The American Fascination for Wood Chippers:
Unusual for a piece of general landscaping equipment, the “Wood chipper” or “Brush Chipper” has become a part of the cultural landscape in America, certainly since 1996 American neo-noir black comedy crime thriller “Fargo.” Most readers do not require a recounting of the macabre details of the film, but needless to say the lowly brush chipper has ever since carried with it a reputation for danger that is actually quite deserved. According to a 2005 report by the Journal of the American Medical Association, thirty-one people were killed in brush chipper accidents between 1992 and 2002 in the US. Unlike Fargo, all of these were accidental deaths and few ended up with quite the same comprehensive results.
The wood chipper was invented by Peter Jensen (Maasbüll, Germany) in 1884. The “Marke Angeln” brush chipper soon became the core business of his company, which already produced and repaired communal- and woodworking-machinery.
A brush chipper is a machine used for reducing wood (generally tree limbs or trunks) into smaller wood chips. They are typically made of a hopper with a collar, the chipper mechanism itself, and an optional collection bin for the chips. A tree limb is inserted into the hopper (the collar serving as a partial safety mechanism to keep those vulnerable human body parts away from the brush chipper blades) and started into the chipping mechanism. The chips exit through a chute and can be directed into a truck-mounted container or onto the ground. Typical output is chips on the order of 1 inch (2.5 cm) to 2 inches (5.1 cm) across in size. The resulting wood chips have various uses such as being spread as a ground cover or being fed into a digester during paper making.
The original chipper design employs a steel disk with brush chipper knives mounted upon it as the chipping mechanism. This technology dates back to an invention by German Heinrich Wigger, for which he obtained a patent in 1922. In this design, (usually) reversible powered wheels draw the material from the hopper towards the disk, which is mounted perpendicularly to the incoming material. As the disk spins, the brush chipper blades cut the material into chips. These are thrown out the chute by flanges on the drum. This design is not as energy-efficient as the drum-style design, but produces chips of more uniform shape and size, and simply more mechanically reliable. Most chippers currently used by commercial tree care companies are disk-type.
Newer chippers employ mechanisms consisting of a large steel drum powered by a motor, usually by means of a belt. The drum is mounted parallel to the hopper and spins towards the output chute. The drum also serves as the feed mechanism, drawing the material through as it chips it. It is colloquially known as a “chuck-and-duck” chipper, due to the immediate speed attained by material dropped into the drum.
The brush chipper blades on either the disc or drum are key to both the effective and safe operation of the brush chipper. Sharp blades not only insure the resulting chips are of a consistent size, but they prevent jams, reduce “random” projectiles and are less likely to result in clothing capture. Broken or dull blades do not merely reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of your brush chipper, they raise the risk of those Faro moments we all would prefer never actually happen off-screen
L.A. Grinding offers a wide array of knives to fit your Brush Chipper machine. L.A. Grinding is connected with suppliers such as Altec, Bandit, Vermeer, Chip more and many others to provide you with a large selection of knives that meet your needs. Although brush chippers vary greatly in size, type, and capacity, the brush chipper blades processing the wood are similar in construction. The brush chipper knives are rectangular in shape and are usually 4 inches (10 cm) to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) across by 6 inches (15 cm) to 12 inches (30 cm) long. The brush or tree chipper knives vary in thickness from about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) to 2 inches (5.1 cm). Chipper blades are made from high grade steel and usually contain a minimum of 8% chromium for hardness.
If you are based in California, Arizona or in Nevada and you need to purchase or sharpen a brush chipper knife (brush chipper knives, tree chipper knives), contact us today for immediate service and consultation.
And remember always that sharpening blades is at the historic heart of everything LA Grinding does. We offer premier sharpening services on all Brush Chipper Knives, and have the product knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment necessary to re-sharpen your blades to the original manufacturer’s specifications. Scores of landscaping companies rely on us for all of their brush chipper knife sharpening requirements. Be sure to take advantage of our sharpening services to extend the life of your equipment, reduce the costs of your operation, keep your workers safe, and achieve the quality of work for which you pride yourself.