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Cordless Hedge Cutter becomes Sickle Bar Mower attached to wheelbarrow  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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Check out this thread that concerns my cordless hedge cutters. The large one is about 4 posts down.
http://www.permies.com/t/37947/gear/Cordless-hedge-trimmer
I have used this machine to cut hedges, mow the roadside, cut hay and to slice through compost. It's a real workhorse.

I'm going to attach it to the wheelbarrow or to a free baby stroller, in a manner that allows the cutter bar to stick out to the side at about 3 inches off the ground. It will be a small sickle bar mower for maintaining roadsides and for small scale hay production. . I've already cut several thousand square feet and it works great, but I was bent over like a dummy.

For my road, I think a wheelbarrow mount will be best. The road is a low grade of gravel and silt. A little bumpy for a stroller. I'm thinking of mounting a 2x4, just forward of the front (and only) wheel. The base of the cutter is flat. A strip of foam rubber could sit between the wood and the tool. The wood needs to project sideways to where it is about even with the side of the metal barrow. This would allow the wheel to run on the smooth part of the road, where vehicle tires have knocked rocks to the edge. It will also allow good visibility. I want to always see the cutter bar.

Whenever I maintain the road, there are rocks to pick up and sometimes larger stuff needs to be cut with loppers. Rocks, loppers, an extra battery and a water jug can all ride in the wheelbarrow. The machine is good for about 40 minutes of continuous operation on a charge. I have 3 batteries.

When cutting dense hay, the cutter can advance at around 1 1/2 ft per second or 1 mph. On roadside weeds, it cuts at a comfortable walking speed of 2 mph.

Hay cutting. At one mile per hour, the machine could cut 10,560 sq ft in an hour. That's over a fifth of an acre. In one minute, it cuts 120 sq ft. That's enough for a few goats. Load it into the wheelbarrow and drive your mini combine harvester to the pen.

I've done the math. An hour of operation costs just under 4 cents for electricity at 8 cents per kwh.

Photos soon.
 
Mike Cantrell
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Can't wait to see this.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Here's the basic idea. I'm on a job for a few days. I'll build it soon. This requires MacGyver level one skills.

A simple squeeze bar will turn it on.

The last photo is from the driver's position. Being a one wheeled device, the thing could be tipped sideways to clear obstacles.
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Penny Dumelie
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I really like this idea. Looking forward to the photos

Possibly not for your situation if a one-wheel unit makes more sense, but I could see one of these being modified for the same purpose.
They can possibly be found fairly cheap second hand.
For someone like me that struggles with a wheelbarrow, the balance of four wheels would be great.





 
Dale Hodgins
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Penny Dumelie wrote:I really like this idea. Looking forward to the photos

Possibly not for your situation if a one-wheel unit makes more sense, but I could see one of these being modified for the same purpose.
They can possibly be found fairly cheap second hand.
For someone like me that struggles with a wheelbarrow, the balance of four wheels would be great.







Here's the mobility issues version. This mobility scooter rides with the deck 6 inches off the ground. The 2x4 could go on top of where the rider's feet go, or for shorter cutting, it could go beneath the machine.

The second photo shows the attachment point. I'll attach a plywood plate with 3 sets of holes at various heights. For more choices, blocks could be used on top of the 2x4.

The flat bottom is a foot long.
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Dale Hodgins
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Using the mobility scooter/tractor.

When the little tractor and cutting bar are in motion the entire contraption is using about 500 watts of power. I believe this to be the most energy efficient mechanical harvest I've ever heard of.

When harvesting hay, it should be able to cut one acre using $0.20 worth of electricity. The process would take about five hours.

If I were driving a machine using the hedge cutter, I would put a swivel plate so that it can move if I hit an imovable object.   The machine automatically shuts down if overloaded or if it becomes too hot. This is a safeguard which allows it to do big jobs. It can work all day without harm.
--------------------------------

And I thought Jethro Tull had good ideas. This contraption is bound to bankrupt the big makers of farm equipment!

Mover Thomas Edison.  Make room for the new kid on the block.  Prepare your bankruptcy papers Massey Ferguson. These things are taking over harvest.
 
