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Trimmer experts - please help

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by *LB, May 19, 2008.

  1. *LB

    *LB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Hi Everyone,

    Having some trouble using a new Stihl FS-80 trimmer I bought. I had been using an older, curved shaft, homeowner model Weed Eater for many years. I have a lot of flower beds on my property that I edge with my trimmer. Although the Weed Eater was not the ideal trimmer, I was able to edge the flower beds with excellent results. Very sharp, 90 degree edges in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, the edging results I'm getting with the Stihl are not nearly as sharp and straight. The two pieces of trimmer line tend to cup into the bed edge, causing a ragged, uneven edge. I've tried a few things that seem to help, but it still isn't nearly as clean a finish as I had with the old Weed Eater.

    The FS-80 came spooled with .95 gauge line. I went to a lighter .80 gauge line to see if that would straighten out flatter during rotation and give me a better edge. It seemed to help, but it still wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. The Weed Eater did a great job with the .80 gauge so I'm wondering why the Stihl isn't. Should I go down to a .65 gauge line? I also ran the trimmer with only one piece of line coming off the spool to see if that would help (the Weed Eater is a single line feed vs. the double line feed of the Stihl), but again, not much of a help. I've also tried wrapping the line on the spool in both directions, with no twisting and that didn't seem to make any difference at all. I'm at a loss here and was hoping some of you trimmer experts had some advice for getting cleaner edges with the Stihl. Thanks for your help.
  2. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,578

    Could be how you are holding the unit. The Weed Eater brand trimmer is very light and easy to hold and line up with the edges. The Stihl is much more durable and heavier. You may just need some more practice with your FS 80 to get use to how to hold it to line it up with the edge. I would stick with the .80 or even the .95 line to edge with as this has little effect on results. The thicker the line, the more abuse it can take, and it will break less often.
  3. hdtvluvr

    hdtvluvr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 485

    Also be aware that the string spins in the opposite direction on the Stihl (straight shaft) than on your old curved shaft. Therefore, you may need to walk in the opposite direction than you were before when you are trimming. The uneven edge may be due to the fact that the opposite string spin will cause it to "walk" and eat up into your beds. Walking/Trimming in the other direction will be produce a straighter edge but will take getting used to.
  4. heybruck34

    heybruck34 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 300

    I would go the other way with string. I only run .105 line in my bump feed head. The thicker line lasts much longer and does more work than the thinner. It can knock down so much more in one pass, you just need to give it more throttle.

    I hold the unit nearly vertically in front of me, using my pinky to run the throttle. The handle is towards my stomach so the guard is between me and the trimmer head. I also walk backwards so that the string spins counter clockwise as it hits the ground and then throws the debris towards where I just edged. This give me a fantastic edge between beds and turf. When I'm doing this kind of edging I'm nearly at full throttle, probably 90%.
  5. jkats13

    jkats13 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    I agree that holding the trimmer in the vertical position helps you get a cleaner edge. I have a similar problem when I got my new Stihl but tried some different methods of holding the trimmer and finally got something that worked.

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