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greenheart
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Discussion Starter #1
it looks like we need one badly.
Has anyone bought one and what are your experiences, recommendations, short comings? We once rented a Kemp from someone, it was a pain in the kazoo and wore DH out getting it started. There is a Kemp on sale not too far but we are leary of it. Also i9s 400 bucks reasonable for a machine that is at least more than 30 years old.
 

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We have a 15 hp Stanley that we like a lot. It's nor perfect; but for grinding branches up to about two inches and shredding leaves, it's awesome. We make mulch for the poultry and around the foundation with it, and shred leaves to put on the garden every year.

I did gum it up really bad one fall by stuffing overgrown broccoli plants in it. That sort of material was the wrong combination of fibrous and juicy. I was on my hands and knees for a while.

This one has an electric start, although you don't have to use it. It's a nice machine.
 

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A four year old child in our area went through a chipper. He was surrounded by adults and instructed to stay away from the chipper. If there are any kids in the area, don’t use it.
 

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I sold equipment in my family business for years and found some things out about chippers. To be effective you need a really, really big one. The flywheel needs to be heavy enough to keep spinning when you feed something substantial into it. Most backyard chippers just aren't big enough to get much done. The huge ones will chip things that are better used as firewood in my opinion. I recommend renting a large 5 inch or bigger machine and dedicating a day once or twice a year to chipping. This will leave you ahead on money. If you still think you would like to own one the BCS is the only one I ever sold that always left my customers happy. Remember chippers usually sit 363 days a years o how much money do you want to tie up into one.
 

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I had one once. I don't like them at all. There are some machines that are not healthy and chippers are at the top of the list. The noise can be damaging to hearing, the flails, hammers, or cutters spew molds and toxins into the air, the vibration can exacerbate nerve issues, and the design is inherently a potential danger. The one I had choked on a limb and broke the piston rod and rather than repair it I junked it.

Better to make a pile, hire a tree company to come in and do the work and sip a lemonade inside while it is being done.
 

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I have a BearCat chipper. It is not considered a shredder since it only has chipping blades but limbs with leaves go thru it fine. It has a 14hp engine and the flywheel weighs 49 lbs. I can feed any limbs or trunks into it that I don't cut for the woodstove. For me, that means anything over 1.5 inch I cut for firewood. It is rated for 3" I think. I have a constant battle with the alders. They want to take over if I let them. Every year at this time I get them cut and chipped. I'm in the process now. Last weekend we chipped enough to fill up my FEL bucket. We mulch with them. Much more to go.

What I've learned:

  • I prefer chipping green rather than dry.
  • Don't let chips get hung up in the exit chute.
  • My chipper has a preference for being fed from the left side of the input chute. Experiment to see what yours likes best. Experiment with the pressure you put on feeding. Mine likes just a little pressure all the time.
  • The blades might surprise you how long they can last between sharpenings. But, learn how to do it. With mine I can feel the blades at the bottom of the chute to see if they need it. Takes me about 30 minutes to get them off, sharp and back on. I use a wide diamond stone laying flat on my bench. Put on some sharpening fluid and smooth the bevel. Remove the burr and you are good to go.
  • Run the fuel dry before you store it.
  • If yours has electric start, put the battery on a tender over the winter.
  • Never put your hand in either chute when it is running.
  • I cut the alders at ground level and if they are 1.5" or less, I feed them in whole putting the trunk in first. At the end you will have a chute of leaves. Just feed in the next tree on top. If they are firewood size, I limb and cut firewood lengths from the bottom up to when it gets to small. Then feed in the whole top. It works on my machine.
  • Mine is towable. I have a ball on the back of my quad and I just hitch it up and take it to the limbs and trees. Very convenient.

Mine is like this:
 

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de oppresso liber
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Got a great deal on a big one, 10+hp, and here's what I've learned.

If you want to make mulch or quickly composable stuff they are great. If you are looking to clean up a bunch of limbs and trimmings from trees you have fell, its faster and easier to just make a fire and feed the stuff into it in batches.

If its not chipping well check the blades. When I first got this on it wouldn't hardly chip a 1" green pine limb. I sharpened the blades and it will chew up any limb I can get into its gullet.

HEARING PROTECTION IS REQUIRED!! Its about the loudest machine I have been around and it seems the frequency of the sound is prefect for causing your ears to ring for long after you stop.

Go on ebay and buy the biggest chipper bag you can afford. Small bags fill up quickly and not using a bag means you have stuff (wood chips, dirt, twigs, etc) flying all over. Into your eyes, your lungs, the breather of the chipper motor and such.

Get or make a 'trailer hitch' for it and use a riding mower to move it to where you need it, they are heavy and hard to move. If you don't have a riding mower then make a T-bar and get a friend to help you drag it, they are heavy. If you don't have a friend use great care moving it, they are heavy. Did I mention they are heavy?

When you start it don't try to start it with one huge tug on the rope. Start the fly wheel spinning with a couple of long slow pulls then give it a hard yank. Or better yet get one with an electric start.

Oh, yeah. Make a push stick. Two reasons. Sometimes a limb will just not want to go down the chute and you don't want your hand anywhere near the working ares. And if you try to hold and shove a limb down sometimes it will vibrate so hard it hurts.
 