Penny Dumelie
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My problem with wheelbarrows is a height issue (mine).
Because I'm so short, when I lift a barrow I'm holding it at about armpit level to get it up off the ground.
Makes it very awkward to move and balance. I try and avoid them whenever possible.

The scooter is a great idea for a larger area and mobility problems.


This came across my facebook feed today. It made me think of this thread.

Pedal Powered Farming

 
Dale Hodgins
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I prefer pedal to the metal farming. The pedal needs to be on an electric tractor.

These golf carriers are often given away. Super light and height adjustable. The wooden beam would need to go to both sides so that a counterweight can keep it from tipping. A box containing water and an extra battery seems right.
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Dale Hodgins
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Here it is --- I decided to fit it to this smaller wheelbarrow. My big contractors model is always needed for something else, so no point in altering it.

I sandwiched the steel pipes between 2 chunks of 3/4 plywood. Long screws hold it snug. It took 15 minutes, using only the cordless chainsaw and drill.

I attached the cutter to the bar with bungee cords. They worked well.

The machine has two triggerpoints that must be activated for it to work. I tied one to activate it and attached a noose string to the other.  I used a bungee to hold the control in the "on" position.  It hooks to the edge of the wheelbarrow. I will come up with something more permanent in the future.

It cuts quite well, but difficult to maneuver in tight spots, since the thing is about 4-1/2 feet wide. The finished product will swivel so that I can move it out of the way when not in use. This will make it much easier to maneuver.

When cutting hay, a hockey stick or some other small piece of wood could be dragged through the material after it's cut so that it lays it a few inches away from new material that is not yet cut.

Ideally the material would be laid out to create a hay free zone where the wheel of the wheelbarrow and where my feet could go on the next pass.
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John Polk
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Neat idea.

I often see dead lawn mowers for free on craig's list, or yard sales.
Pull the motor and blades off, and the trimmer could be easily mounted atop the deck.
A hand brake from a bicycle could be rigged as a trigger pull.

Perhaps even one of those solar fence charger panels could be mounted atop.
By the time the 3rd battery is dead, the first might be recharged.

 
Dale Hodgins
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Yeah, that would work on fairly even ground. Many dead mowers already have a squeeze bar that could become the on off lever. The blades stop if you let go. I like mowers with giant wheels.

Those jogging type baby strollers have big wheels and a spot to store batteries, water, tools and a baby. I could make an extra $5 an hour babysitting. They'd have to keep their fingers inside.
 
Brian Cady
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For a comparison of other options, you might see: http://scytheconnection.com/scythe-versus-weed-whacker/

 
Dale Hodgins
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Weed whackers are far slower than the hedge cutter. I own a gas powered Stihl machine that can't compare to the hedge cutter.

I have a new scythe from Austria that I have never used. Got it free. Along with grass and weeds, my road has thousands of small trees that the hedge cutter can handle. There are rocks and larger trees just beyond the area to be mowed. A scythe would be constantly tangled and it would be damaged.

For cutting hay in a field, I'm sure that a scythe attached to the right person, could beat Grampa's Shoprider scooter and hedge cutter. Put two untrained people at it and the hedger wins. Most people should be reasonably good at it after 5 minutes.

I often push my machines to the limit, just to see what I can get done.

A cutter attached to a wheelbarrow, probably makes the most sense for those who want to harvest a small amount of forage each day. The cutting rate is 120 sq ft per minute. The day's rations could be cut, put in the wheelbarrow and fed in five minutes. I don't have a suburban lawn. If I did, this is how I would manage the grass. Suppose we have 5000 sq ft of grass. On a 10 day cut cycle, we need to cut 500 sq ft a day. That's a lot of feed if the lawn is fertilized and watered, as many are. I could see completing the operation in 10 minutes a day.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I'm still looking for a mobility scooter to use for this and other purposes. If we have a mobility scooter there is no reason to stick with a cutter bar based on my hedge cutter. Something much larger,  based on a large 12 volt or 24 volt motor could be used.

 I'm also looking for a dead ride on lawnmower. I would  take off the motor and grass cutting equipment. This leaves  room for other things.

