I bought this 18 volt 20 inch Yardworks trimmer yesterday. Paid $80 plus $40 for a second battery. Almost $140 with taxes and battery eco fee. I was really unsure of whether it would do the job. It worked great. Balance is perfect and it's light enough for one handed work at full arm's reach. Although the cut is somewhat slower than with a gas model, it was nice to not have to move around to dodge fumes. When I use a heavy machine with one hand, I'm always stopping to rest or switch arms. Overall, speed did not suffer and I was not fatigued afterward.
This hedge is 320 ft long and averages 5 1/2 ft tall. My job was to cut one side and half of the top. It took me 50 minutes to do a rough cut to the entire side and half of the top. At this point the battery died. Using the second battery, I finished the top and went over the whole thing for a final shaping.
Heavy snow damaged the hedge last year. There are empty spots. This industrial site has greenery on all sides. Maintenance is pretty much up to my discretion. Nothing is ever watered.
The second battery still had power so I cut back the huge cedar hedge to about the 8 foot mark. It was encroaching on parking. It is close to 30 ft tall. I did about 60 ft x 8 ft of cedar. There are gaps. The battery still has some life in it.
This big complex spends about $5000 per year on grounds maintenance. No watering, no sprays ever. Workers from a machine shop, welding shop, bakery and other businesses eat their lunches and park their cars in shade. The best spots go early. As industrial sites go, this one is pretty nice on a hot day.
This job pays $50 per hour. Paid for my new toy in 3 hours. .
Burra, the Stihl cordless chainsaws are expensive, but awesome. Husqvarna also makes excellent cordless equipment. Those are the only two brands that are used by serious loggers, farmers ... Others talk a good line ( Shendaewa, Oregon ...) Their products are inferior.
I did a plunge cut into Douglas fir with the Stihl. A great machine.
Trail Clearing, Compost Processor and Berry Picking Aid
One of my goals for the property this year, is to carve out trails so that I can get to every bit of it without having to squeeze through brush. I often take my smallest chainsaw on walks around the property. Usually the obstacles are braken fern, salal, broom, berry bushes and other things that could be handled with the hedge cutter. Even if the chainsaw is needed, most things could benefit from clean up of all the little sticks. Nothing ruins a stroll like the sound and smell of an idling saw. The noise from the trimmer is minor and only when it is actually doing something.
Compost I have quite a bit of wild comfrey and broom at my disposal. I often prune trees and hedges for paying customers. Whenever I do hardwood hedges in Nanaimo, I will do it in whatever number of passes makes the most sense in order to produce a nice spreadable mulch for the farm. Normally, hedges are cut to within two inches or so of the desired profile on the first pass, without regard for using the trimmings. I generally contract the work. I wouldn't fiddle piss time away when hired hourly. Most of my trimmings are packed into garbage cans for transport. Stuff that has been sheared packs quite well. I can get 50 lb of boxwood trimmings into a standard garbage can. My 2000 sq ft and growing hugelkultur beds will benefit. An extra hour of shearing is worth it when looking at the ease of use as compared to a whole bunch of bushy stuff arriving home in a single tangled lump. Whether it's comfrey, coffee grounds, leaves or hedge trimmings, most additions to my beds arrive in big garbage cans. I move a lot of material this way.
Himilaya berries are the most prolific and productive wild harvest available here. They are usually found in big clumps. Many people work the edge 3 feet of giant patches. I generally bring loppers, so that I can cut a path to the center of the patch. This gives me access to the best stuff where other people and deer haven't hogged the easy pickings. Sometimes my trails last for a few seasons due to trampling by others who go after MY BERRIES The hedge cutter will be put to good use in this venture.
I have done about $400 worth of work for customers so far. All of this was done on two cyclings of the two batteries. I killed both batteries four times during a stay at the farm that included 15 hours of trail building and land clearing. About 700 ft of path has been cleared, 6000 sq ft of land was cleared of bracken fern and little maples, and 2000 ft of roadside has been trimmed. The machine shows no signs of becoming dull or falling apart.
Today, I used it to process comfrey that will mulch the city garden. This big pile was cut into four slices in about 15 seconds. I put my foot on the material to hold it. This coriander is mature and harvested for seed. It can be harvested at about 2 sq. ft. per second. Once the seed is removed, the spent stalks will be chopped into 3 inch sticks to be used as mulch.
Yesterday, I took on the job of removing this bush, roots and all for $40. It was 7pm. I wanted to knock this one off immediately since I don't like to travel for such a little job. Normally, I would cut a bush like this into about 15 pieces and jam them in the van for a trip to the branch dump. Dumping the crap takes half an hour, most of which is drive time. It took 20 minutes to mulch the whole thing. All of the waste fit into my largest garbage can. The firewood, including the cleaned up stump, was dropped to a friend who lives close. About an hour in total by the time the mulch was spread in my garden that is in the same area. Time saved, fuel saved, garden mulched, wood stove fed.
The machine works best when there's dew or a light rain. Loppers take less power when things are wet. I sprayed the big bush with water just before starting.
