ClubTread Community
Register | Active Topics | Top 10 | Search | Guidelines | Report Spam
Username:
Password:
  Login   Donate
Support ClubTread
  Trail Wiki
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Group Discussion
 Gotta Love Gear
 Trail clearing gear: tool recommendations?
Bookmark and Share     Reply to Topic
Next Page
Author Topic
Page: of 2

Wheat
Junior Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

327 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  4:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply to this posting
What would people recommend taking in a kit for doing trail clearing work?

Specifically, I am just thinking about trail clearing and maintenance, not trail building. So brushing out undergrowth, clearing fallen alders, and repairing a bit of erosion. Even more specifically, I am thinking about brushing out the last kilometer or two of old logging road that leads up to the Capilano/Beth Lake trail, so that it's feasable to bike right to the trail head.

For clearing underbrush, I was thinking maybe loppers are the best? Are loppers with telescoping handles useful, or do they just tend to break when used with heavy underbrush? What about those loppers that have the long, straight blade instead of the curved one - are those quicker or are they too weak to cut through must underbrush?

For clearing fallen alders or other small trees (with a trunk size of 2-6", nothing so big that you'd need a chainsaw), is a bow saw or an axe preferable?

For repairing trail erosion, I imagine a shovel is best, although one could move some dirt with a pulaski and combine two tools into one. But is that just going to dull the pulaski and generally just be more work than the convience of not having to haul around two tools?

Anyone recommendations on specific brands or tools or places to shop would be appreciated.

msulkers
Senior Member


Whistler, BC
Canada

1372 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  4:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For cutting through downed logs there are a number of Japanese pullsaws (dokogiri) that work particularly well. I have one with a 45cm blade that will cut quickly through 30cm logs. The teeth are designed to cut on the pull stroke, so you can apply more effort to the relatively thin, stainless steel blades and the cutting stroke (blade won't fold on a pull) and make ver efficient cuts. Extremely light to carry, very quick for cutting, but a little pricey. Still worth it, as far as I am concerned.


In this photo, the pull saw is in my summit pack. I'd done some trailwork on the way to the alpine and it's so light I just left it in the pack.


msulkers
Senior Member


Whistler, BC
Canada

1372 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  4:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sandvik makes some very light but effective brush hooks that can sever slide alder to 12cm diameter with one stroke. A little tricky to use in thicker brush, because a swing is required, but one can use the tool to get most branches and major trunks out of the way and then trim with a pullsaw.

weedWhacker
Intermediate Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

886 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  5:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I use Fiskars lopping shears with the 24" handles (Rona $50). They cut alders up to 2" effortlessly. I tried several types of the rebranded "Rona" lopping shears but none lasted more than a day. Loppers have trouble cutting dead fir branches > about 30mm because the branches are about as hard as steel. I have never tried one with telescoping handles but I would be dubious - the lopper take a lot of force.

I use a 30" bow saw for anything larger.

A machette is useful for putting an initial trail into very thick alder, but it leaves a trail of punji-sticks because it does not cut close to the ground. That would make your bike trail more exciting but might raise liability issues.

I find a pick (or equivalent) much more useful than a shovel because the latter does not get past roots. A shovel is better for ditching though.

Clearing several kilometers of bush is going to take a while. I suggest leaving your tools at the end of the trail (in plastic bags) rather than carrying them up and down every time.

Keep in mind you can rent a 12" chain saw at most tool rental shops. If you clear the small stuff first, you can rent a chainsaw for a single day to cut the bigger logs.

corn_dog
Junior Member


Squamish
Canada

148 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  5:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For dirt work building bike trails I love the pulaski. But a Mcleod is nice for light dirt work also.

Dan

scottN
Senior Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

1499 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  6:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
These are my favourite for slide alder:
http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=1&p=58934&cat=2,42706,40720


An axe/machette/sandvik is faster if you can cut all the way through in one swing. A bow saw will generally a good choice for 3-6" alder. Get a partner - one person to bend the tree and the other to cut with the saw.