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I sold equipment in my family business for years and found some things out about chippers. To be effective you need a really, really big one. The flywheel needs to be heavy enough to keep spinning when you feed something substantial into it. Most backyard chippers just aren't big enough to get much done. The huge ones will chip things that are better used as firewood in my opinion. I recommend renting a large 5 inch or bigger machine and dedicating a day once or twice a year to chipping. This will leave you ahead on money. If you still think you would like to own one the BCS is the only one I ever sold that always left my customers happy. Remember chippers usually sit 363 days a years o how much money do you want to tie up into one.
X10.

Brother in law bought a pto chipper from DR. Was a nice, well made machine, no complaints about the machine itself.

But oh man, we worked several hours to make a tiny pile of chips. I spent more time with the chainsaw cutting up the branches to fit in the smallish throat - and this was on the bigger side of the small homeowner size machines. It was just a real slow pain to use.

I understand with feed rolls, and more industrial size machine, it can be a fun day. But not these little rigs.

The next day I got my forks for the loader tractor, and picked up and dumped all the branches in a gully in 3 hours. We would have been chipping for 3 weeks at the rate we were going. All branchy hardwoods here, perhaps - maybe - if you have simpler trees without much branching, you could feed the branches in easier. For us, it was just spinning out gears and getting nowhere. Ugh. Tractor running at full rpm, running a chainsaw at the same time, trying to force branchy branches into a chipper, it was a messy, scratchy, fuel burning waste of time.

I don't believe the chipper has been used in 5-6 years since. A good idea but doesn't work unless you get into a serious machine of real power and size.

Paul
 

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greenheart
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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for the info.

We are looking at a second hand Kemp to buy, looking to rent one for a week, , and we have a big gully and forks, great idea, I will get busy right away.

Thank you so much guys.
 

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We've got one that attaches to our little Ingersoll 6020 tractor, no additional gasoline motor to deal with. We use it all the time to make mulch and chips for smoking meat and fish, and for shredding stuff from the fall garden clean-up.
 

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I rented, sold and repaired chippers for a long time... You really don't want a small chipper. In the long run, they aren't very practical expense wise.. Kind of like a boat.. just a hole to pour money into... The parts that go quick, belts, bearings, clutches, blades... the expense to repair them happens fast. You'll probably have to buy a welder too since the metal on them tends to crack a lot. I can't tell you how many times I've had to weld on a chipper... Way too many..

If you get into a large contractor machine, your repairs are a lot less often, but when you do get into them, it gets expensive really fast.

I've seen too many home owners hurt by them too.. I've had to sit and answer insurance investigator questions on several occasions... From stupid people that can't read and stick their hands in chutes, to people getting whipped in the eye with branches...

I could actually use a chipper where I am now... I can't burn bamboo because it explodes, and I take out a lot of bamboo every month. Plus I have thousands of Autumn Olive trees to get rid of.... My neighbor wants one too, but we've talked, and we decided burning is so much easier, and easier to justify the costs..
 

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Check out DR Power. They have fantastic chippers. I love mine. I got a 3pt chipper/shredder from them last year, a real power house. If you have a tractor I recommend getting a 3 pt chipper, its just one less engine that you have to worry about.
 

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I've got a buddy that used a 3 point chipper for a few years.. he loved it until he had to replace the PTO shaft in his tractor... it was a 65hp tractor..
 

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The two major types of chippers are drums or discs.

I had late 70's version of a Aspluhnd chipper, powered by an industrial version of the motor in the Ford Pinto and Mercury Bobcat. It was a drum type, not affectionately known as a chuck and duck. You threw up to 6" branches into it like throwing a spear and then ducked out of the way. A 30 ft tree, 3" in diameter at the base, would disappear in less than 2 seconds. Zero safety equipment on this thing and if the branch grabbed you, or a vine wrapped around your ankle, it drug you into chipper. I once had my shirt instantly torn off my body and I had cuts all across my back from being whipped by the branches. Everyday I used the thing I came home with dozens of scratches and cuts.

I had neighborhood teens using it to clean up the slash from logging my farm and it scared me to death. So I sold that one at auction and got a newer disc type chipper, 94 horse Perkins diesel, that has hydraulic wheels that pull the material into the cutter at a much slower pace and can chip up to 12" logs. It is MUCH safer and gets much more work done.

I had 170 acres of pine forest which was 50% cleared. That's lots and lots of tree tops and branches to get rid of, otherwise I could not have justified the expense.
 

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A four year old child in our area went through a chipper. He was surrounded by adults and instructed to stay away from the chipper. If there are any kids in the area, don’t use it.
That should be in affect with any power equipment. Machines don't care if it is a twig or a human they chew up.
 

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I rented, sold and repaired chippers for a long time... You really don't want a small chipper. In the long run, they aren't very practical expense wise.. Kind of like a boat.. just a hole to pour money into... The parts that go quick, belts, bearings, clutches, blades... the expense to repair them happens fast. You'll probably have to buy a welder too since the metal on them tends to crack a lot. I can't tell you how many times I've had to weld on a chipper... Way too many..

If you get into a large contractor machine, your repairs are a lot less often, but when you do get into them, it gets expensive really fast.

I've seen too many home owners hurt by them too.. I've had to sit and answer insurance investigator questions on several occasions... From stupid people that can't read and stick their hands in chutes, to people getting whipped in the eye with branches...

I could actually use a chipper where I am now... I can't burn bamboo because it explodes, and I take out a lot of bamboo every month. Plus I have thousands of Autumn Olive trees to get rid of.... My neighbor wants one too, but we've talked, and we decided burning is so much easier, and easier to justify the costs..
Filling up the gulley is a very easy solution. Digging and burying is the next best IMO. Burning is the easiest by far. But want a waste.
 
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