If you need to move between chipping points, then it is well worth having a look at this machine. It has two-speed tracking, meaning you can hasten travel across the site and then slow down the speed to manoeuvre into the best possible position. With a deeper chassis beam, this unit has bigger, longer and taller tracks, meaning the ground clearance is increased.
"It has good manoeuvrability up and down slopes and over rough ground," notes Buckton. "The speed is good too."
The tracks are also retractable, letting you get through gateways (with the hopper removed) and then breathing out to give the stability needed to climb slopes and pass over fallen items as well as for enabling chipping operation. We especially like the comfort platform to take away some of the jolts of transport and the integrated jacking system that allows you to clean gravel and muck out of the tracks. Now add in the open-top hopper, the larger chipper throat, wide rollers and heavy-duty rotor for speedy operation, and it should all result in improved productivity.
At the hungry end of the machine — and it does have an appetite — we find the rollers give a 230x160mm opening and are held by four springs to give a crushing power of one tonne per square inch. The gap between the rollers and blades is small to reduce the risk of jamming.
The controls on the side are positive and well protected — you would be unlucky to damage them. Although the roller speed is not adjustable, it is something that Timberwolf is looking at for the future. The no-stress kicked in a lot during our arduous testing of the machine and runs off the alternator. Chips were less even than those produced by the Forst, but it certainly took some big timbers.
Servicing has been designed into this machine from day one. The panels — yes, they are a plastic material — are easy to remove from either side, revealing the engine, filters and belts. The radiator guard also scores highly. It is designed to be sufficiently strong so that it can be cleaned by banging it on the ground.
Access to the blades is by removing two bolts. The 66kg flywheel, 25mm thick and 595mm in diameter, has two chipper blades and four hardened-steel fins to reduce the wood to chip at a fast and productive rate. The blades are 135mm fully hardened, double-sided reversible and it is possible to turn them in the field. Simply insert the rotor lock, undo the bolt, turn and refit.
Interestingly, all the bolts in the Timberwolf are just two sizes — 17mm and 19mm — so you only need to carry two spanners and they are likely to be the same sizes as you need for your chainsaws. "That’s really useful," notes Woodbridge. The anvil is also easy to access and change. There is a central system so that greasing can be completed in seconds with just a gun.
Two features that make the TW 230VTR user-friendly are the 12V supply and the winch. It is an advantage to be able to charge your phone while chipping — a dead battery is the last thing you need when working on site. The winch, although an option at an extra £1,000, can take the strain out of hauling logs to the machine. "It’s a lot of money but it certainly pulls logs up slopes faster than we could," says Cullen.
Max capacity: 160mm
Engine: Kubota V1505 four-cylinder water-cooled diesel
Fuel tank capacity: 36 litres
Machine width: 1.12m tracks in/1.3m tracks out/81.2cm funnel off
Machine length: 2.8m funnel shut, foot plate up
Machine height: 2.22m discharge chute on/1.77m discharge chute off
Ground clearance: 19.5cm
Weight: 1,280kg excluding winch
Tracking speed: 2.6kph positioning/5.2kph transport mode
Warranty: Two years (third year optional)
List price: £22,000 + VAT
Tel: Timberwolf — 01449 765809
Tested This Issue
Timberwolf TW 230VTR
Mike Cullen, head of arboriculture, Bridgwater College
Andre Gardner, manager, Cannington Centre for Land-based Studies, Bridgwater College
Daniel Woodbridge, Jason Buckton, Rhiannon Rhodes, Simon Nothard, David Hyman, Level 3 arboriculture students, Bridgwater College
Timberwolf, a well-known and respected name in the market, continues to develop woodchippers for arborists. At the Arb Fair, held at Westonbirt Arboretum in June, the firm launched its latest model — the TW 230VTR tracked machine. Promising to be bigger, stronger and faster, we booked it for testing.
Entering the market just two years ago, Forst woodchippers, available as 6in and 8in units, are already making inroads into the market. We look at the 8in tracked model and put it through its paces with some serious pieces of hard timber.
Both have Kubota diesel engines — and you can’t go wrong there. "They hardly ever go wrong," Buckton points out. Both have tracks and both chip wood, but that is where the similarities end.
The Timberwolf is 6.25in whereas the Forst is 8in. The Timberwolf has dual-speed tracking but the Forst only single. We find many features we like on each but the testers cannot agree on which they prefer.
Conditions on the day of the test were partly cloudy but dry and warm, with only a light breeze.