I have just purchased the most powerful cordless hedge machine available. It's a 56 volt E-go. Three times more powerful than the little one, a longer bar and a wider cutting mouth.
This one has more power than any of my brother's smokey gas powered units. I'm sure that a new Husqvarna gas machine would have more kick, but I was happy with the little Yard Works unit. The big machine will be used only on thicker stuff that the small one struggles with. I paid $175 on an end of season clearance at Home Depot. It was the last one and I got it for $25 less than advertised. You have to ask.
This is the machine for my 1/3 acre thicket of 8-10 ft high salmon berries. I've run some hedge cutting ads. By this time next week, my customers will have paid for this one too.
I just got my LL to buy me a Sthil cordless In return for cutting his hedge once a year ( plus a Chainsaw and a weed wacker ) am looking forward to trying them out and will post some results here if thats ok
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
How big is that hedge ? That sounds like a really great deal you've worked out. Stihl and Husqvarna are the two best companies in the world for this sort of equipment. Around here, that machine would cost $500 or more. I hope you've made provisions in your deal for what happens if you move away or if you stay another 10 years.
Post results and some pictures. Be sure to track battery life. When cordless drills and other stuff first came out, battery life was the problem. Now, many tools give acceptable power and run time from batteries. I have driven a Nissan Leaf car that has awesome power and 120 km. range. My own property and one big commercial property are the only places where I don't have access to grid power. Most of my jobs entail the use of a number of different tools as well as clean up. If a battery dies, it can be plugged in while another task is worked on. I always show up at my land with fully charged batteries and keep going until they are dead. Now, I will have to bang out up to five hours of trail clearing after each trip to town. I eventually want about 3 km. of trails, and I intend to clear over an acre that is overgrown with various thickets.
I gave the E-go a test run. I had cut a hedge at the garden with the small cutter and stopped when I reached branches that stopped the little machine dead. The new machine easily sliced through the material. It was a small area that required less than 2 minutes run time. I will post before and after pictures of something much bigger. Hopefully, it will be a big hedge that pays more than $200. I'm always pleased when I can pay for a new machine on the first job. Himalayan Blackberries often need to be beaten back in suburban yards. I hope to get some work doing that. The real test will be on my own salmon berry thickets.
As predicted, I've drummed up enough business to more than pay for the machines. At least 80% of the hours on these machines has been done at the farm. I priced a big laurel hedge at $700 today. If I get that one, I'll be even more pleased with my purchase and will get a cordless pole saw. It's a little chainsaw on an eight foot pole. Perfect for reaching into giant overgrown hedges and for knocking lower branches from trees in order to clear views and improve future lumber value.
I brought a giant van load of clippings to the farm and mulched about 600 sq ft of garden with it. I charged $75 for disposal. This is the first time the farm has paid with anything other than berries and tired muscles.
Well the hegde is about 200 m long and twelve to fifteen feet high bocage as they say here in France . I plan to cut it in Jan to about 4ft
So far I have only been attacking the Blackberry thickets and the machine works a treat . thickets taller than me just "melt away " .
As for how long the battery last I dont know as I have never ran out yet . Stihl being stihl dont have a battery they have a range of batterys to suit . I got a mid range 160 and a normal charger , they do a fast and super fast charger too . I work for about an hour before my arm hurts or I get bored and go onto something else and put the battery back to charge It would not surprise me that it would get two or two and a half hours . The battery did run out on the strimmer after about 40mins of hard useage took about 2 hours to totally recharge .
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
I activated the safety overload when the machine hit four rock hard salmon berry canes at the same time. Here it is suspended in the air. Nothing that I've encountered in the city is as hard to shear as the berries and butterfly bush. I've knocked the chain off of my saw on both species.
The job that I did today produced mostly smaller sticks. Rather than hauling them to the branch dump, I decided to make some garden stakes and mulch. The apple tree was 3 feet taller. The butterfly bush was 15 ft tall. It was cut to within a foot of the ground.
I piled the branches nice and straight and sliced through the pile every three inches. The cutter had to be rocked and wiggled a bit. It's easy to overload the unit when going through a thick mat. After slicing, I rolled the pile over to get the few long chunks that were missed.
It took 10 minutes to process the material. It was reduced in volume by 2/3. Firewood was tossed into the neighbors pile. I don't have to travel to the dump. It would take at least 30 minutes to dump it, and I value the mulch.
Mountain Krauss wrote:Dale, do you have goats? I'm pretty sure you would have zero feed costs if you did.
No, I don't have goats. I had 14 when I was 14 and 2 when my kids wanted some about 10 years ago. These jobs are done in Victoria, 65 miles from the farm. People in Nanaimo don't call on my adds, so I do very little work within range of the farm. I hope to develop an organics waste business there, but it's not the most enlightened city. There are two gardens in Victoria, totaling 2200 sq. ft. that need mulch.
Half of the pile was apple shoots. Goats would gobble that stuff. When I put trimmings into cans, they often heat up within 2 days. During the driest part of the summer, I left some cans in a mini van over night. The windows were streaming with water in the morning and it was hot inside.
