Using A Wood Chipper - Tips & Safety
You may find this weird, but having a wood chipper can come in handy when clearing your yard, especially during the summer season. I mean, you will find loose limbs, dried leaves, and dead trees in your compound, making the place look messy. Gone are the days where we had to clear our yards by hand manually. Therefore, instead of spending hours cleaning them by hand, a wood chipper and a wood shredder can be useful at this point.
Before we get to learn how to use a wood chipper, there are a few things that we need to go through so you can have a complete understanding of wood chippers.
What Is A Wood Chipper?
From its word, you probably have a rough idea of what a word chipper is, that is if you didn't know what it is. A wood chipper is an outdoor machine used to reduce trunks, large tree branches, and stumps into wood chips. Wood chippers are pretty portable and are designed to make work easier by reducing the large piles of wood waste. Also see out article on how to use a stump grinder.
By cutting and reducing such wood waste into wood chips, they provide enough mulch for your garden, a source of renewable energy, and flat ground for a playground floor for kids. The chips from wood chippers can also be used for lining flower beds and paving walkways.
Most wood chippers are not only used by gardeners but also arborists and landscapers, especially in areas where wood burning is illegal. Please note there is a slight difference between a wood chipper and a wood shredder, as explained below.
What Is The Difference Between Wood Chippers and Wood Shredders?
Before we go any further, people tend to confuse the two since they look similar, so they use the two terms interchangeably. Unfortunately, a wood chipper and a wood shredder are used differently. Knowing the difference between the two is essential since you will know which type you would prefer when making a purchase.
A wood chipper is designed to handle large branches and pieces of wood and cut them into more minor wood chips. On the other hand, wood shredders use the blunt edges to pull apart the wood material leaving it ready for compost.
Wood shredders have blunt blades designed to cut soft and small materials such as dry and green leaves and wood debris, while wood chippers have sharp blades designed for large and whole materials.
Unlike wood chippers, wood shredders have two hoppers and do not have the ejection chip chute.
Why Should You Use A Wood Chipper?
Doing yard work is tedious as it involves a lot of activities. From clearing up and stuffing the yard waste in lawn sturdy trash bags and finally taking them to your sidewalk for the trash to be hauled away or scheduling to burn them is quite the process.
Keep in mind that not all places approve the dumping of trash bags along the sidewalks. Moreover, not all areas accept the burning of yard debris.
With all these conditions, it seems fair to opt to use a wood chipper to save you all this drama. A wood chipper reduces that extra work that you ought to do. It also saves your time, giving room for other activities that need your attention. Instead of placing the yard debris in trash bags, you can put the yard waste in the wood chipper.
One of the tremendous benefits of wood chippers is that the wood chip obtained can be mulch. Mulch is necessary for keeping the soil moist and so it is highly recommended to add wood chips to your flowering plants.
How To Use Wood Chipper
Once you've made up your mind that a wood chipper is the piece of equipment you would want to use in your yard, you want to know how to use it. You cannot just power on the machine and start using it as you will be putting yourself in danger, and you can end up with a serious injury. Here are some steps to follow;
Step 1: Prepare the Working Area
Before you even start using the machine, you need to make sure the area you will be working from is clear from any sort of debris. You also want to make sure there are no holes in your working area. The holes may be a risk factor since you can end up falling during your work session.
Make sure the path is clear enough. Spot out an area where your machine will be expelling the chippings. Preparing and clearing the working area also helps avoid foreign objects from going through the wood chipper.
Now, once that is done, position your wood chipper downwind to avoid the dust which will be ejected from splashing all over your face. It would be best if you continuously operate the machine on level ground.
Step 2: Make Adjustments on the Chip Chute and the Chip Deflector
The chip chute and the deflector help you regulate the direction and distance the wood chips are thrown. You don't want the chips to be thrown too close to the machine or far away, creating a hazardous mess around. There are two clamp knobs on the deflector, which can easily be adjusted to regulate the distance.
Step 3: Set the Parking Brake
If you use other equipment, such as a tractor to haul your wood chipper, be sure to set the parking brake so that the tractor does not move. This should be set before powering on the machine.
Step 4: Power on the Machine
If you are using gas-powered wood chippers, be sure to first check whether there is enough gas and that the engine has oil. If you are using fuel, then make sure there is enough fuel as well. Also, make sure that the shredding chamber and the turbine are empty. If you notice these places are not empty, be informed that your starter mechanism is at risk of overloading.
