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View Full Version : Chipper Shredder vs Chipper Vac - or will I need both?


Hedgemaster
08-30-2010, 08:51 PM
Well, time is moving on and I still don't have a way to shred leaves and clean up fallen branches.

I'm looking at craigslist first, as I can't afford much more than $500-$600 at the moment. Initially, I was looking into a chipper/shredder and wanting something that chips a 3" branch, then I came across a chipper/vac that says it can do a 3.5" branch, so I started to wonder if that sort of gadget would make any sense to purchase.

Here are two I was looking at yesterday:
Chipper/vac
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/grd/1925482241.html

Chipper/shredder
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/grd/1925716073.html


If I can't find something used, I saw this one at Tractor Supply for $600.

http://cdn1.ioffer.com/img/item/148/497/257/wBbe.jpg

http://www.tractorsupply.com/outdoor-power-equipment/chippers-shredders-lawn-vacuums/earthquake-9070300-chipper-shredder-2152405


The other one I was considering was the MacKissic LSC800. (MSRP of $760 - not sure of retail price)

http://www.mackissic.com/Images/Shredder-Chippers/LSC/LSC505studio.JPG

http://www.mackissic.com/Leaf%20Shredder-Chippers.html



Anyway, do you think one type (chipper/shredder OR chipper/VAC) would be better than the other?
(IOW, which would be more useful?)

Thanks in advance!

LawnMoore
08-30-2010, 10:15 PM
Im in the same boat as you are :)

Im raking and tarping them to my trailer..

Found a lawn vac but would rather a pull behind unit.

seems to me the pull behinds are expensive and you get what you pay for.

i am interested as well in this topic.

picframer
08-31-2010, 03:29 AM
As a homeowner of a large property I have had a number of chippers and shredders over the years, the units you posted will work fair/good on leaves but they do not have the power to chip much over 1 1/2" and do a good job.

In the spring of 2009 I tried a new Bearcat 5540B which is a chipper/shredder and driven by the PTO on the tractors, even with a 24 h.p. diesel when you put wet leaves in the shredder or a 4" piece of hard/softwood it would really die down. I sold it and went with the tow units which are also diesel.

For leaf collection I use the commercial Dr. Vac units, they do an excellent job at shredding, they have a small chipper for limbs but it's pretty useless.

Hedgemaster
08-31-2010, 09:28 PM
As a homeowner of a large property I have had a number of chippers and shredders over the years, the units you posted will work fair/good on leaves but they do not have the power to chip much over 1 1/2" and do a good job.

In the spring of 2009 I tried a new Bearcat 5540B which is a chipper/shredder and driven by the PTO on the tractors, even with a 24 h.p. diesel when you put wet leaves in the shredder or a 4" piece of hard/softwood it would really die down. I sold it and went with the tow units which are also diesel.

For leaf collection I use the commercial Dr. Vac units, they do an excellent job at shredding, they have a small chipper for limbs but it's pretty useless.

Points noted. Thank you.

I'm guessing that leaves will be the main thing I'm looking to dispose of. I just figured it would be nice to be able to handle small amts of branches as well.

I know someone with a Mighty Mac 12P...

http://www.mackissic.com/Images/Shredder-Chippers/Hammermill/12PT%20Beauty%20green.JPG

... it shreds/chips about as fast as you can stuff things into it. The problem is that they are nearly $2,000.

There's also the SC800 model...

http://www.mackissic.com/Images/Shredder-Chippers/Hammermill/SC763.jpg

... bigger than the one I noted in the earlier post. It's a hammermill design, yet smaller than the 12P above and has an MSRP of $1,200... a little closer to "affordable", but not quite. Although, I may consider it if I feel it's a worthwhile investment. Ugh - my head hurts.


That brings me back to the dilemma of chipper/VAC vs chipper/SHREDDER.(in an affordable, non-commercial model)
Since either of these types are somewhat affordable (models available for around $300-$600), which one would be the most useful?

