Leaf Shredder

jonhughes(So.Oregon)January 3, 2011

My new best friend, this thing is great, 5.5 Horsepower

Harbor Freight

It is soooo fast and dirt cheap, I got this on sale for 300.00

It started on the first pull (it was actually a half-hearted pull (because I slipped in the dirt) and it started anyway...awesome

Check out the video link below

Here is a link that might be useful: My New Shredder

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I was just eyeing that sucker in Harbor Freight myself. How's it do on sticks? I've got a lot more sticks than leaves.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 10:14PM
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Jon---great video---- and I had just finished thumbing through my HF add---- 20 pages of stuff i want---just curious if its mostly made in the USA or not----

Love your enthusiasm --- wonder about those gloves though--do real whackos use gloves ??? just kidding!!

Thx for the inspiration----JB

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Those fluffy shredded leaves are absolutely beautiful--I can smell them through the computer screen. Bosco!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 11:18PM
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Between the Pink Rake and the Gloves,
I'm starting to worry ;-)

It was freezing, those leafs were soaking wet and half frozen, my fingers were killing me ;-)

I would say it was completely made in China, but like most of the "Heavy" tools it was 1st class, all the way, real stout.....

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 11:19PM
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Looks good, but would like to know how it works long term.

Last winter I thought about one of the small plug in HF Chippers for the day to day compost stuff, but it was a piece of junk.

I would suggest taking a good hard look at 12P Mighty Mac shredder-chipper seris by MacKissic. Why do you ask? Well I am 41, when I was 14-15 years old when I worked for a lady and used her MacKissic shredder/chipper that was 10+ years old. I still see her using it to this day.

I have has mine 3 years now, it takes branches up to 3' and a heck of a lost of leaves. Yes, it is expensive . . . but has been worth every dollar.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.mackissic.com/HSC_12P.html

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 11:36PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I got my MacKissic 5.5 hp used on Craigslist for $300. Chips branches up to 2 3/4 inches into wood chip mulch, and will shred as many leaves as you can give it. I love it.

I would suggest CL for anyone looking for a shredder. Just know what you are looking for. Do your research ahead of time. The Mantis stuff is expensive crap.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 7:57AM
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We also have the 12P Mighty Mac shredder-chipper...this chipper is a work horse for the compost waco! I am one of them.

It is difficult to shred greens like canna leaves or long grasses. Just let the greens dry out and it works well.
Very heavy duty.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 4:40PM
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I love it.
You could shred them on the road & haul a lot more home.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 6:31PM
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Now I want one!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 3:41AM
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Love my $2000 Mighty Mac 12p. It's a beast. It makes excellent ramial mulch. It turned 20 yards of leaves into 5 yards of shredded leaves. The shredded leaves heated up and started to compost without the addition of greens.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 3:49AM
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That little tiger is impressive for the money!

I have two 8HP Troy-Bilt Super Tomakwk machines. One dates to the mid seventies (I bought it new) and the other is a '93 vintage. These machines are on par with the Mighty Mac machines and can be picked up in the $400.00 to $500.00 range.

The Troy_Bilts will take 3" branches and seemingly will live forever. I use the one here on my Florida property several times a week and it just keeps cranking out the mulch!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 3:16PM
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For anybody who really wants to process leaves/sticks etc, a chipper is essential. I picked up a used Craftsman on Craigslist. I use it all the time.

The only time I had a problem with what it was processing was when I decided to run my mostly finished compost through it. The compost felt pretty dry going in but chipping seemed to release whatever moisture it had. It bogged down.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 6:22PM
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idaho_gardener - I was amazed how much my piles of leaves heated up to, no greens (other than the once in a while pee) . . . but they really cooked.

captturbo - How is the TB quality now? Years ago I had a tiller and it was bullet proof (I miss it), but have not heard many good things since MTD bought them. Does anybody know when that happened?

pjames - the trick to not clogging is to keep some 1"-2" branches around and when you feed wet matter into the shredder, feed the branches into the Chpper Chute.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 12:47AM
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Anybody do much maintenance on their chippers?

I got an ancient mighty mac 5.5 for $100 and spent another $100 on a tune up and it runs just fine. Right now I need to replace the old belt and gas line.

I'm wondering about sharpening and oil changes and such.

thanks in advance

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 1:28AM
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I too am interested in what people do to maintain their chippers/shredders. I'm afraid to say I have not done anything but use it over some ten year period. How much time elaspses before responsible composters do oil changes, belt replacements and sharpening on their old machines? Thanks- from an embarrassed gardener

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Regarding current Troy-Bilt machines; I would avoid them. You will do fine buying an older machine that was built before the company changed hands.

