Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Basic Tools for Trail Clearing

Shelton's trail system is built and maintaiNEd by volunteers. The Trails Committee has a growing coLLection of hand tools, but most volunteers like to use their own tools and sometimes ask what to bring. Most of our work in clearing trails is done with loppers, bow Saws, and hand pruners (remember to bring those gloves).

Here's some of the loppeRs and hand clippers that we use. There are two pair of the anvil loppers (left and center), but sOme people prefer the bypass loppers (red handle on right). The anvil loppers crush the branch so they work better on dead wood and are easier to stick into a patch of brush. The bypass loppers make a cleaner Cut on live branches, so that's usually what homeowners have. The blade on those actually hooks around the branch and shears it off. I prefer the Snap-Cut anvil loppers in the center (grey handle) for most work parties because they're light and easy to use. The bigger ones with the wooden handles maKe short work of larger branches and saplings, but they're a bit nose-heavy.

The hand clippers are good anytime. Even if you can't make one of our work parties feel free to carry a pair the next time you go for a hike and trim off some brush as you walk.


These three saws take care of Most of our sawing. The bow saw works well to cut saplings flush with the ground so you don't trip on them. The chain saw is good to taking out blow downs and other storm damage. There are obviously A lot of safety issues with using a chain saw that I assume everybody is aware of. The third saw is a Pole saw that is good for taking out higher branches and cutting vines.

Helpful Trail Tip: Remember to look up before pulling a cut vine out of a tree, and don't stand under the vine when you pull. A lot of dead branches and other stuff can come down and hit you on the noggin. Some of us have been known to occasionally wear a hard hat after a few too many whacks to the skull.

Lee Valley Tools carries a nice cheap Booklet called Chain Saw and Crosscut Saw Training Course that I would recommend. They have nice catalogs for gardening and woodworking, and I've always had good luck with them.

Sometimes we even try to dO some things safely and efficiently. Generally though we just try to get the job done, take pride in our trails, have some fun, and not make things too complicated. A lot of our work is accompXlished with some simple hand tools and a little common sense.



1 comment:

  1. Nice explanation of the tools of the trade. Almost makes me want to get out there and cut stuff down!

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