Choosing a kusakariki

Finding land, working a small plot or anything else countryside related
Tora
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Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Tora » Tue May 01, 2018 10:33 am

Or taming of the weeds

We are getting ready to start renovating an older house with land on the outskirts. First step is cutting weeds before the rainy season really gets them growing. I've used a lot of tools and machinery but know nothing about brush cutters. A friend who grows citrus, cedar, and Hinoki recommended some pro models but 6 man seems like a lot for our situation where I see 1-2 days of cutting a couple times per year. After some looking around, the Makita 2 cycle 21-22mL models with the saw blade cutter for about ¥2man look to fit our budget and needs. There is about 300m2 of flat field with currently waist to chest high weeds and some grassy hills along the road and behind the house that will need taming until we can do something more productive with them.

Are there any general recommendations for
1. brands,
2. cutter saw blade, cord, ...
3. styles, shaft damper?
4. handle types, U shape, D/ring, straight
5. etc
that I should think about?

Also, I'm very tall... is there or should I look for an option for a longer shaft? I've seen one in a pro model but it seemed to be overkill for our needs

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Re: Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Shizuman » Tue May 01, 2018 11:57 am

if i can jump in on this to, why in japan do most people use a blade rather than cord?

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Eric in Japan
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Re: Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Eric in Japan » Tue May 01, 2018 3:57 pm

Tora wrote:Are there any general recommendations for
1. brands,
2. cutter saw blade, cord, ...
3. styles, shaft damper?
4. handle types, U shape, D/ring, straight
5. etc
that I should think about?

Also, I'm very tall... is there or should I look for an option for a longer shaft? I've seen one in a pro model but it seemed to be overkill for our needs
I am 182cm tall, and I can only recommend what I have used. So far I have had a Tanaka, an Echo, and Maruyama. The Tanaka and Maruyama were middle price options, the Echo was the cheapest one.

1. You get what you pay for. For me, the Tanaka was the best. The engine was still running but the head wore out.
The Echo was the worst- but as I said it was the very cheapest model. I used it for 2 months before the carb needed replacement, and the estimate was for the same price as a new machine.
Maruyama is my current machine. It is fine.

2. I use a chipsaw blade if the weeds are tall and hard. I used to use a really nice blade I could sharpen, but a friend who didn't know it was that kind destroyed it by accident. I use cord around rocks, foundations, or for soft weeds.
3. No special options.
4. All three machines are U handles, I wouldn't use any other.
5. Like I said, you get what you pay for. If I had the available funds, I would get a Yamabiko, Shin-Daiwa, or Kioritsu.

Just remember to let it run out of gas before you put it away for the day, and save your carburetor. At the end of my day, I drain the cutter's gas tank back into my gas can, and then start it up and run it dry.

Hope it helps.
"... so, the cucumbers said to the cabbage, `Lettuce Go.`"

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Re: Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Caleb Fuller » Tue May 01, 2018 10:07 pm

Hmmm....

I wouldn't recommend spending too much on the brush-cutter. I mean, they're a bitch to use, slow and painful - no way I'd ever make one my MAIN tool. There are situations where it is needed, but 6 man - no way.

I'd get the cheapest one I could. Then, for main maintenance work, buy yourself an actual proper 4 stroke rotary mower. If you're going to spend the money, at least get something worthwhile!

http://minatodenki-online.jp/shopdetail ... ge1/order/

This is about the best deal you'll find in Japan. I lucked out in that they are just down the road from me. However, I also watched them grow from a big shed selling mechanical farming equipment and tools to locals, into one of Japan's biggest online distributors of things like lawnmowers and power tools! The big shed is still there, but next to it is a bigger office full of people taking orders on computers, and an even bigger warehouse stuff is being shipped from! It was impressive to see happen when most independent stores like this in Japan are slowly fading away due to pressure from big box franchises. Anyways...

Shizuman, blade vs cord comes down to the sheer vigour and toughness of most of the weeds in Japan. I've seen areas taken over by grasses that grew so tall and tough all a cord would do is give them a nasty sting. Also, Japanese tend to use it as the main all purpose, holy Catholic and apostolic weed control device, whereas in Australia or Britain, it's really only something to do the edges and areas the mower can't reach.

All this said, there's always the scythe option. I've actually got a proper old school 60cm English scythe blade sitting around. I used it for a bit with a home made snath, until I broke that. Really wish I could get a proper snath actually, I'd love to get it back into action!

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Re: Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Zasso Nouka » Wed May 02, 2018 6:23 am

I'll add my two pence worth.

