Sickel Bar Mower, worth it?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by sehitchman, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. sehitchman

    sehitchman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    We've got 5-6 yards in a nice neighborhood that is struggling with many vacant lots. The builder has gone out and the bank now owns all of the vacant lots. The voice for the Home Owners Association suggested I give them a price to cut the street edge of the vacant lots, about the 1st 8' from the curb. After taking a couple of overgrown properties last year I'm reluctant to do it with my current equipment at any price. It is mostly grass at about 2' tall at this time and there are about 20 of the vacant lots. It would probably be an ongoing maintenance deal since new construction has completely stopped here. There are already several vacant bank owned homes in the neighborhood. I've looked at a 42" Troy Bilt sickel bar mower that could be a good winter refurb project. I would love to buy a tractor with a bush hog, but don't have the space or money to put in one. Who's got some experience with a sickel bar mower, I've not used one in 20 years and that was for hay cutting attached to the tractor. The 1st cut would more than pay for the mower and needed parts.
  2. ttferrell

    ttferrell LawnSite Member
    from IN
    Messages: 16

    I am not familiar with a troy bilt sickle - but I would think that a sickle bar in general would be a pain to maintain and would likely cause problems because it does not mulch the grass at all. The 2 ft grass would be laid down. If it isn't raked (or baled) it could kill the grass.

    What about a walk behind rotary cutter (bushhog). I have one that I use in tight places. Mine is ancient, but still does well. Just one blade to maintain, rather than all those teeth on a sickle bar. I bet you could find a used one pretty cheap.

    Good Luck,
  3. sehitchman

    sehitchman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    The "grass" is just a combination of weeds, crab, small pine trees less than 1" in diameter, and what could be fescue. Laying it down is not a problem. I'm also looking for a brush cutter but wondered about the maintenance on a sickel bar mower. I think I'll pass and let someone with a bush hog take it. I wanted to keep the business for ourselves since we already cut so much in the neighborhood, didn't want another LCO to get a foot in my garden and get yard envy!:laugh:

    Anyone want to trade a DR field and brush mower or similar for a nice 26" snapper?
  4. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    I got an old 38" TB and replaced the blade and guides with NOS (new, old stock) parts I was very lucky to find for $325. One of the belts can't be had anymore but an automotive belt comes close and can be stretched to make it work.

    If you hit anything nature don't grow it is going to cost dearly. I'm very particular where I use it and keep it set at 3-1/2". It is not that tough of a machine. It's more for your own land where you know what is there and what isn't.
  5. laird006

    laird006 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    walk behind bushhog all the way, i have an older than dirt gravely and it cuts anything you can get under it, small trees included.
  6. the_aerator

    the_aerator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Do not buy one rent one. You will not know how long you will have the contract. If you do buy one buy a BCS brand not a Troy Bilt the BCS has multiple attachments like a bush hog, sickle bar etc.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. sehitchman

    sehitchman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Thank you for the BCS suggestion. I have never heard of them, had a David Bradley 30 years ago on the farm and we used it for everything in the garden. I kind of like the power unit with multiple attachments and gear & pto driven accessories instead of belts. I've got way to many engines to maintain now.

    I did find a pretty good deal on a billygoat brush cutter, it will work for now. Gotta love craigslist.

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