An electric chipper shredder is incredibly handy for cleaning up the yard. Instead of stuffing the yard debris into paper bags for the trash company, you can simply shred it into tiny chips that can be used as fertilizer for your gardens and walkway. You can even use dried wooden chips for a future barbecue!
Electric chipper shredders can help you reduce yard work of two to three hours into half an hour. These are very popular with people who have big yards and gardens. Yet, many people are reluctant to buy them, because they are not sure about how to use them.
In this article we will go over the proper safety and handling steps for using an electric chipper shredder.
What Is an Electric Chipper Shredder?
Electric chipper shredders sold for private use are a lot smaller than commercial wood chippers but they work on a similar model. These shredders feature a chute at the top where you can put the material in. Generally, they work with branches, twigs, dead plants, grass chopped wood. You may also find models that feature bigger chutes so you can feed more kinds of materials.
Most models will be able to handle branches and limbs up to 3 inches in diameter, and they should be adequate for your general yard maintenance.
You simply feed the organic material through the chute while the machine is running and it will shred the material into tiny chips and pieces that come out the other end. In essence, it is similar to a paper shredder or chopper in your kitchen but a lot more powerful. Some advanced models allow you to adjust the chip size as well.
Before You Begin – Wear Protective Equipment
Shredders can be dangerous. Before you start to shred, putting on the proper chipper safety gear is one of the easiest yet most effective ways to ensure safety.
Safety glasses are important as they protect your eyes from small particles or chips that are being thrown around by the shredder blades. In addition, you may want to wear ear protection while working close to the high volume noise produced by the chipper.
You may also want to wear a hard hat or safety helmet to protect your head from any impacts. Since you will need to carry wood to the chipper, you may want to wear steel-toed safety boots to protect your feet.
Last but not least safety gloves that will help protect your hands and wrists from splinters and chips thrown out by the machine.
Preparing the Work Area
Before you start using the electric chipper shredder, you need to make sure that the area is clear from debris and the chipper is placed on a level, flat surface. Also, there should be no holes around the area where the shredder is stationed that can make you trip.
It is important to make sure that the path you will be walking on is cleared so that you don’t have to worry about tripping on anything. Ensure your safety will not be compromised while working on the shredder.
Next, check to make sure that the electric chipper shredder will expel the shredded chips in a spot that isn’t going to be in your way while moving around. The chips should also not roll into the path of other people.
Preparing the Electric Chipper Shredder and Material
Make sure that the chipper is clear of any branches or debris. Keep the power plugged out before you check the shredder. Also, place the shredder downwind from you so that dust produced by the machine does not hit you in the face.
It’s a good idea to sort your materials before you turn the machine on. It will make the process faster and also ensure that you won’t find any foreign objects in the pile while working. Look out for nails, screws, PVC, plastic, and other things of that nature and remove them from the pile.
Start the Machine
Once you have everything in place, start your electric chipper shredder. When you start to feed it through the chute, use a long stick to push any material that doesn’t go through.
Never feed anything bigger than the recommended size into your shredder or it might back up and spit the material back at you,. Make sure to stand on a strong footing as you lift up material and feed it through.
Make sure that any twigs, branches, and small logs that you feed into the machine go in with the blunt end first. This will make wood chips more consistent and allows the wood to feed more easily through the chipper.
You can feed a mixture of green and dry leaves through the electric chipper shredder instead of separating the two. Feeding green leaves together with the dead ones will help lubricate the blades so that dry material doesn’t make the work more difficult.
At the same time, adding dry leaves to green ones while feeding will assure that the moisture doesn’t become too much that it clogs the machine. A mixture of the two types of material will also help keep the blades cooler instead of becoming too hot or dangerous to work.
Be Mindful of Safety
Make sure that you always stand on the side rather than in front of the hopper, while feeding material into the machine. This will help you avoid serious injury in case some of the material gets stuck and thrown out by the shredder.
Feed the material carefully and just drop it into the hopper instead of shoving it in. If it gets stuck, never try to push material inside the machine with your hands. Before you try to clear it, shut and unplug the machine down.
One moment’s distraction could get your hand pulled into the machine, so stay focused whenever you’re feeding materials into your electric chipper shredder. It is also better to have a partner around who can quickly activate the safety lock in case of an emergency.
Putting it all Together
As you can see using your electric chipper shredder isn’t to hard of a task. You just need to be mindful of your personal safety and the limitations of your equipment. Doing those two things and you will be able to clean up your yard in no time.