In the never ending campaign to keep weeds under control and our lawns looking their best, one of the most frustrating tasks has traditionally been changing the cutting line on a string trimmer. Fortunately, the majority of this frustration comes from people approaching the task with no planning or preparation. Following a simple plan can turn a headache inducing, painful chore into just another of the little tasks to be performed along the path to a well landscaped area.
First step – Read your owner’s manual. Most people prefer to save looking at the manual as a last ditch effort to find a solution to a costly problem. The wise few realize that familiarizing themselves with the manual can allow them to circumvent nasty situations before they ever have a chance to become problems. In the case of the string trimmer, in which direction do the spool cap threads run? Do you know off the top of your head? If you don’t and aren’t wise enough to read the manual before attempting to restring the machine, you could force the cover the wrong way and literally find yourself replacing the entire spool assembly that you irreparably damaged because taking 5 minutes to familiarize yourself with the way the spool is assembled seemed to be too much effort. Don’t borrow trouble by skipping this step. Knowing how your trimmer is assembled will allow you to plan both the actions you will need to take and the tools for the job.
Second Step – Remove the spool cover. The “cover” could be as simple as a piece of plastic held in place by a single screw. It could also be as complicated as layers of things like: automatic feed button, outer cover, and inner automatic feed mechanics. Regardless, the object here is to gain access to the trimmer line spool itself.
Third Step – Having gained access to the line spool, remove it and clean the interior of the spool assembly thoroughly. With all the debris that flies when operating a string trimmer, it is inevitable that some will find its way into the spool assembly. Failure to clean it thoroughly could result in this debris clogging the spool system and forcing disassembly at a later time. Taking the time to do the job right prevents having to go back and do it over.
Fourth Step – Cut your trimmer line. Unless the manual specifically states otherwise, the rule of thumb for string trimmers is to use approximately six feet of line when refilling the spool. To make this step quick, hold the line in your hands and spread your arms straight out to either side. For the average adult, this is about six feet. Yes, it could be a little more or a little less, but for an approximate measurement, this method is far quicker and easier than trying to hold a length of line straight to measure it with a tape measure.
Fifth Step – Feed the string into the starter holes. For most string trimmers, there is a straight path directly through the center of the spool for you to feed line through. Once the string is through the spool, pull the ends together so that there is an equal amount of string on either side.
Sixth Step – Wind the excess string onto the spool. There are generally arrows to follow which show the proper direction to wind the line. Keep some tension on the string as you wind to ensure that the line lies flat. Loose lying string can tangle or knot when feeding off the spool.
Seventh Step – Put it all back together. A string trimmer is one of the handiest landscaping tools around. Ask the average owner and they will tell you that changing the string makes them one of the most frustrating tools around. By making and following a plan to string your trimmer, you can benefit from the usefulness of the trimmer while eliminating the frustration.