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  1. #1
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    Default Homemade powered brushcutter?

    I am building some trails on about 60 acres of hills, woods, creek and brush. These trails will be used for hiking, mountain biking, and ATV access.

    My intentions have been to purchase a tow behind, powered brush cutter, probably the Swisher 42" cut. But these weigh upwards of 500 pounds and the trails are steep and rough in places, along with a shallow creek crossing etc. I worry a bit about the safety of towing this around, plus I want to keep the trails fairly narrow.

    I am thinking about making something smaller to tow. I have a sulky frame from a 2 wheeled tractor and a nearly new 5 HP Eager vertical shaft engine. I believe a fixed blade will give me trouble with my rough terrain. Seems like I need either a swinging blade or possibly a string attachment. I am hoping for around a 24" cut - certainly a pain for fields, but not a problem for trails. That seems about right for a small engine.

    - The engine is from a craftsman leaf blower/vac thing and has a nice heavy chopper/blower/fan thing on the shaft. It looks like a good thing to adapt swinging blades to. Any thoughts on the safety of this? Just cut some lawnmower blades and bolt them on? I wouldn't want it coming apart.

    - Any ideas for a string attachment? Or anything similar?

    - is the engine rpm correct for either string or a flail blade?

    - obviously in either case - I will need to make up a good deck for safety.

    - I will be cutting the big stuff by hand as I make the trails. This will be for maintenence - blackberries, goldenrod, grass, etc. But if it were able to cut more, I would make use of that.

    thanks for any ideas...

    Jim


  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Kansas
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    2003 BX2200

    Default Re: Homemade powered brushcutter?

    I suggest you look at the DR brush cutters either to purchase outright or to mimick to build. Pulling a 24" unit behind your tractor mashing stuff down doesn't sound too good to me. I think it would be better to get it out front, or go with a walk behind unit.

    After fighting by BX2200 on some slopes rough cutting for a guy, I don't plan to do that again--pucker factor was too high. Our local rental place has a type of walk behind brush cutter that I will rent if I run into that again.

    If you are going to live there forever and work trails all the time, I think I'd invest in a real walk behind and be done with it.

    My 2 cents.
    ron

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Homemade powered brushcutter?

    Welcome to the forum.
    Are you into building similar equipment, or is this a first?

    Do you have experience with other brushcutters? or is this a first?

    Are you familiar with a string trimmer, and what it will cut? or is this a first too?

    Some help here will help us put this project in better perspective. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Homemade powered brushcutter?

    Thanks for the help so far.

    I'm not sure about a walk behind. The ones I have looked at don't seem like the right thing for steep hills. 24 inches is fine for me. The big tow behind units are about 44" so it really doesn't matter if I do one pass with that or two with something smaller. And for the trails which don't loop - I gotta turn around anyways. I have a mile of trail so far and expect more to come.

    I am towing with a 4wd ATV - so with as long as I am looking at something light - it should be quite safe to pull. My dad has a BX2200 on the property and I would not be comfortable taking that on most these trails.

    I have not made something quite like this before, but I am handy and have a welder, lathe, mill, etc. Clearly, the big safety issues are a proper deck and properly constructed flail blades.

    I have used a string trimmer and it would probably deal with a lot of this. I did switch to a blade for the blackberries though. It is slow going and hard work so I am looking for a better solution.

    Actually a tow behind version of the walk behind brush cutters would probably be perfect. I much prefer the narrower 24-30 inch cut for my needs. The ATV itself just fits thru the trail (Honda Rancher 350).

    Jim

  5. #5
    Elite Member Tractors4u's Avatar
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    Athens Alabama
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    Deere 4310, Kubota L355, John Deere SST18 Spin Steer, 2006 Polaris Ranger

    Default Re: Homemade powered brushcutter?

    Have you considered adding a hitch to a walk behind mower and pulling it with the Honda? It would save a lot of design time, fabrication, and you might even come out ahead on materials.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    California , Idaho and a little island in Panama
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    Kioti DK45TLB

    Default Re: Homemade powered brushcutter?

    What about a flail mover ? My next door neighbor just bought a used one that is made to be towed behind and ATV . I would guess it is about 42 " wide and runs on it own gas motor . I think he paid about $200 bucks or so . He has not tried it but it looks like it would work . Big Al

  7. #7
    Platinum Member bobodu's Avatar
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    Whitley County,In.EIEIO
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    Farmnought.Gravely Model L,Gravely Model LI,1941 Clinton two wheeler

    Default Re: Homemade powered brushcutter?

    Get hold of an old Gravely walkbehind with the brush hog.Best to get one with a Gravely engine.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Homemade powered brushcutter?

    Yes, I have given some thought to putting a hitch to a push mower.

    I would need more ground clearance than a push mower would have. In addition, I think it would work better to have something with a fixed hitch and just two big wheels in line with the center of the blade - that is how the larger tow behind brush cutters are made. A solid blade would probably be a big problem with all the stuff I might hit - that is why I prefer a flaill blade.

    However - I am glad you brought this up because using an old push mower as a starting point may well be the easiest way to go.

    thanks,

    Jim

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Homemade powered brushcutter?

    Years ago, I needed to mow some tall weeds. I took an old non-self propelled rotary mower. About $20 worth of larger plastic wheels and it had a cutting height of 6 inches.

    Might look at that.

    ron

  10. #10
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Homemade powered brushcutter?

    Sounds like you have the right makins to give this a shot.
    I'd like to see how the thing works for blackberries, as my problem with them along the trail is the base of the blackberry cane is a ways back off the trail, and the canes hang down over the trail where it is hard to reach (safely and without getting torn up [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] ) the stalks to cut them at the ground level. Hope you get something.
    The one shown here on a boom looked very interesting, and it would reach off the trail a bit.

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