Yet another chipper question

ning

ArboristSite Lurker
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Sep 7, 2021
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Location
Northern California
I've got a few acres wooded brush - a little manzanita, too much poison oak, and a ton of scrub oak, and a decent number of pines as well; and I'd like to clear most of it.

It's on a hill, ranging from about 10°-20° slope.

I've been making some slow progress, a few hours here and a few there; I'm basically pulling what I can out of the ground with my tractor, or cutting as close to the ground otherwise; cutting to length, and hauling to my burn site anything smaller than 3" (bigger oak is put to the side for later processing as firewood).

Pines are limbed and the slash is burned, and either I leave large wood to rot or keep for firewood.

I don't like the burning and would like to chip, so I've been considering (for years now... I'm slow at buying ok) buying a chipper for the tractor - something like a Woodmaxx or Woodland Mills, 8" with hydraulic feed rollers. 8" is much larger than I'd be chipping, but much of what I do need to chip is far from straight.

So the question, finally - occasionally I see ads for towable units like a Altec 610DC (currently for sale somewhere in tolerable distance) for sale... it costs 2x how much the tractor mounted unit does, but I'd imagine it's got a pretty decent resale in a year or so once I'm done with it? Meanwhile, I'm not sure how much ongoing chipping I'll need once I've cleared this area and the resale of a tractor unit is probably iffy.

Any thoughts on the resale notion?
Is that altec (25hp Honda), or a similar sized Bandit or Vermeer, similar to a 30hp PTO chipper - or better or worse?

I know someone's going to say "rent" but the idea of making enough piles over the course of a week or more to justify a rental, and renting a chipper for $90 for 4 hours (including most of an hour getting it home and then back to the rental shop), and finally pulling those piles apart to feed the chipper just doesn't thrill me. I'd rather buy (similar concerns led to me buying a backhoe for my tractor). The rate on 12" chippers is $175 but I don't think my material needs one. The idea of using a full day rate on a chipper is a non-starter (too many accumulated piles, too much work in one day chipping).

And slightly off-topic, are the new(ish) CARB rules about diesels impacting diesel powered chippers as well?
 
mrhemihead

mrhemihead

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Nov 9, 2018
Messages
154
Location
VA
Have a similar scenario but with ash tree debris that was overwhelming. The use was to be restricted to private property, no towing over the road.
Considered all the options mentioned in your post, settled on a used BC1000XL. It was an Ebay beater machine that chipped okay but was not much to look at.
Over the past few years I changed out the fenders, replaced the drum bearings, fixed the wire harness chewed by rodents...etc.

Now that the chipping is about done I'm trying to decide to sell or keep. I see similar BC1000XLs listed in worse condition for about 2X what I paid.

I previously owned a Vermeer BC935, ran it about a year then sold it for what I paid. Kicking myself for selling it, it was small enough to fit in the garage, the BC1000XL is not.

I'm not in the tree business but a PTO chipper would not be much use to those who are. IMO
 

ning

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Sep 7, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Northern California
Short term I'm going to do some clearing for a couple weeks and build up piles that hopefully won't be too tough to pull apart, and rent a 6".

Basically see how well those work, see how tough it is to manage piles (I won't crush them together with the tractor the way I do when I'm burning, but I'm concerned that the scrub oak will still be all tangled together making it more of a chore to chip).

If that goes really well I may just do the rent method; if the chipping is good but it's hard work dealing with piles (making them, pulling them to the chipper, pulling them apart) I may buy a chipper... if the chipping sucks because of what I'm chipping, maybe I'll just light the forest on fire go back to burn piles.
 
eraforest

eraforest

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
8
Location
Humboldt Cnty, CA
I'm liking our Wallenstein BX-62 chipper, but it doesn't have a feed system for a controlled cut. The Kubota L-4600 tractor has adequate power, but running it up to top speed, ~2300+ RPM is noisy and fuel consumptive. You're on your own property, so running around with the tractor (and loader or grapple) should serve you well. CARB won't apply if you keep the (diesel) equipment on your own property if you opt for the towable chipper. And storing the 3-pnt chipper won't require much space.
 

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