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Brush trimming hand tools

Old 04-01-23, 08:01 AM
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staehpj1
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Brush trimming hand tools

Does anyone carry any tools for minor trail maintenance like trimming back the stickers, vines, or wayward branches? I am not talking about a maintenance trip, but minor stuff during a regular ride. I have been considering throwing a tool or two in the tank bag. Maybe pruning shears and one of those folding saw that looks like a big pocket knife. I have a backpack set up with trail and river maintenance tools from my whitewater and trail running days, but it is heavier duty and for more serious work than what I am thinking of here. I have a trailer and chainsaw for heavy duty blow down removal, but these days I leave that work to the younger guys since they seem to get to it within a couple days any way.

If you carry some hand tools for minor trimming, what do you carry?
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Old 04-01-23, 11:10 AM
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On a short trail two blocks from home I'll take a Felco #2 pruner and a folding saw. If I need more for a fallen tree, a stihl T210 topping saw. I've also taken a leaf rake and hand held blower down there. A bag for trash often goes along when I clean up. If something is too big for the hand pruners I have three different sized loppers.

I've gone with big lopper, leaf rake, and blower (or the chainsaw) on a rear rack. Pruners in hip scabbard.
...often just the felco hand pruner on hip or in bike bag.

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Old 04-01-23, 05:16 PM
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I carry a pair of Fiskars pruners but only when i have my water bladder pack to carry them.
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Old 04-02-23, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by biker128pedal View Post
I carry a pair of Fiskars pruners but only when i have my water bladder pack to carry them.
That may be my best bet, but when I have carried them I have often wanted to cut just a bit bigger stuff than they could handle. I wondered whether some of the more expensive pruners were actually able to cut bigger stuff. I know you can spend twice or three times as much, but spending more doesn't always equate to getting more performance. The other option would be some kind of small (very small) saw, perhaps one that looks like a giant pocket knife. I think I draw the line short of loppers or larger saws for any king of frequent carrying.

A saw that looks interesting:
https://www.amazon.com/Woodland-Dura..._df_B09TPZMC5N
There are also similar, but less expensive brands and some are a little smaller.

I see that Woodland also sells $$$ pruners. Anyone know if they are they worth the extra cost? Other suggested brands? If they will cut thicker harder branches I might spring for one. Otherwise I'll order a new pair of Fiskars. My very old ones are finally in pretty bad shape after decades of use and abuse.
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Old 04-02-23, 03:51 PM
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Try this type of compound pruning shears. I have used them to cut larger than 1 inch. I used to have a nice folding saw I lost for larger stuff. Need to replace them

Fiskars Steel Anvil Hand Pruner with Standard Handle

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Fiskars-Ult...dle/1001459826

These also have a lock to keep them closed and the tip is protected.

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Old 04-02-23, 10:36 PM
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Project farm just put out a video on folding handsaws. I carry a silky and had a corona in the past and they also work pretty well for cutting bushes and briers back, just swinging em like a machete. I think pruning shears would just take too long to get much done. One of my friends stashed a cheap, not a scythe but sythe like, out in the woods in a bad section and we would just move it around to bad areas and clear them up every now and again, but it got lost or walked off.
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Old 04-03-23, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Canker View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZxxA689GHY
Project farm just put out a video on folding handsaws. I carry a silky and had a corona in the past and they also work pretty well for cutting bushes and briers back, just swinging em like a machete. I think pruning shears would just take too long to get much done. One of my friends stashed a cheap, not a scythe but sythe like, out in the woods in a bad section and we would just move it around to bad areas and clear them up every now and again, but it got lost or walked off.
Thanks. For my use I don't see much need for clearing larger areas or need for swinging the saw like a machete. I am more inclined to clip stuff protruding into the trail back. Often it is downed trees or limbs. For my use pruning shears are adequate except when I want to cut something just a bit too big. A small folding saw would be good for that. I have some break down shop built buck saws that will cut real big stuff, but they are more than I want to carry routinely. On the trails I ride there are younger guys who get to the big stuff quick enough that at 71 I am inclined to let them handle that stuff. They seem to get any major blowdowns within a few days, but ignore the little stuff.