 With the motor gone,  there is  nothing to protect the driver from. The hood can be replaced with a box for hauling stuff .

    The running gear from a dead mobility scooter could be added to the lawn tractor.  Most scooters can go about 12 miles per hour. Suppose we have a garden tractor that is three times the weight when loaded with firewood.   It should be able to go four miles per hour,  if geared properly.   I have seen a 300 pound man ascend a steep hill on his mobility scooter. Therefore,  I assume that a lawn tractor on level ground could easily be moved by the same power plant.
 
Ken Peavey
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I think I'll try attaching my hedge trimmer to a wheelbarrel.
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Dale Hodgins
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Andrew Ray
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I'm still looking for a mobility scooter to use for this and other purposes. If we have a mobility scooter there is no reason to stick with a cutter bar based on my hedge cutter. Something much larger,  based on a large 12 volt or 24 volt motor could be used.


I have a gas "walk behind tractor" with a cutter bar mower attachment. The cutter bar is 120cm (3.9 feet) and the motor is a Honda 5HP. The cutter bar is made by ESM in Germany, my mower using:
http://www.esm-ept.de/en/produkte/oscillating-mowing-technology/maehbalken-schneidwerke/universal-cutter-bar-sc/

Their spec is that every meter length of cutter bar uses 2.5-3.2 kW of motor energy, though this is referring to output from a gasoline motor and probably varies with the travel speed (and hence how much grass is getting cut at a given instant).

Just posting this to give you some ideas for the future. Personally I've already thought about running the walk behind tractor from an electric motor and batteries, just for now its only a thought, as I don't have the money for such a project, and it would be difficult to mount enough batteries to get a decent run time (I use it to make hay, and at the walking travel speed of my machine, this takes 4 hours of mowing per hectare, which would mean a battery bank with 15kWh capacity).
 
Dale Hodgins
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My cutter bar consumes about 500 watts. One a meter long would use about 750 watts. The components are quite light and run at 3000 oscillations per minute.

I tested on fairly dry grass. I'm not sure what would happen if I was cutting alfalfa or heavy green grass.
On low powered machines like mine,  the condition of the cutter bar is important. It's quite sharp. Powerful gas equipment is often allowed to get quite dull.  Rather than sharpen the cutter bar,  people simply give a little more gas. I've done that with a gas powered saw. I couldn't get away with this when using my cordless saw.
 
Hans Quistorff
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I have been swinging a scythe since I was 10 but as I got older I wanted some extra power so that is why I invented the Wauna Blade


I have thought of buying the hedge trimmer attachment and try modifying it. It cuts on both directions of the swing which is an advantage over the scythe.
Because you have a scythe handle you could take the blade off and mount a wheel at right angle to the handle where the blade was then make a platform for your hedge trimmer above the wheel. That should allow you to practice your scything skill with a training wheel.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The string trimmer makes my neck sore. A sickle bar on a stick would be heavy.

I have a similar blade that fits my gas powered Stihl weed whacker. I wonder how this one is different. It seems good on steep terrain.
 
Hans Quistorff
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The difference is the blade is sharpened with a round file which makes a sharp tip and a scythe hook that pulls the grass in and thus cuts it cleanly. The blade you have will be the same if you sharpen it with a round file sized for the depth of the tooth or a half round file if you have the 4 tooth blade. sharpening with a flat file can not keep the tip sharp and enough hook to pull the grass into the sharp edge.

If it is the strap that is making your neck hurt it can be put on the other side. Then your left hand will be on the throttle [I use the starting lock so I do not have to hold the trigger] You then pull with the left hand as one should when cutting with a scythe. the right hand then controls the height and angle of the blade which is again the proper way to use a scythe. The strap should be adjusted to hold just above your hip to carry the extra weight of the motor. The swing should come from your shoulders so that your whole spine rotates. this sets the spine to swing the right foot forward a half step. Cut half as deep as you swing to the right. At the end the left foot will come forward a half step and you are ready for the next swing. The grass will windrow on the left leaving clearance for your feet and the next row of grass. For relief you can switch back to the right side but stand closer to the uncut grass because your cut will start just to the right of your feet.