Edited by - scottN on 09/03/2009 6:27 PM

slothboy
Junior Member



459 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  6:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For trail erosion I use my hands with leather gloves. If I need to loosen dirt I use a 6 in nail. I use rock and cedar to repair.

howes hound
Junior Member



208 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  7:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our trail building group uses a smallish chainsaw, picks, shovels, pruners (one with telescoping handle), a huge bar for moving boulders, and rakes for finishing off. Without a chainsaw you're sentencing yourself to hard labour. We occasionally carry a bow saw. I used one of those Swedish axes for a while but found it limited. Everything gets blunt in a hurry out there, you're always hitting crap that takes your edge off. Heavy work gloves. And a first aid kit. We've had a few injuries, one quite serious.

prother
Senior Member


Qualicum Beach, BC
Canada

1563 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  8:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Fiskars pruners and loppers with hollow plastic handles are very light weight, yet sturdy for small stuff.

I also have a folding Japanese pruning saw and a light weight axe/hammer that are my mainstay's for stuff of up to a foot in diameter.

For bigger stuff, I have a 3 foot long cross cut hand saw, much like the classic fallers hand saw, with the crown shaped kerf cleaning teeth, but short & light enough to carry on my pack. I don't usually bring power tools, as I often am working by myself and also want some peace & quiet. The drawback to cutting a two foot diameter deadfall with a hand tool, is that you need to make that 45 minute long cut count and be sure it's right and not bind up your tool. I'll spend 45 minutes just figuring where to make my cut. Makes for a pleasant day of trail maintenance.

Peter

brucew
Senior Member


North Vancouver, BC
Canada

1339 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  8:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Depending on what brush you get your self into, I find taking welding gloves for pulling thorny things and stuff that normally would wear the skin off your hands, about the best thing to have as they protect up the arm as well. I have a lightweight matic that I use for trail edge and ditches and stubborn roots. The plastic Fiskars loppers cut up to 2" and are very light. The next part of the arsenal is the bowsaw. I do not carry an axe as I don't like the weight or the chance I might see some of my own blood on the trail again.

Hemlock
Junior Member



279 Posts

 Posted - 09/03/2009 :  10:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I like the Silky F180. Here's someone's review which is pretty accurate on the drawbacks but pulling out of the cut usually only happens if you get excited and start cutting like a mad man.

http://www.viewpoints.com/Silky-F-180-Folding-Saw-review-d247

Arrow Equipment on Pemberton in North Van has them, as well as many other arborist type tools. I guess another drawback of a saw is that if you dull it (and this could happen quickly if you're not careful), you pretty much have to replace the blade whereas with machetes and sandviks, you can sharpen them. However, if you're alone and way out, my money is probably on a saw of some kind for safety.

Msulkers: I'm interested in this Japanese pullsaw that you have. Where'd you pick that up? Thanks in advance.

Anemone
Intermediate Member


Montreal, QC
Canada

717 Posts

 Posted - 09/04/2009 :  11:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a small set of Fiskars loppers (about 15" long) that fit nicely in my pack and don't weigh much, and I use a folding camp saw (name long since worn off, but there's a review of it here somewhere) for smaller cuts (up to 3-4 inches or so). For bigger cuts I pack in a 15" all-purpose saw (haven't gone bigger than that yet), which I figure can cut through wider trees than a bow saw can. I have a small crowbar that fits in my pack (the kind with the yellow on one end) for digging anywhere difficult - it's quite heavy so I have crowbar-only days. I used to use a small shovel but it isn't that useful where I've done most of my work.