After watching that video I liked the looks of the Corona saw. I think I will order one. The 7 Inch RS 7245 looks like it will fit in my tank bag. Some of the other 7" brands/models look like they are a bit longer when folded and would be a tighter fit.
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Old 04-06-23, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by biker128pedal View Post
Try this type of compound pruning shears. I have used them to cut larger than 1 inch. I used to have a nice folding saw I lost for larger stuff. Need to replace them

Fiskars Steel Anvil Hand Pruner with Standard Handle

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Fiskars-Ult...dle/1001459826

These also have a lock to keep them closed and the tip is protected.
After some reading of reviews I bought the woodland model in about the same price range. It was the bypass model onstead of the anvil model. On hind sight, it is okay, but the bypass model is fussier in that you need to be more careful in aligning the cut 90 degrees to the branch or the blades flex and splay. If I were doing it over I might choose the anvil model and might just order the fiskars that you linked. As it is I think I will keep the woodlands and just take care in aligning the cut.

It never occurred to me to worry whether the shears would fit in my tank bag, but at first lt looked like they wouldn't. After flipping them around various ways it turns out they do.

I also ordered a woodland saw, but it has not yet arrived. I think it will fit in the tank bag if the claimed dimensions are correct.
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Old 04-07-23, 07:23 AM
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There was a log that was bothering me for a long time that a couple of us thought was a bit dangerous, so I took my cordless reciprocating saw in my hydration pack to remove it. Then I got to the log and I had forgotten the batteries.
Someone cleared the log before I made it back. I have thought about bringing the saw again, but it does make the ride a bit of a production. Around here, every good rain results in trees across the trail. A reciprocating saw will make it through trees up to about 12"
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Old 04-07-23, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
There was a log that was bothering me for a long time that a couple of us thought was a bit dangerous, so I took my cordless reciprocating saw in my hydration pack to remove it. Then I got to the log and I had forgotten the batteries.
Someone cleared the log before I made it back. I have thought about bringing the saw again, but it does make the ride a bit of a production. Around here, every good rain results in trees across the trail. A reciprocating saw will make it through trees up to about 12"
I don't own one but probably should. It would be real handy around home and I have other battery tools so I already have the batteries and chargers. I am a bit spoiled though in that the trails here tend to be well maintained by others when it comes to removing the big stuff. Given that, I tend to let the younger guys take care of anything of any size.
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Old 04-07-23, 12:32 PM
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There are smaller reciprocating saws, like the Milwauke M12 Hackzall that work on branches. Other brands have similar tools. I have 3 different reciprocating saws, so I'm probably not going to get a smaller one, but it would be nice for carrying on a bike.
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Old 04-07-23, 01:01 PM
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I just use a set of pruners and a folding pruning saw for our light single tracks through the pine trees. Growth is slow because mostly its pretty dry around Central Texas. We only need to trim about once a year. Those nice easy quiet paths through the needles are so relaxing you often have to stop just to take it all in.

Of another note most of our nice easy piney single track has fallen victim to heavy duty e-bikes tearing up the trails like motocross acrobats.

I expect very soon "Private Property No Trespassing" signs will go up on some of what used to be the nicest paths...
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Old 04-07-23, 03:15 PM
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have some small folding pruning saws - but donít have one of the saws rated high by project farm

do have a couple reciprocating saws - including a small battery powered DeWalt model ... (not as good as the Milwaukee but still good) ... the battery powered reciprocating saw is one of my fav and most used tools - very versatile and will cut through just about anything with the large variety of available blades ... also using it in spots I did not initially anticipate (including cut and removal of buried tree roots etc)
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Old 04-10-23, 02:34 PM
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Small hand pruners and a folding saw take care of pretty much everything a care to.

Silky Big Boy will make short work of some decent size logs.
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Old 04-14-23, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
... but when I have carried them I have often wanted to cut just a bit bigger stuff than they could handle.
Some of the better loppers do cut bigger for their size (Barnel, who makes the premium Stihl loppers, are an example), but not so much for hand pruners. However, the better solution is probably to just switch to a saw. If you carry a hand pruner for the really small stuff (+1 for the Felco #2), and a hand saw of whatever size is convenient for you (anything by Silky is great), then you will have a pretty good range of capability.

For cutting live/green stuff, you want bypass pruners/loppers, not the anvil kind.
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Old 04-15-23, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel View Post
Some of the better loppers do cut bigger for their size (Barnel, who makes the premium Stihl loppers, are an example), but not so much for hand pruners. However, the better solution is probably to just switch to a saw. If you carry a hand pruner for the really small stuff (+1 for the Felco #2), and a hand saw of whatever size is convenient for you (anything by Silky is great), then you will have a pretty good range of capability.

