Sunday, 29 March 2009

Eliet Minor shredder – 1 year on report

Around a year ago I published a couple of reviews on the Eliet Minor garden shredder. I thought that it would be useful to post my experiences with the shredder over the last year or so.


A year ago I bought an Eliet Minor garden shredder and concluded that I was happy with its performance – go here to read my previous reviews.

Am I still happy with it?
After a full year of use I am still very happy with the shredder and do not regret buying it at all. It gets through a prodigious amount of material in an hour or two so I have not had to use it too often, which was one of the reasons I bought it in the first place.

Does it produce good compost?

Yes – the shreddings compost down quickly and while some long’ish (about 6”) woody bits do find their way through the multi-purpose screen these are either easy to pick out and feed back through the standard screen or can be left in – they are quite heavily abraded as they pass through the blades and I have found that they tend to rot down more quickly than if they were simply cut to the same length and put on the compost heap.

I have, however, learnt a few things about the Minor in the last year:

Using the screens

I have found it necessary to swap between screens quite regularly as the standard screen does not like much in the way of wet and mushy material going through it – it quickly clogs up. It is not entirely obvious, but the multi purpose screen only fits in one way round and the as supplied standard screen fits more easily one way round than the other. To help swap them over quickly I have found it helpful to mark the top of the screens so that I put them in the right way round – as in the photo below.


Both screens are robust, being made from solid steel and tight fitting. I have thus found it helpful to have a small lump hammer and a crow bar to hand to speed up the removal and fitting process with gentle taps and tugs here and there to facilitate the changeover.

I have mislaid the screen securing pins a couple of times when changing over screens – on the last occasion I found one in the compost heap…

Really, really mushy material
On a couple of occasions I have wanted to shred the wet and mushy contents at the bottom of the pile. These even blocked up the multi purpose screen, so I simply take out the screen and push it through the blades without any screen in place. Since the area is protected by the micro-switched grill I can not see that this is dangerous. In any case I have only had to put a very small amount of material through this way.

Safety switches

I can confirm that the micro-switches on the grid protecting the outlet and the lever near the inlet both work. On occasion I have accidentally knocked the lever near the inlet and it immediately cuts off the engine. A couple of times the engine has been reluctant to start because one of the micro-switch’s contacts are not made properly. Just popping them back into place by re-closing the lever or grid sorts out the problem.

Is there anything not to put into the shredder?

Apart from the obvious things like stones the only plant material that I have found to avoid are Phormiums’ tough, sword-shaped leaves. These long fibrous leaves have properties a bit like flax (hence their colloquial name of New Zealand flax) and you could probably make rope from them. In any case in large quantities (we have several in the garden and they produce armfuls of prunings at this time of year) they tend to act like rope around a propeller, so I either feed them in very sparingly with a large amount of really woody material or use my old Scheppach Lonos 2 to crush them up enough for the compost heap.

Otherwise it takes everything in its stride.

Be a bit careful about what you shred…
With the low material flow rates through my older shredders I never found any fumes coming off shredded material to be a problem. With the Minor, however, with its large flow rates combined with its truly shredding action I found that shredding a large old Ivy plant caused some fumes to avoid. The shredder cuts finely and exposes a large surface area of material for composting, but this can also release a lot of fume if the material is prone to produce it – the Ivy clearly did. A bit of research indicated that shredding fresh Laurel leaves can also produce an unpleasant fume, so I now let Laurel cuttings go brown before shredding them.

Health and safety

Through long years of working in engineering environments I automatically wear safety glasses when using anything like this. I also wear ear defenders, along with a dust mask when shredding dry material. I double glove (eg a pair of thin nitrile coated inner gloves and a large pair of heavy duty outers) as I find that to keep up with the machine’s appetite for material it is impractical to check what you are picking up too closely and we have a lot of seriously thorny material in our garden. This solution keeps pretty much everything out.

Starting the engine

My Minor is fitted with the Briggs & Stratton engine option. This is started with a pull cord and as with all my petrol engined garden machinery it can be a bit reluctant to start after a long lay off. I don’t find this machine to be any better or worse than others in its ease of starting. When hot it restarts easily with a single pull of the cord.

Also…

Remember that this is a petrol driven engine and that it produces exhaust fumes. Standing by it while it is running for a long time can be a bit unpleasant, so I take regular breaks and work in a well ventilated (draughty even) area.

Conclusion
I am very happy with my choice and anticipate many years of service from it.
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2 comments:

ritesh shinde said...

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Wendy Howard said...

I bought this shredder based on your review and I haven't regretted it one moment. It's as you describe it. I was lucky enough to find one on ebay which had only been used 4 times and got a great deal on it so all in all I'm very happy. Mine has the Honda GX200 engine. I found it very temperamental at first, difficult to start and cutting out very easily, but we tracked the problem down to an over-sensitive safety switch on the grid shielding the outlet area. It now starts first time every time, even after a long lay-off, and will happily chew its way through a mountain of prunings without missing a beat. Many thanks to you for taking the time to create these reviews.