I use heavy duty work gloves for some of it, but if I'm clearing drainage I use heavy duty rubber gloves, for those days when the water is freezing. Nothing like watching your fingers swell up and turn red from the cold.

msulkers
Senior Member


Whistler, BC
Canada

1372 Posts

 Posted - 09/04/2009 :  11:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hemlock. I bought the saw at Home Hardware in Whistler, and Rona in Whistler also has a complement of these saws. There are a lot of custom builders who like these narrow kerf saws for tidying up beam work and finishing in town, so there's a good selection.

They aren't cheap, but they stay sharp for a long time and the fact that they cut on pull means it's pretty hard to make contact with rocks and stuff.

There's a new model available with a 60cm or so blade. I think that would take out some pretty good sized logs, in my experience.

msulkers
Senior Member


Whistler, BC
Canada

1372 Posts

 Posted - 09/04/2009 :  11:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
I have a 3 foot long cross cut hand saw, much like the classic fallers hand saw, with the crown shaped kerf cleaning teeth, but short & light enough to carry on my pack.


I've been trying to find one of those, Peter. Did you find it on the Island?
ClubTread Supporter

Wildman
Advanced Member

Trail blazin', backcountry bushwackin', pine huntin', photo takin', long winded story teller


3919 Posts

 Posted - 09/04/2009 :  1:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Regular labourers work gloves that are leather on the palm side and cloth on the back.
Worker's hard toed boots so you can kick rocks and debri, jump on branches to break them and for protection.

A Pulaski is the ultimate trail buiding tool in my opinion.
Get a good one with a plastic sleeve to hold the head on. There is nothing worse than a friction head that will slide down the handle and bash your fingers well swinging it.
Pulaskies do not have to be sharpe but rather use brute force to smash through things.
Any brush, alder, vine maple and such up to two inches can be easily dug out by the roots making it completely gone without any dangerous punji-sticks sticking up.
It digs, cuts roots and yanks out rocks like crazy and you can spread and even out the ground quite well with it also.

A heavy machette, do not go small and light with them, will whack off branches up to two inches in one good swing.
Branches should be whacked off close to the tree truck so no eye injuries will happen.

Hand saws are good and light but I find they bind very often especially if what you are cutting is twisted, on an angle or wants to bind. I spend to much time trying to keep the blade from binding and there is not always room to make an under cut with them especially if they are the bow-saw type. It might be a good idea to have two so one can cut the other out if it binds.

Chain-saws are great for the larger trees but most people do not use wedges with them. Wedges are a must with every chain-saw and something to pound the wedges in with is needed also.

My favourite trail cleaning and buiding tools are:
Gloves as mentioned above.
Boots as mentioned above.
Machette.
Pulaski.
Chain-saw and wedges with a axe that I have cut the handle down to two feet for driving in the wedges.

Tools I don't find to useful:
Clippers, sheers and such. A machette does the same thing much faster.
Various hand-saws. Bind to much and are to slow and limited to tree size.
A shovel is useless, unless you need to dig and spread a large amount of dirt. A pulaski will usually do better and faster than a shovel.

I know the stuff I use is heavy and cumbersome but I will usually start with just the machette and cut what I can with it. Mostly branches coming off the tree trunks out onto the trail or route.
Next trip or time I will bring the Pulaski and dig, chop, break everything near ground level.
Then last and the most awkard is packing gas, oil, chain-saw, axe, wedges and files but hopefully the first couple trips with the other tools will only leave enough chain-saw cutting that requires one fuel fill-up and any trees to cut will not need the use of the wedges and axe, so either way once you go through the trail with them it gets done quickly and is finished.

It is also advisable to bring along eye protection goggles and head gear.
ClubTread Supporter

greyowl
Intermediate Member


Abbotsford, BC
Canada

767 Posts

 Posted - 09/05/2009 :  5:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wildman


..... It is also advisable to bring along eye protection goggles and head gear.

