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Wood chipper advice

 
author & pollinator
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Location: Southeastern U.S.
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Compare flywheel weights of the models you are looking at. They flywheel in ours weighs 200 pounds and really does an excellent job on branches. It's one of the most important pieces of equipment we own.
 
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I did a lot of research before making a purchase and eventually landed on a PTO chipper. I had used a few stand alone models in the past and found them to be very slow to use. We're have 15 acres of mostly wooded land and our open areas have poor soil. We're also clearing a large several acre spot that was "invaded" by thousands of quick growing sumac trees to convert it to growing space. We didn't want to keep paying for mulch and compost so a chipper made a lot of sense - we have an endless supply of downed wood.

I compared a lot of models and landed on the Titan BX42. My understanding is there is shared engineering with some higher end brands. In my opinion, a PTO chipper is the best way to go. You're not relying on (and maintaining) another engine and you can get a whole lot more chipper for the money because you eliminate the cost of the engine - Just be very careful to stick within the limits of your tractor's horse power. I was surprised at how much horse power was needed to chip above 4". And 4" on a PTO is exactly that, I would seriously question the ability of lower cost stand alone units to chip up to their advertised diameters.

Overall, I am very pleased with this model. It chips fast and doesn't bog down. Used for just 1 season though, so limited timeline, but I used it A LOT. It's heavy and can take some muscle to load it onto the 3pt. as it resists moving to line up with the lift arms. I'm probably going to build a small cart to set it on so I can move it around when it's off the tractor.

We are cash flowing our farm and have a very limited budget but we do not regret this purchase. It has already saved us a lot of money and time in the first season.
 
gardener
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Location: Southern Illinois
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Scott,

Nice to hear that you get good results from your PTO chipper.  Like I said earlier, even though my experience is to occasionally rent a 12” model, there are times when I wished I owned my own model and as you and others said, if I did buy, it would need to be a PTO model in order to keep the cost down.

Out of curiosity, is your BX 42 chipper the same as a Wallenstein chipper?  I have looked at Wallenstein before and they certainly look like nice units.

Also out of curiosity, how do you use yours?  Do you go out and periodically chip up some fallen/cut debris?  Do you make piles and then go on s chipping spree?  The reason I ask is that I typically will trim a hedge row over the course of say a month and get a huge pile that includes everything from sticks to nearly 12” diameter logs.  All of this goes into a pile near my garden beds arranged in such a way that I can situate the chipper in such a way that I can simply chip wood right into the desired bed.

Since I am collecting a mountain of chips, I need a big chipper to go through the pile expediently.  Also, those 12” logs just plain need a big chipper in order to take them in the first place.  And one of those logs will produce a LOT of chips.  Right now I have 3 waiting to be ground up (they were all hanging deadfall that I wanted out for safety reasons.

At any rate, all this amounts to one long day of chipping and a large chipper makes it much faster and more simple.  I used to rent a 6” chipper for 2 days at $150/day ($300) and now rent a 12” chipper for $300/day for 1 day.  The old 6” chipper would bog down, reverse and kick out the wood, and inevitably break.  The 12” model (85 hp Diesel compared to 15hp gas) almost never hesitates or reverses (maybe on a large log it would hesitate a little, but I only have 3 of those this season), quickly chips up large branches and just gets the work done and does not break, ever.

Anyhow, this has been my experience, but I would love to hear how yours works out.  Please let us know how your chipper performs.  Again, I am somewhat chipper jealous!  And besides, I love talking tractors!

Eric
 
Scott Stowers
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Eric -

It is my understanding that the bx42 is shared engineering with the Wallenstein among others. BUT I don't think it's been definitively proven, at least, I can't imagine the company would deliberately confirm that.


Also out of curiosity, how do you use yours?  Do you go out and periodically chip up some fallen/cut debris?  Do you make piles and then go on s chipping spree?  The reason I ask is that I typically will trim a hedge row over the course of say a month and get a huge pile that includes everything from sticks to nearly 12” diameter logs.  All of this goes into a pile near my garden beds arranged in such a way that I can situate the chipper in such a way that I can simply chip wood right into the desired bed.



We live on a ridge with 5 flat acres of land. 2 acres of this was a dense sumac "forest". I started there, cutting the trees at the base just before running hogs through to tear up the roots. The sumac grow very fast but don't get much more than a 3" in diameter. So I cut a pile then feed through chipper. But yes, the rest is just downed wood that I cannot use in other ways. I pick out the pieces that are useful to us in other ways (carving, firewood, smoking, building) and the rest goes into a pile as near to where I want to use the chips. If it's not close, I just chip onto a tarp and drag the tarp.


Since I am collecting a mountain of chips, I need a big chipper to go through the pile expediently.  Also, those 12” logs just plain need a big chipper in order to take them in the first place.  And one of those logs will produce a LOT of chips.  Right now I have 3 waiting to be ground up (they were all hanging deadfall that I wanted out for safety reasons.



This size log would require a commercial grade stand alone unit. I'd probably recommend renting if you absolutely need to chip something that size. Obviously, something that size creates some serious hazards as well.

We considered renting but the cost of renting was more than having a load of chips delivered plus we're an hour or so from the rental place. I considered also many of the more sustainable uses for the downed wood that Paul and others mentioned above (we do use wood for heat, building structures and fencing, trellis, carving, smoking etc.) but we also need the chips for mulch, compost, pathways, mushrooms and more. Eventually we will transition away from chipping but right now, after much research and considering the other possibilities for reaching our goal, this seemed to be the right solution.
 
Eric Hanson
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Location: Southern Illinois
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Scott,

I can see how your needs differ from mine.  Certainly my logs are not going to go through your chipper but I totally respect your uses for logs.  I don’t have wood heat and probably won’t.  The logs were hangers in the woods that needed to come down for safety.  And those 3 logs I have will make a whole lot of chips!

Your sumac forest is a perfect source of wood for chipping, will grow right back, fits your chipper nicely and of course, will give you a nice, reliable source of chips.

Sounds nice!

Eric
 
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Hi Eric

I haven't landed on a brand.  My upper price range is $2000. I am using Betstco for my price points. This does not mean I am favoring them. Thanks for the comments on the forks.  I have passed my 70th birthday. While I seem to be in darned good physical shape for my age, I am keenly aware of the realities of life, and I am looking for all the assistive devices I can find.
 
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