Chipper Shredder Tips

See our Chipper Shredder tips below from our in-house product expert to get the most out of your Chipper Shredder purchase from TransNorth.

Tip One - Keep the Blade Sharp

During operation, if you notice any of the following symptoms, your chipper blade probably needs to be sharpened:

  1. Chipper does not auto-feed
  2. Chipper produces “chunks” or “sawdust” instead of “chips”
  3. Chipper engine bogs down or labors
  4. Smoke issues from the drive belt
  5. Chipper jams or stops altogether

For optimal chipping, you will need to sharpen and/or replace your chipper’s blade frequently.

Similar to the teeth of a chainsaw, your chipper blade requires frequent sharpening. We recommend that you check the blade for sharpness before each use and after every 2-3 hours of operation.

Some models contain a spare blade in the hardware bag. If you require additional blades, they can be purchased from or by calling our customer service team at 519-751-2111.

As a rough guide, your chipper blade will require sharpening after 4-8 hours of normal use when chipping harder woods such as maple or oak. When chipping softer woods such as poplar and pine, the blade can last 10-20 hours before sharpening is required. If you hit a foreign object such as a stone or nail or if you are processing limbs that have small amounts of sand or soil on them, you will need to sharpen the blade much more frequently.

Operating the chipper with a sharp blade will extend the life of:

1. The blade because if a chipper blade becomes too dull, much of the blade itself will have to be removed during the sharpening process. Frequent sharpening maintenance as needed is best. Occasional, intensive sharpening will greatly diminish the life of the chipper blade.

2. The belt because as the blade becomes dull, the forces on the belt increase and belt wear is accelerated.

3. The chipper structure because if wood is forced into a chipper with a dull blade, the force can bend the feed chute, bend the blade carrousel and/or shear the bearing bolts.

To remove and/or replace the blade, please follow the instructions in the owner’s manual.

Tip Two - Sharpen the Blade by Hand

Because the blade is made of hardened steel, it should be sharpened on a wet wheel, or by hand on a stone.

Avoid sharpening the blade using a grinder the way you would a lawn mower blade. If you do, the localized heat will cause the steel to lose its tempered edge and the blade will dull more quickly in use.

While many customers are comfortable sharpening their own blade, most local service centers will sharpen your blade for a small fee. If you need assistance finding a service center or with blade sharpening, please contact us at or 519-751-2111.

Tip Three - Use Premium Gasoline

Ethanol has environmental benefits, which is why it is mandated by federal law. There is also a secondary benefit of continuously cleaning a fuel system. The drawback is with small engines. This is particularly true of small engines that are not run frequently.

Issues with Ethanol:

1) Ethanol is an excellent solvent and drying agent that dissolves old gum and varnish deposits from the gas tank and fuel lines. However, it can also dissolve plastic and create deposits. The dissolved material can clog filters or pass through and leave deposits on fuel injectors, fuel pumps, fuel-pressure regulators, carburetor jets, intake tracts, valves and valve guides. These deposits can lead to poor engine performance; loss of power; overheating; fuel vapor lock; improper clutch engagement caused by increased engine idle speeds, which allows cutting attachments to turn while the unit is idling; and premature deterioration of fuel lines, gaskets, carburetors and other engine components.

2) Ethanol will absorb a small amount of moisture and stay in suspension within the gasoline for a while. However, the ethanol will only absorb up to ¾ of an ounce of water in a gallon of gas before it reaches its saturation point. Once the ethanol has absorbed enough moisture to reach its saturation point, phase separation occurs. Phase separation means the ethanol and absorbed water drop to the bottom of the fuel container since it is heavier than the gas, leaving the gasoline to float on top of the tank. Most operators never notice water in the can when they refuel their equipment. The end result is often a carburetor ruined with rust and corrosion. These expensive repairs are not covered by warranty.


The best solution is to use non-oxygenated, ethanol-free gas in your small engines (ie. premium gasoline). It costs a little more, but it eliminates the problems associated with ethanol.

What about Fuel Additives?

Additives will not recombine fuel that is phase separated. Not only that, but there’s little evidence that they prevent phase separation. There is however value in using fuel additives for other reasons. One is to prevent oxidation and extend the life of the fuel (most of the preservative additives will extend the life of fuel for up to two years). Another reason is that the fuel additives that make an ethanol claim typically have additional lubricants and anti-corrosives designed to mitigate any damage ethanol can cause.

Tip Four - If Your Chipper gets Rained On

Summer storms can come up so suddenly that it’s not uncommon to be caught out in the rain. In the event of a sudden rainstorm, if you can’t get the chipper under a roof, we recommend turning it off and tarping it.  However, we understand this is not always possible. 

A chipper that’s been rained on may start right up. If not, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take before you call a professional for repair or replacement.

Start the Motor

Chipper engines are designed to tolerate an occasional sprinkle so a little bit of rain on a chipper’s engine shouldn’t hurt it. When the rain passes, start your chipper and let it run for a few minutes. The heat from the engine will drive out any moisture and keep the motor from rusting. Dry off the chipper and store it out of the elements. If the chipper won’t start after a heavier storm, it may require some home maintenance, though the engine itself probably isn’t damaged.

Dry the Fuel System

Water in the fuel is the most likely reason a chipper won’t start after it’s exposed to rain. Disconnect the fuel line where it connects to the carburetor and drain the fuel into a pan. Allow the fuel tank and line to air dry. Carbureted engines have a small sediment bowl between the gas tank and the engine, which captures water. Loosen the nut on the bottom of the bowl to drain it. Replace the fuel filter if your chipper is equipped with one.

Oil and Spark Plug

If the chipper’s oil appears milky, it’s contaminated with water and should be replaced. Drain the crankcase through the drain plug, if equipped. Tilt your chipper and drain the oil through the filling tube if it doesn’t have a drain plug. Remove the spark plug to drain any water from the cylinder. Add a teaspoon of motor oil through the spark plug hole and rotate the motor shaft a few revolutions to spread the oil. If you aren’t able to turn the motor by hand it may be rusted: call a small-engine mechanic for repair. Inspect the spark plug for rust or fouling and replace it if necessary. Check the spark plug boot for moisture as well and add an electrically conductive silicone lubricant or a water-displacing spray to the boot to avoid electrical faults.

Restarting the Engine

A wet air filter can prevent air from flowing smoothly into the engine. Replace the air filter and while the engine is exposed spray a little carburetor cleaner directly into the air intake. Refill the engine with oil and fresh gasoline. An ounce of 99 percent pure isopropyl alcohol (sold as gas line antifreeze) per gallon of gas will help absorb any moisture left in the fuel system. Start your engine and allow it to idle for a few minutes to dry any remaining spots of moisture.

Don’t hesitate to contact Customer Service if you still have questions.