If you had told me several back that I would be buying a stump grinder, I would have shook my head and walked away. Why would I want a stump grinder? I can now answer that question after having moved to the homestead. I want to cut some trails in the back 40 acres so I can have 4x4 access to a deer hunting stand I want to put there. As it stands now, there's no way to drive my tractor or 4x4 back into that area. I can cut the trees but need to remove the stumps so I can run the brush hog back there on a regular basis. With a stump grinder, I can take the stumps to ground level which allows the brush hog to pass right over them. The same holds true for my nephew's property. His was recently logged and the trails left by that operation are prefect for hunting and recreating. However, they too are loaded with a fair amount of stumps and can't be brush hogged without first being removed.
After deciding it was time to buy a grinder, I started visiting the forums to see what was available and what folks thought about them. Cost was the prime factor since I only have so much available for these kind of expenditures. I'm not doing this to earn a living. I'm retired and this project is mostly to improve deer hunting and make some nice 4x4 trails to enjoy. Basically, it gives me something to do besides cutting firewood.
A grinder from Woodland Mills caught my interest and I started researching it. The more I read, the more I realized it just might meet our needs. After a short discussion with my wife, we decided to give it a try. When my nephew heard about it, he was happy to hear the news. I put in an order and about 10 days later, I took delivery of a 480 pound crate at the end of my driveway. With the help of some chain and my front end loader, I shuttled the crate into my garage to un-box the following day.
The Woodland Mills website has a good video on the WG24 stump grinder. This write-up is not intended to replace the information provided by the manufacturer. These photos and comments reflect my take on the grinder.
The metal shipping crate was encased in a cardboard box. A box cutter made short work of the box. This is a PTO driven stump grinder that mounts on the tractor's 3 point hitch. The PTO shaft wrapped in the cardboard box.
The shipping crate is assembled from two parts. The removal of four bolts separated the two pieces, leaving the stump grinder attached to the lower section of the crate. Don't throw that shipping crate away! It is easily repurposed into a really nice DIY shooting bench. Ask me, I know!
With everything un-crated and unwrapped, it's ready to be attached to the tractor as soon as the wood chip deflector plate is bolted onto the grinder. The plate is held in place with the supplied nuts and bolts.
This is the chain saw holder that Woodland Mills puts on the grinder. In the owner's manual, it states to NOT operate the stump grinder with the saw clamped in the holder but rather use it only during transport. That being said, I wasn't overly impressed with it. I slipped my Husqvarna 555 into the holder and tightened the knob. It basically clamped onto the chain at the top of the bar while the bottom of the bar wasn't actually squeezed. This left the bar to move back and forth while the chain was held in position....not good in my opinion. I'll have to take another look at it to see if some of the spacer material at the bottom of the holder can be ground down a bit. If it can, it would go a long way in properly gripping the bar. With all that being said, it doesn't matter all that much as I have a front end loader on my Massey Ferguson tractor and typically use it to hold my gear when I go to the woods. My chainsaw requires gas, bar oil, etc. and there's no place for that. Granted, if all you were going to do is grind stumps, a filled chainsaw would be all you would need. For me, I'll be cutting down trees and grinding stumps so I'll need to refill the saw once or twice while I'm in the woods at the minimum.
The owner's manual has a section for properly breaking in the PTO slip clutch. All you need is a tape measure and a couple of wrenches and you'll have it done in about 10 minutes, assuming you already have the stump grinder on the three point hitch. Assuming it is properly maintained, I prefer a slip clutch PTO over a shear pin PTO. As for which one is best for this situation, I think the slip clutch was a good choice by Woodland Mills.
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