Considering buying a wood chipper...any advice?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ravenlost, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hubby has his eye on a wood chipper at Home Depot. We haven't gone to look at it yet so I don't know any specifics. We have multiple reasons for wanting a wood chipper:

    1. Could be used for bedding in the horse stalls;
    2. Make our own mulch;
    3. Could be used around the barn, pasture gates, etc. when it gets muddy (which is pretty much all winter and spring);
    4. Rather reuse fallen limbs, etc. than burn them up in a brush pile;
    5. Can make my own fire starter nuggets;
    6. All of the above may turn into money making prospects.

    Are these viable reasons? Is a wood chipper a good investment? Currently we have about 15 acres in trees so have a lot of limbs, etc. to clean up. We're also cleaning out some areas around the house and pastures that have been allowed to become overgrown. And, we just planted 34 acres in hardwoods. Of course, using that is a long way into the future!
     
  2. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    Here in Ontario, we can get wood chips for free. Call any tree company and they will be happy to drop off as many loads as you will take.

    Save your money, burn the brush and let the tree guys supply you with wood chips. The homeowner wood chippers are of limited use anyways.

    Pete
     

  3. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................Old Pete is right about the "Girly Chippers" as they aren't good for anything except small limbs at most . Look at the chippers made by...VERMEER... if you want to see a REAL chipper but you'll spend some of those 401k bucks to buy one unless you can find a used one at an auction somewhere . fordy.. :eek: :)
     
  4. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What tree guys? We live out in the boonies of Mississippi. Aren't any tree guys working anywhere near us!

    Hubby was concerned about the ability of these woodchippers to process anything larger than small limbs. Guess we'll have to go take a look (have to go into town anyway for a doctor's appointment) but we probably won't be bringing one home.

    I need to ask my dad if he has one. He's got everything else laying around his place.
     
  5. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    I second the opinion on the toy chippers. If you have a tractor, consider a pto driven model with hydraulic feed. Those will chomp stuff faster than you can feed it.

    Check out www.tractorbynet.com for lots of threads on chippers. Use the search feature on the site and you'll find plenty of first person info.
     
  6. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    With as much woodland as you have, I'd look around for a good used commerical chipper. The ones you see in Home Depot are built more for the suburban homeowner.

    Look at the ones that Home Depot rents (the tow behind kind). Better yet, start out renting one for a half day or a day. Have all the stuff you want to chip ready in one (or a few) spot(s) so you can just keep feeding it through.

    I use the smaller stuff (limbs down to large twigs) for campfires. Lots of small stuff (not tinder) burns down fast and gives you a nice bed of coals for cooking. During the summer we cook out most days. At the farm I just haul a wagon behind the tractor to gather stuff up. This is especially true when I am cleaning up the trails through our woods. I have a couple of down trees that I'll need to take a chain saw to.

    Mike
     
  7. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Mike on the commercial chipper. You're way ahead of the game that way than going with one of the cheapo's. We bought a used 625 Vermeer from a local rental center with about 600 hours on it for $4000. They're over 12,000 new. It'll chip anything up to a six inch thick limb. I don't know how we ever got by without it.
     
  8. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We do have a tractor. Renting isn't really a good option for us though as it's a 50 mile round trip to rent something, although we should probably consider doing that once or twice a year.

    Any limbs over 4" usually gets chopped up for firewood.

    Thanks...lots of food for thought.
     
  9. duke3522

    duke3522 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about the ones they make today. But my 1994 Troy-Bilt chipper will take anything up to 4". I have sent tons of stuff through it and it's still running strong.
     
  10. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,

    I have a 10HP chipper/shredder and have used it a fair bit. The conclusion I came to was whatever you want to reduce HAS to be dry. If it is wet or damp it just clogs up. I found this true for limbs as well as compost makings. Yes, the company propaganda says it will chip up to 3 1/2 inch limbs, but I wasn't favorably impressed.

    Worked great on reducing bales of straw to fine pieces, but as mentioned gotta be DRY!

    bearkiller
     
  11. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    After much research, I bought a BearCat chipper/shredder for a short-term consulting project where I absolutely had to have a machine that was heavy built, would always start, would'nt break down. I had no problem with green wood (actually perfer it) whether chipping or shredding. Loadin piles leaves, however, is pretty tedious for the large volumes you need to get down the hopper. Its easier to compost them whole. I had a Troy-built a work which was O.K. but light for extended use.

    These are the features I found valuable:

    1. Hondo motor, especially if you don't get electric start. At least 10 horses.

    2. Heavy (literally) and thick rotor (flywheel).

    3. Continuous welds - no tack welding

    4. Large hopper for shredding and large orifice at the small entry end to the grinding chamber.

    5. At least two cutting blades

    6. Blades easy to remove

    7. Reversalbe blades

    I live about 50 minutes from you if you want to try one out on my place pm me.
     
  12. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the offer caballoviejo and for the tips! We don't plan to ever shred leaves...neither one of us are big believers in raking leaves! I've always believed that's what the wind is for...to blow them all away. We need something for branches that are blown down, brambles from clearing out areas, etc.

    Talked to hubby when he got home from work and he agreed that we should ask my dad if he has one first.
     
  13. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Raven, if ya got power lines, ya got tree guys. Call your electric supplier and ask them who clears the right-of-ways.
     
  14. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    My advice on wood chippers is this:
    Buy a commercial one or don't bother.

    Someone gave me a smaller wood chipper about 10 years ago. It was absolutely, positively useless. How they can sell these things with an "expectation of performing tasks" is a mystery.

    The small wood chippers are downright junk that do nothing but make noise and waste gasoline.
     
  15. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

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    I've posted the same thing on chipper/shredder questions.

    I have an older sturdily built Kemp 5 hp model with a briggs engine. It chipps up to a 3" limb. Smaller sticks go into the shredder end. If you're chipping a pile of broomhandles it goes pretty fast but if you're doing branches with twigs and side shoots they don't feed quickly into the chipper.

    The results are fine but it's not speedy or effortless.

    I lent mine to my wife's boss. He had been hot to buy one but after using mine for a couple weekends he didn't get one.

    I thought his comment describes it well "It's like sharpening pencils all day.

    I'd take the offer to borrow one and work with it before buying. I doubt a Home Depot model would perform better than mine.
     
  16. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The little 8-10HP chippers are ok, but I dont think they are worth the asking price. You can buy a LOT of wood chips and savings for what one cost. If you can find one off season onsale then great.

     
  17. Bishaj

    Bishaj Active Member

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    Wood chippers always make me think of the movie Fargo. I sure wish I could burn away that image. :eek:
     
  18. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    Bought a chipper one time ago thinking it would be easier to run the trimmings from the raspberries though it, rather than piling them into the pick up and hauling them to the gulley. To work, all of the side branches would have had to be trimmed off. Ditto any branches. And few branches are straight like a broom stick. It did eat corn stalks. What an absolute waste of $$.
     
  19. treewizard

    treewizard New Member

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    I've been in the tree business for many years. If you need a wood chipper remember the non-professional models won't work on any branches over about 3 to 4 inches. They also won't chip branches that are crooked. If you watch the adds they always show long stright limbs being chipped. If you have a tractor you may want to look at some larger units that are driven by the pto.
     
  20. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, we looked at the wood chipper Home Depot had and we did NOT bring it home...piece of flimsy junk.