Water and some food might also be a good idea!

gyppo
Intermediate Member


Edmonton, AB
Canada

770 Posts

 Posted - 09/05/2009 :  6:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just bought some wedges and hope that it'll prevent my bowsaw from binding. For large trees I've used the bowsaw until it starts to bind, then cleared the offending wood away with an axe. The wedges might help, but if the tree is bigger than the bowsaw'c capacity, the axe becomes necessary. It's a pain in the ass, expecially when trees fall on the logging road while you're parked at the top.

B

prother
Senior Member


Qualicum Beach, BC
Canada

1563 Posts

 Posted - 09/05/2009 :  11:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've never found a bow saw that will not bind... even when bucking an end off of a log round under no tension. The pruning pull saws are best for not binding. Most Japanese saws are meant for fine cuts, have too fine a kerf and will not stand up to outdoor use. My folding pruning saw is sharpened like a Japanese saw, but with coarser teeth and has a 9 1/2 inch long blade. It weighs 297 grams and I got it from Lee Valley quite a few years ago, but it's no longer in stock. Still, a gardening store should turn up something similar.

PR

gyppo
Intermediate Member


Edmonton, AB
Canada

770 Posts

 Posted - 09/06/2009 :  09:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have a number of pruning saws at work (landscaping) that I've borrowed in the past, but they're always too short.

I think I'll get a chainsaw.

B


quote:
Originally posted by prother

I've never found a bow saw that will not bind... even when bucking an end off of a log round under no tension. The pruning pull saws are best for not binding. Most Japanese saws are meant for fine cuts, have too fine a kerf and will not stand up to outdoor use. My folding pruning saw is sharpened like a Japanese saw, but with coarser teeth and has a 9 1/2 inch long blade. It weighs 297 grams and I got it from Lee Valley quite a few years ago, but it's no longer in stock. Still, a gardening store should turn up something similar.

PR

howes hound
Junior Member



208 Posts

 Posted - 09/06/2009 :  11:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'd echo most of what Wildman says. I'd missed out the boots and eye protection. Sooner rather than later you'll get rocks on your feet, and you'll know about it if you're wearing runners. "pulaski" had me until I saw a pic and realized it's a cross between a mattock and an axe. Good call. We use a mattock all the time.
Chainsaws have come a million miles since I bought mine. It leaks and needs constant refilling. One of our group has a new saw that goes all day on a tank of gas, hardly ever seems to need sharpening, and is much quieter as well as lighter. But personally, I wouldn't use a chainsaw if I was out there on my own. The tool itself can cause serious injury, and you're likely to be working on stuff that's inherently dangerous. It takes experience and a good eye to figure out what's likely to happen once you start cutting deadfall.

prother
Senior Member


Qualicum Beach, BC
Canada

1563 Posts

 Posted - 09/06/2009 :  5:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by msulkers

quote:
I have a 3 foot long cross cut hand saw, much like the classic fallers hand saw, with the crown shaped kerf cleaning teeth, but short & light enough to carry on my pack.


I've been trying to find one of those, Peter. Did you find it on the Island?



I lucked out and had one given to me. These were the saws, that the guy that climbed the spar tree, used to top it in the old days before light weight chain saws. Mine is in mint condition and I keep it sharp and waxed and it lives indoors behind my kitchen door, warm & dry. As a collector of antique woodworking tools for 35 years, I know how to sharpen these old crosscut saws, including just how much to peen the raker crowns. Even now, you can still find the longer crosscut saws in barns and antique stores. You could cut down a full sized saw to a half sized one, with a bit of tempering knowledge.

While cutting a large diameter tree can be done with the right hand tools, it takes a lot more thought and preparation than with a chain saw and this discussion may well be needing a thread of it's own.

All that said, if there's someone there with a chain saw and willing to pack it and the fuel & oil in... I say let them do the work.

Peter
Page: of 2 Topic  
Next Page
 All Forums > Group Discussion > Gotta Love Gear Bookmark and Share     Reply to Topic

Register | Active Topics | Top 10 | Search | Guidelines | Report Spam