I enjoy doing product reviews on excellent products. Nothing pleases me more than to use a good, well-made tool, one that performs exactly as advertised. And so when I find a tool or device that meets these criteria, I pass on what I have learned to my readers.
Anyone who watches television or reads magazines has no doubt seen ads for the DR Trimmer Mower. One ad showed someone using the string trimmer attachment to mow down tall weeds and heavy, thick grass in a field. In my experience, this was far too demanding for any power trimmer using nylon cords. But a picture is worth 1,000 words and the DR product appeared to have no trouble digesting goldenrod, thistles and other heavy-duty vegetation.
If the DR trimmer did nothing else but mow down heavy weed growth, that would be ample reason to buy one. But this device employs a number of attachments that enable it to perform a wide variety of home and garden chores. So last summer, after reading the literature and boning up on DR trimmers, I ordered one.
After unpacking my new machine, setup was easy. I began with the trimmer head attachment. This uses heavy-duty, pre-cut nylon string. DR sells the same string in bulk rolls, a substantial savings for those who don’t mind cutting it into lengths. It took me a few minutes to figure out that the strings needed to be cinched up as tightly as possible. If any looseness exists, the string quickly flies away, perhaps never to be found.
Upon getting the hang of how to attach the strings and also, how fast to push the mower I began transforming my landscape. A small section of what was once lawn but had grown back into field. This became lawn again, thanks to the DR trimmer.
Next, I tackled the weeds growing around my raised bed gardens. Normally, this kind of trimming routinely breaks trimmer strings when they slap against the wooden boards in the garden beds. That didn’t happen this time, though. Staying just the right distance away was a bit difficult at first, because the strings on the DR trimmer extend further than most hand-held trimmers, giving a wider mowing pattern. But it only took a minute and I was happily zapping grass and weeds that had grown up around my garden beds.
After working around my yard and getting things neat and tidy, I decided to mow along the sides of my rather lengthy driveway. Here, too, the DR trimmer shined. Weeds such a spreading dogbane, goldenrod and wild spirea were no match for the DR trimmer. At the end of the job, my driveway acquired a manicured look, something I could have never accomplished with hand-held trimmers.
So after doing everything I could find to do with the string-trimmer attachment, it was time to go for the Beaver Blade. This attachment utilizes a round metal disc with a groove along the edge. In essence, it is a round chainsaw bar. The chain is pre-installed, something that I can put in the negative box for the DR Trimmer Mower. To replace the chain, you must buy a whole unit. On the positive side, it works so well that the investment is worthwhile. And, too, the chain takes a good number of sharpenings before getting worn down to a nub.
My house sits on a sunny hillside. But once, it wasn’t so sunny. Many years ago, my back yard was a near-impenetrable fir thicket. Thanks to help from my friends Dan and Daniel Woodrow, the saplings got hand-pulled and the larger trees cut. But time had taken its toll and as of last summer, my once park-like back yard was reverting to a northern jungle. Most of the stuff was 3-inches in diameter or less, well within the stated range of the DR Beaver Blade.
So, following the directions, I removed the mow-ball used for the string trimmer and put on the Beaver Blade attachment. It was a bit scary to think that here, just a few feet ahead of my shins, was a round chainsaw chain going around at high speed. But I pulled the throttle and hoped for the best.
One of the nice things about this machine is the motor. DR uses Briggs and Stratton motors and these are quiet and very powerful. It was hard to believe that despite the low volume of noise, something like a small chainsaw was operating here. So with some amount of trepidation, I pushed the machine forward and attacked a stand of small balsam fir trees. “BZZZZZT,” it went, and the trees fell, cut flush with the ground. I stood back and looked and exclaimed for no one to hear, “wow.”
The way this thing cut brush and small trees was nothing short of amazing. It was as if I had hold of a little tank with a chainsaw mounted on its nose. Find a tree or trees, approach it or them and instantly the sun shines in as the canopy gets sent to the past tense. I cut a 50-foot square section of ground on my first session. Never, ever, without the help of this machine, could I have cut these small trees with my chainsaw. Bending and kneeling for prolonged periods of time are a thing of the past for me. But with the DR trimmer and Beaver Blade, the user stands upright and accomplishes the same task.
The directions for removing the Beaver Blade were somewhat confusing and also, the photo on the page was a bit fuzzy. This made it difficult for me to determine which way to turn the blade to remove it. Also, it made a difference if looking down upon the machine, or viewing it from the ground up.
After a long and careful study of the instruction sheet, I determined which direction to turn the blade for removal. It didn’t come, so then it was time to resort to a pipe wrench and extension handle. That did the trick, but not the way I had envisioned. The bolt that held the blade in place snapped. I had forced the thing the wrong way.
Being much chagrined, I called the DR people at their Vermont location and spoke with a sales rep. He agreed that the directions could have been more precise and he talked me through the process. I ordered several more bolts (the extra for just in case) and this solved the problem.
This year, I tried their Dura Blade kit. The Dura Blade kit uses three, two-sided, swing-out blades that are capable of cutting most any kind of woody brush as well as small saplings. It takes care of material that is too big for the nylon strings and too small to attack with a Beaver Blade. Springy switches fall like matchsticks under the swirling blades of the Dura Blade kit.
What impressed most about my experience with DR was the high quality of their service department. These people were truly professional and very helpful.
Now that I’m used to operating the various attachments, I rely upon my DR Trimmer Mower for nearly everything around my yard. It could double as a lawnmower and in fact, my front patio, paving stones set in the ground, is too narrow and rocky for the mower, but the DR trimmer keeps it clean-cut and neat.
In summary, I highly recommend a DR Trimmer Mower for any homeowner who needs to deal with brush, saplings and coarse weeds. And of course, the machine excels at its first use as a push-type string trimmer. Five stars to this product.
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