You can definitely prune your trees with a bypass pruner. You'll want to add a lopper or a pruning saw to your kit once the branches you are cutting get to be more than an inch or so thick, as most hand pruners cut between .5 inch to 1 inch diameter branch.
There are lots of choices as far as brands and specifics styles of pruning tools.
I really like bahco pruners and loppers. The steel is really good and they are made to last under heavy use. Read: Lifetime tool for the average user.
As for saws, there are even more choices! Not just brands but also lengths and and teeth density etc.
Here are a few things I've learned: Generally, a given length blade will cut a branch diameter of half the blade length. IE. A 10 inch blade will easily cut up to a 5" branch. This can probably be extended but you get the idea.
TPI stand for teeth per inch. Basically, the less teeth per inch the faster a saw will cut but it will leave a rougher edge. More teeth per inch will cut slower but leave a smoother edge. In my experience, I prefer a medium 7-9 tpi for pruning fruit trees and reserve a larger saw with less teeth (5-6 tpi) for cutting pines and firs in the forest.
The very fine saws (10tpi and above) seem to be best suited to woodworking where one might be cutting something dry and hard
All of the above details being equal, a curved saw might cut faster than a straight saw, but a straight saw is better for pruning where branches are crowded.
The Silky brand makes very good pruning saws. The Gomboy might a good choice for you.
Near the bottom of the page, you'll also see a sign up form where, in exchange for joining our email list, you can upgrade your discount to 25% off all our tools + receive a free Swedish belt knife (Mora Companion) with your purchase over $99.
Dave Dahlsrud wrote:Cool site Matt! Do you have a favorite rice knife or kama that you would recommend for harvesting comfrey and general chop and drop?
Thanks, Dave! I can't say enough good about a Medium Weight Sickle for harvesting comfrey and chop and drop. Couple things I like about using one: Because you cut in a half circle from right to left (if you're a righty) you can work very precisely right up to the base of your larger trees and shrubs. You can also hold the material to be cut in one hand, slice and then place the material right where you want it.
The medium weight is sharp and thin enough to slice grass easily, but it's also durable enough to tackle things like bull thistle.
I also like to use one for quick harvesting things like mint, lemon balm and nettle.
I have found the tools from easydigging.com to be some of the best tools I've ever used. In particular, the ridging hoe. The first time you pick this beast up, your brain says, "there aint no way I'm gonna swing this mutha for any length of time. " It seems HEAVY at first. However, the pointed tip of the blade combined with the weight of the blade and the length of the substantial handle makes easy work out of the toughest soil. I have some gnarly clay soil and this hoe makes easy work out of it. I like this hoe sooo much that I bought one for my daughter.
This is a tool that you will pass down to your grand kids. It is also great for making raised beds! It moves a LOT of soil with each stroke.
Nice, John. I still have some grub hoes I bought from Easy Digging back when I was just starting out on our homestead, and they've held up very well. We sell some very similar ones from Italy , but I think the handles are better . No varnish and oval so more comfortable in-hand.
You know, I was considering one of the ridging hoes you mention a while back for our heavy clay soil, but this video pushed me to try the Magna Grecia Hoe instead. He tries the ridging hoe at around the 3:30 mark.
Hi Folks, I'd like to share a bit about our homestead based business, The Tool Merchants. We specialize in quality hand tools geared toward gardeners, homesteaders and small farmers, and offer a variety of tools including spades, forks, various hoes, sickles, knives and more.
My vision is to support good, hardworking folks (such as yourselves ) with good tools that not only make your work more efficient and enjoyable, but also last for many years (if not decades) of hard use. On a deeper level, I hope that through the use of our tools our customers become more resilient and healthier people. That may sound like a tall order for a garden hoe, but that's what gets me out of bed in the morning excited to sell tools!
A few months ago we began what we call Evaluation Discounts. The idea is that we ask our customers for honest feedback on tools before investing in larger quantities of inventory. In exchange for the feedback, you get a nice discount. Check this page for current tools under evaluation. We update it fairly frequently.
Not too much that I miss, but driving 50 miles roundtrip to town twice a week for our kids' gymnastics is getting tiresome. We love living out here and also want our kids to have opportunities like that, so we make the tradeoff.
