cost 5 bucks each (4) and are hard to dull. Plus once I am at mowing speed, I can cut the throttle back some to save gas.
     
  8. nathan104

    nathan104 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cutting a larger discharge area can increase the function on most of the mowers out there. I dont know why they make them so small to begin with. If you get into thick grass with moisture 90% of the riding and pushmower out there will clog.

    I know lots of people who make brush mowers out of old push mowers. Just cut off the front lip and cut the disharge side open alot more. Does a decent job. But you old riding mower idea is a great one to.
     
  9. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a slightly more expensive, but probably more reliable DR Field and Brush mower that is virtually UNSTOPPABLE in the areas I have to mow. I can mow up to 2 inch sapplings without a hiccup, 4-5 foot high cedar trees are mowed like grass. By using the walk behind mower I get all the exercise my friends get without going to the gym. I never have understood riding on a mower and then going to work out. The mower is self propelled, but still gives you a workout in heavy brush and keeping it on the same path as it bounces over rocks, etc. The 14 HP kawasaki engine has a mind of its own - kind of like the irresistable FORCE and there are few un-mowable objects.
     
  10. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    PyroDon,
    You stated "I also cut the blade off and installed free swinging straw chopper blades to the end". How did you affix the free swinging straw chopper blades to the cut off mower blade? Was the mower blade difficult to drill?
     
  11. BamaSpek

    BamaSpek Well-Known Member

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    does anyone have pics of the front and rear of the cutting deck after it was modified? Why cut off the back too....in case your backing into brush? Also could you welt a "arm" or angled shield out front of the mower to help lay the brush down before it reaches the deck.......avoiding pokes in the eye?
     
  12. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    I'll get some Pics of a opened up deck for ya .
    the reasdon to open the back as well is so the the mower wont fill up and bog it also avoids the deck hanging up on sapling stobs that the blade has just cut .

    agmantoo

    What I did when putting on the straw chopper blades was to first get the blades and bolts I marked the snapper blade for the bolt holes and where to cut the old blade off . use a center punch to mark the center of the bolt hole to be drilled . It was really a pretty simple deal I drilled the holes with a cordless drill but I do reccomend getting a high quality drill bit .
     
  13. Terrco

    Terrco Active Member

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    Forgive my cityslickeredness, but what exactly is a straw chopper blade? I've looked all over the internet and can't find anything as you described? Is there a different name? I'd love to see a photo of your blade setup if you've got the time.

    Thanks.
    TC
    Terrco@msn.com
     
  14. scott

    scott Well-Known Member

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    i picked up an 8hp snapper at an auction friday evening for 45 bucks... got home checked the oil, put in some gas and was mowing grass...

    i want to see pictures of the deck cutouts too!
     
  15. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    search for combine parts , a straw chopper chops up the stems leaving a combine. Sorry i dont have a parts number but you can get them or disc mower blades and bolts from TSC or Adwoods farm supplies.
    the ones I picked up are about 4 and a half inches long total with a bit over 3" cutting edge. They are also reversable .

    One of the spindles went out on my craftsman mower today so I will be opening the front and back a bit on it and welding angle iron braces to stiffen the deck some . Id like to mount a trash basket on the back as well .

    Careful with a cutting torch they can be habit forming .
    Im taking ours to an old gleaner combine I bought for $500 and drove home.
    Im cutting most of the sheet metal off the header and hope to use it as a swather to cut hay. If that doesn't work out my cousin picked me up a 12 ft snow blade off a state truck at auction that I'll mount in place of the header and clear parking lots in town . the grain bin and augar will get mounted on a trailer to pick up bulk feed. we are making a self powered pull type flail mower out of the straw chopped on the combine
     
  16. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    Aren't the side discharge openings small because the spinning blades and the deck create a vacuum?

    This vacuum sucks the grass upwards so it gets an even cut.

    I will say that widening a deck...especially a push mower deck...will weaken the deck significantly.

    You all probably knew this stuff already...I just don't want anyone to get hurt with a weak deck while mowing.

    Clove
     
  17. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    My dad had one of those snapper mowers like that! I haven't seen one in ages. I do mean had too. When I was but a young Quint in the early single digits of existence I was in the garage with my friends and of course we were playing on the lawnmower pretending it was a car or some such thing. Well, someone got the brilliant idea that we needed to fill it up. What we decided to fill it up with was sand. Off came the gas cap and in went the sand. We had a great time gathering hand fulls of sand and carefully pouring them in the tank. Dad had less of a good time when he went to cut the grass.

    As for using a lawn mower as a brush hog I cut some terribly tall stuff with mine. it's a 19 horse with a 42 inch deck. I cut weeds and brush taller than my head. It will chew up and spit out just about anything I care to drive over except for scrap metal and logs.
     
  18. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    that is a good idea.