As I understand it, Troy-Bilt was destroyed by lawyers and lawsuits. Who would have thunk that if you put your arm in a running shredder that you might be injured? A real shame such a wonderful company had to go. Stories like this one are numerous for countless small companies that turned out exceptional products.

As for the question about keeping their machines happy, you should change the oil every ten to twenty hours of running time. The air filter should be checked and cleaned often as well because these machines typically are operating in dusty conditions. My machines tell me when to clean the air filter - they begin to "pop" on the rich mixture the dirty filter creates.

Belts last a long time on the Troy-Bilt Super Tomahawks. I do adjust the tension every once in a while which is really quick and easy with this design. I keep a spare belt standing by just in case.

I have found that I can find the spare replacement parts I need on Ebay. I bought replacement shredding flails, chipper blades, and bearings from there. I also picked up the various sized discharge screens.

Hope this has been helpful.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Many thanks Captturbo.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 8:12PM
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You are very welcome. I'm a shredding / chipping junky and love to encourage others to discover my sickness. My girl keeps horses at a stable nearby and the sweet darling brings me feed bags full of road apples for my shredder to dine on several times each week.

In regard to knowing when the chipper blade needs sharpening, you can tell by the way the material is feeding into the chipper chute. If it doesn't self feed and you have to push it in, it's time to sharpen the blade.

A sharp blade will give you nice large chips of wood. A dull blade will give you smaller stuff that is more like sawdust then wood chips.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 8:50PM
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Thanks for the guidelines captturbo.

I'm looking forward to servicing mine and getting back to shredding. Missed Christmas tree season - dam.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 2:29AM
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You can still probably get in on the chipped trees. Lots of cities have the trees picked up at the curb and they all get chipped. You might be able to go get a load of mulch from them.

If you get commercial stuff like that from a tree service, it will be bigger chips then our smaller machines turn out. I like to run that stuff through my shredder and the results are amazing. Sure makes good blueberry mulch.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 9:47AM
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I was just collecting Christmas trees from around the neighborhood but with the chipper out I didn't want a collection getting in the way for months. I kinda did that once before and it was a bit of a mess after the dogs had been peeing on them.

I'd rather run the dry stuff through though. It seems to work better with my tired old thing so now I'll end up with a brush pile on the driveway out front annoying my wife and the neighbors.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:08PM
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When I have a small amount on the lawn, I just use the lawnmower & get a little green in it.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Last November I purchased a used 5hp MTD Yard Machine shredder off of Craigslist that was working when I purchased it. I put it in my garage and didn't touch it until a few weeks ago and it wouldn't start. I took it get it serviced and the technician cleaned the carbureator (sp?) but recommended that I get the gas tank changed because it was a little rusty.I asked him to start it and he struggled a bit and got it started but then I tried, and although it coughed, I couldn't get it started, I am just not strong enough. I then decided that I should sell it. I didn't elect to change the gas tank, that could be someone else's problem.

The repair man delivered it to my house a few hours later and I asked him to start it for me so could use it. He did, and then I started to use it to shred some of the 20 bags of leaves I had in my back yard. This was the first time I have used it and worked like a charm! I would have continued and finished them all, but it got dark.

My question is...Should I sell this thing or keep it? Will I ever be able to get it started by myself? The ground up leaves and pine needles were so beautiful!
My options are to get a mulching lawnmower, which I don't have at present. What do you think?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:10PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I haven't been able to start a pull-start machine.....ever! LOL
If it's just leaves and pine needles, I'm very happy with my leaf vacuum from B&D! It's electric and light enough that I can use it even with my bad back.It doubles as a leaf blower, which I don't use much.
My neighbors love me cause I come suck up all of their leaves!
It doesn't tolerate twigs well, though. Just a thought, Nancy

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:03PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

lynnsdaughter, I think you need a better repairman.

It may just need a new spark plug. If he didn't replace it then it could be that simple.

Were you able to spin it but just not very fast?

Did it jerk the cord from your hand?

It could be a timing problem if that happened.

A new tank would not be very expensive unless the not so good repairman gouges you!

