A wood chipper uses a set of blades, hammers, or cutting teeth to convert organic material fed through a chute into smaller pieces. The type of material a chipper can accept varies by design and can include tree limbs, small branches, yard debris, and dead leaves. The size of the input material that a chipper can accept depends on its designed capacity and the size of the chipped pieces is determined by its reduction ratio.
If you want to learn more about wood chippers, how they work, and their history then continue reading.
The history of the wood chipper goes back a long time, more than 100 years. It was invented in Germany in 1884 by Peter Jensen and quickly grew into a well-known tool used across the world.
One of the earliest patents for a wood chipper was granted to H. G. Shortt on January 15, 1901. It shares features with a lot of modern chippers, including a flywheel disc and multiple chipping knives.
A wood chipper can be designed with several different types of cutting mechanisms. Here are some of the main types:
Many electric shredders utilize high-torque rollers to grind up and shred small-diameter material. The feed rollers operate at a low speed and are much quieter than the chipping mechanisms in gas-powered units.
The most common type of wood chipper for homeowners and small farms implements a high speed disc or flywheel with multiple knives and sharp blades designed to chip and grind up material. The flywheel inside these units spins at a high rate of speed and is either fitted to the motor's shaft or connected to a drive belt. In some disk chippers, the flywheel may also include several hammers for shredding purposes.
A drum-type chipper is usually found in commercial chipper models. The drum spins at a very high speed and material is pulled into the chip chute for processing. In this type of chipper, the drum is powered by a belt and the drum rotates at a high speed. Drum chippers are often the most dangerous and safety is a serious concern if the operator gets caught on material going into the feed chute.
Every chipper has one or more blades, hammers, steel teeth that are used to chip and shred material. In residential chippers, most blades are between 4 inches to 10 inches long and about 1/4 inches to 1/2 inches thick. As for hammers and teeth, the design generally varies but most are some type of hardened steel and contain a predefined amount of chromium.
All types of chippers and shredders are dangerous machines and should be treated with respect. Every year at least two or three people lose their lives from these machines due to user error. However, many of these involve commercial chippers and not consumer models which are less dangerous.
Proper safety equipment for any chipper includes:
Are you shopping for a new wood chipper? Here are some of our favorites that we want to share. Also, if you need some help, then be sure to check out our detailed buying guide. It explains some of the important considerations when shopping for a wood chipper.