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1949 Ford 8N, 1959 Ford 841 Diesel, working on a 2 series order
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Discussion Starter #1
I’m planning to clear the pictured wooded area on our property. It’s about 30 yards behind our house. This pic shows about 15-20% of the whole area we would like to clear. There are some small 2-3” trees I will cut and pull out, and there are some baseball size rocks.

I’m thinking, based on very little research, that a flail mower may be the right choice. Would appreciate your thoughts.

781450
 

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It's hard to say without actually seeing it. You may be right but my first thought is just use a brush hog. I actually use a rear finishing mower for stuff like this because that's what I have, but a brush hog would be better.
 

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I had a DR, the original one with an 8 hp engine and it would cut pretty much everything you could get it to go over.

I want a flail mower however in your case you might be better served with a bush hog and backing over trees. I have an old JD403, and I cut some of the back off with a side grinder to enable me to back it over things and to help it clear what it cut and it made a big difference. Heavy grass tended to bog my then 2305 a little, but after cutting that section out, it cut alot better.
 

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Flail mowers do a good job cutting but rocks are rough on the little links which do the cutting. I would pick up as many of the rocks as possible and use a landscape rake to loosen the rocks you can't readily pick up then pick up the rest if they will stick up high enough for the mower to hit.
Personally I used to prefer a brush cutter with old blades to do initial clearing with. Then change to new or better sharpened blades. I now have two brush cutters. One for the rough stuff, the other for better conditions where I still wouldn't take my grooming mower. The cutter for the rough stuff looks like it is used for the rough stuff. Rough. Before I put it away last fall I had one side of the cutter hooked to my 5065 and the other side hooked to my Ford 2110 so I could stretch it out again to the 6' it used to be. This cutter is on it's second gear box, second stump jumper second tail wheel fork and wheel and I've lost track of how many blades. A few sticks of mild steel welding rod are in the deck now but it still gets the job done.
I don't plan on showing it off in any parades right away. Function over beauty.
 

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Agree with letmegrow’s advice to pick up or rake rocks first. Also, first pass with the flail should be at the highest setting. Mine will cut from at the ground up to 6 inches, and running it close to the ground to get those remaining branches finely chopped up can do some damage If there are hidden rocks. For a flail, always check condition of flail knives. Rocks will break/dull them. Reverse knives as needed since most are 2-sided. Should have extra flail knives in tractor box or shop (& a few d-rings if that’s how they are attached). As I said in another recent post, if you are thinking about buying a flail mower, research how easy they are to maintain. Sometimes the cheapest piece of equipment turns out to be a false savings In the long run.

When I am clearing new ground I typically search for rocks, take a pass with the rotary mower, then finish with the flail. Depends on vegetation size, terrain and how we want it to look when done.
 

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1949 Ford 8N, 1959 Ford 841 Diesel, working on a 2 series order
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all for the advice. I thought about picking up a “rough” rotary for jobs like this. The only reason i thought about the flail was I didn’t want to be sending projectiles across the yard and into the house, or worse into one of the kamados! 😢

Initial desire is for a cleared forest look. I can see getting it to be mowable in a couple of years, but that’s not the plan right now.
 
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What type of tires are on the tractor? Small diameter cut off saplings can punch holes in tires.
 

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There is a way you can prevent throwing projectiles at valuables. Slow the engine speed down on the first passes. I understand 540 RPM is optimum but under certain circumstances that speed isn't necessary or even practical. Take your time and lower the cutter on each pass until you start hitting obstructions or can see them before pulling the cutter over them. You may have to get out of the seat on occasion to move a rock or something else and toss it aside.
Once you are satisfied you have the area clear then rev the engine up and cut away. This requires some patience but the rewards are well worth the extra time.
Most importantly, keep others away when using anything which can throw rocks or other debris.
 

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1949 Ford 8N, 1959 Ford 841 Diesel, working on a 2 series order
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Discussion Starter #10
There is a way you can prevent throwing projectiles at valuables. Slow the engine speed down on the first passes. I understand 540 RPM is optimum but under certain circumstances that speed isn't necessary or even practical. Take your time and lower the cutter on each pass until you start hitting obstructions or can see them before pulling the cutter over them. You may have to get out of the seat on occasion to move a rock or something else and toss it aside.
Once you are satisfied you have the area clear then rev the engine up and cut away. This requires some patience but the rewards are well worth the extra time.
Most importantly, keep others away when using anything which can throw rocks or other debris.
Great advice. Thanks!
 

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1949 Ford 8N, 1959 Ford 841 Diesel, working on a 2 series order
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Discussion Starter #11
What type of tires are on the tractor? Small diameter cut off saplings can punch holes in tires.
Well...I haven't ordered it yet ;-) That's great input, though. I hadn't really though about that. I'm leaning toward the radials, but may end up with the industrial tires. Thoughts?
 
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