Petrol strimmer / brush cutter recommendations



The hedge trimmer attachment is available separately for the brushcutter/strimmer - it is the long reach one, not really any good at anything under 6 feet high. I didnt realise at the time that it was available, but the dealer said it was a straight fit onto the TBC230, just one bolt to take off the end mini-gearbox, then the attachment slides on. I havent really got any use for it, so have never bothered getting one. Alan.
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On 2008-05-30 22:48:54 +0100, alan@darkroom.+.com (A.Lee) said:

OK, thanks.
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On 2008-05-30 22:48:54 +0100, alan@darkroom.+.com (A.Lee) said:

After some further research yesterday evening, I went on a researching mission to several machinery suppliers today and looked at Stihl, Makita and Tanaka..
The Makita range originated as Fuji Robin and seems to have been popular in the U.S. more than here. FR was acquired by Makita about a year ago and products have been rebranded..
Tanaka was acquired by Hitachi also about a year ago but the brand has been retained for the time being at least.
Each supplier had a few entry level products which were distinctly ropey and flimsy. Most had TTI Ryobi and it was clear that this is an in-between product, as I expected. The comment was that Ryobi could be OK for occasional domestic use but not more. There was a big jump in quality to the Stihl, Tanaka and Makita products and of course a price difference as well.
The large Stihl machines are clearly pretty good, but I was looking for smaller products. In these, Stihl didn't seem to be anything like as good as their larger products, particularly in terms of feel and balance.
I agree with you, Tanaka products were much better balanced and clearly of good manufactured quality.
I looked at the Smartfit range, and there are two advantages - the shaft splits in the middle (makes storage easier) and the tools attach with a single thumb screw. However, I don't really need either of these features since I'm not carting it around from site to site and it's only a couple of minutes to swap tools on the conventional machine.
I tried out the hedge trimmer attachment and came to the conclusion that it would be good for high and long reach work, but not for closer and lower. I have quite a lot of that type of work, so it was clear that a standard hedge cutter would be needed.
So the net result was that I bought the TBC230 and the THT2000.
I'm going to need the long reach trimmer in a couple of weeks so will order that separately.
Anyway, the results are impressive. I cut one of the low hedges in about a third of the time as using the previous electric one. The line trimming work was done in about half the time.
These machines are going to pay for themselves quite quickly. Thank you for the pointer.
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Andy Hall wrote:

By way of follow-up, I have had a bit of a play with the Ryobi now, in both strimming, and chainsaw/pruning mode.
Starting seems quite straight forward when cold or hot - don't know if it will get less so with age of course. Throttle response is ok as well (offering more than just a choice of idle or full revs).
Balance when strimming is ok and the length not as short as the electric ones. However I would not mind it being tad longer or at lease there being an ability to change the angle of the head a bit. Most of the trick seems to be getting the shoulder strap length tuned for most comfortable operation. I did try strimming with the extension bar in there, and it is ok for reaching under overhanging trees etc, but not well balanced enough for extended use like that. The shoulder strap does a reasonable job of carrying the weight at the balance point. The line feed mechanism seems to work ok at the moment. Strimming performance at full revs is quite prodigious - chopped its way through damp grass, cow parsley, nettles and thistle and brambles with just the line trimmer head (not tried fitting the steel brush cutting blade yet - and suspect there is not going to be much if anything I will need it for).
The chainsaw add-on I was expecting to be a bit feeble, but was actually quite impressive - sliced its way through anything I threw it at without complaint - the strimmer having plenty of power for the task (which given its only a 10" bar on a 30cc engine is perhaps not that surprising). Seemed quite economical with the chain oil, and did not exhibit the tendency to spew too much of fit all over the place. The balance with the saw is not as good as the line cutter head, being slightly end heavy. Working at a reach for higher overhead stuff becomes a bit tiring after 20 mins or so. (I went round trimming anything dead looking from about 18 fruit trees - was quick and easy enough, but that was about as much as I wanted to do in one session).
I might try out the hedge trimmer tomorrow and see that that is like.
General impression of build quality is nothing to write home about, but should last well enough in a domestic setting. Not sure if it is typical of all 2 strokes, but it gets through fuel at reasonably swift rate (probably about 20 mins to a tank full). Running, while not silky smooth in good enough to not cause any vibration related issues for the operator.
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Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm coughed up some electrons that declared:
<snip>

That's encouraging, I might get one of those. What's the thickest branch you tried cutting?

