Small Woodland Owners' Group

Brushcutters

A place to discuss or review of tools and equipment, how to look after them, handy hints for using them.

Husqvarna 143 RII Review

Postby oldclaypaws » Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:55 pm

My Husky arrived yesterday afternoon an hour before dusk, so I was able to complete the assembly and have a play but unable to give it a 'test drive' until today.

The first thing I noticed compared to the doomed Einhell which went back is the length of the Husky- its well long and a single shaft. This is great for a taller person such as me at 6' 2", you don't want to stoop down when using it, although I later found out it just fitted diagonally across the back of my estate with the seats down- you'd struggle to get it in a smaller car. The general finish on it oozes quality, everything meant to connect clips slickly into place, all the fittings seem solid and well designed, the harness was chunky and a comfortable fit once on. The left and right cow handles are two seperate pieces and can be individually moved to the right position for the individual user, making it very comfortable once adjusted.

Conveniently, the fuel / oil mix at 50 : 1 is the same as my Stihl chainsaw, meaning I can take one fuel tank for the two if using both. The instructions were clear and concise, no funny Chinese translations. I did notice the plastic harness guard said 'China' on it, how much is made in China I can't say, but I couldn't fault the quality, it felt 'Scandanavian'; chunky, robust and ergonomic. It comes with a strimmer line, 4 blade brush knife, and a useful safety 'head guard' to fit over the knife in transit so it doesnt cut anyone or the car seats in transit.

Having filled it last night, primed the fuel bulb and flipped the choke, it started after two pulls. Today in the wood, it started first pull from cold ! Noise level is acceptable but ear protection might be an idea. Vibration is also acceptable, but after 2 hours use my fingers were tingling. Performance is extraordinarily good. Boy does this thing have grunt. With the provided 4 blade cutting knife, it slashed brambles effortlessly and I rapidly advanced through the jungle, far faster than with the same size Einhell. If an obstacle was encountered such as a hidden branch or raised bit of earth, the obstacle came off worse. Any accidentally grazed Hazel branches were left googed. Small branches disappeared, softer old logs were reduced to sawdust, it took everything in its stride. I wouldn't recommend it, but I reckon if you tried the blade on the ground you could dig a large hole with it, it would chew earth and keep going.

The near Litre of fuel lasted about an hour of hard use which seems thirsty, but the amount I cleared in that time was quite surprisingly large. When I refueled I decided to also change from the standard Husky bladed head to the 'Mulching Head' I bought for about £20. It has bent blades, a bit like the wings on a Klingon War Bird, so rather than a straight cut, it chops in two opposed directions. Boy oh Boy, did that make it fun. The mulching blade turned it into an aerial Kitchen blender, anything it touched was just 'vapourised'. Whereas the cutting knife leaves pieces up to 4" long on the ground, the mulching blade leaves compost, and it does it very fast. I found myself not at a stand, but steadily walking forward about the speed of a granny with a zimmer frame, but through 3 feet of dense brush.

After 3 hours I was glad to have a break, but couldn't believe how much I'd cleared, in that time I'd changed the character of the wood from jungle to having several new wide paths and getting access to parts I've not been in before.

Can't recommend it enough, great tool, very impressive grunt, solid design, 10 / 10. Definitely my favourite toy and a really enjoyable pleasure to use.
oldclaypaws
 
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby SimonFisher » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:31 pm

Thanks for the review.
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby SimonFisher » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:49 am

The Husqvarna 143RII uses blades with a 25.4mm mounting hole - yes?
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby oldclaypaws » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:46 am

Yes. In the West Country, being somewhat behind the times, we tend to call 25.4mm 'an Inch'. :lol:

It means it'll take any generic replacement blades, but I strongly recommend a 'mulching' blade, which is far more effective at reducing the debris to 'compost sized' rather than cutting into longer strips.

I've been well pleased with mine, and following Husky policy spares will be available for another 10 years+.

Are you going for one? They are in short supply, the link to Willetts might be useful, give them a call to see if they have stock- they provided a good service, free delivery (negotiated, not standard) and beat Radmores price of £384.98 (by 98p!)
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby SimonFisher » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:58 pm

Yes, ordered one earlier. It'll arrive tomorrow. Might not get a chance to play with it till next week. Might pop down the wood Wednesday with it if we have good weather ;-)
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby oldclaypaws » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:25 pm

Congrats Simon. Shall we start a 143 RII Owners group?

Sure you'll be as chuffed as I was, let me know how you get on, and do go for a mulching blade, while the provided 4 blade knife is good, the mulching blade is even better if you have stuff like old brambles you want 'shredded', it saves gathering it up and having heaps or bonfires- it just rots where it falls and keeps all the decaying biomass nutrition in the ecosystem.

On starting, ignore the stuff about the little third square 'locking' button on the throttle, just make sure its switched to 'on' at the handle, give it a few squidges on the rubber bubble, flick the choke up and give it a couple of pulls. When it kicks in, give it just a couple of pumps on the throttle for a couple of seconds to get it warm and idling (choke then goes off), and off you go.

Happy playing !
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby SimonFisher » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:42 pm

I've ordered the mulching blade too but I suspect I'll be under strict instruction not to use that wherever we're trying to restore our previously excellent displays of wildlowers as too much nutrition in the soil is just what they don't need.
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby oldclaypaws » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:03 pm

"5mm of mulched bramble doth not a bag of horse-muck make"

I can't see a bit of slowly released bramble leaf debris ruining your wild flowers (?), where I've disposed of brambles there's a sudden spurt of new growth from dormant seed, woken by the fresh light and warmth. Where we once had a jungle of brambles 18 months ago, there's now a sea of bluebells, enchanters nightshade, woodsedge, scarlet pimpernel, elderberry seedlings, and loads of others. Also notable that the disentangled Hazel the bramble had previously been leaping over and suppressing is now shooting nicely at the base with lots of new growth.

Having to discipline myself to leave some bramble patches, in modest quantities it is OK, just don't want it dominating everything.
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby SimonFisher » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:37 pm

We've a previously used track to cut back that's become quite overgrown since the wood was fenced about three years ago and some felling done as part of a coppice restoration project. I'm not sure which has played the bigger part in it becoming overgrown again - the lack of deer, the light allowed in because of the felling, the churning of the track when the felling was done, or the lack of use the track has had since. It'll be the first time its been cut in the five years we've had the wood so leaving the cuttings is probably not an issue in this case.

However we also have an area of grassland/meadow which for years has been cut using a flail mower on a tractor and the clippings left where they fall. We've had comment from someone familliar with the wood since before we became its custodians that the grasses are thriving more than they used to and that the flowers aren't doing so well. We've been advised that removing the cuttings will be preferable if we're to see the flowers as they used to be.
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby Terry » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:56 pm

Good to hear the positive reviews on the brushcutter Paws. Sounds a good price too.
Opted for a Kawasaki myself and done well so far. Have a brand new mulching blade ready to try next time out :D
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