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Digger Man Blog

by Nick Drew  |  Mon 05 May 2014

Northerntrack’s “Stump Raptor” does the business

This weekend I have been busy here at Digger Towers extracting a couple of large tree stumps, ably assisted by a bespoke, one off piece of kit designed and manufactured by Andy Hair’s Northerntrack attachment company.

We are in the process of making our existing side entrance larger, with the eventual plan to put a larger driveway in with access to an alternative car parking area to the rear of our property. In recent weeks we have had the tree surgeons in taking down some old trees, but of course the stumps were still left in the ground. So with “Mrs Digger” giving me grief about getting on with the job, I put a shout out on Facebook to see if anyone could sell or hire me a ripper tooth to assist with the extraction. At this point enter Andy Hair, owner and managing director of Leeds based Northerntrack Ltd, who said he had an idea for something that could help me with my efforts. After a short chat with him about what I needed it to do, Andy drew a sketch of this one off tool in around 20 minutes, followed by a bit of playing around on his CAD system, after which time the fearsome looking little tool was born and christened the “Stump Raptor”. The team at Northerntrack then went to work cutting, grinding and welding the bespoke piece of kit prior to painting. The whole process was completed and delivered in around 72 hours, which is impressive going by anyone’s standards! In fact the awesome looking “purple tool”, arrived at our home before I did, as I was away on an Earthmovers Magazine assignment in Nottingham last week, so I was really keen to see what Andy and the lads had come up with on my arrival back home. The tool itself is manufactured featuring a RAEX 400 solid tyne, which has been hard faced on the edges to 600 Brinell. In addition to the forward facing tip, Andy had also integrated a savage looking series of “teeth” on the rear of the ripper, which I quickly learned were great for gnawing through the stubborn roots of the tree. The first stump I had to tackle was an old Beech, which took a bit of persuading but overall was a lot easier than the second one. The Stump Raptor performed brilliantly ripping and tearing away at the stubborn roots and in the time old traditional way, once I had loosened the stump all the way around, I was able to topple the stump, prior to cleaning off the clay around its base. Once again the Raptor was great in this application, as I used the rear “teeth” to scratch away the clay. The second stump was of an old Ash tree and this was to prove far more resistant to my efforts! A passing machine man commented you need a bigger machine on that, which of course I already knew, but at the end of the day I had my little Hitachi Zaxis 33U-3 and rather than hire in a bigger machine at more cost, I figured I would just keep plugging away and eventually get the job done with the little 3.5 tonner. After two to three hours of ripping, gnawing and pulling, the big Ash stump was extracted like a stubborn tooth during a visit to the dentist! I punched the air with delight after a period of thinking the machine was not going to have enough guts to get it out. There is something very satisfying about getting these things out of the ground after a struggle. The next bit of fun was going to be moving these lumps, which probably weighed around 1 to 1.5 ton, but despite some rear track lift, I managed to dispatch them out the back into a tip area we have. All in all a good job done and the fantastic little attachment from Northerntrack proved its worth over the weekend. Just makes you wonder what other kind of attachment could Andy and his team build for you?  

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