Reviewed - Woodchippers

Our testers exploit some autumn sunshine to put three models through their paces, Sally Drury reports.

Hardmet Landforce HL100/27 woodchipper - image: HW
Hardmet Landforce HL100/27 woodchipper - image: HW

Tested This Week

Hardmet Landforce HL100/27

TS Industrie GM 10M/80

TS Industrie 150 M


The Review Panel

Tom Dewey, arborist, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

Matt Noyce, senior arborist, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

At the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey, Hampshire, there is always tree work to be done. The garden's latest project is the replanting of its centenary border. One of the longest double borders in the country, the centenary border is 220m long and was created in 1964.

Over the next few months, working with landscape architects Julia Fogg and Anny Evason, the border will be widened, extended to 250m and replanted with 30,000 plants of around 1,000 types to show a wide range of shrubs, herbaceous plants and bulbs.

Arborists Matt Noyce and Tom Dewey have been busy in the border, clearing some trees and shrubs to make room for the work and for new pathways. But it was in the parkland where I found them working - clearing trees that had been planted as part of an early-protection shelter belt.

The birch trees they had just felled made fine material to test three woodchippers.

The conditions on the day were dry and unseasonably hot.

Hardmet Landforce HL100/27

If you are looking for a lightweight, compact and easily-towed chipper, this one could be worth a second look. With a capacity of just 10.2cm (4in) and weighing in at well below the magic 750kg, we reckon it could also appeal to youngsters starting a maintenance business. And do not be put off by the maximum capacity. Size is not everything. In any case, anything bigger could be making you money as logs - providing you have a log splitter and the time.

The HL100/27 is from the Laski range of woodchippers built in the Czech Republic and is powered by a 27hp Kohler Command four-stroke air-cooled engine. Noyce takes a closer look. "I remember the Hardmet Duo we tested last winter - it was huge and seemed over-powered. This one is really compact - see how tightly the infeed hopper folds in?" he asks. "I was excited when I first saw it - I thought it was on a turntable."

"Not a problem," responds the company representative. "A turntable is an option. There's also a PTO-driven model."

We turn back and investigate the feed hopper. Unfolding it from the transport position is different from anything we have seen. First a large securing pin has to be removed. Then the hopper has to be lifted up before it can be lowered through set positions. If you have the strength, you can do it in one go. Otherwise the stepped lowering positions are handy. Either way, the hopper cannot simply be dropped from transport to work mode. That is good because it means damage limitation.

Looking into the back of the hopper we find two feed rollers. The upper one is slightly larger and is hydraulically powered. The lower roller is unpowered. In the chipping chamber there is a 446mm-diameter cutting head with four blades. It is driven by three belts.

Noyce points the discharge chute to the trailer. "The chimney is easy to adjust - it's a nice positive control," he says. He fires up the engine. It starts first time.

A mixture of silver birch and old apple limbs are fed through the machine. "It's definitely got loads of grunt," yells Noyce as the infeed takes charge of each timber and drags it in. The electronic no-stress kicks in. Dewey resets the control and the machine is off again.

Noyce takes a rest: "It looks almost over engineered - it's certainly very strong - but there are times I do feel I want to push it. Perhaps it's because it's a four-inch machine. It's got the power to pull the material through, but seems a bit slow after that, even though we've set the roller to max." He takes a handful of the resulting chips and adds: "Look at this - it's so fine it will compost quickly."

Specifications
Engine: Kohler Command CH740S four-stroke, air-cooled
Power: 27hp (20.1kW) at 3,600rpm
Fuel: Petrol
Fuel tank capacity: 16 litres
Drive: Hydrostatic
Maximum capacity: 100mm
Hopper: 900x700mm
Feed throat: 180x140mm
Rollers: Two - upper one powered
Manual feeding speed: 12m/min up to 35m/min
Number of blades: Four
Working dimensions: 3.1x1.57x2.39m (length, width, height)
Transport dimensions: 2.3x1.57x2.3m (length, width, height)
Tyres: 165/70R 13
Weight: 615kg
Options: Swivel-mounting
List price: Standard £8,600 + VAT
Tel: Hardmet Landforce - 01386 834813

TS Industrie GM 10M/80

Twelve months ago this smart little chipper would have been branded Tunnissen but, after the acquisition of the Germany company by the French manufacturer of Saelen vegetation processors, it appears with the TS Industrie logo and is supplied in the UK by Eric Hunter of Maidenhead. Our first reaction is that, in its yellow and grey livery, it looks like a Schliesing woodchipper.

