When tackling your unruly garden or property, it is not always so clear which exact tool you should be using to whack away different types of vegetation. To many, grass trimmers, brushcutters and clearing saws may seem synonymous – but this is not the case. Each fulfill a unique and individual function in your garden. In just a few minutes of reading, find out what you need to know about cutting tools and different cutting attachments for brushcutters, as well as how to maintain your Stihl brushcutters if you find that you are in need of them.
What are Stihl brushcutters, grass trimmers and clearing saws?
Unlike a grass trimmer which functions with a single line spinning at a fast enough rate to rid the ground of light vegetation, Stihl brushcutters can run a selection of different blades and attachments to suit various purposes. Stihl brushcutters consist of a gearbox and a straight drive shaft (so that more power and torque may reach your chosen attachment. Grass trimmers, on the other hand, feature bent shafts and do not possess gearboxes. A clearing saw on the other hand, features a sharp disc that serves to cut thinner trees and bushes.
What are cutting attachments for Stihl brushcutters?
Cutting attachments can be applied to several models of Stihl brushcutters. Each attachment serves a unique or general purpose, and its success depends on your knowledge and research about where they are best applicable individually. Instead of purchasing several different tools alongside your Stihl brushcutters such as grass trimmers and clearing saws, you can purchase the individual cutting attachments to help serve your every gardening need.
Clearing saw, Stihl brushcutters or grass trimmers – when to use each tool
Before you get into those front yard weeds or overgrown back garden, you need to decide which tool is the right one for the job. To do so, you must assess the area and ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of vegetation are you going to be tackling?
- How dense is that specific vegetation?
- Can the area be safely accessed?
- Are there potentially any hazardous objects in the area, such as raised ironworks, wire or rocks?
If the area you are assessing is neither safely accessible nor free of hazardous objects, you should think about reaching out to professionals for assistance. If, however, this is not the case, you are almost ready to choose your tool.
In the case of obstacles
When you have sufficiently assessed an area, you may have noticed some obstacles, whether they take the shape of rocks, trees, ironworks or wires. Naturally it would be safer to have professionals clear the area, but it is not always financially viable to hire external gardening and cutting help. If this is the case for you, you may wish to consider using a grass trimmer or a mowing line attachment for your Stihl brushcutters.
These tools will assist you to mow grass, weeds and light vegetation around the objects in your path. Stihl stocks the AutoCut head attachment, which would do wonders in this scenario when attached to your brushcutters, and it is easy to apply and simple to use. Any mowing line, however, found on brushcutters or grass trimmers would do in this situation. Mowing lines give a neat and polished finish to the grass once you are finished.
Be aware, however, that you can damage the mowing line if you trim too close around obstacles. If you find the line to be breaking frequently, place it in water over night and it is likely to become more flexible.
In the case of cutting light vegetation
Light vegetation ranges from weeds, to nettles and dense grass. While mowing heads and attachments with thicker lines might manage this vegetation to a certain degree, you may find that you end up going through and replacing more line than you had anticipated. Consider then, an attachment such as the Stihl PolyCut or DuroCut to set you on your way. If you opt for regular mowing lines, you may find them to be more difficult to maintain, and they may call for highly frequent replacing.
In the case of cutting heavy vegetation
Once you enter the land of dense weeds, dense grass tussocks and paddock management, you may need to consider utilising metal grass cutting blades so as to get the job done effectively. The sharp edges allow for the fast cutting of thicker stems, instead of simply whacking them and giving an appearance of being “cut”. As opposed to normal mowing lines, metal blades vibrate less. This means that in the case of long usage, they are more comfortable for the user.
Be aware, however, that if you collide with a hard object while using metal blades in your Stihl brushcutters, you may experience a strong kickback. For your own safety, ensure that you are fully kitted up in personal protective equipment whenever you use Stihl brushcutters, as well as ensure that all cutting attachments are fitted correctly. If you are unsure, it is advised you seek the advice of any BS Power employee or store associate before you get to work.
