Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Electric Leaf Blowers and Weed Eaters

Whether you might choose (for home use only) an Electric Leaf Blower or Weed Eater over a Gas Weed Eater or Leaf Blower mostly depends upon how much acreage we are talking about weed eating and leaf blowing.

If you can reach whatever you are going to do with a 100 foot cord then a Leaf Blower might be superior to a Gas one simply because it is a lot less messy and expensive and you don't have to worry about gas cans getting lighted by accident in your garage or the back of your truck, especially if you are a smoker(which I'm not but my grandfather was a Camel and Marlborough man).

So, the 100 foot limit is a good rule to place on yourself (even though I just  used 150 feet on a leaf blower a few minutes ago to clear what tree trimmers for the city did to my front yard clearing away tree branches from the power and phone lines and cable lines through my area since I live in a mostly pine and redwood and oak forest on the Northern California ocean.

People have teased me about using electrical leaf blower and weed eaters but likely they don't know much about efficiency or working with tools like these. Since I worked both as a landscaper and Landscape contractor besides
skip loaders, backhoes, ditch witches, bobcats, I also sometimes needed to use gas operated leaf blowers and weed eaters to clean up jobs at the end to make them look perfect for the Landscape architects that had designed nice yards in Rancho Santa Fe and La Jolla and other locations near San Diego where rich people tend to live. I did this in my late 20s and I loved it because the guys I worked with were all my diving and surfing buddies there in San Diego then in the late 1970s. So, if the day was too hot we could go to the beach and surf or SCUBA dive or snorkel in the cove at La Jolla. When you are self employed as Landscape Contractors you choose your own hours 24 hours a day 7 days a week to get jobs done efficiently when the parts come in to your wholesale houses so you can complete jobs on time.

Though I didn't do much of this after my early 30s and bought other types of businesses I learned I loved to own a business and be completely in charge of every moment of my time with economic efficiency in every single way. A  properly managed business can maximize your income and streamline your life so you aren't necessarily exhausted all the time both psychologically and physically unless you want to be for a good cause. So, this can tend to extend your happiness, travel and life expectancy as well.

Anyway, back to electrical leaf blowers and weed eaters. Of the two I like electric leaf blowers a lot. I'm less impressed with electric weed eaters and usually I can't get one to last more than about 6 months to a year where I live for some reason. So, unless what you are doing is pretty lightweight it is usually better in some cases to rent a weed eater that is gas powered from a rental yard. I rented a lot of equipment like Back Hoes, Ditch Witches, Skip loaders and small Bobcat loaders and Kubota loaders sometimes with small back hoes. So, I got used to dealing with equipment rental yards then. So, if you have a large area (more than a 100 foot cord can reach) you might want to rent a gas one that is more powerful and built tougher. But, be very careful with the more powerful ones especially the ones that have circular blades 7 to 10 inches across. You don't want to fall on one or to cut your leg or fingers off accidentally with one of those. Your biggest problem is on uneven ground falling down while carrying one. So, the further the blade is from your body while walking around the better off you will be if you fall while using one of those. Also, if you hit a large enough rock pieces of metal might come off and get you or those around you.

So, though the little electric ones with fishing line are less likely to take a finger off they will really hurt if you get them against your leg or hand if they are running. So, don't do this in shorts unless you are really an expert(and even then think about this first). I have had really bad bruises even though my jeans from weed eaters.

My scariest true story was not with a leaf blower or weed eater though. I was up in a tree trimming limbs with a small chain saw. I climbed the tree and had started the chain saw on the ground first to make sure it would start. Then I tied a rope to the chain saw  so it wouldn't get caught in the leaves and branches as I climbed the tree. Then when I was up there one of my business partners said, "Hey. The owner is leaving soon and I want to get paid you need to finish this quickly." So, I nodded my head and tried to finish quickly so we could get paid for a multi-week job of landscaping of various kinds.

However, I was cutting and moving too fast and when I cut one branch the weight of it brought my chain saw hand down towards my leg. I quickly switched the power off to the engine and the chain stopped in my leg. This cut through my jeans and about a 1/16 of an inch into my leg. I told my friend that was the last time I was going to work  trimming trees. I had had enough. Time to leave well enough alone.

I also did bouldering with his friend in La Jolla. We would get boulders the size of cars and put them into his dumptruck at a quarry. Then I was driving behind in my my 1976 Toyota longbed truck then in 1978 and I noticed Archangel Michael sitting on the boulder in question. I asked him why he was sitting there. He didn't say. But, I knew there was some danger for him to be sitting there on the boulder.

So, when we unloaded the boulder, My friend was the contractor and I was the subcontractor and all the rest of the men (about 10) were just workers to help place the boulder perfectly in the rich people's yard in La Jolla. The men were scared. Something didn't feel right. My friend asked the men to reach under the boulder suspended from a jerry rigged crane on the side of the dumptruck and none of them moved. I felt protective of the men as one of the two contractors. So, I realized if I moved very quickly even if the hoist broke I could survive this. So, I moved very quickly and removed the last support under the boulder. AT that moment the hoist broke an instant after I got out from under it. I told my friend that was the last bouldering job I was going to do. Archangel Michael was right.

So, in regard to leaf blowers and weed eaters I have had only one leaf blower that still works great after 10 or more years. In that same time I have bought several weed eaters (maybe 5 or more) so I tend to get more and more heavier duty fishing line ones each time. (As I watch them slowly burn out one by one over the years). So, for heavier jobs (when there is a lot of rain that year) I go to the rental yard and rent a gas one that is designed for more heavy duty use for about 1/2 day.

2 comments:

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