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Increasing trimmer line longevity


Vermont's Avatar
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10-17-16, 10:12 AM   #1  
Increasing trimmer line longevity

I have a walk behind Craftsman brush trimmer (made by Poulan); and have been using it since 2004.

We used to buy pre-cut 0.155" trimmer line in a tube, where they recommended keeping a little sponge moist so that the individual 18.75" pieces of plastic line (EDPM or polyethylene of some kind wouldn't become brittle. That was in the tube.

Later, we began buying trimmer line in more economical l "donut" and cutting it ourselves (0.155" and 0.170") ; but there is no provision for keeping the line moist . . . . and it does seem to dry out and break more frequently than it used to (just gut feel).

I went to a Sears outlet last week and spoke with a Salesman about the issue . . . . and asked about the purpose of the sponge in the tube and moisture issue. He confirmed that it's to keep the vinyl pliable They sell the tubes; but not the donuts). I asked about why a similar mechanism for keeping the trimmer line from embrittling when sold in the donut package, and he had no reply. Somewhat clueless.

Does anyone know if this line dries out primarily at the cut ends, or along the shaft of the entire length (often 70' to 200'. And if there's a recommended technique for keeping the line pliable, what is it.

I now use trimmer line (donuts) from Craftsman, Oregon, and Arnold, and none of them suggests any moisture retention procedures; or are they all just interested in accelerating the consumption of the product ?

Anyone else have knowledge in this area ?

 
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10-17-16, 11:44 AM   #2  
Not a pro on the topic, but I believe the enemy of plastics is the sun and UV radiation. Never heard of keeping plastic moist to extend its life. I'll watch to see what the pros have to say.

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10-17-16, 12:46 PM   #3  
Yea, I have never heard of keeping trimmer line moist. I buy all of mine in bulk rolls. I store it inside where it is out of the sun and even after three years the line is just as supple and strong as it was when new. I have found a big difference in lines though. Some brands hold up much better than others.

 
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10-17-16, 01:24 PM   #4  
Just buy any kind of food storage tub (Sterilite,Rubbermaid or the like) that will hold the "donut" of trimmer line and then toss in a piece of sponge with a few drops of water. You could even use a Zip-Lok freezer bag.

Like the others, I have never heard/read about higher humidity storage having any effect upon plastics.

 
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10-17-16, 01:52 PM   #5  
I should have mentioned that as of last week, and just as they did 10 or 12 years ago, Sears still sells the 0155" Trimmer Line WITH a small sponge included inside the the Tube used for packaging, and their instructions include the need to keep the provided sponge damp.

I suspect it's a special sponge, because their instructions read "if sponge in tube dries out, reactivate conditioning agents by adding two capfuls of water to the tube"

I'll contact Sears/Craftsman and ask what these "conditioning agents" consist of.

 
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10-17-16, 02:18 PM   #6  
Not sure if it's the same craftsman line or not but what I buy also has the little sponge in the package along with the same/similar instructions. I've never paid any attention to it and have never had any problems with the line deteriorating throughout the year or even onto the next year.


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10-17-16, 03:49 PM   #7  
What is the model number, in specific the first 3 numbers? (Curious why you stated it was made by Poulan, which at least now is owned by Husqvarna) We carry the same wheeled string trimmer with Husqvarna and DR names which are the same units as an old Craftsman I used to own only mine had a Tecumseh engine on it.

We carry the pre-cut line in tubes as well as the continuous spools and neither contain any sort of sponge nor instructions for keeping it. As has been mentioned, if you keep it like a mushroom, or tires, in a cool, dry dark place, there should be little if any degradation.
I can't be certain but I suspect it might be some sort of marketing scheme. Much like Grasshopper has their own label of Hydraulic fluid for their mowers. It claims to have proprietary additives, just like Artic Cat does for much of its oils. I suspect both are simply 20w50 motor oil, with grasshopper adding red dye and Artic Cat using green......using anything other than the specified product will violate warranty...


