21 April 2014

Strimmers


Who invented the nylon cord strimmer? Was it Nathaniel P. Strimmer, the American gardening entrepreneur? If so, he needs shooting.

In my life I have been the not-so-proud owner of four or five strimmers. You know the sort. Underneath there's a "self-feeding" cartridge containing nylon cord. And the idea is that if your cord snaps, as it is wont to do every three minutes, the strimmer will magically feed out another length so that you can continue merrily strimming.

I need a strimmer in order to tackle the grassy edgings of our lawns and paths - getting in all those awkward places where my Bosch lawnmower won't go. Only, I seem to spend more time dismantling the bottom of my strimmer and then manually feeding through more of the extra-breakable strimmer cord. Take this morning. I must have turned that bloody strimmer upside down at least twenty times till in the end I just gave up and came back inside to write this ranting blogpost.

Once, long ago, when we first moved into this house, our new garden had become a veritable jungle. This had sprouted during the springtime of 1989 - in the months after our bid for the house had been accepted - and it now resembled the deepest forests of Borneo. I hired a petrol-driven strimmer and set off into that jungle telling Shirley and the kids that I might be gone for some time - "It's a jungle out there!" I wore goggles and ear protectors and rather than having nylon cord that beast of a strimmer had a lethal chain underneath that desiccated unwanted greenery and toes like Attila and his Huns ransacking the Balkans. 

Now that was a real strimmer. The nylon corded ones I have owned have all been wimpy - like Old Etonians at a Yorkshire beer festival. Perhaps Nathaniel P. Strimmer designed the nylon corded strimmer to drive users towards the brink of insanity. I speak from personal experience for I have stood on that brink with strimmer in the air, waving it like a shillelagh while emitting blood-curdling battle cries. 

Maybe I should just have the entire garden concreted - then I'll never have to use a strimmer again. Or perhaps there's somebody out there working on a new, effective strimmer design. I live in hope.

32 comments:

  1. Strimmer? In AUS they are called whipper snippers, and they are just as useless here as well for the unskilled mower person. Concrete a
    Is a fine solution if you are of Greek heritage.

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    1. A whipper snapper? To us that's a mischievous young person not a useless piece of hardware. Oh, and I am not of Greek heritage - I'm a full-blood Yorkshireman.

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  2. Although I have no idea what a shillelagh is, I can very well picture the Hunnish chain strimmer you used in 1989 on the jungle.
    How do other people get the grass cut in those places where the lawnmower can't go? I must ask my Dad; I am quite sure he does not own a strimmer.

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    1. I bet your Dad uses kitchen scissors and mathematical instruments. German engineering is well known for its precision. Err..but isn't Bosch a German company?

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    2. It is indeed, and my Dad owns several Bosch tools, thanks to my sister having been employed with Bosch for over 25 years. But I am pretty sure that he does not have a strimmer, just useful stuff such as a drill.

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  3. I just bought a new one of those things this spring. On its first outing, I had to stop three or four times to push more of the cord out. Fortunately, my thingy has a button one can press that pushes out more cord, about half an inch at a time, semi-automatically, as it were, if one does it enough times. But it kind of takes all the fun out of the activity. I swear to you that I am still speaking of the strimmer.

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    1. It's early days for your strimmer Bob. They often work fairly well at first and then the gremlins strike. How much did yours cost?

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  4. The strimmer was invented by Hans Stihl. If you pop a brush cutter blade in it saves messing with the nylon.
    If you strim in flip flops the cord doesn't snap like it does if you wear safety boots. I used to have one with thick cord that I used for hedge trimming. Worked a treat but it was a bit hazardous only as dangerous as base jumping or using a chain saw up a ladder. I like them.

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    1. You like them? Yes Adrian - but you are a well-known sado-masochist!

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    2. 'If you strim in flip flops the cord doesn't snap like it does if you wear safety boots.' I cannot for the life of me see what sense or correlation there is in that statement, but I shall be giggling all day about it...thank you, Adrian.

