I recently bought a Wood Chipper Shredder primarily for shredding leaves that we could use to mulch our flower beds. We have a lot of trees around our house so I also pick up a lot of little twigs, sticks and pine cones but it is too tedious to feed each one through the small wood chipper slot. I would like to be able to dump them all into the large leaf hopper on the opposite side but the problem is that heavier debris like twigs, sticks and pine cones do not get sucked in like leaves so they get stuck at the curved bottom of the hopper and have to be manually pushed through. You can use a large stick but sometimes you can push it in too far and the shredder wheel will hit the stick sending a nice jolt through your arm. Also pine cones and pieces of sticks can get thrown back out toward you like a missile. I decided to make a tamper tool that would be small enough to push sticks and pine cones through but large enough so that it can't make it all the way to the shredder wheel and also block pine cone missiles.
The narrowest part of the leaf hopper is 8" x 8" wide so I browsed my local big box hardware store for something that was 7" x 7" or 8" x 8" wide but hopefully a little long and even more hopefully, tough and lightweight. I finally stumbled onto the mailbox aisle and found this $11 mailbox that is made of tough polypropylene plastic. Its widest part is 8" x 8" and slightly tapered toward the back. I also picked up a 36" long, 5.5" wide Poplar plank to use as a handle.
I cut out a handle shape with a jigsaw about 1 inch from one end of the plank and sanded the edges. I then drilled four pilot holes through the sides of the plank and screwed the mailbox to the plank with coarse drywall screws.
It fits perfectly! The mailbox is narrow enough to go completely to the bottom of the hopper but long enough so it can't make the bend toward the shredder wheel and wide enough to completely seal the opening. Now I don't have to risk breaking my arm using a stick and no more ducking pine cones! Happy Halloween!