We first moved into our house in November 1999, just in time for the new millenium. The house needed a lot doing to it and, to be perfectly honest, could still do with some attention now. My daughter's asthma makes decorating inside the house difficult so we tend to do our diy when she is away and often things get rushed. When she is around and my husband gets these rare impulses to improve our home, I tend to point him to the garden. As the house was crying out for attention that came first and we did what we could, mainly decorating and a few more major tasks, and then turned our attention to the garden. When we moved in the garden was in fact in a better condition than the house. It was pretty and mainly had shrubs but it wasn't quite a family garden. It was alright though for a few years and then when we felt able to spend some money and time on the garden and hubby felt it now needed a major overhaul. We decided to shape the borders, which mainly held shrubs, and add some more well chosen specimens. I do like plants and flowers but am not really a gardene so tend to choose shrubs that will look good without too much attention being given. We didn't spend too much, but planned what we wanted, carefully. We drew out the intended garden, keeping most of what we had but, enlarging upon it and laying a patio. However, although it looked very pretty and I felt guilty removing it, we did have an apple tree in the middle of the lawn. As the garden isn't very big this didn't give our family much room to play so reluctantly that had to go. This meant a lot of wood to dispose of. Also, at the end of the garden, on either side, our neighbours have trees that grow over our garden and drop leaves, and also cast too much shade. This was a nuisance, especially with an inflatable pool. Hubby didn't fancy doing much about the trees because of the problem of removing all the waste. I kept on remarking though, that these trees were taking over our garden, which they were, so we decided it might be prudent to purchase a garden shredder. Now this was a new idea to us and we knew very little about these machines. We set our price at about £100 to £150. Initially, we looked at Black & Decker and Bosch, but hubby thinks Black and Decker are 'Jack of all trades, master of none' I don't know if this is true but, as the shredder would have lots to cope with, I bowed to his knowledge, or opinion. As he had worked in the building industry for many years he favoured the make, JCB (Joseph Cyril Bamford) as he knew these to be a world class brand of industrial equipment. I liked the colour! Now this purchase was made a while ago and so I am not sure of the exact price but think it was around £130 from Argos, I believe. I think now it will be more likely that you would purchase this item online. We took this away with us and got to work. It came in a box and the stand needed fitting. This was very simple. The stand has wheels so it's no problem to move around the garden. It feels like moving a sack barrow. Very easy. Full instructions were supplied but really there isn't much to know, as long as you follow basic safety instructions. As this was like a new toy when we first used it I did have a go. I found it extremely easy to use. In fact, we wondered why we'd never thought of this before. Now we have a weekly summer council service that collects garden waste from the front of our house but, when we bought this, no such service existed so, it was much easier and cleaner to shred garden items and pack into refuse bags which could then be transferred by car to our local waste recycling plant. Before buying this it was difficult to break items into small pieces which didn't rip the bag and cause cuts and scrapes to the gardener. The cord for this electrical appliance is not that long. I would estimate about two metres. I asked my husband if this was a hindrance but he replied that he preferred to always use his heavy duty extension lead for anything requiring electricity in the garden. After he had lopped the branches from the overhanging trees hubby set about feeding them into the shredder. A pusher is supplied but I'll be honest and say that he lost his and so, feeds branches through manually. Touch wood, his fingers are all still intact! Any length of branch can be put through but no more than 32mm in thickness. A branch of about 12 inches would take a couple of seconds to come out as chippings into the bag. The small bag fits over a plastic container that slides under the machine. The bag is easily removed in the same way as removing a bin bag from a bin and it's contents can be tipped into a larger refuse bag. We find this shredder performs best when fed with branches of 16mm to about 25mm. It works best with the more solid type of branch or twig. More twine type items seem to jam it and brambles tend to become wrapped around the blade. When this happens the cut out comes into force and the blades have to be untangled. This is a bit of a nuisance, but doesn't take too much time or effort to fix. The machine has an on/off switch and a safety cut out. It has an 1800 wattage motor. The noise isn't too bad. It's quiter than our lawn mower, in fact. It is designed to shred branches, etc of no more than 32mm in thickness. If you have trees or large shrubs in your garden, then this is a very good piece of equipment to own. Probably it would mean that instead of having ten bags to dispose of you would then only have one.
I bought the JCB shredder to shred the heaps of shrub, hedge and rose prunings accumulating at the top of my garden. My plan was firstly to save a trip to the local rubbish tip, and secondly to acquire free bark chippings for mulching, as well as a useful addition to my composting bin. My early impression (I've only just bought it) is that it will indeed get rid of most of my prunings and provide bark chippings and compost, however I am disappointed with its general performance. Its powerful, but quiet, 1800W motor is supposed to have a capacity of 35mm. But my shredder struggled to shred rose stems less than half this diameter with the rotating blades jamming all too easily, or the sensitive overload protection kicking in when a thick section of an otherwise thin twig is being shredded. Very frustrating! I also had problems with shorter stems not shredding and falling into the chippings - annoying because I had to pull them out of the shreddings before I could add them to my compost bin. Though you get a kind of plastic plunger to push shorter material such as privet clippings etc into the feeder area. At least I think that's what it's for - the User Guide was very poor concentrating almost entirely on assembling the machine. Not too difficult but worrying for me I had a few parts left at the end! On a plus point though the JCB made short work of my Budleia (hardwood) stems, sucking them through the blades at speed and spewing out some lovely looking mulch chippings. I didn't like the collection box/bag arrangement - too fiddly, I would have preferred a rigid box though you can use your own container. This shredder is heavy so if I haven't put you off buying it make sure you get help to carry it into the car. One assembled it's easier to move on its wheels and its weight makes it reassuringly solid and sturdy to use, notwithstanding the outer plastic yellow hopper. I have a lot of privet hedges in my garden and I assumed that it would be simpled to drop the hedge cuttings into a chute with them being shredded in no time. However the cuttings will have to be pushed through a sort of rubber flap letterbox with the plastic plunger (I guess), so this looks like being a long job. £124.99 (Argos) was the most I was prepared to pay for a garden shredder and it may be that my expectations of what a machine of this price could do were too high. It will still get plenty of use because most of the shrub prunings from my garden are narrow enough for the JCB to deal with. But if you're thinking of buying this shredder, especially if you're expecting it to deal with stems of an inch or more, I would strongly recommend you ask for a demo first so that you can make your own mind up.
The JCB-GSB1800 is a convenient Garden Shredder for Small and large Gardens. The unit can accommodate leaves, cuttings and branches up to 32mm in diameter, through its top feed open hopper. The unit is fitted with a safety cut out switch with overload protection. The unit is easy to transport, with wheels and a handle built into the hopper. This unit features the added benefit of a built in, 20 litre capacity, debris box for easy disposal of waste material