Rather than throwing my hands up in defeat and calling it quits, I simply have to realize that I must crawl before I can walk. I can't afford the equipment that will make me the good money, so I'll have to chug along with what I can afford until I can upgrade.

picframer
09-01-2010, 04:04 AM
I find with the hammer mills you can put a 1" branch in no problem, what I really like about hammers is you don't have to worry about sharpening, granted they get pretty loud when feeding small branches.

If clean up is the goal, I would go with a vac rather than spend time making a pile then manually feeding a unit to shred the leaves.

Now if you do, find a organic product very high in Nitrogen, sell it to the clients for the shredded leaves to brake them down fast over the winter.

Hedgemaster
09-03-2010, 10:06 PM
A used Mighty Mac 12P for $500 popped up last night.

(image from MacKissic website)
http://www.mackissic.com/Images/Shredder-Chippers/Hammermill/12PT%20Beauty%20green.JPG

I'm going to go look at it on Sunday and am hoping it works out.
I'm thinking it's an older model, as it doesn't appear to have the "funnel" attachment on the chipper chute on the side of the unit. Just HOW old is unknown, as the seller is not the original owner.

It has an 8hp B&S engine if that means anything when trying to determine an age. Unfortunately, it's too late to contact the manufacturer to see if they would know it's age based on the description.

The Mighty Macs seem to have a solid reputation, so I'm hoping that even though it may be old, it will work better than some of the new "homeowner" machines costing $500-$600.
Aside from leaves/branches, this would come in handy for shredding hedge cuttings.

I've only got about $500 to spare - a $400 utility trailer deal just fell through yesterday and then this chipper/shredder popped up... they say everything happens for a reason. Wish me luck.

Steve
09-04-2010, 12:59 PM
Good luck and keep us posted on the outcome.

Hedgemaster
09-04-2010, 06:15 PM
Somewhat related, so I'm not starting a new thread...

Are "push blowers" of any real value?

The guy selling the Mighty Mac I'm going to look at called to mention that he also has an "old, 1960's push blower in the shed" if I'm interested in making an offer. He was going to list it for $250 - says they swapped out engines a few years ago to a Honda engine. Also says it's "smaller than most push blowers on the market today".

Until a few months ago, I didn't even know they existed, so I don't even know if it's of any real use to have one. (I do have a handheld blower/vac)

Just curious.

MountainViewGreenskeeper
09-04-2010, 08:54 PM
Somewhat related, so I'm not starting a new thread...

Are "push blowers" of any real value?

The guy selling the Mighty Mac I'm going to look at called to mention that he also has an "old, 1960's push blower in the shed" if I'm interested in making an offer. He was going to list it for $250 - says they swapped out engines a few years ago to a Honda engine. Also says it's "smaller than most push blowers on the market today".

Until a few months ago, I didn't even know they existed, so I don't even know if it's of any real use to have one. (I do have a handheld blower/vac)

Just curious.

The golf coarses use them out here but dont know what a landscape company would use it for unless you have a massive commercial contract that could use it.

Hedgemaster
09-04-2010, 10:13 PM
The golf coarses use them out here but dont know what a landscape company would use it for unless you have a massive commercial contract that could use it.

Kinda what I was thinking. I guess if you have a huge, flat area, it would be great, but it's pretty "hilly" around here. I'll take a look at it for curiosity's sake.

Gotta remember to throw some branches in the truck to test the chipper/shredder.

:cool:

Hedgemaster
09-05-2010, 11:19 PM
Well, I bought the used Mighty Mac 12P. Paid $480. Time will tell if it was worth it.

It needs a baffle plate (the flap that directs where the chips are thrown), but otherwise seems to be intact, and working.
We started it and he let me shred/chip some pine branches I brought with me. I think the screen is in the wrong position, and was missing a pin to hold the bottom end in place, so some of the debris came out before being shredded down to the proper size. The seller was good enough to locate a rod and fabricate a pin while I was there, but by then I was out of branches to test my theory, so I'll have to try it again with the screen in the proper position, and see how it works.

