Forst is the new kid on the block. The youngest brand here, it has only been building woodchippers for three years. Yet in that time the brand has seen something of a storm of success and now has a good reputation. This year the company signed an agreement supplying chippers to Orange Plant.
The main features of this road-tow 8in chipper are strength and performance. It is covered by a three-year warranty, telling us something about the company's confidence in its machine.
This is a true 8in chipper, fed by an 8x10in ForstGrip hydraulic infeed roller system. The roller moves in a arc, rather than up and down, climbing over the timber and grabbing it aggressively to crush forks and drag the wood into the chipping chamber. It reduces, if not eliminates, the need to sned-up material before processing. The anvil is removable.
There are two bolts to access the chipping chamber, where we find the huge flywheel has slots cut into it but is strengthened with fins. The slots allow seating of the two large 10in blades, giving a cut every half revolution and ensuring that no chips can clog the blades. Thinking along the lines of inertia rather than speed, the fins on the flywheel literally throw the chips to discharge rather than just blowing them. We certainly had no trouble chipping damp leylandii during our test.
As clever as it is smart in appearance, the ST8 has Forst's Autointelligence no-stress system to take care of all the electrics on the machine and alert you to servicing requirements. On the sides, the illuminated touchpad gives feed, reverse and stop. It is IP 69 rated, waterproof and vibration proof.
Access is simple for checks and servicing. There are two clips to get at the engine under the one-piece bonnet. Two more bolts get you into the chipping chamber. Belts are tensioned on an adjuster wheel. A remote grease bank on the outside makes life easy and the fuel tank has a large neck for easy filling. The Kubota engine is packed with power. The whole machine is mounted on a big C-section chassis so it can be painted all over for durability.
Elsewhere, there is a full-length piano-style hinge on the fold-down hopper. All parts, except the mudguards, are metal.
Max diameter material 8in (160mm)
Engine type Kubota V1505T diesel
Maximum power 45hp
Roller feed ForstGrip horizontal
Infeed throat size 200x255mm
Fuel capacity 35 litres
Flywheel 728mm diameter, 30mm thick
Blades Two 10in blades
No-stress system Autointelligence no-stress
Dimensions (LxWxH) 3,669x1,550x2,370mm
List price £18,950
Tel Redwood Global - 01264 721790
Reviewed - This Issue
- GreenMech Arborist 200
- Forst ST8
- Vermeer BC190XL
- Vermeer BC1000XL
- Timberwolf TW 160PH
- Timberwolf TW 280TFTR
Bridgwater College arborists: working in the industry on part-time study with lecturers and technicians
It is a practical day at Bridgwater College and the arborists have the task of removing a row of leylandii from Richard and Wendy Stirling's garden at Combwich. Work is underway and there are piles of material - just what we need to test the latest woodchippers.
Introduced this year, the GreenMech Arborist 200, Timberwolf TW 160PH and Vermeer BC190XL are road machines. The new Timberwolf TW 280TFTR is a tracked unit, ideal for use by utilities and those needing to cross rough ground. Updated is the Vermeer BC1000XL, a big machine with improvements. Forst is the youngster, a brand that is barely three years old.
After several hours' work on a sunny autumn day, some conclusions could be drawn. All the machines performed well. We had no blockages. All had good working heights and strong infeed chutes. Infeed was smooth for all units, with no testers reporting being whipped by the more slender material. Most testers were uncertain which they would buy. General comments were that all the machines took big timbers and were easy to control. The Timberwolf 160 was favoured by some for its towability and price.