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10-17-16, 04:50 PM   #8  
Posted By: BFHFixit ". . . What is the model number, in specific the first 3 numbers? . . ."
I made a big mistake . . . . this Trimmer is a 917-773706, which now looks like it's made by Roper Corporation OR American Yard Products (according to a Sears OEM Cross-Reference I began using recently). I don't know where I got the indication that 917 was Poulan; but I think I've used Poulan Part Numbers for Bearings, Mow-Balls and other items !

Mine is driven by a Briggs & Stratton 6HP Quantum Engine

The original Sears/Craftsman Trimmer Line product in the "Tube" and with the "sponge" carries UPC code D71 M85905 and is named High Wheel Trimmer Line AND Pre-Conditioned Trimmer Line, Patent #5,871,091 AND Patent Pending 71 85905 shown on an old "Tube" from the early 2000s.

I saw one of the special sponges in a new Tube at a Sears retail outlet just last Friday (10/14/2016) . . . . and looked like the same "red licorice" line that we buy in the donuts WITHOUT any provision for moisturizing.

Thanks for reading and paying attention to this serious matter; I can't say with certainty that the bulk line is shattering/wearing faster than that which we used to procure in the "Tube", but it certainly feels like we're changing the line with every usage.

 
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10-17-16, 07:28 PM   #9  
AYP is Poulan. Or it might be more accurate to say it used to be, but now it is owned by Husqvarna.

 
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10-17-16, 08:38 PM   #10  
917. model number is and has always been made by AYP/Electrolux now Husqvarna with specific specs for Craftsman.

AYP is Poulan. Or it might be more accurate to say it used to be, but now it is owned by Husqvarna.
Poulan is and may have been AYP, however Poulan has not always been AYP.


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10-17-16, 09:39 PM   #11  
I've heard folks talk about keeping their trimmer line in a ziploc bag with some fabric softener in it and they swear it keeps it flexible longer. Fishing line too. I never tried it.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

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10-17-16, 09:49 PM   #12  
heeheh ya but cheese, you live too close to lizzyanna, you know where they poke dolls and *OUCh*........uhm NVM!


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10-18-16, 04:31 AM   #13  
Probably, in the end, they'll all be Chinese anyway.

I think I'll consider that "fabric Softener" idea for long term storage; but I'd sure hate to have a few hundred feet of line chemically melt into a big blob of goo !

I'll see if I can elicit a response from some willing Craftsman Engineer who applied for the patent, and see what s/he thinks. What time is it in Shanghai ?

 
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10-18-16, 11:28 AM   #14  
The fabric softener thing is more than voodoo... cast net manufacturers include it in their instructions and it's common knowledge.
https://www.google.com/search?q=fabr...hrome&ie=UTF-8


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10-18-16, 03:23 PM   #15  
I agree with that for cast nets made of cotton or nylon, but the good ones now use mono which will not benefit from fabric softener as it does not even absorb moisture, nor will any trimmer line I have seen or used.


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10-18-16, 04:18 PM   #16  
Unless you are into commercial use most people don't use enough trimmer line to make it an issue, however it might for those that use the hub of the trimmer for cutting rather than the tip of the line. Keep it out of the sun, the sun will destroy anything i gets a chance to eat on. Have a goodone. Geo

 
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10-18-16, 11:35 PM   #17  
Those aren't cotton nets they're talking about (you don't think I would equate a cotton net to plastic trimmer line?), they are mono, which happens to be commonly made of nylon. Trimmer line is also commonly made of nylon. Nylon absorbs moisture. I have 2 new Betts nets, both made of mono, both with instructions to soak it in fabric softener. The stihl dealer here recommends it for trimmer line. Never tried it on trimmer line but it works for mono nets for certain, (a drying out net or one that is trying to bunch and curl from being in the bucket too long will turn limp and limber after soaking in water with fabric softener) so I wouldn't be surprised.

P.S.- You may be closer to Louisiana than I am.... A beautiful part of the country with some amazing people and culture.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

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Last edited by cheese; 10-19-16 at 12:55 AM.
 
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10-19-16, 05:00 PM   #18  
I have 2 new Betts nets, both made of mono, both with instructions to soak it in fabric softener. The stihl dealer here recommends it for trimmer line.
We put a lot of pride and precision engineering into our STIHL trimmers. But did you know that we also manufacture our own trimmer line?