Like Eric I've owned a number of cheaper ones and they never last long, something goes and they don't have replacement parts so I'd recommend a higher priced model. Don't think you can go wrong with a Makita, I own many of their power tools and the build quality is good but I would recommend going with one of their 4 stroke kusakariki's. The engines are much cleaner burning and more economical with petrol plus you don't have to fiddle around mixing up petrol and 2 cycle oil.

I now have a Honda kusakariki and am well chuffed with it, they retail for around 30,000 yen. Honda Walk have them in stock if you can't find any in local bricks and mortar stores.

Get decent pair of safety glasses if you don't already wear glasses as a small stones or chip in the eye really hurts.
Shizuman wrote:if i can jump in on this to, why in japan do most people use a blade rather than cord?
To add to Caleb's excellent advice I'd also say the cord also leaves loads of plastic chips in the environment and additionally with a blade you can run it just under the soil surface totally severing a weed from it's roots rather than just cutting the top off which can then regrow. Also you can resharpen the discs and keep them going for several years.

For blade recommendations I'd suggest the Black Shark discs, the teeth are very well bonded to the disc body and rarely come off.
Eric in Japan wrote: Just remember to let it run out of gas before you put it away for the day, and save your carburetor. At the end of my day, I drain the cutter's gas tank back into my gas can, and then start it up and run it dry.
This is really important to prolong the longevity of your engine.

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Re: Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Tora » Wed May 02, 2018 9:03 am

Thanks for the advice all.

I'd been considering 2 cycle with blade but like the idea of longer engine life and less exhaust? of a 4 stroke engine.

I'll look around and see if I can hold some of the recommended models so I can check feel and ergonomics. As I measure my height in Meters not centimeters, that will likely be a big factor in the decision.

Not really looking forward to a whole lot of sweaty, backbreaking work in the hot, humid season but when opportunity knocks, you gotta answer.

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Re: Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Zasso Nouka » Thu May 10, 2018 6:36 am

Just thought I'd add that it might be useful to get some of the vibration reduction gloves at the same time as you buy a kusakariki, saves on getting tingly fingers from using the thing.

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Re: Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Tora » Fri May 11, 2018 7:54 am

Zasso Nouka wrote:Just thought I'd add that it might be useful to get some of the vibration reduction gloves at the same time as you buy a kusakariki, saves on getting tingly fingers from using the thing.
Thanks great advice. Where would one get those gloves? My hands were numb yesterday. Been wearing insulated leather gloves but I'd welcome something better. Today's my third day clearing. My body forgot how to work. So..., this is the "getting old" I've been hearing about for years?

Been using my friend's kusakariki. Too short for my lanky self. Hard being tall in Japan. I found a Katz(カーツ) model with a 226cm shaft that's right up my ally but they're all "sold out" online. Still looking. ¥5-60,000 is more than we hoped to pay but I'm starting to see the value in proper tools. I am a little disappointed that the first major tool I have to buy to renovate a house is a brush cutter. Maybe an ominous sign of what the future holds in store for my naive self....

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Re: Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Zasso Nouka » Sat May 12, 2018 5:53 am

Ha ha, you'll soon get back in shape :lol:
Tora wrote: I'm starting to see the value in proper tools.
That's something I've come to learn, buy cheap, buy twice. Spend a little bit more and get something that will last much longer and do a better job.

As for the gloves I got mine from Komeri, you'll either find them in the gloves section or hanging up near the kusakariki's. They come in either green or pink, the palm surface is covered in soft spongy rubber to absorb the vibration and the back of the hand side is fabric so your hands can breathe.

You don't often see the Black Shark discs in home centres but can order them from Amazon, just make sure to get the right disc size for your engine. However most home centres sell the sharpening grinder discs that will greatly extend the life of your cutter.

One other question are you going to buy cordless power tools for your rennovation work ? If so the combo kits from Makita and DeWalt are massively cheaper outside Japan than buying the tools separately here. The only thing you might have to change is the battery charger if it doesn't match Japan's voltage.

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Re: Choosing a kusakariki

Post by Tora » Sat May 12, 2018 9:30 pm

Thanks for the tip on the black shark discs. I lucked out and found a brand spankin New cutter blade in the shed and my kusakariki life is a whole lot better now. I also found a whole collection of worn out blades with all of the carbide teeth worn away. Any good suggestions for how to reuse them? Art? Giant shuriken?

Also, Thanks for the tip on tools being cheaper outside Japan. Do you have somebody send them to you or do you use a freight forwarder? I'm guessing the makers place restrictions on what can be sent abroad. At least that's been my experience with a number of items I've tried to order in the past. Might not be too much time to wait for delivery as we are hoping to finish the renovations and move in by the end of August. It all depends on how long I last in the humidity and heat of the oncoming rainy season and summmer. Then there is the prediction of a hardcore typhoon season this year.

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