The hammers seem "fair" to my novice eye. Slightly rounded on the corners, but the other ends are still sharp, indicating that they had never been reversed to the second side. I'll have someone experienced take a look at them to see if they need to be reversed yet before attempting to change them.

The chipper works, although I don't care for the fact that it doesn't have the "funnel" on it. It isn't missing (as far as I can tell, the older models didn't have that), but I'm going to see if one can be purchased or fabricated, as it would make feeding the chipper easier, and safer.

The engine is an 8hp B&S that the seller had fixed up when he acquired it - as copied/pasted from the ad:
The shredder has been maintenanced by having the drive belt replaced, chipper knife sharpened, carburetor rebuilt, oil changed, spark plug changed, air filter and air prefilter changed, greased all bearings, and tested to verify that everything is working properly.

He also added a throttle control which I suppose is nice.

I would describe the overall appearance of the unit as "rough". The green paint is faded and it has much surface rust. There is nothing "pretty" about it - at all. I joked that it looks like it was beaten with an ugly stick, then turned around and ATE the ugly stick. :D
I believe he said that the engine "code" indicated it was made in 1990, so it makes sense that it looks the way it does. The serial number is still visible, so I'm going to contact the manufacturer to verify the date of manufacture, and inquire about parts.

I'll try to take some photos to post tomorrow.

Oh, and it fits perfectly on the cargo carrier on my truck, so I can put off buying a trailer just a bit longer!

picframer
09-06-2010, 04:49 AM
Sounds good, reversing the hammers is quite easy, at least on the units I have seen, you may want to do this anyhow just to be ready.

The flap, if it's anything like the ones we use or I have owned, you can make one pretty quick with a heavy sheet metal which bends fairly easy or if you can rent a torch, you could make a really nice unit.

Hedgemaster
09-07-2010, 12:10 AM
Ta-da!

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5694.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5693.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5700.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5703.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5698.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5695.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5696.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5697.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5706.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5708.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/104_5711.jpg

:cool:

The Cleaning Doctor
09-07-2010, 10:17 AM
Congrats. I would paint it up over the winter when you have nothing to do. Or in the evenings.

Steve
09-08-2010, 09:59 AM
Oh wow! I'd love to see some video of that working!

Hedgemaster
09-08-2010, 10:39 AM
Oh wow! I'd love to see some video of that working!

Funny you mention that. I shot a quick clip of me firing it up (took 3 pulls because I forgot to set the choke), but for whatever reason, Photobucket won't let me upload it.

I spoke to the people at MacKissic and as it still has the serial number visible, they were able to tell me that it was made in 1990. It's actually a model 12 PTE, "E" indicating an "electric start" model, however it has no battery, nor any indication of wiring for such purpose. There is nothing to indicate if the engine is the original aside from a matching manufacture date of 1990 and the proper HP (8) for that date of manufacture.

Unfortunately, I also learned that it should have had the chute for the chipper on the side, and that a replacement will cost $120 shipped, so that makes it less of a "deal". Had I known, I would have offered less - live and learn, but either way, it's still a LOT less than a new one.

If I can figure out a way to do it, I'll post some video of it in action one of these days.

:)

Steve
09-08-2010, 11:14 AM
Funny you mention that. I shot a quick clip of me firing it up (took 3 pulls because I forgot to set the choke), but for whatever reason, Photobucket won't let me upload it.

Post it on youtube? You can create an account there for free.

Hedgemaster
09-14-2010, 11:07 PM
As I sit here browsing classifieds online looking for yard vacs, I think I finally answered the initial question posed in the title of this thread.

The shredder will come in handy, but I'm thinking I should have spent the money on a vac first. Live and learn.



I'm cutting some hedges tomorrow - maybe I can shoot some video of this beast in action. :cool:

picframer
09-15-2010, 03:37 AM
As I sit here browsing classifieds online looking for yard vacs, I think I finally answered the initial question posed in the title of this thread.

