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Piggyphile

Brush cutter or strimmer

I have finally admitted to myself that I can't cope with our land without the help of a petrol based machine. I have been using a scythe and garden shears and failing miserably. The land has a mix of brambles, long grass and bracken between waist and shoulder high.

Brands I am looking at include Stihl Husqvarna or Makita. Some reviews have said that long grass tangles around brushcutters blades. I want a bike handle to allow for better steering round trees.
Some have interchangable heads. I want something decent as it will be used a lot. There are also some multi tools out there but I worry they won't do anything properly.

Does anyone have any recommendations or experience with these things? Will a strimmer clear brambles? Will a brush cutter do long grass?
Thanks
Lorrainelovesplants

Stihl or kawasaki.
The problem with strimmers is
1. hard to start
2. Take some time to service properly so most people dont bother.

As long as you get something under 5 years old you will be able to source parts, and remember to change the fuel - preferably empty out old petrol at end of season and fill with fresh the following spring.
Weve had 6 in this week - all old fuel problems - I dont care Im earning.
Nick

A brush cutter will do most things, including nettles and grass. I had a Stihl, the smallest petrol one, and the strimmer head was more effort than reward, but the brush cutter was great. I now have a larger, Honda one, and only use the brush cutter. Nettles, brambles, grass, small ash trees, anything that gets in the way.
bibbster

From personal experience, (and the scratches to prove it!) a strimmer will NOT clear brambles, you need a brushcutter head for that. Once tamed, going over with a strimmer will keep the weeds down.
I have just returned an Einhell Strimmer/Brushcutter after about 4 or 5 hours use as the strimmer head came apart whilst in use..
I also found that particular one very heavy, so that is worth being aware of Smile
Treacodactyl

What problems do you have with the scythe? I've got an Austrian 50cm ditch blade and after a quick sharpen it seems to fly through anything; thick grass, docks, small trees, brambles and even thumbs when I got careless.
vegplot

I've had a Honda brush cutter for about 10 years. Very reliable, servicing so far has comprised of changing the oil every year. It's a 4 stroke so no oiled plugs or fussy 2 stroke engines or oil/fuel mix. Not as a powerful as a 2 stroke but as it starts very easily and aside from a drop of oil has cost nothing in maintenance.

http://www.honda.co.uk/garden/brushcutters/UMK435UE/
Piggyphile

My main issues with the scythe are very uneven ground, and my unfitness which includes arthritic knees. The grass cuts okish but brambles seem to tangle up in it and even after sharpening I need to use a big swing which is knackering. There seem to be some mighty tussocks which take 3 or 4 swings to get through and it gets bloody hot here and I have hay fever despite anti histamines.

Pathetic I know, I use a ditch blade but the amount of effort required to cut a small area puts me off doing it. The brush cutter hangs from a harness so you don't feel the weight and I am hoping it will require physically less effort.
Nick

I've had a Honda brush cutter for about 10 years. Very reliable, servicing so far has comprised of changing the oil every year. It's a 4 stroke so no oiled plugs or fussy 2 stroke engines or oil/fuel mix. Not as a powerful as a 2 stroke but as it starts very easily and aside from a drop of oil has cost nothing in maintenance.

http://www.honda.co.uk/garden/brushcutters/UMK435UE/


I have something almost the same, and would make the same post.
RichardW

A professional sized strimer will handle brambles. Think 3mm 4mm or 5mm line less than 3mm is for home use.

A straight shaft is essential if you will ever fit a blade instead of a line head.
Hairyloon

They have a good looking strimmer/brushcutter in Aldi at the moment for 99...
I was thinking to offer to test it for them and write a review...
Rob R

Stihl or kawasaki.
The problem with strimmers is
1. hard to start
2. Take some time to service properly so most people dont bother.

As long as you get something under 5 years old you will be able to source parts, and remember to change the fuel - preferably empty out old petrol at end of season and fill with fresh the following spring.
Weve had 6 in this week - all old fuel problems - I dont care Im earning.


Really? Who in their right mind leaves fuel in a strimmer over winter? I've only ever used the stop button on a strimmer a handful of times in my life, usually the juice just runs out.
Nick

Not everyone has to strim the whole of yorkshire, of course. Rob R

Laughing stumbling goat

Brambles, lots of brambles to deal with, then consider a hedge trimmer?

Use it like a knife slicing through the brambles left to right and up and down. Clear the debris with a fork. Then cut along the base as close to ground level as you can. A petrol lawn mower ion a high setting will deal with what remains. It has worked for me anyway. So is possible, and an option to consider.

sg
Rob R

Brambles, lots of brambles to deal with, then consider a hedge trimmer?

