The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Weedeating Ninja blade thrust washer

Stihl thrust washer collar nut kit for Ninja blade attachment

We bought a heavy duty cutting blade for the new Stihl FS-90R weedeater a few weeks ago, but didn't read the small print and missed out on the collar nut-thrust washer kit, which is mandatory if you want the blade to stay bolted to the machine.

A 2 minute search on Ebay turned up a nice guy who sells the kit for a bit over 10 dollars.

I'm very pleased with the performance and cutting power. We let some of the forest garden weeds get so high that most of them were over my head. It only took a matter of minutes to cut them down to ankle height.

Maybe next year we can cut them before they get high enough to swallow 5 gallon buckets, which are no match for what I've started calling the "Ninja Blade".

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Mark, I've noticed you guys use the Lowe's buckets a lot. I was recently on a quest to find some food grade buckets for nipple installation. I got some not-yet-cleaned frosting buckets from local grocery store bakeries, but the availability was hit and miss. I tried the Walmart bakery and found out they sell used, clean frosting 5-gal buckets for $1. Thought I'd pass along what I thought was a good deal.
Comment by David Vanier Thu Aug 4 17:57:02 2011

Imagine what would happen when a blade like that were to come off when turning at high speed. Worst case it would wheel away and bury itself in your leg or in a bystander. That would be a major ouchie!

Beware that those nyloc nuts are only good for a limited number of (dis)assemblies before their locking function deminishes. In my experience the nylon ring will wear over time.

A simple way to get a good lock is to tighten two nuts against each other. Although I suspect that this shaft and the geometry of the rider plate make that impossible in this case.

Another option is to drill a small hole in the shaft and use a castellated nut with a piece of safety wire or a cotter pin.

Comment by Roland_Smith Thu Aug 4 18:35:00 2011

David --- What are the handles like on those buckets? The bakery buckets we've found have had plastic handles, which makes them worth a lot less for our water, rock, and manure hauling. If those are metal handles, that's a great find!

Roland --- Yikes! That's a very important safety tip! Mark pointed out to me as he was putting the blade on that the weedeater is set up so that you have to tighten the bolt in the reverse direction than you normally would so that the motion of the blade turning keeps it tight rather than loosening it. Would that impact how long the nut would last at all?

Comment by anna Fri Aug 5 07:42:35 2011
The purpose of the nylon ring is to "grab" the thread on the bolt and thereby making it harder to turn the nut, which should prevent it from loosening. The direction of rotation doesn't really influence that.
Comment by Roland_Smith Fri Aug 5 08:44:56 2011
Long after this whipper snipper is dead, I'll still be using my scythe. Silent and cheap too.
Comment by Mark Mon Aug 8 02:16:01 2011

Roland --- Drat, I missed this comment in the shuffle! I was wondering why I hadn't heard back from you on this. Sounds like we need to keep an eye on the wear of our nylon nut!

Mark --- Here's what I just posted in response to another commenter who said nearly the same thing:

I suspect that in this application, a scythe would have struggled even when wielded by an experienced user. We were cutting through weed stems two or three inches in diameter, and even through small trees. A scythe seems to be a very good option when you're cutting grass or grains, but I've yet to see anyone do a good job with scything through blackberry brambles, Japanese honeysuckle, and other heavy weeds.

Comment by anna Mon Aug 8 08:24:13 2011

Hi Anna and Mark and all,

I have not done it yet, but it seems to me that cutting an opening in the front housing of a regular rotary mower would make a great cut anything 'weed wacker'.

And with spare parts easily available and plenty of horse power.

Has anyone else tried this?


Comment by John Fri Aug 26 11:22:23 2016

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