Despite my Marxist leanings I am now a default member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Woodchipper Owners due to my recent acquisition of one of these $1000 units:

Powerhorse Rotor Wood Chipper – 420CC Ducar OHV Engine, 4in. Chipping Capacity

Powerhorse is one of Northern Tool’s home brands for Chinese made stuff. My woodsplitter also came from Northern Tool but is of the better (not completely Chinese) NorthStar brand. I’ve bought a lot of stuff from Northern Tool over the years.

This model woodchipper is popular and it’s usually backordered. I ordered mine in July and it was shipped in October. Shipping is freight-only and it cost $200 to go from Fort Mill, South Carolina to Northern Vermont. The woodchipper was packaged in a thin plywood crate on a pallet and the shipping documentation says the entirety weighed 385 pounds. A modest amount of assembly was required. The input and output chutes needed to be bolted on and the tires slipped onto the shafts.

The woodchipper is advertised having electric start and I assumed that it was like my snowblower which came with a 120VAC socket but instead included are a starter battery, which needs to be connected, and a set of keys. Posh! There’s also a pull cord.

One nut and one of the tire valve covers were missing. The engine has a label forbidding the use of gasoline with an ethanol content greater than 10%. The engine and operator manuals are both skimpy and uninformative.

The woodchipper is advertised as handling branches up to four inches in diameter but the diagnostic section of the operator’s manual suggests that in the case of failure-to-chip branches should be limited to three inches in diameter.

Large handles on the input chute allow the woodchipper to be manhandled about. There’s no built-in way of towing it with a tractor or ATV.

Upon filling with 10W-30 motor oil and forbidden gasoline the starter battery cranked the engine into life in a few seconds. The rotary drum chipping mechanism is self-feeding and branches inserted into one end produce fine chips from the other. It takes a surprisingly long time for chips to stop being expelled after the last branch.

Northern Tool sells a riding lawnmower cover:

That fits the woodchipper perfectly. I’m glad I got one because it’s getting dewy at night.

Despite my minor criticisms I’m quite pleased with the woodchipper. There’s already a line of neighbors who want to borrow it.