Simply put, a bucker strips fan leaf and flower from stem on a cannabis plant. This must be done because the valuable flower needs to be separated from stem at some point post-harvest in order to be trimmed or used in the next step of whatever process its in. Most, if not all, extractors require that the stem be removed before they will accept flower for processing. Also, if you plan on trimming your flower then it will have to be removed from the stem at some point so it can be done correctly and packaged or stored.
Does that mean that because all cannabis grown for flower needs to be bucked at some point mean that necessarily need to buy an expensive machine to do it? Depends on your situation. If you only grow or ever plan on growing 25 plants, then maybe spending thousands of dollars on a bucker isn’t the best use of your money. You could easily just harvest and hang them. When it comes time to buck and trim, simply using your scissors or some other manual instrument to separate flower from stem off 25 plants is not fun but also much less expensive and can be done at your own pace since the plants have dried and/or cured already. Even manually bucking 25 cannabis plants wet is possible to do if you dedicate time to it.
The job of bucking cannabis plants wet or dry becomes much more unwieldy when the number of plants you intend to harvest is something more like 100 plants plus. Again, if you have the luxury of time and processing to order, bucking dry and manually is possible. But if you want to buck your plants right after chop or have to process your dry plants under time and personnel constraints, using a mechanical bucker is the way to go. The manufacturers that make them, and there are a lot of choices, are not lying when they say that it increases speed and throughput. Not only that, but the machine also does not get tired of pulling like humans do so there is always a constant and torque applied to the stem that is getting stripped.
All cannabis buckers are based on the same concept even if they may look different. The all have a face that the stems are fed into with a die plate of varying size drilled holes. They are to accommodate the diameter of the stem that you are feeding it. As a rule when bucking, use the smallest hole that the stem will easily fit through so none of the flower gets pulled in with it. The all also have two rollers that are stacked on top of one another and roll against each other when in operation. Those are what grab the stems as the machine is fed. Most buckers are single motor driven, meaning that only one of the rollers is attached to a motor, the other is simply tightened up against the other that does to move. All buckers also have forward and reverse switch. Forward is used in normal operation and revers for when the plant gets stuck mid-pull and does not get pulled all the way through. This happens sometimes and usually when bucking wet. Some plants are tough to strip and need to be broken down more step being fed in the bucker. Reverse also keeps hand and fingers away from pinch points like the rollers. If a bucker says it can process both wet and dry material, then it has as variable seed knob or adjustment of some type. Typically, when bucking wet it is necessary to turn the roller speed to 100% to get the stem through cleanly and the first time. Conversely, when using a machine to buck wet, you want to turn the speed down to 30% or 40% as to not damage the flower as the stem is pulled through. Finally, all buckers have an emergency e-stop button—very important!
Mechanical Buckers are necessary part of a process that grows to scale and on a timeline. They are personnel multipliers at that stage in the process and worth their weight for most, if not all, operations. I hope that this answered what a cannabis Bucking Machine was and please let me know if you have any more questions. Happy Trimming!