Buyers' Guide - woodchippers

Having the right machine for your needs can save you time, fuel and money, says Sally Drury.

Woodchippers: ideal for clearing up after tree work and land-clearance operations
Woodchippers: ideal for clearing up after tree work and land-clearance operations

Should you regularly undertake tree work and land-clearance operations that generate brash and good-sized timber, then a woodchipper could be just what you need in the clear-up. The right chipper can save you time, fuel and money when it comes to clearing away lorryloads of material or it may be possible to leave the chippings on site. There are many brands and models of woodchipper available on the UK market. Knowing which machine best suits your needs will ensure that the operation runs smoothly and is productive.

Q I work on the roadside a lot. Is it worth investing in a woodchipper on a turntable.

A It always pays to be safe. Mounted on a turntable, a woodchipper has the flexibility to keep you away from the traffic while you are chipping.

Q I work on a wood estate with large informal gardens and lots of mature trees to tend. We have a 100hp tractor but I would like to know whether power take-off-driven woodchippers are as good as stand-alone machines and whether I would be saving money?

A If you carefully match the woodchipper to your tractor there is no reason why the PTO machine should not perform as well as its engine-driven counterpart. You could save as much as half the cost of purchase but remember that you will be tying up the tractor, preventing its use for other duties.

Q I will be leaving college next year and intend starting up my own business. What would be a good machine for me?

A If you do not have a trailer licence, you will need to look at the sub-750kg machines. If towing weight is not an issue, you should consider where you expect the majority of your work to come from. Domestic garden work often requires a machine that will easily slide through gateways. In this situation you might want to look at a woodchipper with compact dimensions. If you expect the majority of your work to be some distance from the road, perhaps over rough land where you might not want to drive your vehicles, you could consider a self-propelled tracked machine.

Q Why do some woodchippers have the bar fitted around the top of the infeed hopper and others around the bottom?

A It is a matter of safety. If the hopper or feed table is less than 60cm from the ground, the bar will be around the sides and the top. Should the operator become tangled in the brash and be drawn towards the infeed, or if a branch fork pushes him towards the roller, he stands a much better chance reaching for the bar and stopping the machine. If the measurement is greater than 60cm, the bar will be around the sides and the bottom, where the operator's body can trip the machine.

Q What new models have come onto the market recently?

A Last year Forst arrived on the market with a 6in (150mm) woodchipper as a road tow or a tracked option. Powered by Kubota diesel engines, these machines carry a lot of nice features including touch-button feed control, the ForstGrip feed roller system, simple maintenance and a clear fuel tank so you can see when you need to refuel. Those same features now appear on Forst's latest machines - the 8in (160mm) ST8 towable unit and the 8in TR8 tracked chipper.

In the sub-750kg category, Timberwolf has developed a new 6in machine. The TW230DHB is reviewed in this issue (see Kit Tests, p34), along with GreenMech's new Arborist 190 and 3mph tracking ArbTrak 190 (p35), both of which have 7.5in capacities.

The latest news from Global Recycling is that the Bandit 105 compact 12in disc chipper is now available on a turntable, with an 85hp Kubota diesel engine. Bandit has also developed the 18SVC screen chipper. This is a different type of drum-style chipper, said to offer greater knife adjustment to make a specifically sized chip.

In addition, Global Recycling has been appointed as the distributor in the UK for the Jo Beau range of 1-5in chippers and stump grinders. Global Recycling recently moved to new premises at Grantham in Lincolnshire.

For estate managers, landscape contractors and professional gardeners, Tracmaster of West Sussex will be offering the new Camon C100 high-performance chipper from February next year. This machine is more compact than other chippers of this specification and features a heavy-duty chipping blade to reduce 10cm branches and saplings to chippings. It has a removable chute, making it suitable for on-the-go landscapers, and is gravity-fed. Power comes from a 9hp Honda petrol engine.

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