You may want to post the question over on the tractor forum. There are a lot of sharp guys on small engines that post there. And they may be able to suggest someone in your area to get a good repair.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:02PM
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You just pissed off half of the people on here... now they are in a quandry...they dont want you to use granular fertilzer and want you to incorporate leaves ( a good thing) they want you to be a clown and wait on worms. Then they hate you if you roto till them in as they think you are killing the soil web. You are a bad bad person for not waiting on mother earth to do her thing over the next ten years, and having your garden looking like hell, rather than producing an instant gorgeous garden by using the same non renewable resources that powers thier homes to use there internet. Dont ever say you are tilling in peat moss or fresh manure because they will tell you that you are not only killing yourself but you will be killing your nieghbors water supply while you are killing the planet by using a power tool. My freind is that really the organic way?..lolol..I have a shredder and it is fantastic.good for you, and you arem helping keep a lot of jobs around the world.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:38PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Who peed in your Wheaties this morning? I haven't met anyone here who hates people because of the way they garden.

The web is full of opinions. Take what you like and leave the rest. Simple as that.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Oil Rob, you may be on the wronge thread or something. Anyhow, If someone disagrees with your methods, SO WHat, lots of people don't like Compost Tumblers, I use mine anyway. Don't let disagreement get to you, IT TAKES ALL KINDS, to make this world. I have used a tiller before, when you use a shovel there are several worms that get cut in 2. They regenerate etc. Just chill out and do your best at what you are trying to do. I've had people post stuff in response to my posts that make me feel dumb for not thinking of their info first, but take from it what you need and Okay the stuff you knew.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 3:37AM
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Oil_Robb, any chance you are from Alberta?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:10AM
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From what I've seen almost all of the HF items are from Asia. 'course that applies to a lot of the big box stores also.

For you folks looking for tune up, etc. info, post in the tool shed forum, lots of friendly and knowledgable folks there. Make sure you include the engine Mfg, model number, etc. as small engines are small engines.

Be aware that all gas we buy today has ethanol which is a major PITA to small engines!!!, you have to include additives to combat this!! If your engine has a gas shut off, use it and run the engine dry at every use.

ALso, the carburetors on new engines do not have adjustments anymore, just precisely milled orifices that serve the same purpose. That leads to gunk being deposited and the engine doesn't run or runs poorly, particuarly in view of the ethanol in the gas. Then you get to take off the carb, disassemble, soak in carb cleaner, blow out with air, say a number of "hail mary's" and still may end up buying a new carb. :-(

Use the additives, don't use old gas, if you don't have a gas shut off after the tank, add one so the carb can be run dry.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:33AM
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One easy thing I do to try and keep my small engines working. I put a fuel stabalizer in my gas the day I buy it. Stabil or Sears brand are the most common around me.

Other suggestions:

Take off the string and plastic wrap off the mower blade when you add gas to the tank.

If you find you need to spray starter fluid in the mower -- check out WHY you need to do so.

Check out the stuff your neighbors pitch. It took me only twenty minutes once to get a pitched Echo weed wacker going -- and I'm only a fair home mechanic. And you can learn from their mistakes. One neighbor 'repaired' a carb with duct tape. I'll never lend him anything.

Don't lend any neighbor any of your stuff -- unless you are certain he or she takes better care of things than you do.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:37PM
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Found something to do with the bark that falls off my seasoned firewood and Craftsman chipper/shredder, shred it, man, talk about some nice, fine stuff. One of these days I'll get around to sharpening the blades, bought it used. Looking forward to the Fall leaves and running some small square alfalfa bales through to dump on the garden 7 till in, goooood stuff!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Michael 357, IMHO putting hay of any type in a garden is a mistake, unless it's been composted first to kill the seeds. I did that once a long time ago and fought weeds/hay for years in what had been a relatively weed free garden before.

Again, just IMHO.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 1:42PM
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"Let me guess youre from Alberta"

As a matter of fact I am from Alberta the Texas of the North, why do you ask? I see you are from Manatoba the socialist province that nobody really knows exists and that God forgot to finish. I read your contribution on the Human manure composting thread and you are quite the expert on that topic. Hows that going for you? Trying to save the world by crapping into a bucket.

Let me guess your from Manitoba..

This post was edited by Oil_Robb on Sun, Feb 24, 13 at 21:17

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 9:15PM
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"Let me guess your from Manitoba"

I imagine the "Southern Manitoba" gave me away? No pulling the wool over your eyes. You're sharp as a tack you are.



    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 10:18PM
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exmar, thanks for the thought but the guy providing the small square bales is a friend and I trust him when he says there aren't any weed or alfalfa seeds in the bales, came from a clean field. I certainly get your point, it'd be the pits to import a nightmare of weeds to my garden. A good deal of the stuff is gong to get composted also until I run out of last Fall's browns. Ever heard of New Concord?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:05PM
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