Friday, March 14, 2008

Chipper Story for Granny J and Nancy: Part 1

Fellow blogger and serious gardener Granny J said in comments that she wants a chipper too; then fellow blogger and serious gardener Nancy said the same thing. They had some questions about it. So I figured the easiest way to explain is to take pix of it working and post them.

(Granny J, I'm doing the 4 pix per post thing again. It's not that your directions on posting more than 4 weren't clear. They were. At this point it's some sort of mental block on my part. I'll get over it, though. Hopefully, soon.)

The chipper in question is a McCulloch 14-AMP Chipper/Shredder #MCS2001. I bought it through for a grand total of $219.99 including shipping, and it arrived in two days. It's electric. Since I can't use gas power tools (violent petroleum allergies), it must be electric. That's a deal-breaker for me.

So searching out a consumer-type electric chipper was a bit of a project. Surfing about, I saw many readers had great respect for this one. The company has been well regarded for other consumer and industrial power tools for a long time, and make a well-regarded chain saw too.

They do have a 15-amp model of this chipper, the MCS 2003, but consumer reviews were not nearly as favorable for it.

The two biggest drawbacks are: The assembly directions aren't so good; and, you have to stop the machine and clear it of chips from time to time. The first part isn't actually that bad. I assembled mine in about 20 minutes. The second part, I seem to have got the hang of it enough that I rarely jam it any more.

The good news: First and foremost, it's perfectly easy to use sitting down. For someone who can't readily stand up to work, that's a big plus.

It chips grass, leaves, little twiggy stuff, and branches up to 1 1/2" in diameter (or 1 5/8" according to the specs that came with the machine). That diameter thing was a little disappointing at first, but it's about as high as any consumer chipper goes. Having used the thing on lots of my chippings for the last few days, I can say for sure that the vast majority of what I need it for is within that 1 1/2" limit. And word on the net is that it handles bigger branches if you feed them slowly. I think that's probably correct.

The ad-hoc consumer reviews I read on the net tended to be very favorable in many areas, and one is that this thing keeps going and going like that Energizer bunny, rarely needing maintenance or repair. It has no need for chainsaw oil. The cutting blades last forever. I tend to abuse my tools, so this was music to my ears.

Speaking of cutting blades, the machine is put together in such a way that it's virtually impossible to cut yourself using it. For someone like me?...well, that's a good thing. I tend to get too many injuries doing yard work. The much-despised Extreme Safety Features actually do well on this machine, for me at least.

Now I'll take you on a pictorial tour of using this chipper. Get your ear plugs ready...oh, I forgot. Another plus is this unit is amazingly quiet. A sort of hum when you're not chipping, and it gets rackety only when you're chipping big branches. Even at that, it's about as loud as a lawn mower. That's the worst noise level it can achieve. So if you're in a mood to make lots of noise for De-Mope Therapy, you have to settle for what it can do.

Here it is in all its shiny new glory, complete with the garbage bag that collects the chippings. The hopper up top has two feeders, one for leaves, one for little twiggy stuff. I use the leaf hopper but run the little twigs through the branch hopper. That's on the lower right.

Here are some orchid tree leaves going in the leaf hopper. They need to be dry; it doesn't like soggy stuff.

It comes with a big elastic band to hold on your garbage bag.

The air blowing the chips into the garbage bag make it balloon out most amusingly.

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pepektheassassin said...

But, did you ever see that movie FARGO???

pepektheassassin said...

If not, NOW is a good time to rent it. You have a DVD player?

Anonymous said...

See here or here