Author Topic: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments  (Read 30117 times)

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2010, 03:22:28 PM »
I still think renting something like this is the way to go. Rent it, whack the weeds, send it back, end of story. Nothing to build, nothing to maintain, nothing to house.

Mike Fox

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2010, 07:32:12 PM »
Next time I see one, I will inquire of the rental price.
Mike
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Gordon Cook

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2010, 05:10:56 PM »
I second Wayne's idea to rent a machine and try it out. After all, we don't really know if something like this will work well. The ROW is very uneven and has lots of stumps and it will be challenging to use a tractor or any other big machine on it.
And we certainly don't want to buy or build something that isn't a big improvement over what we have now.
We might find that the string trimmers are the only realistic solution besides mass destruction.
One thing that we may want to do is use something to keep vegetation from growing up in the ballast. If left unchecked this will hinder the ability of the ballast to drain water and encourages fires.
Gawdon

Bill Reidy

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2010, 07:15:05 PM »
I still think renting something like this is the way to go. Rent it, whack the weeds, send it back, end of story. Nothing to build, nothing to maintain, nothing to house.

I'm assuming a rig like this would have to be loaded onto one of the flatcars to traverse our active ROW.  I imagine a tractor straddling the tracks would destroy the ballast in sections like the ROW between Sheepscot Mills and Humason Brook trestle, and straddling the tracks would be the only way a tractor could traverse significant portions of our active ROW.
What–me worry?

Gordon Cook

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2010, 11:26:07 AM »
Here's an off-the-wall idea:

How about hiring several local teens or college kids ( or any able body) looking for a little P/T work to weed-whack the ROW?

I guess the big question is would anybody be interested (probably related to how much we're willing to pay). Other issues off the top of  my head would be that someone would have to organize and supervise,  liability, cost vs. benefit,??

The cost would be around $10/hour times 40 hours times 4 workers, or $1600. I am assuming that 4 workers and one week would be enough to finish or be very close to finishing.

Thoughts?
Gawdon

Dave Buczkowski

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2010, 01:10:34 PM »
Gawdon;
  That's not something I'd be in favor of. The $1,600.00 has many other uses. And you'd have to spend that or more every year. Wayne has suggested using prisoners from the local jail. That would be much cheaper but you'd still need a Museum volunteer to organize and supervise. Presumably prison guards would come with the package. "What we have here is a failure to communicate."
  With what college kids would be paid over the long run the funds would be better put towards something mechanized (and it's more fun!).
KD

Jason M Lamontagne

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2010, 07:54:24 PM »
Personnally, I would be in favor of Gordon's idea.  That's $1600 that takes a currently massive stress of our already overstretched volunteer core- and $1600 is a lot more reachable than buying a $12,000 articulated boom and then two-foot gauging it somehow (incidentally- I do think that's the ultimate solution).  Hiring local college kids is a great way to expose us to a new audience- and I'm guessing we'd gain at least some interest from these kids.  I'd view hiring some local kids temporarily for brush cutting as a great way to be a part of the community- instead of always just expecting the community to tolerate us.  Hiring out certain labor aspects is not foreign to us- and as our current volunteer core is more stretched (stop by any Sunday and see it) this is something to consider. 

Just thoughts...

Jason

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2010, 09:24:50 PM »
I've had some experience with hiring college students for track work, including brush cutting, installing ties, dressings ballast. etc. The most important detail is having a competent and knowledgeable supervisor to manage the work force. Many of these young guys have little experience doing hard physical work, and they really don't know what is expected of them. I recall one big bruiser of a football player who worked half a day on the track gang and walked away from it. The foreman called me and I picked the kid up and took him to his car. When I asked him why he was bailing out before lunch, he said he'd had enough railroading in one morning to last a lifetime. My point is, you can't simply turn a gang of young men loose and point them in the right direction. An experienced supervisor is necessary. Do we have any interested volunteers?

Another thing to consider is that most college students, if they are seeking summer work, are looking for 10 or 12 weeks of work, not a week or two. They work because they need the money, and a one or two week gig, even at premium pay, may not attract many candidates.