The shredder will come in handy, but I'm thinking I should have spent the money on a vac first. Live and learn.



I'm cutting some hedges tomorrow - maybe I can shoot some video of this beast in action. :cool:

Well if you lived closer I would rent you two commercial Dr. Lawn Vac's cheap, I decided last night we are not doing leaf jobs this season, yes we make good money at them but we have enough landscaping/excavation and tree work to take us into November if the snow holds off.

Steve
09-15-2010, 02:33 PM
This sounds like a next step in the further evolution of the business.

Are you concerned that you won't have leaf cleanups as feeders for future services down the road? Or is that not an issue?

How important is it to have such feeder services like that?

picframer
09-15-2010, 06:23 PM
This sounds like a next step in the further evolution of the business.

Are you concerned that you won't have leaf cleanups as feeders for future services down the road? Or is that not an issue?

How important is it to have such feeder services like that?

No I am not concerned as we seem to be pretty well established, I hate turning business away but we have been the past few weeks, we can only do what we can do and I am not interested in more staff, the company is as big as it's going to be as long as I own it.

Steve
09-16-2010, 01:53 PM
Are there ever times when a lawn care business owner needs to worry about offering certain services that bring customers in such as leaf cleanups? Or should they always be looking for a niche and once they find it, they should focus on the niche more?

In general, do you think there is an upside as well as a downside to it or no?

picframer
09-16-2010, 07:43 PM
Are there ever times when a lawn care business owner needs to worry about offering certain services that bring customers in such as leaf cleanups? Or should they always be looking for a niche and once they find it, they should focus on the niche more?

In general, do you think there is an upside as well as a downside to it or no?

I guess it depends on your man power, we are out straight and we have a lot of current clients that will want their leaves leaned up, I will either sub it out or buy out another lawn care company that has approached me.

I just bought a small construction company, group of guys from Africa that do outstanding work, I was referring fences and decks to them and they took off but they really struggle with the marketing and paperwork side, we started talking two weeks ago and I bought the company Monday, it will stay under it's on name however I will handle business development as we are asked every week for outdoor wood projects.

In general, I don't think we should ever be afraid to offer a service, I tend to get myself into trouble as I stretch everyone too thin but business development is my core, I seem to be able to do it with anything I set my mind to, just hard to control at times.

Steve
09-17-2010, 01:49 PM
That all sounds very exciting!

When you buy such a business, do you let the previous owner continue to manage it and you would simply send them more work or do you take over the management of it? Which way do you feel works best?

Also in such a situation, what is the advantage of buying a business like that versus simply hiring a few more into your staff?

picframer
09-17-2010, 03:01 PM
That all sounds very exciting!

When you buy such a business, do you let the previous owner continue to manage it and you would simply send them more work or do you take over the management of it? Which way do you feel works best?

Also in such a situation, what is the advantage of buying a business like that versus simply hiring a few more into your staff?

I manage all aspects of the business, Holly looks after all the paperwork, no exceptions.

The advantage is I was really taken with the quality of their work and work ethic yet they are new to the country and having a tough time getting going, that for me is easy.

So far everything is working perfect, I gave them three jobs today alone.

Hedgemaster
09-17-2010, 10:47 PM
I'm a foreigner (to you)... I need jobs...


Just sayin'.


:D

;)

Steve
09-18-2010, 03:24 PM
I manage all aspects of the business, Holly looks after all the paperwork, no exceptions.

As you go through this experience, I bet there will be a lot of lessons you will learn that would help others smooth the process when purchasing other lawn care businesses themselves.

picframer
09-18-2010, 07:56 PM
As you go through this experience, I bet there will be a lot of lessons you will learn that would help others smooth the process when purchasing other lawn care businesses themselves.

Probably, it's second nature, I financed hundreds of transactions in banking,have run several comapanies and to speed up growth I have taken over dozens.