In the case of cutting bushes, brambles and thin trees
When confronted with any kind of tree, no matter its width, we immediately imagine that using a chainsaw or a saw is our best bet. However, this is not always the case. The correct cutting tool can do the job in no time, with less effort on your behalf. For this scenario, the clearing saw comes into play as one of the most effective tools. Using a saw will allow you to clear the entire area, provided there are no hidden hard objects, directly and in one shot. You will be able to cut close to the bases of thin trees without having to bend down and get your hands very dirty.
How to maintain your Stihl brushcutters engines
Now that you know a bit more about Stihl brushcutters and cutting attachments, you may be wondering how to best take care of your Stihl brushcutters so as to maintain their longevity and effectiveness for years to come. Taking good care of your brushcutters can save you repeat purchases in the future and a resulting hole in your wallet. All gardening tools that consist of engines require careful maintenance and aftercare post usage. Being a responsible Stihl brushcutters owner calls for you to carry out regular small checks and activities before or after using the machine, especially if you have a petrol-engine brushcutter.
The following are some best practices to keep in mind once you have purchased Stihl brushcutters:
Clean your Stihl brushcutters frequently
Although after a long day of clearing shrubbery and vegetation you may be tempted to put it off for later, always clean your Stihl brushcutters as soon as you have finished using them. Cleaning your machine after each work session is a great way to maintain its efficiency and lifespan to the best of your ability. This post-usage cleaning session is also a good opportunity to check out and inspect your brushcutters for any breakages, worn components or leakages.
- During your clean, ensure that you:
- Clear all dirt from the cutter’s air vents near the engine
- Clean the dust, grass and soil from the body of the cutter
- Check that the starter rope is intact and in good condition
- Keep the cutting attachment clean and that the stone guard is in working order (no severe cracks or dings)
- Check that there are no leaks in the fuel tank (as well as wipe off fuel remnants that resulted from spillage)
- Inspect the sharpness of the disc or blade if you use them as attachments instead of a trimmer line
- Check that the brushcutter bolts, screws and nuts are all tight (especially those that are securing the disc or blade casing.
Perform maintenance on your Stihl brushcutters
The following guidelines apply the maintenance that should routinely be performed on 2-stroke petrol-engine brushcutters, regardless of whether they are professional, more heavy-duty cutters or lightweight models. Before performing any kind of maintenance on your Stihl brushcutters, ensure that the engine is cold and that you have removed the boot from the spark plug (using utility or chain-resistant gloves to protect your hands):
At least once a month, you must extract the fuel filter from the tank of your brushcutters, and change it if it is damaged. Industry recommendations state that fuel filters should be changed either every 100 hours of running time or annually.
Clean the air filter after every 8-10 hours of use. You can do so by disassembling it and tapping it lightly against a relatively hard surface. If this does not work effectively, use compressed air or brush the filter. If soiled with fuel or damaged, the filter must immediately be replaced. Under normal circumstances, the filter must be replaced annually or every 100 hours of use.
Clean the spark plug using a cloth, and inspect the gap between the electrodes regularly. If all is fine and up to user-book standards, you can change the plug once a year.
Clean the engine cylinder fins each month using either compressed air or a brush.
Regularly check the level of grease in the bevel drive and top up as needed. The bevel drive is what turns the Stihl brushcutters cutting attachment using gear wheels.
How to store your Stihl brushcutters
When winter rolls around and vegetation ceases to grow so rapidly, you may wish to store your Stihl brushcutters for some time. This is not as simple as popping the tool in the back of garage and forgetting about it until December comes around. You need to spend some time preparing your brushcutters for storage:
- Empty and clean out the petrol-engine of your brushcutters (if applicable) and do so in a well-ventilated area
- Next, drain the mixture from the carburetor – you can do this by starting up the machine and let the engine run until it turns itself off
- Perform all the above-mentioned maintenance on the spark plug, fuel filter, air filter and cylinder fins
- To keep them in good condition during the off-season, grease the metal parts of your Stihl brushcutters and do not forget about the bevel drive of your machine
- Remove the blades or disc in your brushcutter and both clean and oil it to prevent rust buildup.
- You should store your Stihl brushcutters in a sheltered and dry space. Further, the brushcutters should not be placed on the ground so as to avoid becoming moist. Refrain from placing the machine near heat sources – and if at all possible, cover it with a tarpaulin sheet.