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Posted: 5/2/2015 1:13:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2015 1:20:04 AM EDT by godzillamax]
I'm considering buying one. I live on 8 acres and 2/3 of it is fairly heavily wooded, mostly with American elm and poplar trees. I've been slowly clearing it to make additional pasture land for our horses and veggie gardens, but I end up with pretty large piles of branches that are too small to turn into fire wood or kindling piled up all over the place. Normally I just burn, but lately its been so dry we have burning restrictions in effect, and I'm logging faster than I can burn anyway so the piles around the place are getting pretty large and most are not in a safe area to burn anyway, which means having to haul the piles around to a place to burn.

I was going to rent a chipper from a equipment rental place, but they all want ~$150/day (24 hour period). My wife also wants wood chips for her gardens every so often, but at ~$3-$4/bag it can get pricey. I figured owning a chipper might pay for itself in a few years by offsetting multiple rental costs and buying bags of wood chips.

Some quick Googling indicates to stay far away from the "home owner" models that you find commonly at the big box stores advertised to chip 3"-4" limbs. Also, seems from what I have read with those models they jamb up easy on green wood and really struggle with anything over 2" in diameter.

Anyone got some advice? Think I might find a decent used commercial grade chipper on Craigslist for $500-$700? I really have no idea what specs I should be looking for in a chipper, or what brands.

Thanks!
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 1:29:58 AM EDT
I just pile up brush until I have enough to rent one of the big chippers.
Self feeding is the only way to go. They'll take small trees, so less work.
Just drop the smaller saplings whole.
Twice a year at most. No maintenance or storage issues.
Anything goes wrong, call the tool guy "Come get your chipper, its broke".

Plus, the little woodland creatures love brush piles.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 1:34:58 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 1:39:57 AM EDT
I would save up piles until you have enough to do a days worth of chipping, which is much more than you think.

Rent for one day. Rinse and repeat once or twice a year.

Maintenance will on a self owned unit is not fun.

- county road maintenance crew experience.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 1:40:43 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 1:45:00 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History


My office is a few blocks from that thing.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 1:53:08 AM EDT
Originally Posted By godzillamax:Think I might find a decent used commercial grade chipper on Craigslist for $500-$700? I really have no idea what specs I should be looking for in a chipper, or what brands.
View Quote

That's funny right there. Add a zero for one that's worn out. Double that for decent condition.

As for Craigslist, 1) all of ARFCOM should boycott that site imo since they ban gun related stuff of any kind, and 2) at least here, I see people wanting nearly double for their used shit than I can go purchase new.

You could always build your own.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 2:15:42 AM EDT
I burn mine or wait till we have a bad storm/hurricane and mix it in with the crap they pile at the road and the county either chips it or picks it up.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 7:15:55 AM EDT
I bought one after thinking long and hard about renting. I hate renting...my worry is I'll get some knackered POS. I bought one of those Chinese self feeding PTO driven critters and run it on the back of my Ford 8N. Theoretically a 8N is a bit underpowered but I have a low-range auxiliary transmission that lets me run the engine at WOT.

Don't even think of buying one that does not self feed. You have to 'stuff' the branches in by hand, and the machine will beat you to death.

My wife had grand plans for using the chips. Ha! Didn't happen. Matter of fact I had 4 yards of mulch delivered yesterday.

Ray
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 7:55:30 AM EDT
I bought one of those 3"-4" units you described. I got it at a garage sale for $180, late in the day & negotiated down from $250. It looked like it was only used twice.

It was about 3/4 worthless. It could handle 1"-2" okay. 3" was a struggle.

Sold it at our Fall garage sale for $225.


Now, I just burn off the brush pile bit by bit in the back yard fire pit.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 8:11:06 AM EDT
OP - question number 1 - do you have a small tractor with a category O 3 pt hitch ?

If yes , you can save a lot of money and get a decent large chipper by getting a PTO driven model ...with a PTO your not paying for an engine or trailer that most towable clippers have . Buy a unit that fits your HP of your tractor

A really good bang for your buck is a BEARCAT SC5540 5" sells for around $3200. i have personal experience with this model . As long as chipper blades are sharp the unit does a good job feeding material

If your budget gets higher , and a tractor in the 30hp range , buy one with a hydraulic feed. Hydraulic feed will increase productivity a bunch but is not really needed for most people

Keep in mind a chipper is similar to a chainsaw , if it's throwing chips everything is good , when chip output gets smaller particles and alsmot dust like - your chipper knives need sharpened. Follow your manual instructions and pay attention to the distance between the chipper knives and anvil - all will be covered in a manual

Whatever you do , don't buy a DR anything
I have dealt with all types of equipment for the past 25 years
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 8:15:35 AM EDT


I had a 4" one for a few years. It was 3k$+
Unless you get a bigger one that is self feeding you are wasting your time.
You are better off piling and burning debris to remove. Mulch is cheap comparably.

