Sheen X300 Flamegun Product Review

Flamegun X300

Weeding the garden is an ongoing process that never seems to end and, of all the jobs in the garden, appears to be the most time consuming.  We can hoe at speedwell and chickweed, tug away at couch grass and excavate the tap roots of dandelions by hand but they still return, year after year, as part of nature’s way of letting us know who’s in charge.

Digging out weeds or hoeing are highly effective methods but very labour intensive and can cause aches and strains quite easily. A safe, organic alternative to manual weeding is flame weeding. The Sheen X300 Flamegun uses a flame torch to burn the top foliage of the weed which in turn dries out the plant and kills off the root below the surface.

X300 Flamegun

First Impressions
I found the flamethrower very effective, easy and especially fun to use but I would caution it may not be for everyone. Compared with finely tuned modern appliances you might find it a little unrefined. Lighting the burner it is very simple but there is quite a bit of flame at first which might make you doubt yourself. However, once the kerosene heats (and vaporises) the burner settles down into a clean hot flame and the flamethrower becomes a much more civilised machine.

How it works

You can see the burner design in the photo above, this is a ‘cutaway’ unit to see the workings, the burner is fully enclosed in the working gun. The paraffin or kerosene is forced along the silver pipe, through the coil and back to the jet (the little brass fitting in the right hand side of the burner). The heat for the flame going through the coil turns the fuel into vapour which produces the hot, neat flame. The fuel is pressurised in the tank using a simple hand pump.

Flame Weeder

To start the flamethrower you need to soak the wick (the white material in the base of the burner) by briefly turning on the fuel tap. When the wick is lit through the back or side vents a flame will lick up around the end of the handle but this is normal. Once the fuel in the pipe is heated, the flame will begin to blast out the end of the burner and you can turn the fuel on again. Once it is going all you need to do is pump the handle on the tank every now and again to keep the pressure up.

Flamegun x3000

When you have the Flamegun primed and started up simply pass the torch flame across the plant leaves until they are heated up, this dries out and destroys the plants cell structure which will prevent any further movement of sap. The plant will die back and after a secondary blast will disintegrate into a nutrient rich potash,  replenishing and feeding the soil.

In the process of hoeing and hand weeding the soil is usually disturbed, bringing fresh weed seeds and new growth to the surface. The Flamegun passes across the surface, leaving the soil intact without exposing any potential new growth to the light.  Some perennial weeds may require repeated treatments over a course of the season but like with most weeding methods they will eventually give up after 2 or 3 treatments.

Some Tips
Here’s a couple of tips that you might find handy:

  • You may find the flamethrower heavy with a full tank, fill it half full until you get used to it.
  • The fuel filler opening is small, get yourself a funnel to make filling it easier.
  • Start it in an open space. If you turn the fuel on too early it will squirt a long flame so make sure there is nothing in the way.
  • Make relatively quick passes on weeds and come back a week later when they have died down, trying to incinerate them in one go is fun but uses more fuel.
  • Work with the wind behind you where possible especially when burning off dried weeds or leaves.

Flasmegujn x300

It can be used on beds and borders and is perfect for removing  fungal growth and moss from patio and paving. We even use ours to de-ice the path on frosty mornings.

Once I got the hang of it I found the Flamegun quick and easy to use. I am likely to fire it up and have a quick walk around when I get home from work whereas spraying a weedkiller requires a lot more preparation. It is a tool I enjoy using and does keep the place looking tidy. When the larger weeds are cleared I can go over any new growth very quickly,  a walk around the paths every month or so in the Summer should keep them neat and weed free.

The Sheen X300 Flamegun is a tried and tested alternative to chemical intervention and a genuine labour saving gardening tool making it a welcome addition to any garden shed.



One comment
  1. Basil Bailey

    I have used one of these for over 45 years. They are really effective. They are less effective on wet weeds which tend to release a lot steam which consumes the oxygen and can expunge the flame so wait for dry weather. Also avoid windy days as this will also effect the performance. I light the wick with a weed wand. Before you release paraffin heat the whole coil thoroughly as this will shorten the time needed to start the burner. Then complete the staring process by releasing the fuel by a quarter turn until you see some Paraffin squirting out the end of the coil. Turn off the fuel and light the wick with the weed wand. The paraffin will ignite and leave it for a couple of minutes. The flame will build and when it sounds like a jet engine release the fuel a quarter turn and it should start. Sometimes the flame pulses but just adjust the fuel a bit until it settles and you are good to go. When using the burner keep the fuel open at quarter turn and the pressure pumped to the number 9 on the scale. As fuel runs down you may need to inject more fuel by opening the valve a small bit and it will remain at high performance until all the fuel is used. This is a tricky machine to manage and to start and there’s is a good old fashioned knack to it and it can be quite scary until you get used to it. I have seen almost nine is use in a ireland and once a tried to hire one and had to demonstrate to the hit place how to start and use one.

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