If weight is a problem you cold mount a wheel on the back of the blade guard as I suggested for the handle to hold the hedge trimmer. If your neck keeps hurting you will have to come for a treatment; my treatment room is here at the farm.
 
Ray Ko
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Dale-this one of my favorite posts. The dreaded HOA finally convinced me I needed to trim the hedges in front of my house. Personally, I wanted to be completely hidden from the street, but they had different ideas. Before digging the manual shears out of the garage, i wondered if I could use a hedge trimmer for other things and stumbled across this thread in my Googlings.

I wound up buying an articulating hedge trimmer attachment for my 32CC string trimmer. Because of the articulation, the trimmer can be adjusted all the way up to perpendicular to the shaft, giving me a cutting angle parallel to the ground as I swing the trimmer side to side as one would with the regular string trimmer head. But, i am just over 6 feet tall and getting closer to the ground than calf height is a tad uncomfortable. Out where I am cutting, calf height is a manageable height. Blackberry, saplings, pokeweed, horsetail, bracken fern and anything else in the way is quickly fodder for compost or mulch. I even cut and windowed some sunn hemp I planted. I'll let it dry and see how that works as "hay"
 
Marilyn Paris
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I have been reading the permies.com discussion forums for many weeks. I bought a ten acre farm and the idea is to grow here everything the goats eat and almost everything I eat. So I planted six acres of orchard grass/alfalfa by hand seeder back in April. Now it is time to mow it along with all the weeds before they go to seed. So since I have a large lawn and my hand mower didn't get it I bought a 6 foot zero turn mower. Great for the lawn but can only do an 18 inch cut at a time on the 2-3 foot tall grass at one mile per hour or she becomes clogged. I has a bagger on it. I am learning to go slower. This has been great for making haylage because the machine grinds the grass up just enough so I can pack it immediately. But it is terribly slow.

I have no hay equipment. I was going to start with a sickle bar mower and did all the research on them. BCS products would work $10,000 would get me started because you need the tractor first. Then you can buy any attachment immaginable. Just a sickle bar mower would work. A Jari is over $3,000 new. Doable but not sure if I want another stand alone machine. Then this thread crosses my desk. Oh, my. I went to Home Depot the next day and bought their last EGO hedge trimmer. Been playing with that all week but today my Dolly came so I hooked it up.
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Here's my set up. Works great walking forwards or backwards
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Does a nice job.
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Happy goats eating their long stem fibers
 
Dale Hodgins
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Welcome, Marilyn. I'm glad you gave it a go. Your goats will appreciate regular fresh cut greens. With large, expensive equipment, you might cut more than is needed. Your rig is suitable for a small herd.
 
Marilyn Paris
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Hi Dale. Thanks for your welcome.
I won't cut more than I need. I have 40 goats. I need 4 tons of haylage to last 200 days of winter. That's for 20 goats. (I need to sell 20 more.) And up to 400 bales of hay but no hay equipment. The sickle bar wannabe hedge trimmer is a start. And I am so grateful for your posts about it. It is FAST compared how I was making hay with the one piece of equipment I had. I can only make a weeks worth of hay at a time because I have to pick it up by hand. No baler and I'm not sure I want a baler. The goats like it loose. I was giving them bagged fresh pasture grass but that grinds it up pretty much. They love it better long. But then I have to pick it up.
One thing great about the "sickle bar" mower is that I can race through the middle of the field, making a path for my zero turn bagger mower. It is impossible to do the full 5 foot cut on 2 foot tall grass without a lot of stopping and unclogging. I timed myself. It takes 1/2 hour to go 40 feet. But once I make that first path through I am good to go at 1/4 cut at one mile per hour and all bagged up. Very slow but at least I don't have to constantly stop and unclog.
The hedge trimmer is speeding things up quite a bit and doesn't bruise the grass. Is great for feeding fresh. And will be great if I get a second cutting in September for hay. There are no weeds (with their thick stems) coming up where I started mowing a month ago. All grass, clover, and alfalfa. Very soft. Will be easier to dry properly for hay.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I just got a phone call,  telling me to come and pick up a free mobility scooter. It's in perfect working condition. They have the charger. The battery needs replacement.