The GM 10M/80 is the smallest of three compact woodchippers in the Gardenmaster line-up. This one is mounted on a one-piece galvanised, 50mph road-legal trailer but, in addition, the same size unit is available in what should be a handy self-propelled format that can be moved like a pallet truck and as a PTO-driven machine requiring a minimum of 14hp. The trailer version is unbraked - it weighs just 560kg.

All three Gardenmasters are designed to complement garden work, being sufficiently narrow to pass through garden gates and with a 10.2cm (4in) chipping capacity.

Noyce and Dewey quickly appreciate the size of the machine and its price of £8,033 + VAT. "It would be fantastic for someone leaving college and starting a business. In an ideal world you would have a bigger chipper to cope with a greater variety of material, but this would be perfect for someone specialising in hedges, shrubs and garden trees," says Noyce.

Power for the GM 10M/80 comes from a 14hp Kohler petrol engine. It has got a surprising amount of grunt. The chipping mechanism comprises a 45cm-diameter disc weighing 49kg. It has a mechanical clutch with belt tension to engage drive, adjustable speed on the hydraulically-powered twin-feed rollers and a big-chipper no-stress system that permits variation of the feeder speed.

We love the attention to detail such as the well-protected hydraulic hoses, the wheel chock stowed on the side of the chassis and the cup near the hitch where you can safely store the lighting connections while unhitched. The chimney rotates through 270 degs and is covered in a sound-dampening material.

The infeed hopper is small and quite high so that the self-propelled version can easily gain access through 80cm gateways. Noyce and Dewey do not find the size a hindrance if the timber is well prepared. "You might have to consider cuts on the wood that's going through, but for a small machine it is coping really well with everything we throw at it," says Noyce. Dewey adds: "The hopper is quite high, but it doesn't matter because we are only putting four-inch material through, so it's light enough to lift."

Access to the chamber proves simple. Three bolts undo to swing the top half up. Inside are two blades. These are adjusted in and out, allowing the gap to the fixed anvil to be as small as a millimetre for high-quality chip production. The anvil has four edges. Part of the mechanism for clamping down the housing has a secondary purpose of clamping the chipper wheel tight while blades are changed.

Specifications
Engine: Kohler Comand Pro CH440 single-cylinder
Power: 14hp (10.5kW) at 3,600rpm
Fuel: Petrol
Fuel tank capacity: 7.5 litres
Drive: Hydrostatic
Maximum capacity: 100mm
Hopper: 740x1,510mm
Feeding height: 820mm
Rollers: 194mm wide, 140mm diameter
Disc diameter/weight: 450mm/49kg
Number of blades: Two
Working dimensions: 2.7x1.4x2.08m (length, width, height)
Tyres: 155/70R 13
Weight: 560kg
List price: £8,033 + VAT
Tel: Eric Hunter - 01628 778644

TS Industrie 150 M

Part of the Wood Concept range from TS Industrie, this 15.2cm (6in) machine is similar to its smaller brother. It features a galvanised chassis, folding hopper, twin-feed roller, no-stress system, cutter mechanism with two blades and a four-edged anvil - but everything is scaled up. We are surprised to find that it does not have variable-speed rollers, though.

Powered by a 27hp Kohler engine, the unit still comes in under the 750kg towing limit. A bigger feed hopper helps speed up loading the chipper. It is also lower - handy when you are lifting larger timbers. We also find the stop-control release is a bit different. "The arm that retrieves the bar back from the stop position is quite fiddly," Noyce points out. "But the machine runs really well. The silver birch is just whipping straight through and it's producing a nice quality of chip."

There is nothing difficult about adjusting the discharge chute, though Dewey questions the strength of what appears to be a plastic release handle, given that the rest of the machine is so robust.

Specifications
Engine: Kohler Comand Pro CH740 two-cylinder
Power: 27hp (19.8kW) at 3,600rpm
Fuel: Petrol
Fuel tank capacity: 21 litres
Drive: Hydrostatic
Maximum capacity: 150mm
Hopper: 965x1,470mm
Feeding height: 700-950mm
Rollers: 160mm wide, 140mm diameter
Disc diameter/weight: 560mm/50kg
Number of blades: Two
Working dimensions: 2.6x1.4x2.3m (length, width, height)
Tyres: 155/70R 13
Weight: 745kg
List price: £12,470 + VAT
Tel: Eric Hunter - 01628 778644


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