I did some *serious* cutting of a 10' high hedge at my late fathers house yesterday[1]. Hawthorn, holly, brambles in amongst something quite tough. It had no trouble - I was quite impressed. Took 1/2 an hour to take the outside face off 150' run of hedge.
Cheers
Tim
[1] People were whining about getting twigs and brambles in the face, not unreasonably...
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Tim S wrote:

about 4 or 5" (It seemed to have no difficulty with that, so I expect more would be ok)

I have about 120' of 10' evergreen to have a go at... did not get round to it today...
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Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm coughed up some electrons that declared:

Thanks John. The hedge is pug ugly but the max trunk thickness is about 2", so the pruner won't have any trouble. It will be useful having the pruner on a pole, with the hedge being a fairly nasty blend of prickly things...
I just have to decide if it's worth saving (cut to 3-4 feet high and see if it can be loved into shape over a couple of years) or whether lop it to the ground and start again. 5-6" capacity should sort out some of the tree branches too.

My first conclusion is that it may not give the same grade of finish (flatness mostly) that a "normal" trimmer with a decent length bar would (probably not surprisingly), but I did manage reasonable results on the climbing dangly stuff along the fence.
BTW, I did notice an ExpandIt extender pole which can add another couple of feet onto the reach - might save the arms if reaching high will be a regular occurrence).
http://www.greenfingers.com/superstore/product.asp?dept_id "21&pf_id4440D
Cheers
Tim
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Tim S wrote:

The actual bar is 10" - so it would probably cope with close to that without any exotic cutting techniques.

Yup - I expect that may be the case...
(note there are two trimmer add ons - one fixed and one with an articulated head (chap in the shop said they sell hardly any of the fixed ones))

Yup, managed to get the shop to give me one of those ;-)
Tried it on the strimmer - handy for getting under overhanging trees - but a bit front heavy as you would expect. Probably more use on the saw or trimmer. (although not recommended you can use more than one extender at a time)
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Cheers,

John.

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Andy Hall wrote:

Be aware that hedge cutting in the nesting season is deprecated, and may in some cases be illegal.

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Yes I know.
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John Rumm wrote:
Thanks to all those who responded. I got the impression from most of the comments that the basic models will probably hang together well enough for my intended use.

ok, went to have a look at some in the flesh. The models available at the place I went to were a bunch of fairly high end Stihl models and Ryobi at the toy end of the market.
I had a chat with the chap behind the counter (who from past experience seems to know his kit quite well). He seemed to rate the Ryobi as "ok". He said they sell lots, and don't get many back, and the spares are available and cheap. He said he has a sold a few to trade customers, who treat them as disposable, and bin and replace them every couple of years.
While not being a great fan of Ryobi kit in general, the deal on offer was reasonably compelling, so I thought I may as well give it a go.
So I got of these:
http://www.screwfix.com/prods/79750/Landscaping/Landscaping-Power-Tools/Brushcutters-Trimmers/30cc-1-04hp-Ryobi-Quick-Fire-Brushcutter
Came with the chainsaw pruner attachment as a freebie.
I got the articulated hedge trimmer thing for the end, and managed to get him to throw in an additional extension bar, and a couple of bottles of 2 stroke oil as well. Total price 230.
Got as far as assembling, and test strimming a bit of grass before giving up for some less inclement weather! Seems reasonably solid - just about long enough on its own (and plenty long enough with the extension bar in there).
I will do a more detailed review after I have had a chance to use it.
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Cheers,

John.

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On Mon, 26 May 2008 20:46:27 +0100, John Rumm wrote:

<snipped>
Ordered exactly the same model this evening - should be here on Wednesday. Mine comes with the hedge trimmer only.
Will post my opinion of it when I've tested it.
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Regards,

Hugh Jampton
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