 Two years ago,  I told a guy at a scooter store that I was looking for obsolete equipment for this purpose.  Today,  he gave these people my number.  It pays to advertise.
.............
It will operate as a tool caddy and I may attach my hedge cutter to it,  so that I can use it as a little tractor with a sickle bar mower.
 
Russell DuPree
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Hello, This is my second look at this forum -- purposely, not accidently, and more purposely this time as I appreciate more fully now how our thinking is on the same line and how lucky I am that you, Dale and Marilyn and all, are out there working on the matter of cutting grass with a cordless hedge trimmer mounted on a walk-behind (necessarily repurposed since nothing's being purpose-manufactured for this kind of mowing anymore) rig.
Dale, you said that a high-wheel stroller might work, and I agree. I've seen one with pneumatic bike tires (two larger ones in back, one smaller one in front) that looks like it would handle moderately level ground with ease -- negotiating bumps by being tilted back the way you do with a push mower (but without the frustratingly small wheels). Its carriage even has a platform (the foot rest) useable perhaps for mounting the hedge cutter (hereafter it should be called the sickle-bar mower).
I have a question: Can anyone recommend a make and model -- or makes and models (beyond the picture)? Elsewhere on the internet an individual has found that a cordless electric sickle-bar he tried has not cut lawn grass satisfactorily -- bending it and pushing it aside.
What I want is to be able to cut grass on a two-week cycle and also cut high grass and weeds of 6 - 7 feet, and occasionally some woody growth, 1/2 inch or so diameter, without difficulty in all of these situations. I'd ideally want a battery that allows me to cut for up to an hour without re-charging. The illustrated sickle-bar mower -- is it especially recommended?, readily available and likely to stay so? What's its cost? Any experience with other hedge cutters on grass?
I'd appreciate any (further) help in this department -- before I start talking to salesmen, who might omit some pertinent facts.
 
Hans Quistorff
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Eliminate all the jury rigging and get the direct tool. Electric long-reach
What I want to get as an attachment to my combi: trimmer attachment They also make one specially for grass with a ground protection guide.

This is what I currently use but the angle is not good for cutting back brambles and vines.
 
Marilyn Paris
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That's what you want. To hold the hedge trimmer/sickle bar wannabe in your hands and not attach it to something with wheels because of all the bumps. The last time I mowed with my Ego hedge trimmer, I used two long handled hay hooks. I defeated one of the safety switches with a ball bungee and to engage the blade all I had to do was lift up the tool with the hay hooks. It worked fast and I didn't have to bend over too much. Marilyn
 
Chadwick Holmes
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This makes me want a small Tedder, rake and a small hay elevator, wagon, etc!!!
 
Russell DuPree
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Thanks Hans and Marilyn, but a sything motion is not what I'm looking to do to cut, but rather a straight-forward walk, cutting a row -- conventional lawn mowing style. I may have over emphasized the bumps; I'm talking about level, or even-in-the-traversing, ground for the most part, and those high-end three-wheel strollers for jogging
moms or dads seem tailor-made for it. Too bad the one I had my eyes on got away from me.
I'm still hoping to hear from someone comparing different hedge cutters for their grass cutting ability, or perhaps promoting one make, as the Ego with its 56 volt battery. By the way, how can I add my hometown and state to my profile?
 
Marilyn Paris
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I do not use a sything motion when I use the hedge trimmer holding it with the two hay hooks. I just walk along having complete control of the cut height. My ground is bumpy and this solves that. When I attached it to something I pushed (wheel barrow) I had to start and stop too much because of stalling. Maybe if I had a better set up...Marilyn
 
Hans Quistorff
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Russell DuPree wrote: Thanks Hans
I'm still hoping to hear from someone comparing different hedge cutters for their grass cutting ability, or perhaps promoting one make, as the Ego with its 56 volt battery.

By the way, how can I add my hometown and state to my profile?
At the top of the page go to profile then click on the + for General Information about yourself. Fill in your location then it will be visible with your post. Also fill in your signature section which can contain a lot more information which appears at the bottom of your post. Forum rules allow for self promotion in that space.

