Weed eater trimmers have been around since 1971 invented by George Ballas, Sr., in Houston, Texas. He got the idea by watching nylon bristle brushes spinning at automatic car washes. He created the device to trim around his trees.
A weed eater is also known as a “string trimmer,” a “weed-whip,” a “weed-whacker,” a “whipper-snipper,” or “line trimmer.” Whatever you call it, this device is invaluable for yard work.
Similar to fishing line, the trimmer uses a monofilament (untwisted “string” usually nylon) rather than a blade to cut grass, weeds, and other plants close to objects on flat ground, slopes, or other terrain. It is a long shaft with the cutting head at the bottom with handles and some have shoulder straps for safe handling and added security.
Today we use them for trimming around flowers, trees, edges of flower beds and chomping down weeds. They trim areas that are hard to reach that you don’t want to do by hand and other tools cannot handle. Some of those areas might be fencing and fencing posts, garden boxes, and brick edging.
Weed eaters are powered by electricity, gasoline, or batteries and are a valuable tool during the summertime. The trimmer is available in many designs and come in different sizes for what you need to do. You will want to be careful not to get the string part into wood or trees because it will cut into it leaving indentations and harm trees.
The prices for weed eaters can run from about $40 to several hundred dollars in the USA. This mostly depends on the amount of power you need. Gasoline powered trimmers cost more than their electric counterparts. Electric units are easier to use, but you must be careful dragging the cord around behind you so that it’s not tangled on things or cut.
Most of the latest models do not have to be restrung with plastic twine. They are prewound on the spool and snapped into positon on the unit. That saves valuable time and money.
How to Restring the Weed Eater
The best thing to do is read your User’s Manual that gives you step-by-step instructions for your particular model. Each year a new model is available and slight variances will be made. Be sure the thickness diameter is the same as shown on the spool or shown in the User’s Manual. It will not take other sizes. Wind the string neatly not crisscrossing it not too tight or too loose. If your fingers cannot release the top cover or spool, use a small thin flathead screw driver.
How to restring a single string on an electric weed eater is best shown on this video and is easier to see it being done.
Double string weed eater video. https://youtu.be/vOaVkvw0G80
Installing Spool with Line
Always clean dirt and debris from the hub and spool before doing maintenance or replacing the twine. Trimmer head parts can become chipped, broken, cracked or damaged can fly out and injure your eyes, face, and other parts of your body. Have the damages fixed before using the unit again.
- Always unplug the weed eater’s power cord.
- Press the lock tab and turn the lock ring counterclockwise.
- Remove the lock ring, tap button, and spool.
- Clean out any dirt, stone, and other fragments, including dead grass. Check it for any damage.
- Use a new weed eater prewound spool or rewind the old spool with 0.065 diameter, or whatever diameter your unit takes.
- Push through 3- to 4-inches of the line end on the spool through the line saver in the hub.
- Put the spool into the hub.
- Press the spool down and turn and lock the spool lugs under the drive gear.
- Reinstall the tap button and lock ring. Turn the lock ring clockwise fastening the lock tabs in all 4 catches on the hub.
Safety Using Weed Eaters
Always wear wraparound safety glasses, ear plugs, and gloves. Wear long pants and solid shoes; if possible, wear heavy boots for foot protection. Weed eaters have a way of throwing rocks and other hard items that can cut your feet and legs when you wear flip-flops and shorts. Safety glasses will prevent a serious eye injury if a rock hits your eyes. Ear plugs, yes! Weed Eaters are loud at enough decibels (dB) to cause hearing loss.
- Be sure your shoes or boots have good traction. Wet grass and plant material can cause you to slip losing control of your trimmer.
- Protect your legs wearing long pants of heavy fabric such as denim jeans.
- Clothing should fit tightly.
- Long hair should be pulled back; long hair and loose fitting clothes can get caught in the moving parts.
- Protect your hands with leather gloves.
- Wear ear protection when using a gasoline operated trimmer.
In summary, read the User’s Manual to know how to use your weed eater. If you unit is gasoline driven, use the right fuel mixture. Be sure the unit is in good operating condition and that all the guards are in place. Clear your working area of twigs, limbs, wire, stones, toys, and any trash. Always start the engine on firm ground, not holding the weed eater in the air. Make sure you have good footing to not lose control Pay attention to people, vehicles, and pets nearby and always be alert to roads and what’s on them.
Stop cutting when someone or things are within 30- to 60-feet of you so they aren’t injured from flying debris. When you aren’t cutting, turn the engine to idle. On gas models, disconnect the spark plug wire when you make repairs. Never refuel the device when the engine is hot; let it cool first, and have some water for yourself.
Remove grass buildup to avoid fires. Store your weed eater so there will be no fuel spills or damage when moving it.