I'd like to ask your indulgence for a couple of minutes to read the following in detail.
- Listen to your needs before advising you on the best equipment for your task.
- Help you pick the proper accessories.
- Stand behind the product warranty.
- Provide a reliable source for accessories, parts and service.
- Match the equipment to your application.
- Know what attributes are important to you. Light, quiet, powerful, fuel efficient, low emission, etc.
- Insist on comfort and safety. Whether you or your employees operate the equipment, safety is paramount–comfortable, well balanced and smooth running equipment extends the productivity of your staff–and the life of your equipment investment.
Compare value: Cost should not be the only factor. Consider the features, the warranty, and the attributes that effect durability, such as chrome impregnated cylinders or full crank shafts or threaded, solid drive shafts. Consider the effects on productivity due to service related downtime and the effects on the bottom line due to “disposable” equipment.
It sounds like a wishlist from a very demanding consumer and I doubt if any readers would have guessed that it is culled from the Maruyama UK website. So what could you work out from the above? The Maruyama kit must be good – Right?
And yet a quick straw poll amongst some of my trade and DIY buddies revealed that they were not familiar with the Maruyama brand nor its reputation, so it is verging on being a “best kept secret” in the UK.
In the USA and Japan however, Maruyama is a leading quality brand commanding premium prices. Maruyama is so confident of its products it offers a 5 year guarantee on them. There is no reason to think that the UK could not benefit from another competitor in this busy market sector.
A few further chats by telephone with a wider range of professional gardeners and landscapers revealed that some do know the Maruyama brand and it is gaining respect and more users.
So with all of that intriguing background, I was keen to break open the box and give the kit a thorough testing on some hedges around me that seem to have taken note of the spell of warm weather and have started sprouting. The model sent for this review was the HT236DLSV-R and is clearly a big capacity cutter aimed at the professional market. It has a 22.5cc two-stroke motor with a hedge-busting 750mm blade length and weighs a very respectable 5.4 Kgs without fuel.
Outwardly the Maruyama looks a lot like many other professional quality hedgecutters on the market, but then I don’t suppose we are in for a revolutionary-looking hedgecutter any time soon. Maruyama engines perform at higher revs producing faster moving blades. The blades are thicker and therefore stronger. Blades are sharpened on three sides. The benefit of faster, sharper thicker blades is a cleaner, finer cut which in turn means a better looking result and stronger regrowth.
There are a few refinements that show that this machine has been thoughtfully designed for ease of use and minimal vibration for its users.
A strong, moulded plastic cradle mounted on coil springs runs along the bottom of the machine. This effectively serves as a rust proof base on which to rest the hedgecutter when starting and filling for example, and it also supports the front and rear handles too.
The motor and gearcase mechanisms, which are the source of fierce vibration when the machine is running, are efficiently isolated by this cradle so that minimal vibration is passed on to the handles and grips. When I was using the machine I found that when I was wearing gloves (always recommended for protection) the vibration levels were very well managed and I didn’t end up with tingling fingers.
Since all hedgecutters need to be used at a variety of angles for cutting hedges, the rear handle of the Maruyama can be locked into five positions. Moving the handle is easy – just pull out the yellow loop on the base of the main handle and it can be moved to left or right at 45 degrees and ninety degrees respectively. The trigger throttle mechanism cannot be operated when the handle is not locked into one of the standard positions. The large looped front handle is slightly textured and protected from the cutter by a smoked plastic guard.
Quality Japanese construction is evident all over the machine. There are no trailing wires, the mouldings and castings are all well finished and it is clear that the long blade has been polished and honed so that the cutting edges are razor sharp. Maruyama blades are manufactured by Ochiai of Japan, who are the number 1 knife, cutlery and blade machining company in Japan.
The motor has a plastic shroud over most of it so it is well protected from debris, as well as protecting the user from direct contact with hot motor parts.
On the right hand side of the rear of the motor is the substantial and captive filler cap and fuel tank. It is easy to fill the tank from a container with a spout, but a funnel is always advisable to prevent spillages and danger of fuel on hot parts.
The clear and well laid out instruction booklet makes it very obvious which oils are needed for the two-stroke engine and in what proportions they are to be mixed with petrol – giving a number of quite precise “real life” ratios that every user would understand e.g. 40ml of two-stroke oil with every litre of petrol. Very helpfully too, Maruyama provides half a dozen 40ml bottles of oil in the box to help run the machine in and therefore not invalidate the guarantee by using the wrong oil.
In use the Maruyama is a cracker – with its long blade and ample power it cuts through normal hedging of up to 5 or 6mm diameter stuff in a jiffy. You barely feel the cutters cutting. It does cut through thicker stuff as well, almost as easily and I liked this because I have let the hedge get a bit out of control, if the truth be known. It always started very easily, even from cold, and the routine maintenance and lubrication I had to do was very simple. It is only really with daily use of 5 or 6 hours or more that regular lubrication of the cutters etc is required. I was conscious of using a quality professional product that performed well, so I think that potential new users out there should definitely have a look at what the Maruyama brand has to offer.
For further details on this and their other products take a look at: www.maruyama.co.uk