In fact, all STIHL trimmer line is made with pride in America at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Virginia Beach, VA. With a custom blend of polymers, STIHL produces six types of trimmer line, each designed for a different type of cutting application. Why six types? Because not all cutting jobs are the same we make different diameters and shapes of cutting line to accommodate the wide range of cutting scenarios you might find in your landscape.
https://www.stihlusa.com/products/te...-trimmer-line/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabric_softener

I won't deny that some manufacturers know something about their product that can extend or fix something known as an issue with an after thought. I also never meant to claim there is nothing to this, simply meant to state I have seen no evidence and does not make much sense to me with my limited experience. I can imagine some advantages to it, such as keeping the surface of the line covered which would help protect and not stick together.
I can also tell you that if you research how any fabric softener is made, IE: the very base, you will find that it is Toluene. Same as so many food additives, (from chewing gum to salad dressing) soap, lotions, air fresheners...etc.

Basically saying if it trips your trigger, and works for you by all means, take the plunge.

P.S.- You may be closer to Louisiana than I am.... A beautiful part of the country with some amazing people and culture.
Might well be and since I have family in Tx, I just might cross it off my bucket list some day.


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10-19-16, 07:18 PM   #19  
You posted the link to wikipedia as if it supports your theory but apparently did not read the part that states, QUOTE: "Some work better on cellulose-based fibers (i.e., cotton), others have higher affinity to hydrophobic materials like nylon, polyethylene terephthalate, polyacrylonitrile, etc."

This clearly supports the common thought that nylon can be conditioned by fabric softener.

Look, I'm just trying to help a member who asked a question, not get into a debate or measuring contest.


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Last edited by cheese; 10-19-16 at 07:35 PM.
 
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10-19-16, 07:53 PM   #20  
This IS beginning to read like a "measuring" contest!

As I stated in post #4 just use a Zip-Lok freezer bag to store the trimmer line. Add a sponge and moisten it with whatever you might think will help. Try several different "liquids" in different labeled bags and please report back on the results.

 
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10-20-16, 03:35 AM   #21  
I just buy one roll a year and hang it in the shed. I may lose some to deterioration, but it's not enough that concerns me. I think I pay around $6.00 for it. Not a big deal, really.

 
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10-22-16, 12:56 AM   #22  
Some plastics do interact with moisture. Nylon can slightly absorb moisture from the air and actually change dimensions when it does so. Some plastics don't. Some degrade quickly with UV light, some don't. Plasticizers add flexibility and elasticity and over time they evaporate and leave the plastic stiff, brittle, etc... I am not a chemist, so I don't know if water or anything else keeps this from evaporating or replaces it when it does or what, but I know that moisture and nylon react.

A clip from this website: NYLON PLASTIC states "Water molecules produce polar bonds with the amide groups in the nylon molecules. Although small, water molecules take up space and displace the nylon molecules. This results in the nylon molecular matrix swelling. Dimensional changes of 0.7% can result in nylon parts from the "as-molded" state to equilibrium at 50% R.H. environments. This change occurs in approximately 150 days for a 0.0 60 inch (1.5 mm) thick part. (Ref 17) Molecular mobility is increased through the absorption of water. The increase in spacing between nylon molecules lowers the secondary forces allowing easier translational motion. This is the major reasons for the change in physical properties discussed above. There is less resistance to applied stress from the decrease in intermolecular friction. The change in molecular mobility is significant enough that molded nylon parts can relieve molded in stresses as they absorb moisture. Pretty neat 'eh?"

I Just throw out my line when it starts getting too brittle and get some more. I do have some huge rolls with several hundred yards on them, maybe I should do something to keep them from getting any worse.


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Last edited by cheese; 10-22-16 at 01:25 AM.
 
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10-22-16, 08:59 AM   #23  
maybe I should do something to keep them from getting any worse.
You could trim your yard more often

 
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10-22-16, 10:23 AM   #24  
Hehe, yeah... I've been spraying the stuff with weed killer instead. I used to use the trimmer to do it all but it takes hours to trim the whole place.


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