I can not give a direct review of the Stihl hedge trimmer but I am very pleased with their equipment that I am using and if I get the funds available plan to buy the attachment. I have observed them being used by professionals and professionals reviewing them remark on the sharpness and power to cut through heavy material.
Apparently this is is the model you would be interested in Stihl electric hedge trimmers

 
Dale Hodgins
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I own the top of the line, Stihl long reach hedge cutter. Paid $916 including the battery and charger. It is unsuitable on many fronts.

The Stihl model cuts very cleanly, but can't handle really thick stuff as well as the E-go.

The curved teeth on the Stihl do not lend themselves to easily being sharpened at home by a novice. I have sharpened the E-go six times.

The Stihl cutter bar is expensive. A replacement cutter bar for the E-go costs $120 Canadian, which is about the same cost as having the Stihl professionally sharpened.

There are many hazards near the ground. Pebbles, wire, road dust... The E-go machine is an inexpensive work horse, that does an excellent job. It's very user friendly and can be sharpened with a flat file.

I own approximately $4500 worth of cordless electric tools, including four hedge cutters. I would never use my expensive Stihl machine near the ground.

Stihl does make a grass cutter bar for the gas powered combi system. I have judged all combi systems to be inferior to purpose built tools. When they come up with a cordless combi, I may change my mind.

I use these tools professionally and would absolutely buy any tool that I thought would be more suitable.

My gas powered Stihl trimmer has a blade similar to that of a circular saw. It cuts grass. The noise and stink are just not worth it. It's the only Stihl tool that I have ever regretted buying.
 
Russell DuPree
Posts: 3
Location: Freeport. Maine
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Thanks all for the info on E-go and Stihl. The E-go is affordable for my use, especially as I've found that there are many used jogging strollers some with high-wheel pneumatic tires for sale in my area -- some for as little as $25. I may be putting the cart before the horse, buying one of these strollers first, before the cutting tool, but for $25 I'll be able to tinker, examine the possibilities of adapting that stroller before I plunk down for an E-go. Or maybe I can buy a very cheap cordless to adapt first.
It boggles my mind a bit though, that Consumer Reports can critique cordless hedge cutters without even mentioning the E-go. What gives there? (They don't even review a B&D 40 volt cordless, only a 20 volt).
About the E-go, I'm concerned, Marilyn, that your E-go hedge cutter keeps stalling out. Is it having trouble cutting or what? I'm guessing it's defective. Or could it be your grass stalks are too juicy and succeed in gumming up the blades 'til they get stuck?
My evolution bringing me to this point of wanting a DH (Dale Hodgins) rig is this: I said no more to gas, and good riddance, when I found that ethanol gas had rotted out my tiller motor after it sat out the winter. I bought a Stihl electric string trimmer and, after a season or two, decided I didn't want to be spreading little bits of plastic string around for the rest of my life. I found a company, Wright and McGill (of the Eagle Claw brand) that made what they claimed to be a bio-healthy biodegradable plastic line, and I planned to use it in my trimmer, but they stopped making it -- no explanation. I think Marilyn and other grazers have the right idea about mowing -- best done to feed animals. I like lawns sometimes, but done without polluting, and for me personally, less is more, and I read lately that science (at UMass) is finding an every-two-week mowing cycle is best for our beleaguered bees (domestic and wild).
 
Marilyn Paris
Posts: 27
Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
3
fungi trees
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Hi Russell,

There is nothing wrong with my EGO hedge trimmer. It is the operator. When I ask it to go faster than it can, grass gets clogged in the blades and the thing stops. Simple fix. Back up and restart. This was a new planting and I had to wait and wait for the alfalfa and orchard grass to get established before I cut the field for the first time. So in the meanwhile, weeds sprung up as you can imagine and got tougher and tougher as the season drew on, making it harder and harder for my equipment, even my zero turn mower, to handle. I'm all done mowing now and this won't happen anymore about the weeds because I will get on it on time in the future. Marilyn
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 502
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I just bought an Oregon 40v chainsaw and a hedge clipper. I haven't used the clipper yet. Has anyone used one for mowing?
 
