Shred or Dead – How to Use Your Chipper/Shredder Safely.

At this time of year, with the Autumn clean up well underway and at the time when, as my colleague Dick pointed out yesterday, we ‘put our gardens to bed’ for the winter, we are thinking about chippers, chipping, shredding and the machines that do this excellent, important and demanding  job.

Dick’s blog pointed out a couple of great chipper shredders you might be interested in, the Earthquake CS6B Petrol and the Earthquake CS10 Petrol Chipper-Shredder with its larger 305cc Briggs & Stratton engine. Have a look here for prices and more details from our expert blogger Dick.

It occurred to me that if you are to own and use something as powerful and potentially destructive as a chipper/shredder – the garden machinery equivalent of a great white shark – you should really know how to use it safely.

So here are a few simple but flippin’ essential dos and don’ts, yays and nays and so on.

Top Gear

Do always wear protective clothing. A pair of good quality gardening or working gloves is essential, it can protect you from thorns etc as well as the cold.  A pair of goggles is also pretty important as these machines can produce more flying chips than Hogwort’s canteen and you don’t want to be hit by a piece of the branch you just fed in. A pair of sturdy shoes or boots is very advisable and a hard hat wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Loose and Inappropriate

DON’T wear inappropriate clothing. Most of the time this means don’t ever wear loose or baggy clothing as you do not want your best pirate shirt or fishing smock catching in the machinery and dragging you in!

N.B This is not the time to try out your Scream Ghostface outfit for Halloween.

Size Matters

Do check the capacity of your machine and keep the feeding size within the stated parameters. Don’t ever put anything you even think might be too tough or inappropriate into your chipper…

N.B. Ladies and gentlemen,  there are things you should not attempt to feed into a shredder; I don’t care what he or she did, it is not a revenge machine…







Hers inappropriate
…also inappropriate









Feed Me!

Despite the above title, we don’t want to turn an afternoon’s chipping into “a Little Chop of Horrors” so remember NEVER feed material into your chipper/shredder by pushing it all the way in with your arms and hands. Any final pushing that goes far beyond the rim of the hopper can be done with another branch, a long stick or something other than hands… gloved or otherwise.

Read Me!

Simple as Baldrick… do read the manufacturer’s guide/manual and any material you can get your hands on before you start.

Keep Your Trap Shut!

Don’t open any part of the machine, including trap doors for discharge port doors or hopper lids, whatever, until the machine has stopped. If it is an electric machine, electric, unplug it first if you can. This also goes for any maintenance you might carry out. DOUBLE check the machine is inoperative before you go near it!

Never Let It Slip Away

If your chipper/shredder is on wheels, do make sure the brake is on or the wheels are secured with chocks/wood blocks, especially if you are near an incline. A runaway chipper is not something you want to be responsible for.

If you follow all that, and if you go about your chipping and shredding carefully and if you keep your head … or anything else…when all the other chipper/shredder operators are losing theirs, you’ll be a safer chipper/shredder, my son.

Enjoy your garden.  Drew Hardy

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