Dumped it last year.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 8:16:07 AM EDT
When I had a large cleanup project I rented a commercial self feeding machine. There were engine issues with the unit but RSC made good on the problem. I used it twice and accomplished what I needed to do.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 8:24:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2015 8:24:54 AM EDT by TZ250]
Chippers with any capacity are expensive. My drum chipper was $14K new 20 years ago. If you want the chip anything more than twigs then rent or get ready to hand over some dough.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 8:32:13 AM EDT
Sounds almost unanimous, OP...
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 8:43:43 AM EDT
OP, my old work we used Wallenstein brand commercial chippers, they worked damn good, and other then maintenance work never had an issue with them...but our smallest was a 6" and they run about 10 grand if I remember right...I can tell you this, buy a good one, or don't buy one.. whatever you buy, make sure it has quality safety devices (most important is a reverser that can be grabbed , hit if you get sucked into it on accident, and always, always triple check them regularly.....
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 8:47:22 AM EDT
I see decent used ones from time to time for around $1,500. Don't waste your time on the homeowner models.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 8:55:22 AM EDT
been told it's best to freeze the body first
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 9:00:00 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By DigDug:


My office is a few blocks from that thing.
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View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By DigDug:


My office is a few blocks from that thing.
I clicked on this thread to see how many post in, before I would see the FARGO meme. Four. LOL
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 10:17:19 AM EDT
A real chipper is going to cost over 5k
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 10:21:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 10:25:07 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History



Beat me to it

Unless you are an arborist, I would stick to renting a commercial tow behind unit.

They will usually let you keep it over the weekend for the price of a one day rental.

Let your brush and limbs build up, and rent one when needed.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 10:42:29 AM EDT
WHO told you I had experience with wood chippers?!?!?!?!?!?


I do not now.....nor have I ever used.....a wood chipper for any purpose whatsoever!!!!!!!


Link Posted: 5/2/2015 10:55:02 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Red-ryder:
OP - question number 1 - do you have a small tractor with a category O 3 pt hitch ?

If yes , you can save a lot of money and get a decent large chipper by getting a PTO driven model ...with a PTO your not paying for an engine or trailer that most towable clippers have . Buy a unit that fits your HP of your tractor

A really good bang for your buck is a BEARCAT SC5540 5" sells for around $3200. i have personal experience with this model . As long as chipper blades are sharp the unit does a good job feeding material

If your budget gets higher , and a tractor in the 30hp range , buy one with a hydraulic feed. Hydraulic feed will increase productivity a bunch but is not really needed for most people

Keep in mind a chipper is similar to a chainsaw , if it's throwing chips everything is good , when chip output gets smaller particles and alsmot dust like - your chipper knives need sharpened. Follow your manual instructions and pay attention to the distance between the chipper knives and anvil - all will be covered in a manual

Whatever you do , don't buy a DR anything
I have dealt with all types of equipment for the past 25 years
View Quote
No
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 10:55:38 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By postban:
http://youtu.be/2kqz4kQIl2s

I had a 4" one for a few years. It was 3k$+
Unless you get a bigger one that is self feeding you are wasting your time.
You are better off piling and burning debris to remove. Mulch is cheap comparably.

Dumped it last year.
View Quote
Ouch!
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 10:56:15 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By chadwimc:
Sounds almost unanimous, OP...
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I think you are right.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 10:58:02 AM EDT
for as rarely as I use one I just get everything prepped then rent for a day or two and get it done. For the cost of a decent grade one that wont be a money pit I would have to rent one over 50 times to even pay for it then you have storage and maintenance to factor in so not worth the investment.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 10:59:49 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Red-ryder:
Whatever you do , don't buy a DR anything
I have dealt with all types of equipment for the past 25 years
View Quote
Can you tell me more? I'm in bad need of something to handle brush (up to 2" saplings) and was eying a brush hog type walk behind unit.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 11:00:48 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By bjohnson425:
for as rarely as I use one I just get everything prepped then rent for a day or two and get it done. For the cost of a decent grade one that wont be a money pit I would have to rent one over 50 times to even pay for it then you have storage and maintenance to factor in so not worth the investment.
View Quote
That is a great point. My barn is getting full.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 11:05:59 AM EDT
None that I can talk about.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 11:11:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2015 11:11:58 AM EDT by bjohnson425]
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Originally Posted By godzillamax:
That is a great point. My barn is getting full.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By godzillamax:
Originally Posted By bjohnson425:
for as rarely as I use one I just get everything prepped then rent for a day or two and get it done. For the cost of a decent grade one that wont be a money pit I would have to rent one over 50 times to even pay for it then you have storage and maintenance to factor in so not worth the investment.
That is a great point. My barn is getting full.


Better yet the last time I cleared about 1-1/2-2 acres I called a landscape company to come deal with it as I have no use for the mulch left over and didn't want to deal with the piles. The cost to have them do it was only about $80 over the rental cost. And they chipped right into the back of a dump truck and had it done in about an hour and a half which would have taken me at least a full day plus going to the rental place towing the chipper to my place then cleaning and taking it back when done. So if you're short on time or value your time look at that option. I know it was less than $100 over the rental cost and they were FAST with no mess or cleanup to worry about.
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 11:20:09 AM EDT
Mine cost less than 50 bucks and works effortlessly
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 11:43:59 AM EDT
Mine's a Craftsman 8hp from Craigslist, I paid $300ish for it.
The damn thing is recoil start, and it doesn't have Easy-Pull (or whatever it's called where the exhaust valve is held open until you hit the right RPMs) so it is a gigantic bitch to start, but once it gets going I've never had a problem, even when maxing out the branch/log input (3-3.5"?).
It dumps the debris directly beneath the machine, so every few minutes I'll have to move it another 2' down the yard, resulting in a long row of mulch rather than a nice pile, which is rather annoying.

Kharn
Link Posted: 5/2/2015 11:46:52 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By UKjohn:
been told it's best to freeze the body first
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Good advice here, also clean out the chips of tooth and bone before you return.
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