As Dave mentioned above, some museums make good use of community service/work release inmates. These are people who are doing time for non-violent crimes and are eager to get out of jail for 6-8 hours a day. They are often available to work for non-profit organizations. The usual routine has the group delivered to the work site by a van. They may or may not be accompanied by a corrections officer. The non-profit is required to provide supervision and may also have to provide a bag lunch. At the end of the work day, the van returns them to the correctional facility. I know of two museums here in Pennsylvania who employ such workers for a couple of days each month to mow grass, tend flower beds, dress ballast, pick up old ties and other low skill tasks. They have done so for more than 10 years with no problems. Something to consider....   

Ken Fleming

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2010, 07:52:58 AM »
Alright, I have been holding this back for a number of years.  I asked a guard at the Maine State Prison (just down the road) if work gangs were available?  The answer is yes, if its for a public project or for the good of the public.  Is a museum that is preserving Maine history of public interest?  I think so.  A bus load of "volunteer" help could do a load of weed whacking.  Maybe its time to ask for their help.  Fred might have to provide them lunch (LOL).

Mike Fox

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2010, 08:11:50 PM »
I have a 11 horse motor and a 4' sickle bar mower I am thinking of trying something with. The mower hasn't been used in over 20 years. Last I knew the motor ran, but perhaps I should go through it this winter.

I will need to build a car, or make this so it can hang under a work flat. It used to go on the tractor I have, and I have no plans to re-attach. This would mow the first 4 feet safely.

My idea is to pull the car with a locomotive, being able to turn the car to mow the other side of the tracks when pulled the other way.

Anyone have a spare 2ft work flat to donate? Or just the wheels. I could build the car.
Mike
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Bruce Mowbray

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2010, 07:21:57 AM »
Have you guys ever used a DR Field and Brush mower? I have an older version of one of these and it handles anything I can run over. The newer models even have reverse (mine does not) so mowing the tough spots are quite manageable. The two behind version might work well to.

http://www.drpower.com/field-brush-mower.aspx

Bruce Mowbray
Springville, PA
Bruce Mowbray
Springville, PA

Mike Fox

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2010, 08:03:42 PM »
Bruce, having seen our ROW, would that handle the slopes we have? I know on the 1:1 and 2:1 we have would be impossible, but my question is does it run on other than flat ground?

There are not many level spots, and I would not want a motor to expire due to lack of oil. Maybe you could tell us what the manufacturer says is ok.

Mike
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Bruce Mowbray

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2010, 06:21:37 AM »
Mike,
I use my DR to mow the pond ban, model railroad fills and drainage ditch sides around my property. It has been at a 45 degree angle and sill moves right along. It has a low oil shutoff switch so if the oil pump does suck any air, the motor immediately stops. 

 On a 1;1 slope, even a human with a weed wacker would have a tough time standing. I have seen the ROW up there and most of it could be mowed with a machine like the DR mower. Keep in mind, will will not mow the 5-6 inch diameter stumps that are still sticking out of the ground, but it will handle any 2 inch saplings with ease.

Bruce
Bruce Mowbray
Springville, PA

Gordon Cook

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2010, 03:34:25 PM »
I was intrigued by Bruce's idea of getting essentially a larger and more powerful trimmer.
From my limited experience, the density of a lot of the stuff we are cutting makes it slow going, because of the grass wrapping the trimmer up, or the string breaking too often.

I think it would be worth a try, at least, because a heavier string and more power should result in getting more done faster with less fatigue because you're not carrying the machine. Unless horsing the machine around on the uneven ground cancels the advantages. 

I think we should seriously consider trying one of these. Even if it doesn't turn out to be the ultimate ROW solution it would likely be useful around Sheepscot, AC, and other places.

Does anyone have one of these we could try out? I'll keep an eye out on Ebay for one.
Gawdon

Bruce Mowbray

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Re: Automated Bush Wacking Attachments
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2010, 04:09:19 PM »
Gordon,

I'm not sure exactly when I will be coming up this fall but when I do, I will bring my older machine with me. The newer model has air tires, a lower center of gravity and a forward-reverse transmission. More advanced than my older model. You will be able to see how well it cuts and if the basic idea will work for you. These machines have a dead-man control so if one does release the handle, all motion stops.

The company is located in Vermont. It may be to the museums advantage to see if they would have a demo unit for the MOW team to try.

Bruce
Bruce Mowbray
Springville, PA