Gordon Haverland
Posts: 47
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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I too am a recent owner of a 40V hedge trimmer (not Oregon).

I am at 56N (or close to that). I moved back to the farm I went to high school from. Back in 1976 or 1977, I seeded the pasture. I was just a grade 10 student, I didn't know anything about farming. I knew a little about farm equipment (family business). Basically nothing had ever been done with the pasture since then. Almost no grazing or haying. Lots of wild roses growing all over it now. I don't have any farm equipment, I do have a commercial mower (27 hp diesel). I cut 1.5 acres of this rose infested pasture as low as I could this spring. I am now trying to get a first cut of hay. There are a few young roses growing. In general, it appears to be a light grass crop (guessing fescue), with some vetch, clover, alfalfa, dandelion and other stuff. Mid august, I want to distribute some radish seeds in the pasture.

A 1.5 Ah battery pack and a single battery is sort of annoying. I spend more time charging the battery than mowing. I have to wait a while after mowing, before the battery cools enough to charge it. And it seems what I am doing is thermally stressing the motor, so more batteries is not the solution.

Anyway, I have just about finished building a US Park Service, Longleaf Pine baler. I have heads for 2 hay rakes made of pallet oak boards and one rake handle made from a 2x2 made. I plan to use 6 inch long, 1/2 inch oak dowel for tines. And what was missing, was the mower. It got delayed by the recent flooding. But, I have now finished 2 rounds (the outside) of my 1.5 acre, L shaped hayfield. I built a "skid/sled" for the trimmer. It is sitting on a piece of 1/4 plywood, with a 1x2 handle. It appears to need a reel, as there is a tendency for grass to bunch up at the cutterbar. If one calls the grass one has walked on "lodged", I have found that trying to use the hedge trimmer to cut the lodged grass when the grass is thick, is beyond the thermal abilities of my 40V trimmer. The trimmer seems to do okay when the battery voltage is near 40, but when it gets into the plateau region for LiPo batteries, it doesn't seem to have enough voltage to easily cut the grass/hay, and starts to heat up. There is almost no ventilation for the motor. And at one point (first day of use), I seen a bit of white smoke. Not a good sign, motor winding insulation seems likely. The weather at the moment has low chances of rain (30-40%), mostly as late day showers. I have built one hay rack to learn how, I have wood for more. I think I will need to rack the hay to dry it enough before baling, because of this ongoing rain threat.

My feeling is that 40V is not enough voltage to cut hay. I had looked at some of the 56V units, but cheaped out on this 40V unit. I just hope I can limp along to get the 1.5 acres cut. I want to find out how much hay is there, and make a few bales.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I've been using my hedge cutter for several weeding purposes on my hugelkultur  mounds and on slash piles where I'm growing trailing  blackberries. The blackberries grow within four inches of the stacked logs. Thistles and fireweed grow tall. I run the cutter over the top, in order to chop down the competition. It's very fast. Whenever possible, I cut weeds off rather than pull them.

My new Stihl handheld machine has more power than the E-go . It has been used to cut up large amounts of blackberries and to cut tall Orchard Grass along pathways. The blackberries are cut every 4 to 6 inches and allowed to fall down as a mulch. The material is not cleaned up. The long reach Stihl hedge cutter is used for very tall blackberries. I have used the long reach machine in a few near ground situations, where I was sure that I wouldn't encounter wire. When held just right it is just as easy to use as the wheelbarrow method. This machine cost $916 including the battery and charger. It makes sense for me as a commercial user, but for most people with a modest need, the E-go  machine is probably better. The price at Home Depot has increased by $75 over what I paid.
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John Weiland
Posts: 950
Location: RRV of da Nort
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A poorly researched and contemplated thought on my part: Some of the electric 120V corded 24" hedge-trimmers draw ~500W as well. Would it be possible to mount such a thing on the front of a standard riding lawnmower/tractor and use a power inverter running off of the engine electrical to drive the cutting bar? Looks like the amps produced on the bigger riding mowers is ~5 - 10+ amps (..?).....which in terms of power is perhaps not enough?
 
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