There are many options for freeing an otherwise lovely yard from an unsightly tree stump. While plenty opt for professional removal services, there are those who prefer the chance at a DIY project. Although many small-engine services provide rentals, there are times when a homemade stump grinder is the best option. There are a few things to consider when getting started on this fun and rewarding project.
Stump Grinder Basics
In order to design a fully-functional homemade version, it helps to have a clear idea about how a standard stump grinder works. A stump grinder head is made from a steel disc that is at least one inch thick. It is preferably made from a kind of flexible carbide for great cutting quality that won’t hack away at the equipment in the process. It runs like a saw blade but includes steel bits clamped to the disc. The teeth of the blade are staggered in order to create multiple strike zones, causing a chewing effect on the stump.
When considering the conversion of existing equipment into a homemade stump grinder, keep in mind that a stump grinder blade is oriented vertically, making some starter machines an inappropriate choice. Also, a sturdy walk- or drive-behind type of machine will provide the greatest comfort and safety for handling the equipment.
Lawn mowers are often considered as a first-choice for conversion to a stump grinder. This is not, however, the best or even simplest option. Keep in mind that most mower shafts and motors are not built to handle a material as resistant as wood. Also, a lawn mower blade is oriented horizontally, making it inappropriate for attaching a stump blade.
Before getting started using any model of stump grinder, make the job easier by using a chain saw to cut the stump as low to the ground as possible. A chain saw can also be a handy tool if complete root removal is the final goal.
The Ready-Made Option
For anyone who already owns a Bobcat or other skid loader, these and other such companies offer stump grinder attachments that are compatible with their machines. This makes a great option for anyone wanting a do-it-yourself stump grinder with the flexibility of a ready-made, adjustable attachment. Depending on the style of skid loader, it may be possible to follow the steps of the do-it-yourself option in order to create a homemade skid loader attachment.
The Do-It-Yourself Option
This is a great choice when only the visible portion of the stump needs removing. The only equipment needed is a walk-behind edger, two circular saw blades and two adjustable wrenches. For best results, use high-quality saw blades.
Safety Check & Assembly
Start by making sure there is no power to the edger. If it’s electric, simply pull the plug from the socket. Gas edgers, however, will require disconnecting the spark plug wire. Be sure to use a circular saw blade that is 1-1/2 inches smaller than the edger blade.
- Remove the blade and any washers in front or behind it.
- Use the adjustable wrench to steady the drive shaft and loosen the nut on the front of the blade by hand or with the other wrench.
- Slide one washer back onto the drive shaft, followed by a circular saw blade.
- Add a second washer and the second blade, then a third washer and the nut.
- Hand-tighten the nut to start, but finish securing it with the wrench.
- After reconnecting the power supply, rest the running blades of this homemade stump grinder atop any surface roots or stumps and watch them disappear.