Good Oak News

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Beaver Blades Make Brush Cutting More Efficient

Winter is the time to clear invasive brush that chokes our woods. With snow or frozen ground, you're not going to do much damage treading on the soil and if carefully applied, herbicide will have no impact on the recovery of native flora.

I'd like to tell you about a product that we've been using for years now. Its been so revolutionary to how we work, I've kind-of tried to keep it a trade secret. But we love so much that we've decided to set ourselves up as a retailer, so we can share this product with our clients and other land managers in our region. They're now for sale in our online store, or our Land Stewardship Center at 4606 Pflaum Rd., Madison, WI.

The Beaver Blade is a replacement, and significant upgrade for those standard brush cutting blades that come with your "weed whip", "string trimmer", "brush cutter" or whatever you want to call it. It basically turns your brushcutter or heavy duty weed-eater into the best brush clearing tool available. Once you’ve used them, you’ll never go back to standard brush blades. We’ve been using them for our winter brush clearing work for over 6 years, and I really can’t recommend them highly enough. It improves on the standard blades that you get with your brushcutter in three important ways:
  1. It incorporates actual chain saw links into its design, meaning larger, stronger cutting teeth that are easier to sharpen. The chainsaw teeth allows for clearing the wood chips more easily and they also reduce resin build up. Both of these issues can slow the cutting ability of traditional brushcutter blades.
  2. These teeth are, in-fact, part of a loop of saw chain that runs around the circumference of the disk blade, and are not bound to the disk directly. This allows the chain to slide around the disk when substantial force is applied, acting as a clutch mechanism. This reduces jerking when you do get the blade pinched, or hit it against a hard object and also reduces vibration while cutting. This increases your safety, comfort and work endurance.
  3. The disk is made of heavy gauge steel. The mass of the disk acts as a fly wheel. It maintains momentum well and thus keeps the disk keeps spinning fast for high speed cutting. It can cut through stems up to 1.5" instantly, and quickly tears into of larger diameter stems.
The overall effect is that you can clear brush approximately 50% faster than with a standard brush blade with much reduced operator fatigue. You can easily cut large stems up to 3.5”, and can even tackle small trees up to 8” in diameter with a little care working on both sides of the trunk. But note that you largely loose the ability to directional fell when cutting around the perimeter of a larger tree truck with the Beaver Blade, so we make it a policy to cut "trees" larger than 4" in diameter.

The first rule of brush-cutting: Don't drop a tree on your boss (especially when he's holding an expensive camera). This is a good example of how you don't have much control where the "tree" falls when using a Beaver Blade, but at this size this buckthorn is not too heavy, and not too hazardous.

Beaver Blades are made in the USA with high quality steel and real saw chain. They can be sharpened with the common 3/16" chain saw file. Though they cut surprisingly well even when dull, they should be sharpened after 4-8 hours of use (assuming you haven't hit any rocks or the dirt) for maximum performance. When you wear the teeth down to nubs, you don't have to throw your Beaver Blade out! They can be outfitted with a new chain, a service we will be providing for about $35 (contact us directly for this service).

Brushcutters in general are better than chainsaws for brush clearing since you don’t need to bend over to make your cut. Just remember if you want to kill a decidious tree/shrub permanently, you will need to apply concentrated herbicide to  every stump that you cut, or it will resprout.

Apply herbicide to the stump carefully, its only needed around the circumference of the stem where the live cambium is. Additional herbicide application is wasteful, or worse: over-spray that could kill surrounding plants too.

The 8” Beaver Blade attaches to most mid-powered weed-eaters/brush cutters to high powered brush saws. It fits the most common 1” arbor size found on brush-cutters, and comes with an adaptor to work with 20mm arbors.
We use them with Stihl FS-130, FS-240 and FS-250 brushcutters, and they should work with any brushcutter of similar size or larger from Stihl or other brands. 

We've found that we've had to do some minor modification to fit it with the safety guard on our brushcutter; we need to file down the outside-bottom edge of our safety guard just about 1/8” for the Beaver Blade's teeth to clear, since the guard is designed for the thinner blades that Stihl produces).

Are you hard at work clearing brush to help restore our woodlands and prairies? Tell us what tools you like. We've managed to gather up our favorite cutting tools in our online store, take a look.


Ronald I. Bremer said...

Nice blog for weed trimmer. Now i can know many thing about best weed wacker. Definitely i will buy weed eater for my father. Because my father always very tense about his garden. He now don't have energy for cleaning weed. But he also don't like malis work.

Harrison said...

Very impressive and informative blog. I wish you the Best of luck in your endeavors. Thank you for sharing
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