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Time to Get Serious

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Gdub007, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Gdub007

    Gdub007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Hey all,

    I've been browsing your site quite a bit recently, too much good information. I just moved into a home that has been vacant for 4 years, with 5.5 acres (mostly wooded) that have not been maintained for 15 yrs! It's covered in buck thorn and other assorted nasty varieties of vegetation. I've been clearing brush with a machette. I haven't even scratched the surface and I'm about ready to use it on myself!

    I am in desperate need of a quality string trimmer/ brush cutter combo on a tight budget. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the number of machines available and would appreciate your professional guidance. I started looking at the new 21.1cc Tanaka/Hitachi units, but I'm guessing that they're probably under-sized for my needs. I stumbled across the Tanaka TCG31EBSLP brush cutter, which seems to offer a lot more for the money (30.8cc vs 21.1cc, comes with blade vs. $60 accesory...). I need a unit that can be a good line trimmer 75% of the time, but have no problem switching to an effective brush slinging machine. Any experience with this machine or any other recommendations?

    I live close to a metro area, so dealer support for most brands is not an issue.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. ghost69

    ghost69 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    I am in the same boat. I moved back to where I grew up. The property wasn't very well taken care of. 5 acres of woods and all over grown. I bought a Stihl FS130R a little over a year ago and love it. I think it was money well spent. I put a brush cutting blade on it and have cut through stuff quite a bit thicker than recommended. The FS130R has the loop handle. I think the only thing I would do differently would be to get the bike handle style. The only reason I didn't was I had thoughts at the time I bought it of buying different gear head attachments (polesaw and hedge trimmer heads). I've still got so much cleanup left that I think the bike handle and a full harness would be a little more comfortable. But I still love it. Best money I've spend so far.

  3. stealth71

    stealth71 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    I bought a used mid '50s Gravely Model L with a 30" Brush Hog. Best thing I've ever spent money on. I started with a brush cutter/weed eater setup and this thing can do 10 times the work in the same amount of time. I would seriously consider it. Depending on where you are located you can find one for ~$200. They can take a variety of attachments and was actually called a 2 wheel tractor. I now have the brush hog and a tiller/rotary plow.

    Then just get a decent string trimmer for the rest.

    Mine isn't pretty but runs great and cuts 2" saplings like butter.

    Might not be what you're looking for, but another option to think about.
  4. Gdub007

    Gdub007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Thanks for the replies.

    That Gravely looks like a beast! I've considered a walk behind brush hog, but quite a bit of the buck thorn is 1" diameter and will be 8' tall. Also, the ground is littered with logs and sticks. i was hoping to clear the underbrush to make cutting up the downed logs easier. I should probably cut/clear most of the big stuff with the chainsaw and then use a brush hog for the rest.

    Ghost69, how much was your Stihl FS130R with brush cutter setup? I am partial to Stihl or Husky, but I was looking at Tanaka for price/performance ratio.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  5. ghost69

    ghost69 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    I paid around $400 or $425 for it with a blade. I was looking at the FS110 but then I saw the FS130. It was $50 more but more power and pretty much the same weight. The only issue that I've had was that Stihl changed the fuel cap to a twist lock. I started having problems with it last month. I found out that there was a recall on the early designed ones. I called my local dealer that works on them on a late Saturday afternoon (I honestly didn't expect them to be in) and they were great. Said bring it in we'll warrantee it no problem. Walked in with it. The guy looked at it. Popped it off and put on a new one. Made a note of the SN and sent me on my way.

    FS110 31.4cc 2.2cu in 12.1lbs
    FS130 36.3cc 1.9cu in 12.3lbs

    I think Stihl has a double your warrantee (2yrs instead of 1) if you buy a 6 pack of synthetic oil right now.

  6. kjo43

    kjo43 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    I'd rent something larger, knock it down and then buy a smaller (cheaper) unit to maintain your property.
  7. Gdub007

    Gdub007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I'll have to check into rentals. I've got three acres of the stuff, a full time job, and two young kids so I'd probably need it for a month. After that though, a smaller unit would probably be adequate to maintain it.

    Anybody else have any good experience with a mid-size unit for both string trimming and brush cutting?

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