So last month I decided I needed a new weed wacker.
My old one had become hors de combat due to the bump knob wearing out and the company that manufactired said knob, the reel the knob held together and the weedwacker it all screwed onto went out of business1. Clearly Action was called for, and I took it by purchasing a brand new Ryobi shaft-drive weedwacker and brush cutter.
Weedwackers come in two types. The first has a curved shaft, the second has a straight one with a gear head at tha end to make the motion go round the corner. The first type of weedwacker has a flexible shaft inside the curved outer one, rather like a bicycle brake cable. The drive is transmitted around the gentle curve of the shaft with minimum fuss, but the inner shaft cannot be called upon to do heavier duty than weedwacking on account of it tends to twirl up like a rubber band if you do.
The straight shaft has a solid inner drive shaft and the motion is turned horizontal by means of gears. The solid shaft is much more businesslike and can be called upon to power saw-like brush blades and discuss-like edge trimmers and so forth. The new weedwacker came configured as a brushcutter (light duty though, it had a sort of rotary axe blade rather like an edging blade rather than a circular saw blade) but also came with two different string trimmer heads.
I got it home and pulled out the tools I would need to convert it from a brushcutter to a weedwacker. I had to dismantle almost the entire whirly end and rebuild it, but I finally got the job done despite Mrs Stevie whining about oil spills on the carpet. I would try it out at the weekend.
The weekend came, and I attacked the back "lawn", too overgrown to use a mower on, and it worked rather well except that the reel fell off halfway through the job. This was a puzzler. In all the time I had the other one it never once ejected the reel. It did all manner of treacherous things including attacking me when I was not looking at it, but it never dumped its reel.
I re-mounted the reel and finished the job. Remounting the reel involved stripping the damned thing down to its component parts and rebuilding it, but I got it done eventually.
Two weeks later I decided to trim the weeds around the outside of the property, on account of the bit next door to Crazy Joe looking like something off a Tarzan movie. I started the weedwacker and marched over to the grass, but there was no swish of string or rasp of cutting grass.
I looked at the business end of the weedwacker. There was no spool on it. I looked wildy around and there, in the middle of the road, spinning madly to no obvious effect, was the unmounted spool.
It took about a minute to spin down enough to tip over and strike the road with one of its strings, whereupon it leaped joyfully into the air.
Specifically the bit of air occupied by my head.
So, the new weedwacker is picking up where the old one left off.
- About ten minutes after I bought the weedwacker if I have my dates right↑