For cutting live/green stuff, you want bypass pruners/loppers, not the anvil kind.
Since I wound up with the Woodland pruners I wondered if I should return them, but decided agaiinst it when I read reviews of other potentially better pruners. Even on the highest end models apparently it isn't unusual to find comments like " I have to be careful to cut seedlings and branches 3/8" or thicker absolutely perpendicular along the long axis of the tool, otherwise the part of the wood gets caught between blades and the pruner gets stuck." After reading comments like that on other models and after using the Woodlands a bit, I decided that my Woodlands were okay as long as I took that care to keep the jaws 90 degrees to the branch.

I needed a pretty small saw to fit my top tube bag and there was a low price with free shipping on the 7" Corona from Home Depot. It got decent reviews and was less than half the cost of the 7" Silky. I debated spending the extra for the Silky and realized that I will probably use the shears a lot and the saw very little. I figured if the saw arrived and I didn't like it I'd return it, but it cuts well and I think I'll keep it. It fits in the top tube bag, just barely. I kind of have to cram it in though.
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Old 04-15-23, 06:30 AM
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Silky saws are worth every penny. I am still shocked how easily my Big Boy goes through big stuff. Iíve gone through downed trees that one might expect needed a chainsaw.

I have the Corona from HD/Lowes, and while it works fine, the difference between it and a Silky is huge.

I use the Corona around my yard where I have other tools for cutting big things and save the Silky for the trail.
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Old 04-15-23, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Silky saws are worth every penny. I am still shocked how easily my Big Boy goes through big stuff. I’ve gone through downed trees that one might expect needed a chainsaw.

I have the Corona from HD/Lowes, and while it works fine, the difference between it and a Silky is huge.

I use the Corona around my yard where I have other tools for cutting big things and save the Silky for the trail.
I'll keep that in mind if I ever decide I need a better saw. I don't really plan to cut anything too big with it though. We have a pretty active trail users community so most of the bigger stuff gets cut by younger guys within a few days including big trees. So the saw is just to extend the range of what I can cut a bit beyond that of the pruning shears.

I used to do heavier maintenance, but took a chainsaw in a trailer for that. Around the time I turned 70 I became less inclined to do that, but the younger guys had been beating me to the big jobs for a few years already any way. I'd still do it if no one else was taking care of it in a reasonable time though.

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Old 04-15-23, 12:24 PM
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Still using the same pair of Felco that I bought in 1976. Third or fourth blade change probably.
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Old 05-03-23, 06:56 AM
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I finally actually had occasion to use the 7" Corona saw from Home Depot today in actual tral usage. I was very pleased with the results. It is the very largest saw that will (barely) fit in my top tube bag and it made quick work of a bunch of hard wood branches up to about 4" in diameter. That is about as heavy duty of a job as I expect to do with a saw carried daily in my tank bag. It gets bonus points for a relatively low price point. For my particular set of parameters it is a near perfect fit.
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Old 05-03-23, 12:34 PM
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So that Corona folds? I have a folding saw that takes reciprocating saw blades which might work with the right blade, but maybe a small pruning saw would be nice

On edit: I see they make reciprocating saw pruning blades, so maybe I'll get one of those. No curve, but my saw handle doesn't take a curve and I'm not sure how much it really matters anyway

Last edited by unterhausen; 05-03-23 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 05-03-23, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
So that Corona folds? I have a folding saw that takes reciprocating saw blades which might work with the right blade, but maybe a small pruning saw would be nice

On edit: I see they make reciprocating saw pruning blades, so maybe I'll get one of those. No curve, but my saw handle doesn't take a curve and I'm not sure how much it really matters anyway
The reciprocating saws are a whole nother class of saw that I don't plan to get into for my usage. The corona folding saw was quick and easy for the kind of job I will do on the trail. Heavier duty stuff I leave to the younger guys since they tend to get to the bigger jobs pretty quickly any way here.

I used to ride where if I didn't do it it didn't get done and I used a trailer to haul a gasoline powered chainsaw. A battery reciprocating saw would have been nice for the majority of that work. Only the really big stuff would have required the chainsaw.
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Old 05-11-23, 11:21 AM
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A lot of the guys I ride with carry Silky folding saws. I've got my little straight-blade Stihl pruning/hand saw that I'll take off my arborist saddle if I'm going to need to do some pruning. If it's heavy clean up and I can get in on my dirtbike, I'll just pack one of my top-handle chainsaws. Most of the local stuff is multi-use, and we get some pretty crazy windfall over winter, so the chainsaw is my preferred method.
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