On this page I will show you how I have cleared part our property with a BrushDestructor blade, to ensure we never have a fire go through our property again by removing all the ground fuel load.
This is what this area looked like one year after the fire that went through our property and before I started clearing. Because we live in a rain forest area, we thought our property would never burn. But the really strong winds raced the fire through, burning mostly the leaves and vines and then blew itself out. Most of the smaller trees died from heat stress, but did not burn and were being smothered in vines so thick that it will prevent anything else from growing for many years to come, so I decided to cut away all the new vine growth and the dead saplings that was growing up them. Left another year and the property would be impassable, as the vines would continue to grow thicker and denser and create massive a fuel load for a future fire.
Below is walking through what I have recently cleared, starting from where I started clearing to where I am almost at the boundary. This total area was cleared in seven weeks, going out on average of six days a week for one tank of fuel. At my age, one tank of fuel is more than enough work for me.
The red dot in each photo below, is the centre of the next photo below it and so on.
Why this first area looks so good after such a short time, is that I have cut up the thicker trunks and burnt them. Plus, as I walk to and from the new cutting face, I take a different path each time and trim any branches that are not laying flat on the ground, so that they make contact with the ground, making it easier for the ground creeper plant to cover it up.
It is also quite amazing how quickly the shredded leaves and small branches rot away, as you can see above, compared to photos below.
Notice that you no longer see any tree stumps in this area as they have now been cut down closer to ground level as the mulch around them shrink down and I can see any dirt or stones that might blunt the blade teeth.
As we walk on, you will see more shredded branches and larger trunks laying on the ground.
All the trees you see on the ground have been cut down with the BrushDestructor blade.
After a few months, all the small branches laying on the ground will start to rot away under the green ground cover. The larger tree trunks you see will also eventually be covered with the ground creeper, but depending on their size may take a number of years to rot away. Only walking areas, will be cleared of tripping hazards and also to allow the walking tracks can be mowed.
Each time I walk pass, I will cut some of the long trunks shorter so that they lay flatter on the ground and more quickly become covered in ground creeper.
Each day I pick an area about a house block in size and start by mulching up all the vines and saplings less than 25mm (1″) in diameter.
Then the next day, I will cut down saplings up to about 50mm (2″) in diameter and mulch up all the small branches. This then opens up the area enough to safely fell larger sapling up to 100mm (4″) in diameter. Before I fell any tall tree, want to know exactly what way it wants to fall and make sure that the area is clear so that it can fall to the ground. If any tall tree should get stuck against another tree, the risks involved in getting it down, increase by a magnitude of 10+.
The smaller mess of branches you see below, will be ground up smaller each time I walk pass them.
Below is what any area looks like, after a first clear.
All this area was cleared with one set of flail-blades and I have not even had to use the sharpening jig for its first major sharpen and balance. The BrushDestructor blade was fitted to a long shaft 35cc Honda brush cutter. Because I run the brush cutter at about 1/2 to 2/3 revs, I get on average 2 to 2.5 hours of cutting time from one 0.6 litre fuel tank.
This photo below show that the teeth have sustained no major damage, but you can see the shredding teeth on the front of the blades have been polished round from dust abrasion.
The reason why I get such a long life from my Flail-Blades, is that I take great care to stay away from the ground and on first clearing I stay at least 300mm (1′) away from the ground.
For those of you who think that I don’t have any rocks to deal with going by the photos above. I can assure that they are everywhere and because of the colour of the volcanic rock, they are almost invisible as you can see below.
I have learnt the hard way, that it is easier to take extra care to avoid ground contact and rocks, then have to stop and resharpen the teeth. Because without sharp teeth, there is no way I could have cleared what I have cleared in such a short time.
The other reason is the use of a diamond file to touch up the teeth in the field and every time I refuel. I have found, that really sharp teeth cut so much better, you can cut more effectively at slower revs, which means that the teeth hold their edge longer.
Another reason, I am now getting such a long life, is that it is very easy to over sharpen the teeth using the diamond disc on an angle grinder. Which is perhaps another reason why some customers are wearing their blades down so quickly.