Lawn mowers and tractors are great at trimming grass, but they are not necessarily equipped to cut brush from the edge of your property or along a trail. Brush-cutting machines can be expensive and take up a great deal of storage space. Fortunately, it is possible to build a brush cutter using equipment you likely already have.
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Things to Consider Before Building a Brush Cutter
Before proceeding with a home-built brush cutter, consider your comfort level with saws, welding and power equipment. This type of project requires some dangerous work. Gloves, eye protection and a welding mask should be used whenever appropriate.
When working with welding equipment or sawing through metal, you should alert others in the vicinity so they can proceed with caution. In addition, be sure you work in a well-lit area.
Lastly, consider your willingness to sacrifice your lawn mower or tractor in the construction of a brush cutter. Many alterations you make to your yard equipment for this project are irreversible, so you might wish to use only older machines or those you rely on less for your brush-cutting project. You may find the mower or tractor is not as effective at cutting grass to a typical yard length after brush cutter modifications have been made.
Brush Cutter Blades
Most people who choose to build a brush cutter use an old push lawn mower to do so. A riding mower or tractor may work as well. In many cases, both of the latter pieces of equipment may be manufactured to accommodate brush-cutting attachments sold at home improvement stores. Homemade versions typically aim to increase ground clearance or blade size and therefore a mower's ability to cut grass.
Use of a push mower for a brush cutter requires minor alterations to the deck of the mower as well as to the blade. Before you begin making any such changes to any power equipment, drain all gasoline and oil from the machine. With caps removed, let the machine air dry for at least a half hour so that fumes evaporate.
You will need to remove the blade from your lawn mower to begin. Ultimately, you will need the blade to be angled such that it can cut brush, rather than just grass. You can use an acetylene torch to cut the blade to the desired angle. In some instances, you may also replace the blade with a larger one. Take care to resituate any mower parts that will be in the way of the new blade.
Other Brush Cutter Modifications
Changing a push mower's wheels to those of a greater diameter can also help to make your mower more brush-friendly. The larger height will mean the machine is farther from the ground, though, so be sure to adjust your blade accordingly. Another approach is to raise the deck. This may require cutting through the metal of the mower with a torch or saw.
Once you have modified your mower so that it has the blade and clearance you prefer, refill the gasoline and oil tanks. Test the brush cutter in an inconspicuous area first to ensure you like the way it cuts. Make adjustments as necessary, but be sure to empty the fuel and oil tanks if you do further work on the machine.