You want to ensure also that the feeding tool, a stick to be precise, is not inside the hopper. Take a look at the safety grid, confirm that it is closed. You further need to confirm that the safety switch of the chipper is engaged. If it is not engaged, then the chipper will probably not start.
Please note that if you are using electric wood chippers, you need to do the above steps before plugging the machine into a power source.
Step 4: Always Feed the Blunt End First
The wood chipper can process the blunt end efficiently, so always feed the thickest side first. By doing so, the wood chipper can grab the wood completely. But be keen not to feed the wood chipper larger loads than the recommended one. If you ignore this, the chipper may back up and spill the materials back to you causing blunt force trauma or the flurry of dangerous chips which will scratch you in the process.
Step 5: Feed Mixture of Dry And Green Limbs
As you feed debris into your wood chipper, keep in mind that feeding in the green limbs with the dead ones is essential as the moisture in the green limbs helps to lubricate the chipper's knives. This will, in turn, ensure a smooth process. Always use a long stick to push in any material that is resisting to go through.
Step 6: Keep A Safe Distance Away From The Hopper
Instead of standing in front of the hopper, you could choose to stand aside. You need to avoid obtaining severe injuries when the debris escapes forward and finds you off-guard.
Step 7: Put the Gathered Wood Chips Into Use
Now, after producing wood chips, you need to put them into use. All that effort should not go to waste. The best way to recycle the wood chips is through mulching.
Some of the Safety Tips For A Wood Chipper Operation
You didn't think you would wear your baggy shorts and t-shirt during this major gardening project, did you? Just like any other power tool, a wood chipper as well needs proper attention when handling them.
When handling a wood chipper, you need to wear proper attire, including tight-fitting clothing and not baggy ones. Please make sure no strings are hanging around since the chipper blades can grab them quickly.
Nevertheless, make sure to have your gloves on to protect your beautiful hands from scratches. Steel-toed boots are highly recommended for the task. To add to this, you will also require safety goggles for your eyes. Earbuds can be used for your ear protection against the noise produced by the wood chipper.
During the wood chipping process, there are a few things that you need to put into consideration. Always use a long stick to push the materials into the chipper. Do not use your hands to push in materials.
The wood chipper should always be on level ground, and the chipper's expulsion is facing either downwind or downhill. If you are using an electric wood chipper, always unplug it from the main sockets once done using it.
By now, you've already seen how a wood chipper is helpful, and so you want to maintain it so that it can serve you the longest. After every use, always clean the wood chipper. Key areas to consider are the chipper blades and the power tool; keep them dirt-free. If that is not enough, be sure to follow a maintenance schedule.
From time to time, you need to unclog filters, clean blades, and clean corroded spark plugs to ensure your piece of the machine works perfectly. At any given time, the air filter should never be clogged. If the air filter is only covered by dust, you can dust it and return it. If it is pretty dirty, you have an option of cleaning or even replacing it.
You want to give your wood chipper the attention it deserves. When using it, you also want to avoid getting distracted. You need to watch out for those chipping blades. Nothing should distract you while in the yard.
Types of Wood Chippers To Choose From
As mentioned above, there various types of wood chippers that you could choose from. From an electric wood chipper to gas-powered wood chippers. Both wood chippers have their advantages and disadvantages, and all this will depend on your preference.
Electric Wood Chippers
They are very much cost-effective and affordable. The best part is that they do not necessarily need additional fuel sources, so there is no need to purchase gas. They are also easy to carry. This is because they do not have that added weight for large engines and fuel. Another advantage of electric wood chippers is that they require less maintenance.
One of their downfalls is that they are not that powerful as you think. So, they cannot handle thicker branches. Another disadvantage is that their range of motion is limited since they have to be plugged in.
Gas Powered Wood Chippers
On the other hand, gas-powered chippers are more mobile than electric ones since they lack a cord. They tend to carry a bigger punch of fuel so that they can cut thicker branches. Gas-powered wood chippers are durable compared to electric wood chippers.
Some of the drawbacks are that they are heavy than usual, costly, and need to be maintained frequently.
With that said, the type of wood chipper you wish to purchase will depend highly on your taste and preference.
Facts! No one likes the messy job that comes along with clearing our yards, much less having to devise a strategy of how you are going to tidy your yard.
We now live in a modern world full of fantastic technology, so incorporating a woodchopper into your life is not such a bad idea after all. Wood chippers bring so many benefits compared to their drawbacks. I hope this article was helpful enough for you to consider getting on board with wood chippers.