Wood chippers are tools that are an effective tool in the fight to control yard waste. Many metropolitan areas have outlawed the burning or throwing out of yard waste because of safety concerns and the space yard waste consumes in landfills. Wood chippers break materials in the yard down to a manageable size.
Wood Chipper Machine
Wood chippers are used to break down yard waste into smaller particles that can be piled up, used as mulch or broken down in a compost pile. Most chippers are gasoline-powered and run on a 2.5 to 8.0 horsepower combustion engine, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. There are electric wood chippers on the market as well, although they are not as prevalent as gas-powered machines.
The common wood chipper, as of 2010, costs between $400 and $1,800 depending on the quality and the power required, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. Wood chippers are also available to rent from hardware stores and yard suppliers.
How They Work
Wood chippers are commonly able to chip wood pieces between 2 and and 3.5 inches in diameter, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. The machine uses a spinning blade, pounding hammers or flails to disintegrate the pieces of wood inserted in a large opening at the end. The wood pieces are expelled at the other end of the machine.
The sharp components of the machine propose a large danger to the uninitiated user. Loose clothing may catch on moving components drawing limbs into the machine. Pieces of wood moving at high velocity may scratch exposed skin or damage the eyes. Small wood particles make it difficult to breath and may cause respiratory problems. Safety glasses, work gloves, work boots, a helmet and a breathing apparatus are required for safe operation, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Never force any wood into the chipper as you may get caught with it.
Check the equipment to evaluate its safety. Inspect all belts, shafts and moving parts for breaks or signs of wear and tear. Check the safety equipment built into the machine to determine how wood chips are expelled and whether the design is suitable for the area where you are working. Read all instruction manuals after purchase to ensure proper safety measures are taken during operation.