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Small Cabin Forum / Properties / Clearing brush for foundation?
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turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 08:30
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So I'm going to be building a shed on a gravel foundation. I have a spot in mind that I want to prepare. The brush is too small for a chainsaw and too big for a machete, without investing in a lot of equipment or tools what is the best way to clear?


The picture I attached isn't the exact building site but if you look at the brush on either sides that is kind of what I'm dealing with.
DSC_0146.JPG
DSC_0146.JPG


Brettny
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 08:38
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Loopers? Its going to take time if you dont want to invest any money.

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 09:24
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Oh my gosh, that looks a lot like what I bought & had to clear... plus a few big trees. I suffered a few days before I facepalmed and got the proper tools and that made life so much easier. Both take time to get used to and be sure to wear safety boots, safety glasses and be prepared for scrapes & cuts.

Important point BEFORE starting on brush clearing, get at least 2 cans of Wasp / Hornet Killer which shoots 20' distance, I discovered the hard way what happens when a Brush Hog goes over a Ground Wasp Nest, a lesson best leaned from someone else's experience !

2 Tools that make life easier (it's still hard work though). Which can be rented most Tool Rental & Equipment shops. They are not very expensive to rent and absolutely worth it.

1) Brush Hog like this (Home Depot rents them and others) Brush Hog

2) Hand Held Brush Cutter (not a Weed whacker !)
Stihl Brush Cutter

ICC
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 09:41
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Or a tractor and blade, or a skidsteer

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 09:53
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All kind of overkill for a shed foundation clearing job.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 11:04
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Thanks for the recommendations. My neighbor did mention he had a brush hog and hinted I might be able to borrow it but I feel funny asking because I hardly know the guy, plus I have no idea how to property use one, I'd feel bad experimenting with his.
Hitting a wasp nest sounds like quite an experience, I would have never thought about that.

I like that hand held brush cutter, I might see if I'm able to rent one of these at a building supply store. I'm only clearing a 12x18 area so It dose not need to be major.

hueyjazz
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 11:45
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Turkeyboy
Get a commercial string trimmer. Stihl, Echo and Husky all make them. They are the straight shaft trimmers and have a bigger engine. Then go to Amazon and get a couple "Renegade" carbide tip brush blades. These are like a circular saw that goes into trimmer. I've cleared acres with these over time and it's very handy to have.

But my best tool is a Jari Sickle bar cutter. Good luck finding one of them. Basically a small walk behind tractor with a brush bar in front. Two inches and smaller and it's down.

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 14:55
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The hand held unit as I showed would do the job very well. They usually make you buy the blades which are not that expensive, I think I paid $15 for one... It will cut through a lot and very good for hard to get under spots... Hit a rock and you will know it ! (long pants & boots OK). These are made for this kind of work.

Huey has a good point too and you'll likely need a good Trimer / Weed Whacker and many now offer various attachments / ends where you just change part of the shaft with whatever on it... Might be worth checking into it and put rental monies towards buying a Good Quality whacker...

Houska
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 21:39
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Echoing some voices above, a rotary brush cutter (with a "circular saw" not "string" blade) is your friend. Can also be a heavy duty string trimmer which is attachment-capable, with a cutter attachment.

I know you're not keen to invest in one-off equipment, but this sort of device is then super useful for ongoing trail maintenance, so it's something you'll find ongoing use for.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 1 Jul 2019 22:05
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Quoting: Houska
Echoing some voices above, a rotary brush cutter (with a "circular saw" not "string" blade) is your friend. Can also be a heavy duty string trimmer which is attachment-capable, with a cutter attachment.

I know you're not keen to invest in one-off equipment, but this sort of device is then super useful for ongoing trail maintenance, so it's something you'll find ongoing use for.



Yeah I'm starting to think it would serve me well to purchase one of these. The fact that I can augment the trimmer with different attachments for different jobs makes it a multi-purpose tool and I'm sure I'd end up wanting to use it down the road for trail clearing and stuff.

Next time I'm at the hardware store I'll take a gander.

DaveBell
Member
# Posted: 2 Jul 2019 05:59
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I would rent the brush hog. It will need to be done every 5 years.

deercula
Member
# Posted: 2 Jul 2019 07:43
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For a small area this may be all you need. I have one and it works very well, and it's easy to use. https://www.pullerbear.com/purchase.html

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 2 Jul 2019 08:55
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Lessons learned dept. I fist bought a Troy-Bilt Weed Whacker when I got the property, thinking of the brand name... bad idea, it was more PITA than worth and always problems... Finally gave up & bought a Husqvarna and never looked back.

There are many brands, labels & models just to confuse you but I would say, if you want a tool that is reliable, flexible and will last, you shouldn't spare the pennies and get a good quality product. There are many good ones out there and people have their favourites, Obviously I like Husqvarna (chain saw, weed whacker & more) and DeWalt 20V electric which I built everything here with (cabin, blgs etc). Choose wisely and look at reviews and you'll get your monies worth.

BTW: I used the above gear because I cleared 1-1/4 acres pretty much and there were Junipers which were well imbedded over decades +... and Ohhh I hate combat with Juniper's, they are downright evil plants. I can't imagine another way to get rid of them, short of dozing the ground.

95XL883
Member
# Posted: 2 Jul 2019 09:44
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Like others have said, bite the bullet when buying and get a good quality tool for that job. Regarding “weedwackers”, I have a Stihl FS130, a straight shaft trimmer. I got the optional knife, a 3 pointed blade. It does very well on brush up to an 1” in diameter. It will take larger but that’s pushing it to do more thAn the knife was designed. I could fit the optional saw blade and handles for larger stuff but I have a couple of different chainsaws so I just use my small saw. I’m sure Husqvarna makes a good one as well.