This thread is about my 56 volt chainsaw. It draws 840 watts which is a little over one horsepower. I cut some big oak yesterday, an hour after finishing the above job.
I finally got the E-go blower, after a 2 month wait. It's quite powerful. I used it to clean up 2 different decks, yards and roofs yesterday. Lots of power with a wide range of settings. I need roof was covered in mountain ash berries. These are difficult to sweep but they blew right off. A flat roof on the house builds up a slime layer where a 1 inch deep pool sits. I was able to blow this stuff to the drain. The gutters were half full of cedar waste. Using the turbo setting, I cleared them in record time.
There is only one problem that I can see with this blower. It's a battery hog. I killed five batteries yesterday. This wasn't a problem, since I have 3 E-go machines and 3 batteries. Two were charging while the other was in use. If a person had just the blower, the 33 minute breaks would be excessive. Not a problem for most homeowners. I charge $40 an hour. Paying customers don't want wait time.
Hedge cutting has become a major part of my income.
I also use the machine to reduce any small branches, that are going into the back of my truck. I process material on the ground and on the back of the truck.
After it's cut, I push trimmings to the back with a giant potato fork. I process material on the ground and on the back of the truck. The potato fork is also used to unload the truck. I can reach in and drag almost everything out without entering the truck.
This prickly pile of wood, would have taken a lot of room in the vehicle. I was able to reduce it to the small quantity seen in the two cans and wheelbarrow. It was in a backyard that had a narrow passageway.
I have turned my hand held hedge cutter into a pole cutter. First, it was used on a 5 ft pole, to cut the vertical surface of the first hedge pictured. The controls were taped to the running position, which is not recommended, due to safety concerns. I also used it to top a 320 ft. long hedge at shoulder height. With a cushion on my neck, I walked slowly. The weight of my arm was used to balance the cutter. This really saved my shoulder muscles and did an accurate cut.
A couple weeks later, I needed to reach 8 ft horizontally, while topping a thick laurel hedge. A 6 lb. rock was attached to the 10 ft. bamboo pole, to counteract the weight of the cutting end. I stood near the top of my pruning ladder, so that my arms hung comfortably at 10 ft. off the ground. The cutter was swung in a wide arc, with a twisting motion of the torso. It was hard, exacting work, but I made amazing production.
I set it up so that the machines own weight, activated the controls. This allowed me to stand the contraption on end, in the "off" position, while moving the ladder or clearing debris.
Duct tape was used for all attachments. I'm having a canvas sleeve with velcro straps made for the purpose.
When being used to cut a vertical surface, the contraption is held firmly and advanced in several passes, with it held higher each time. I did some cutting with the bamboo pole stood on the ground, while I moved the cutter in a manner reminiscent of windshield wipers. This allowed a 12 ft. cut, without me having to bear the weight continually. It rained branches.
All of these jobs have been money makers, so I will continue to experiment and put the machine to uses well beyond the designer's intended use.
This big cedar hedge was cut at 13 feet. The pole in the first photo of the last post was used. I wear a stiff cowboy hat to deflect debris. I sometimes wear a full face asbestos mask. This allows me to watch the cutter while dust and debris fall on my face.
If someone beats me to it, i would love to hear some responses. But i am interested in the practability of having a dolly with batteries and an inverter, to run a corded electric saw or trimmer. The reason being, corded tools are cheaper, and a solar cart already exists, and can serve more function than brand specific batteries.
For home use, I could see that working. On a building site, many machines may be used that don't have a cordless equivalent. Cement mixers, table saws, tampers etc.
With yard equipment, the cord gets in the way. I have a plug-in Stihl chainsaw. It is more powerful than my E-go cordless saw, but I haven't used it since February. My corded pole saw is mostly used to release the cordless one, when the bar gets pinched.
Batteries are brand specific. I have 4 E-go tools. Each came with a battery and charger. I put more miles on these, than on all of my other tools combined. The hedge cutter paid for itself again on the 4 hour project in my last post.
My Stihl battery fits two of my tools and half a dozen others that I'd like to have.
My Makita batteries (5) fit my climbing saw, reciprocating saw, full sized 7 1/4 circular saw, radio and several drills. There are a hundred more items tthat use the Makita batteries.
The death of one tool, battery or charger, doesn't render other items useless. I keep my eyes open at yard sales, for stray equipment. Paid $10 for a Makita drill and battery without a charger.
There are a few other brands of cordless equipment that I consider worth owning. Husqvarna, Greenworks and Rigid carry a wide enough variety, for the interchangeable nature to work out.
Already today, I have made about 30 cuts with the Stihl pole saw, dozens with the Makita climbing saw and hundreds with the E-go saw. Cords would slow me down immensely. I might be able to get a third of my current production. Without batteries, the whole enterprise would not be economic and I would have to return to burning gasoline.
I went even more cordless last week, with the purchase of a lithium ion powered bicycle. I use it for all of my commuting. The truck hasn't been started in four days and it won't be, until I finish my current job and need to move ladders and other tools to the next.