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Wood Chipper (self-powered)

Posted by Erica Hockett 
Wood Chipper (self-powered)
June 25, 2013 12:54PM
We would like to buy a chipper to get to work on our wood chips. Does anyone recommend a certain brand or type? We won't be using a tractor, just a stand-alone chipper. I read Todd's post about not using one, but I think we want to have a go. Any ideas on good/bad brands? Thanks so much. Erica.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/26/2013 08:42AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Wood Chips
June 25, 2013 06:04PM
Recently I opened up an acre for goats. 8-year-old redwoods (coastal and sequoia) that were not growing well -- planted too closely, had squirrels eating the bark off them and something else bothering them. Two years ago, I used a rented chipper that was abysmal. It was large enough to need a truck to tow it. But, it required pushing the limbs in with some force. This was probably not sharpened before I rented it. This year, when we chipped all the redwood limbs, I rented from a different place. It was a Vermeer BC600XL 22H.P. (2 cylinders), handles up to 6-inch diameters. This one really worked out well for me. It was able to chip 6-inch limbs, but I wouldn't want to do that regularly. It would take forever as it would lose momentum and stop chipping while it got up to speed again. On diameters of about 3 to 4-inches it worked quite well and would pull the material in at a medium speed. I blew it into the back of a full-sized pickup truck with a tarp over the cab and back window. Protect your rear windows. Mine cost $800US. Ask me how I know. (!%^$#@) It was not as fast as professional models I have seen city crews using. But it was just fast enough to handle a crew of 3 dragging stuff to it. A NOTE OF CAUTION: Be extremely careful in towing this machine as it is not very stable, making it quite apt to tipping on its side. It almost did so in a field and actually did tip over when I stopped on the highway to make a cellphone call. I was moving less than 5-mph, going off the road at an oblique angle to the road and the bloody thing went over as if in slow motion. It cost me $65 for a tow truck to right it. Oh. . . it is quite short as well, making it difficult to manipulate while backing up. I managed, but it took extra time. Still, I'd rent it again.

Paul Goettlich
Rockin' Rooster Ranch
Coquille, OR
Sunset Zone 5
USDA Zone 9a
Re: Wood Chips
June 25, 2013 08:13PM
Thanks for your responses! I really need to buy a chipper because our place is 7 miles down a dirt road and it takes an age to get any rental equipment down there. We would also like to have a chipper on hand as we have alot of underbrush which needs clearning most of the time. I will check out these ones to rent though, as a one off. Thanks again.
Re: Wood Chips
June 25, 2013 05:40PM
I am a really small operation, (1/6 ha.) I have been getting loads of chips from the crews trimming the power lines, (at least when they are in the immediate neighbourhood - apparently they have no shortage of folks willing to take the chips off their hands). I have spread them evenly along the tree rows, (not in piles), to a depth of 2-4 inches. This seems to act as an excellent suppressive mulch. And the fungal dominance is attested to by the amazing range of mushrooms which spring up, including a fascinating one called Stinky Squid which I had never seen before. (Check it out on the 'net)

I was so impressed with the success of the chips donated by the tree folk that I bought a chipper in a garage sale to make my own chips from my trimmings. It is an old Sears machine with an 8 hp gas motor. Disappointment. Nowhere near enough power to chip anything beyond the size of a pencil. My conclusion is that if one seriously wants to make ramial chips, one needs a serious, industrial machine with a heavy flywheel and multi-cylinder motor. I will let the tree companies make my chips, on their dime.
Re: Wood Chipper (self-powered)
February 15, 2016 11:42AM
I bought a well used Brush Bandit (6" capacity) and am really glad I did. My orchard planting had included clearing a lot of new ground, and this machine is great at turning those years of stored solar energy (in the form of trees and brush) into ramial wood chips instead of sending it up in smoke. It grinds right through anything 3 inches or less without winding down. This is perfect because anything larger has diminished nutritional value as ramial mulch and can be burned as firewood. Be sure whatever you get is self feeding. Mine does this with a hydraulic wheel. I've notice many smaller machines are advertised as 'practically self feeding' without any mechanical help to do so. I don't have any experience with these, but am skeptical.
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