Regarding the two wheeled tractor pictured earlier, I don’t recommend them. I have one. It’s a pita to start and use.

You mentioned a neighbor would let you use his tractor and brush hog. I’d do that in a heart beat. I’ve a got a JD 990 with a 5’ Bush Hog. Mine is rated to take either 3” or 4” trees, I forget which. I try to keep it under 3”. Running the engine at it’s recommended 2600 rpm and going slow, the brush hog gives close to a lawn mower cut finish. It will be the quickest and easiest way to clear the brush. Have your neighbor show you how to use it and have it. Or pay him to do it. If you borrow it, return it clean and fueled. You want to stay on good terms with him.

If you go the tractor pulled brush hog, ask which “safety” it has. It’s not a safety for people, it’s a safety for the tractor. It is either a sheer pin or a slip clutch. It’s designed to break if it hits a rock or too large an object. The sheer pin in mine is just a 1/2” by 2 1/2” grade 2 bolt. (The grade is important; don’t use a higher grade bolt.). Slip clutches are supposed to be easier but I’ve never used one. Once you get used to it, it’s fun. My wife won’t hardly let me use ours as she wants to do it. (Of course she always brings it to me when the sheer pin breaks. I smile and change it. She always feels bad and I always tell her it was designed to break, it prevents greater damage to the tractor.). If you do use the brush hog, nobody or vehicles should be within a 100’. If they throw something, they throw it hard. If they pick up a piece of wire, it becomes a giant weed wacker. It would seriously injure if not outright kill a pet or person. I vote for the tractor and brush hog. Good luck.

95XL883
Member
# Posted: 2 Jul 2019 09:53
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Steve, on the junipers, I haven’t cleared the few I have, I use them as cover when deer hunting. But I’ve noticed they are susceptible to fire when neighbors burn their field. If it is a safe distance from other plants, I’d be tempted to take my weed burner to them. But I also have a 16 gallon 12 volt sprayer with 15’ of hose to contain the blaze. Just a thought, might not work if desireable trees are close though. (I lost a beautiful large elm burning a field once so be careful of other plants.)

offgrididaho
Member
# Posted: 2 Jul 2019 12:23
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Do you have power to your site? A good combination could be a straight shaft brush trimmer with blade (as noted above) and then a small electric chainsaw for the few things that are too big for the trimmer, electric chainsaws with short bars can be got for pretty cheap these days.

-- Bass

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 2 Jul 2019 15:40
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If your going to buy a gas powered trimmer get a kombi style one like Stihl sells. They can take a brush cutter and a can change to a pole saw. That can be really handly if your opeing up trails.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 3 Jul 2019 20:58
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I ended up getting a Stihl FS56, is a string trimmer that has the option of putting a few different blades on.
It was $199, but I also got a grinder blade for for $20, and the blade attachment kit was about $25. I've used both the string for weeds, and the blade for small trees and shrubs and it works great. I will defiantly be using this for clearing walking trails and stuff. I have a 18" chainsaw for the bigger stuff.
I could have gotten the straight shaft that allows you to attach leaf blower/hedge trimmer and anything else you can think of but I would have ended up paying at least $400-500 and as it is starting a journey going off the grid, there is so many expenses and things to buy upfront I can't always just go out and buy the most efficient or best thing, even if it makes sense. I would end up not having enough for solar or a cabin haha. Once I have a roof over my head and solar set up I will feel a lot more comfortable.

95XL883
Member
# Posted: 4 Jul 2019 06:30
Reply 


Congrats on the purchase. I’ve had really good luck with all my Stihl products. Wear eye and ear protection. Regardless of brand, some people have fuel problems. I have not. I run Stihl oil in the gas and add some marine grade Stabil when mixing gas. I always run the carburetor dry before storing. Never a fuel problem. Follow the starting procedure in the manual. Mine have always started easy when following the procedure. Good luck and enjoy.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 4 Jul 2019 07:38
Reply 


The fs56 gives you alot of bang for the buck. I bought one about 5 years ago now.. i do nothing to it but put string in it, clean the air filter and put it away with stabil.

What blade attachment did you get? I need one for mine that will take out sticker bushes before they take over.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 4 Jul 2019 09:15 - Edited by: turkeyboyslim
Reply 


Quoting: Brettny
What blade attachment did you get? I need one for mine that will take out sticker bushes before they take over.


I got this blade: https://www.stihlusa.com/products/trimmers-and-brushcutters/trimmer-heads-and-blades/ circularscratch/



Here is a good chart I found for attachment:
https://www.stihldealer.net/company/webcontent/content/filelibrary/2010flcuttingtoolc hart.pdf

though that chart may be a little off or outdated. My blade was a 20m whatever that means.

you can locate your fs56 at the top, broad middle column.

You'll need to buy the blade adapter if you don't already have one, It works for any blade.
like this one: https://www.ebay.com/i/372405144868?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0 &mkcid=2&itemid=372405144868&targetid=596843726078&device=c&adtype=pla&googleloc=9003 055&poi=&campaignid=1689799129&adgroupid=66574332395&rlsatarget=pla-596843726078&abcI d=1140466&merchantid=114601590&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-4-una2b4wIV9ZFbCh3V7QsqEAQYASABEgIW E_D_BwE

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