Self-Propelled Hedge Trimmer

Ivan Work got tired of trimming hedges by hand. One day he happened to look at a high clearance sprayer and decided a similar machine could be built for use as a hedge trimmer. So he went to work and ended up with a self-propelled, articulated hedge trimmer built entirely out of scrap metal and old machinery parts.

The hydraulic-operated, 2-WD machine straddles a hedge and is equipped with three sicklebar sections that let him trim the sides and top all in one pass. A 42-in. wide length of draper canvas off a Versatile swather delivers top trimmings to the side and onto the ground. The rig's four legs are each equipped with a hydraulic cylinder, allowing the entire machine to be raised or lowered up to 9 in. Another pair of cylinders can be used to independently raise or lower the sicklebars 9 in. If he's working on hillsides, he can hydraulically raise just one side of the machine, or just one side of the sicklebar unit.

"It cuts nice and square and can trim a hedge from 6 1/2 to 3 1/2 ft. high," says Work, of Marquis, Sask. "It's built from a little bit of everything. I tried to use as many old parts as I could without having to buy new."

He started with the frame and wheels off an old rod weeder. The sicklebars are off a Versatile swather and are driven by pitman drives off old horse-drawn mowers. Power is supplied by a Wisconsin 4-cyl. gas engine that belt-drives a pair of hydraulic pumps. Steering, as well as all other operations, are lever-controlled. The seat came out of a Toyota.

"I finished building it last winter and have used it to trim 300 ft. of hedges around my yard," says Work. "I built it for my own use, but already I've had requests to do custom work for others. It goes only about 1 mph, so I'd need a trailer to haul it around. It can trim hedges up to 4 1/2 ft. wide. If I want I can loosen a pair of set screws and move the knives in about 6 in on both sides, allowing me to trim the hedge to a 3 1/2-ft. width."

A 2 1/2-in. dia. steel pin serves as a hinge point for the articulated steering system. "It turns short and almost has a zero turning radius," notes Work.