How To Restring A Weed Wacker Or String Trimmer

A string trimmer or weed wacker is a gardening tool used to trim lawn grass and eliminate weed, that are hard to reach using conventional lawn mowers. This tool is also known as a weed eater, weed whip, line trimmer or a strimmer. Whichever name you choose to call it by, a string trimmer basically looks like the one in the image below.

​A string trimmer works by spinning a line at a fast pace while being held out from its center of the rotating reel. It is gripped very firmly by centrifugal force, which means the faster the core turns, the stronger the line. The line is usually wound onto the reel by hand, leaving a single loose end or ​two ends protruding from the reel housing. The motor rotates the reel and the line stretches horizontally, working on the ground that needs trimming. Over time, this line wears out, possibly breaks off, and eventually runs out. This is when you would be needing to change it and restring the tool.

For string trimmers using a single line

You would know when it’s time to replace the line by the pace of your work. If the same task is taking you longer than it used to, it is usually because the string is not up to the mark and hence is slowing down your pace. When this happens, take the following steps to replace the line:

1) First and foremost, turn off the power source completely; remove batteries / unplug the tool, to prevent any accident while working with the string.

2) Access the spool of the string by turning the trimmer upside-down and if a spool cover is present, remove it by pushing in the lock and turning it counter-clockwise (if not instructed otherwise in the manual). The procedure varies slightly from model to model, but it should be something like this:

3) Take off the spool from the trimmer; again, how to do this varies according to the model and so check the manual for specific guidelines.

4) If you have an already wound up spool, slide it onto the spindle. If not, you have to re-wind your current spool. To do so, cut the line at an appropriate length and insert one end of the line into the spool's anchor hole. Wind it around the spool in a clockwise direction or in the direction marked by arrows. Be sure to use the correct type of line as recommended by the manufacturer of your trimmer, follow the user’s manual to determine the correct thickness and length of the line. Using the wrong line can damage your tool and might even cause accidents.

5) Finish up by passing the free end of the line through the exit hole on the spool-housing hub. There should be a mark to indicate the proper alignment of the spool with the exit hole, line them up precisely to ensure correct spool orientation.

6) Replace the spool back into place, a clicking sound means it is secured properly. If your trimmer comes with a spool cover, press it back to its position to lock the spool.

7) There might be additional parts to take off before removing the spool (reliant on the model), be sure to put them back in place before securing the spool.

And that’s about it. If you are still unsure about the process, take a look at the video below:

For weed eaters with two holes ​Or two strings

A string trimmer or weed eater with two holes is also said to be a dual sided trimmer. The difference in this method lies in the number of strings need, i.e. two. The previous method is applicable to tools that have one line fed into them, while this method is for trimmers or wackers that comprise two pieces of string with their lose ends protruding from two side of the spool.

Every manufacturer has its specific requirements for the diameter and length of the line that is to be placed on the spool, along with the direction of winding. Some dual sided spools call for coiling the lines in the same direction, while others require the lines to be wound in opposite directions. The steps mentioned below are the basics that most models follow, but nonetheless, read the user manual thoroughly before starting the process.

1) Start by removing the tool from the power source (batteries, power outlets, etc.). Do not start if the tool is hot, let it cool first.

2) Remove the spool by pressing on the appropriate tabs to release it from its secured position. If there is a cover, remove it first. Any remaining line or any sort of dirt / debris should be removed before proceeding onto the next step.

3) Following the manufacturer’s guideline, cut the appropriate length of line. The fold it in half and cut it in two pieces. Do not cut more than recommended, the spool should not have any line bulging out as it would not let the spool fit back properly.

4) Insert the two lines through the feeder hole and wrap them along the spool in the direction indicated by arrows. The wrapping should be done in even, neat lines and not with the lines twisted in any manner. With about 6 inches remaining, insert the two loose ends of the line into their designated exit spots on the spool, they should be exiting through holes located opposite to each other by now. Like so:

​Check out this video of winding the lines:

5) Now thread the lines through the holes on the trimmer head, while hovering the spool over the trimmer head and ensuring the lines exit out of the tool (shown in the above picture). Secure the spool onto the trimmer head and then pull the strings in opposite directions to make sure they are fit snugly. Put the cover back on if there is any. Take a look at this video to get a demo:

This video demonstrates another type of model which follows a slightly different route. The principle here is to insert a single line through the lined up holes in the trimmer head and rotate the cap so that the string is wrapped around the enclosed spool automatically.

First you have to align the string exiting arrows with the eyelets on the trimmer head by rotating it. Like so:

Then thread the line through one eyelet and it should come out through the one on the other side. Have the ends meet at one point to ensure they are at uniform lengths. Then twist the head in the recommended direction (usually clockwise) until only about 6 inches of lines are sticking out from the two sides (shown below). See the last video to get a recap.

And voila! That is how you can restring a dual sided string trimmer or weed wacker.

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