Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Monday 8 September 2008

My new toys

Filed under: Uncategorized — Helen @ 7:41 pm

I decided to spend some of last year’s tutoring income on some new power tools. I decided that after keeping my patient boyfriend’s shredder for about a year, it was time I gave it back and bought my own. I bought a Bosch AXT 2200 HP Silent Garden Shredder. The picture on the box showed it eating a large shrub, so I decided to decorate mine with some Leylandii for this photograph.

Bosch 2200 HP Silent Garden Shredder

Bosch 2200 HP Silent Garden Shredder

After a successful shredding session I feel able to make the following observations

(1) It is not silent but it is very quiet and peaceful sounding, until you give it a thick branch, when it sings a bit until it’s got through it.

(2) It’s best not to give it a whole shrub in one go, despite the picture on the box. The reason is that the shredding is done by a wheel with spiky bits on it, and you need to shove the branch through the right-hand side of the slot, which is the side that has the wheel edge going downwards. If you try and put it through the left-hand side of the slot, the wheel will just push it back out at you. If you trim off all the side branches to the right of the main stem and shove the stem in, it won’t get pushed to the left by the side branches and therefore it goes down much more easily.

(3) The shredder comes with a bag to collect the chippings, but I haven’t tried this because I have a handy blue cuboid bucket (see photo) which is just the right size. It takes very little time to fill it.

(4) If you want to use an extension lead, it needs to be able to take at least 10A.

(5) It doesn’t shred things into very tiny lumps, but for my purposes, it’s fine.

The shredder was very expensive (£250 from Amazon) but as I reckon I have forty years at least of gardening life still in me, it will be worth the money. Buying cheap shredders just leads to annoyance when things get stuck in them.

Next, I got out my Black and Decker GK1000 Alligator Loppers. This tool is basically a safe chainsaw, but it is still a chainsaw, and to me it looks scary. Note fearful grin in photograph, despite wearing safety equipment and, even safer, not plugging it in.

Alligator Loppers

Alligator Loppers

I bought the loppers from Carl F because they had a really good price for them. When I enquired about the type of power supply, Carl F emailed back to me to say that they were battery powered, with two batteries, an intelligent one hour charger, a battery level indicator and a kit box. Wow, that sounds good, I thought. But when I got the loppers, I found that they just had an ordinary power lead. This doesn’t actually matter because batteries have their disadvantages – you have to remember to charge them up, and they can make the tool heavy. And I have an extension lead. So I decided not to send them back. But I do wonder what the wonderful tool is that has these two batteries and all the other good stuff.

I had some convenient silver birch logs that I thought I’d practise on, so I oiled the machine, pinged the chain a bit to see if it was set correctly (no idea, but the chaps in the factory probably put it on right), turned them on, waited a bit to make sure the chain was running at full speed as per instructions, and then clamped its jaws around a log. I liked the way that it wasn’t very noisy, not like a tree surgeon’s chainsaw. And it sliced through the log in no time. I mean, it was probably about two seconds maximum. But what I didn’t like was that the log jumped about at the start, and it wasn’t a clean cut.

Mess left by alligator loppers

Mess left by alligator loppers

If I had been pruning a tree that I wanted to keep alive, I would have had to get an ordinary saw out to make another, smoother cut. I am not sure whether this jumping effect was because the log wasn’t attached to anything. Maybe if I cut off a branch that was still attached to a tree it wouldn’t move. Reassuringly, the tool didn’t jump around – it is light, and the handgrips are easy to grip firmly. I don’t know whether there is something I am doing wrong, or whether this tool just doesn’t cut cleanly. And also the instructions say you are not allowed to go up a ladder and use the loppers. I wish I knew whether this is proper health and safety advice, like don’t try to take the chain off when the tool is plugged in, or bogus health and safety advice, like the label on our bottle of surgical spirit at work which warns that it could be harmful if you get any on your skin, despite the fact that one of the intended uses of the stuff is to dab it on your skin to harden it.

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One response to “My new toys”

  1. Andie says:

    great pictures of you and your machines (as i already mentioned). the saw thing looks really scary.

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