      I'm glad that you've blogged about this serious subject YP. For years I've thought that it was just me that was so cack-handed that I kept breaking the things; my esteem has grown by leaps and bounds knowing that even the estimable Lord Pudding has such problems. Thank you!

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    3. Estimable? Now my head has swollen like a hot air balloon. I love the term "cack-handed" even though I have very rarely used it. I guess I am concerned about what "cack" might be. It doesn't sound very nice.

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    4. And you a Yorkshire man. From the Old Norse - 'keikr' meaning 'bent backwards' and evolved into clumsy/awkward/left-handed. The 'other comes from the Latin 'cacare' which has a different meaning, as you well know!

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  5. I went through 3 of them before I just trashed them and hired Sergio. We call them weed whackers. Sergio uses his a lot and I've never seen him stop and mess with the cord. He's a professional.

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    1. I haven't seen any Sergio brand strimmers in our local garden centre. Is it a Mexican company?

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  6. I have an industrial strengths trimmer for the field
    It could cut the feet off an elephant

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    1. Do they have elephants in Trelawnyd? Perhaps one or two victims of obesity but elephants? I suspect that like me you are sometimes guilty of exaggeration.

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  7. We call them weed eaters. I can't use a lawnmower in the Rocky's cause there are too many .... wait for it!.....rocks! So, I use it for the little bit of grass that I can get to grow and to whack the hell out of Canadian thistle! We have to keep the thistle cut back because the elk hate it (as I do) and will reroute their natural feeding pattern of walking rather than go near it. (Mountaineering lesson for today, Mr. Pudding.) Anyhow, back to the problem at hand. Are you sure you are winding the thread in the correct direction, Mr. Pudding? Maybe yours is too expensive. Go buy the least expensive one you can find and see if that works!

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    1. I will try a re-wind MT but I am talking about twenty five years of strimmerphobia! By the way do Canadians call those prickly weeds American thistles/

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  8. I have had the exact same experience you have with strimmers. They are an abomination and should be banned.

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    1. Perhaps we should both post clips on You Tube of our current strimmers being smashed to bits! What backing music will you choose? I'm going for the Hallelujah chorus by Handel.

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    2. Antyhing with great disonance in it!!!

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. We call them "whipper snippers" here. Tony is an absolute whiz with them .

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    1. Is there anything that man cannot do?

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    2. He doesn't write poetry and I've never heard him sing either. I bet you sing along at the football YP.

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  11. Oh, I sympathise! I HATE strimmers and strimmimg. Now we have just a courtyard, and while at first I missed the grass, I've come to see all the advantages of not having any.

    Good luck with your machine.

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    1. Welcome to the Anti-Strimmer Club Frances! And I need luck with my machine - lots of luck.

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  12. The first year I came to NZ a company at a trade fair I went to with a friend was selling replacement strimmer cord heads which, instead of having the sort of line feed you describe (as mine did) uses two pieces of thick plastic cord cut to length and threaded through holes at 90 deg to each other so as to make a four 'bladed' cutting cord cross. It is very effective and, if the cord wears or snaps, is exceptionally easy to remedy. The manager of a Stihl shop told me that the company makes something similar.

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    1. You lucky fellow GB! I can't see my Bosch allowing such an adaptation. But next time I buy a strimmer I will keep your idea in mind. And that might be very soon. The current strimmer is in danger of being smashed to bits.

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  13. Yorkshire pudding
    you replied to carol in cairns post incorrectly she called a strimmer whipper snipper and NOT whipper snapper
    you say youve had 5 strimmers? why ? get a petrol strimmer!

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  14. Please can someone explain to me why they dont make a law that demands that all H.G.V lorries that are coming from europe must only be solid sided and not curtain sides ,and that all doors on lorries have 2 good locks not plastic seals that are the responsibility of the driver,this would surely stop any immigrants getting into our country!

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.