Chipper Shredders or 'Garden Mulchers' as they are also known, have to be one of the most valuable pieces of machinery for around the home, farm, lifestyle block or commercial lawn and garden operators. The recycling of large piles of garden waste and debris into beautiful, valuable mulch is so simple with a Chipper Shredder. Save on tipping costs and the need to buy bagged compost or mulch. The most sustainable FREE fertilizer you can obtain, hand made by nature.
BRUSH CHIPPER Use a rotary cutting disc with heavy duty chipping blades in a "bean slicing" or "planer" style cutting action – best for woody branches, prunings, sticks, twigs, brush with some real substance to it.
SHREDDERS Use a flail blade design for cutting, with "hammer" or "knife" blades for shredding or mulching of softer material, vegetation, leafy material and vines that have a higher moisture content and softer nature.
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What about shredding material like bamboo or flax?
For most machines on the market, petrol powered or electric, flax or high fibrous grasses, cabbage tree leaves etc is a simple no-go zone. Bamboo can be processed in the more powerful petrol machines to a limited extent. Hammer-Mill systems are a big no-go for any of this type of material. You will very quickly bind up the entire blade disc, shaft etc with ropey material that will take the rest of the day to try and clear out. The Solution? There are several machines that can shred bamboo or freshly cut green flax without major clogging, these are the Hansa C4 or Hansa C7. Even these machines need freshly sharpened and honed blades prior to starting the process. All other dual feed machines are likely to clog instantly.
Is it better to chip the material freshly cut or wait till it dries out?
It is substantially easier to chip or shred material that is freshly cut. When left to dry out the branches simply get harder, require more engine power and chipping capacity to do the job. Your chipper blades will become blunt a lot quicker. Simply, dry material is harder on the operator and the machine. It's not a good idea to let the pile get bigger and bigger as the job will simply get harder and harder. Little and often is the key.
Is it better to have "direct drive" or "belt drive"?
A belt driven machine is far more preferable as it will protect the engine crankshaft from likely damage of shock loading and potential bending, or even breaking of the drive shaft. Belt drive will also allow the manufacturer to alter the disc speed ratio to give you a more effective machine. You need to take EXTREME care when using a direct drive machine as the chipper assembly transfers the entire shock of chipping directly onto the engine crankshaft. Some manufacturers have fitted heavy-duty ‘plummer-block’ bearing systems to sustain direct drive without causing undue damage to the engine. Some machines are fitted with an "engage clutch" which is even more preferable as the engine is easier to start without having to turn over the disc assembly as well, such as the Hansa range.
How easy is it to sharpen the blades?
Heavy-duty chipper blades need the blades sharpened in a precision manner – most are quite simple to remove for sharpening. Any reputable saw doctor or lawn and garden specialist dealer, like ourselves, can sharpen chipper blades. These are done on a flat-bed grinder with a bell stone to hollow grind them to the correct angle with 100% accuracy. Contact us if you require our nationwide RTB sharpening service.
Which is best – Chipper Shredder or Chipper Hammer-Mill?
Both systems have their positives and negatives. Scroll down to find out more:
> Chipper Shredder: straight heavy-duty disc and knife blades – more common in electric and heavy-duty commercial machines. The full disc with cutter blades can generally take whatever is thrown at it. The exception being flax or high fibrous grasses, cabbage tree leaves etc. For around the home, these machines sell about 60:40 with Hammer-Mill Chippers. Price and what you’re trying to achieve will come into your final purchasing decision. Petrol Chipper Shredders are generally designed to handle a greater workload, are faster and therefore fetch a higher price tag. If you can justify this type of machine, we consider straight Chipper Shredders as better long term value for NZ conditions.
> Chipper Hammer-Mill: these can be as much as half the price of petrol powered Chipper Shredders. They use a combination of disc, knife blade and flail steel hammers, called the Hammer-Mill process. The Hammer-Mill process reduces everything to a pulp – resulting in finer shreddings. However, the Hammer-Mill process is slower, requires added energy to complete the process and will not tolerate any fibrous material or sticks much over 15mm. That is why they are fitted with a secondary ‘Chipper’ chute to handle material over 15mm, or up to what will fit down the diameter of the chute.
> The result from either: will be much the same. A nice pile of broken down vegetation. Once completing the task, you can spread the mulched and chipped material directly onto a ‘bed’ or put it into your composter, where it will break down more rapidly. Talk with one of our sales consultants to help choose which type will be best suited to your application.
Hint: the damaged vegetation from any Chipper, Shredder or Hammer-Mill process will cause bacteria and microbes to enter the material starting the breaking-down phase that nature intended. So the end result from any machine will be much the same – FREE COMPOST!