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.

Brushcutters

Postby oldclaypaws » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:13 pm

An unfortunate learning curve the last couple of weeks with a budget brushcutter.

Didn't want to shell out £500 for one without knowing how useful it would be, or waste £70 on a Chinky toe-trimmer, so I thought a compromise was a £150 43cc Einhell, the reassurance being it had a 2 year warranty and spares available.

Initially delighted with it, and certainly found when it comes to brambles its the way to go- its great to rip through and shred them at speed without having to actually handle them. Cleared quite a bit in about three hours.

Much to my surprise and disbelief, I found the cutting head slipping, looked down and found the locking lever that unites the two shaft halves had just cleanly snapped. The casting appeared brittle and sub standard. OK I thought, ring Einhell. Reassuring muttering of sending a spare part, then after a day or two an email saying they didnt have a spare, please ask Amazon for a replacement machine! Amazon request lead to 'replacement unavailable, you'll get a full refund, machine to be collected'.

Unfortunate, but at least it happened under warranty, I've had a chance to try and get to like one, and now I can get my money back and move on to a superior manufacturer who does actually carry spares.

Question is, if I don't want a remorgage, what capacity machine do I need to comfortably handle dense brambles? Chappy at Radmore and Tucker seemed to suggest a Stihl FS70 for about £300. Recommendations and experienced comments would be very much appreciated.
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby SimonFisher » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:46 pm

Many thanks for posting details of your experience with the Einhell. I've been thinking we could use a brushcutter from time to time and I'd like to avoid spending more £'00s than I is necessary but at the same time want a machine with sufficient power and a build quality such that it won't need replacing after a few years.

I note the Stihl FS 70 is the first of the models that Stihl put in their 'powerful brushcutters' category as opposed to 'lightweight grass trimmers and brushcutters'. It appears however only to be supplied with a basic shoulder strap rather than what I'd call a proper harness. The next model up, the FS 90 comes with a double shoulder padded harness. I had a machine on hire a couple of months back that only had a simple strap and it wasn't very comfortable. I suspect also the 'bike-handle' variant would be my preference. My hired unit had the more basic handle arrangement.

Please do keep us posted with what you do and how you get on.
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby oldclaypaws » Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:28 pm

I just had a detailed discussion with a chap at Radmore's about my usage, budget and the best options. He has me down as an occasional user with a limited budget, and as such its not a matter of forking out for the best machine, but a compromise of one which is just about up to the job and which doesn't break the bank.

He thinks as the FS70 has a flexible shaft its not good for clearing heavy undergrowth, that needs a solid driveshaft and we're talking minimum FS90, which comes with a harness and blade for about £370. Its not big on cc's though at 27cc, and is a kind of entry point more pro model with a decent engine. Ideally he thinks I should look at a clearing saw, but they are £££ which is beyond me. Also the mid price bigger Stihl's are all 4 mix, I prefer a 2 stroke as they have more power and no faffing about on valve clearances. Apparently the 4 mix is nothing to do with user benefit, its to satisfy the emmissions bureaucrats in California and Brussels.

Eventually when I said what are the non-Stihl options, we discussed Echo and Husky, and the Husky 135R came to the front of the possibles list. Its 2 stroke, harness and 3 blade knife and cowhorn handle included, a bit meatier at 35cc than the 27cc Stihl FS70 or FS90, and just about within budget at £385. 2 year warranty and you can get parts !! No decisions yet, comments invited.
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby Dexter's Shed » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:42 pm

here's my 10 pence worth,

I have 2 x imported strimmers, one with the handle bar control, the other with the trigger, out of both I much prefer the trigger, it feels I have more control over the strimmer, having both arms stretched out on handlebars just does not feel right when moving in a left to right motion, they both came with basic straps, so I purchased extra quick release straps which work very well with them,
as with any tool, I suppose its luck of the draw on breakages, as both of my imported strimmers only cost around £80 each, have both been used very hard since feb and both are still going strong, so its not always a case of paying more to get a better item, plus at 52cc they cope with everything, using a brushcutter saw blade they not only cut through bramble, but also small stems of hazel up to around 50mm
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby oldclaypaws » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:49 pm

With one of those Dexxy, you pays your money and take a chance. The expectation has to be that they won't provide countless years of hard duty, and when they go wrong you chuck them and get another. No parts if one drops off. At a quarter of the price of a Husky or Stihl, that might be OK, but the general build quality of our Swedish or German friends will be far superior, and the life of the machine is virtually unlimited- theres no part can't be replaced. To me the higher price is a guarantee you're not wasting your money on throw away tat. The Einhell was supposed to be a compromise, and for two weeks it was great !

Key things for me have to be build quality, reliability, safety, back up service and spares. If everyone bought cheapies, we'd need another landfill site in every county. In a world of finite resources, I find it shameful that we are largely a 'throw away use it for 5 minutes society'. Everything should be built to last a reasonable period of use and capable of being repaired. 'fraid 95% of Chinky stuff just doesn't fulfill those criteria, and if they have a sharp blade spinning at several thousand revs, you don't want the possibility of it falling apart and sending potentially fatal shrapnel in all directions.

Learnt my lesson, will stick to European or Jap.

Would you jump out of a 'plane wearing a Chinese parachute?
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby Dexter's Shed » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:27 pm

oldclaypaws wrote:
Would you jump out of a 'plane wearing a Chinese parachute?


no, it probably 'wouldn't fit as I'm a tall bugga
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby oldclaypaws » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:44 pm

Whether it fits is unimportant if hurtling towards terra firma at 125 Mph with a malfunctioning ripcord. Although you might have 30 seconds left to use your ipad and leave REALLY REALLY negative feedback on your Ebay account !! :lol:
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby Andy M » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:26 pm

Sadly, following the same logic, the iPad may not work because they are made in China!
See http://www.mostwatchedtoday.com/tag/whe ... pads-made/
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby oldclaypaws » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:03 pm

I heard that the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party passed a rule that all broken electronic notepads are to be taken to specific allocated agricultural areas for collection and disposal. These areas are known as i-Paddy Fields. :roll: :lol: 8-) ;)
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Re: Brushcutters

Postby Bearwood » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:55 am

I don't know what your thoughts are on second hand (the option doesn't really seem to be discussed on SWOG that often) but I've made two very good second hand purchases from ebay; the first being a Stihl 021 chainsaw and the second being a Stihl FS120 strimmer.

The strimmer was an ex-hire model from Speedy Hire, being sold by a chap who bought a load at a disposal auction. I purchased it blind with a view to spending the purchase price again (total of £200) on parts to get it up to speed. When I started giving it the once over, I found that it was hardly used and in tremendous condition both cosmetically and mechanically. The carburettor rebuild I had planned was not required, so I spent the money on a mulching blade and a polycut head instead.

I may have been lucky, but it's worth a shot with second hand. If you're not sure of which parts to buy or what to look for I'll gladly offer whatever advice I can based upon my experience.
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