Or a flame thrower?
Ty Gwyn

Brambles,get a Goat. Cathryn

We've got a stihl brushcutter. My 80 year old + mother used it until very recently. I had given up trying to stop her. Now we both get a man in. Wink It is however well balanced.

It has never occurred to me to empty out the petrol or whatever fuel it takes. Smile It just starts and has done for many years. The main problem is losing the various bits and pieces for it.
Hairyloon

Brambles, lots of brambles to deal with, then consider a hedge trimmer?

Or a flame thrower?
Mine needs a new seal in the tap. Sad
onemanband

Brambles, lots of brambles to deal with, then consider a hedge trimmer?

Use it like a knife slicing through the brambles left to right and up and down.
sg

Yes I've used that method on 8 foot brambles - slashing in a figure of 8 motion, then cutting at ground level.
But Piggyphile may find that harder work than a scythe.
However I've just bought one of these with one of these attachments Lovely bit of kit, starting is a cinch.
I got it primarily for tall hedges, but using the shoulder strap and with the blade angled parallel to the ground you could trim at ground level without bending. Only done a little bit of that so far, so not saying that's the way to go but worth a thought.
They also do a brush cutter attachment (click on Kombitools on first link)
And they also do a 'scrub cutter' which seems to be a shorter blade version of the hedge trimmer.
onemanband

We've got a stihl brushcutter. My 80 year old + mother used it until very recently. I had given up trying to stop her. Now we both get a man in. Wink It is however well balanced.

It has never occurred to me to empty out the petrol or whatever fuel it takes. Smile It just starts and has done for many years. The main problem is losing the various bits and pieces for it.

My machinery-man is allways going on about emptying the fuel tank - it's cos they took the lead out the petrol and the additives they now use leave a goop behind that blocks the tiny carb jets.
He's right but I ignored his advice and my strimmer and trimmer both started on last seasons fuel.
Hairyloon

it's cos they took the lead out the petrol and the additives they now use leave a goop behind that blocks the tiny carb jets...
Apparently there is quite a lot of alcohol in petrol nowadays and it dissolves things.

Apparently also the super-unleaded fuels usually have less, but they are not consistent with it: not even within a brand.
Mistress Rose

We have Stihl professional brushcutter that has an interchangeable head so that you can use a brushcutter or strimmer head. We also bought a flail head, but after a rather nasty accident HSE have decided they cannot be used, although they are amazing for very rough areas.

You don't want one of those bent home use things that look like a cross between a metal detector and a vacuum cleaner as they really won't be man enough for the job.
Hairyloon

We also bought a flail head, but after a rather nasty accident HSE have decided they cannot be used...
HSE cannot stop you from doing anything on private land unless you are endangering somebody else.
Ty Gwyn

We also bought a flail head, but after a rather nasty accident HSE have decided they cannot be used...
HSE cannot stop you from doing anything on private land unless you are endangering somebody else.


Private land has nothing to do with it regarding HSE,

Its the case when you employ someone,the owner could trim his hair if he so wished ,and HSE could not stop it.
Nick

Even if that private land is being used as a business? Ty Gwyn

Even if that private land is being used as a business?

If the business is a Sole Trader,No.
Nick

I'm surprised. I'd expect the insurance companies to insist on that.

Ah well.
Hairyloon

I'm surprised. I'd expect the insurance companies to insist on that.
Which insurance would be involved?

Not employer's liability if there are not employees.
Public liability should not be too concerned if customers do not visit the site.
Nick

Fair enough, I suppose. Hairyloon

As far as I am concerned, if any individual wants to make a bid for a Darwin Award, then that is entirely his choice and an infringement of his human rights if the state prohibits it. gregotyn

At the end of all this, pigs are the answer- they clear the lot and you have a blank "canvass" oops-garden to design and build for yourself and you get to eat the tools of clearance! Lorrainelovesplants

employers liability also covers students and volunteers 'working' in your business/premises.
And the H&SE have a duty of care to ALL including visitors - this is why you have to display your insurance cert in areas accessible to the public.
Mistress Rose

As far as I understand it, we can use the flail head on our own land if it is not within danger distance of any land the public or anyone else can use if we use it as private individuals effectively at out own risk. As we know of the dangers, we would be expected to ensure nobody else was in the danger area or we could be guilty both morally and legally of negligence in case of an accident. If we use it as a company, even on our own land, we could be liable if any damage or injury is done and our public liability insurance might not be valid as HSE has decreed it is dangerous, and HSE would jump all over us. Having read about the accident, it seems the people involved were doing everything wrong, and the flail head was badly worn. Unfortunately HSE took the view that the brush cutter was not manufactured with the flail head as a standard part, therefore the flail head is 'banned'. I don't know what they did to the company involved in the accident, but if I had been the HSE officer, I would have thrown the book at them, as they were using unsafe working practise with even a strimmer head.

Edited once.
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