I always used regular old boiled linseed oil from the hardware store until I found out it is not actually boiled, just full of icky additives that make it act like it were boiled. So I switched to this lovely oil which is made the old fashioned way, without any additives besides beeswax. I really like the stuff, but it got me thinking, what other alternatives are there to linseed?
I've used Council's Hudson Bay Axe, and I've been happy with it, especially considering the price. As Nik mentioned, they are not finely finished, so you'll certainly want to sharpen it and possibly file the cheeks down for better chopping.
The Swedish axes sure are nice, but there's also something to be said for an axe that is well-enough built for hard use, but not so expensive that you'll be afraid to use it hard or practice your sharpening/re-profiling etc.
Here is good review of the Hudson Bay Axe. Of course it's not the axe you're looking at, but maybe it'll give you a sense of Council Axes in general.
I just joined (today!) Jack Spirko's MSB discount vendor list. I'd also love to extend a discount to the Permies community. We sell quality hand tools for the garden, and homestead. Let me know if you're interested.
I'm planning on planting some trees and bushes in a sort of hedgerow/shelter belt fashion along the inside of a 7 foot wire deer fence. Some species include chestnut, antanovka apples, black locust, mulberry and sea berry. My primary goal is not to create a living fence, rather to grow some food, lessen the wind, and provide habitat and shade.
The Ashland looks like a very nice stove, but yes, way overkill. Perhaps the smaller kitchen queen is the way to go, website says it heats 400-1500 sq ft. Our winters don't get that cold, but I don't mind opening windows.
I'm beginning to dream and do some research for a wood cook stove that can heat our home, cook our food and heat (or at least pre heat) water. I know Ben Falk recommends the Waterford Stanley, and they look very nice, but they are quite spendy. Does anyone have any experience with the less expensive Amish made Pioneer stoves? or any other brand?
I second all of the above. The scythe has definitely been a challenge for me but definitely worth it. I recently took a workshop with Alex Vido which was very helpful. If you're in the market for a European style outfit, he has them at www.scytheworks.ca
I haven't checked out the links mentioned, so these may be redundant: www.scytheconnection.com has extensive written info about scything (with European set-up). I like the videos at www.onescytherevolution.com.
I live in southern oregon not terribly far from you, just today a few of us got together for a mowing party, and I was talking with one fellow about getting together in the near future for more practice. If you'd like, I'll let you know when we're planning and perhaps you could join us?
I recently started a business selling pretty much exactly what you are looking for. Quality hand tools, built thoughtfully and to last. If you are still in the market, I'd be glad to offer what I can. Check out my website at http://thetoolmerchants.com/. I haven't added everything to the site yet, so if there is something you want but don't see, just ask
I have a grid tied rooftop solar system. It works great, the thing is, if the grid goes down for any reason, my system shuts down automatically. The said reason being to protect any utility workers from getting zapped by my electricity traveling back through the power grid. Makes sense to me, but is there any way to safely bypass this "feature?" IE the grid goes down but we can still use the watts we generate. I'm open to solutions that include batteries, but curious if there is a way to do it without them.
I have a smallish plot about 150' by 40' that I would like to coax into a food forest. I've been considering building hugel beds and am wondering if anyone has had experience putting these two (hugel and FF) together. If i make the hugels I'm thinking I will make them on contour, essentially creating raised beds with pathways between. This linear planting seems a lot less like a forest, but perhaps it is still the best option given all the benefits of hugelkultur.
ps. when you build your hugels, do you only add dirt on the top layer, or do you add some dirt to each level as you build up?
I've been using this manual sharpener from timberline http://www.timberlinesharpener.com/, and have been pleased so far. It may be a bit pricey, but I did some math, and if I get 40 sharpenings out of the carbide file, and pay 120 bones for it, each sharpening costs me about 3 bucks. That's less than half what it costs to have a shop in town sharpen it, and I don't have to drive into town! It takes me about 10-15 minutes to sharpen a chain, and it packs away into a nifty little case travels well in the field.
The short version of my question is: do you think it is ethical to heavily use a domestic well (around 9 gpm) to keep pasture green for sheep and poultry for home scale meat/egg production?? I'd be watering 1-2 acres of grass.
I can hear the "it depends" echoing in the permie universe (permiverse?) so here are a few more details:
I live in Southern Oregon, zone 7. We receive somewhere around 40 inches of rain per year (though less this year), mostly in the winter. Summers are typically without rain, like the Mediterranean. Our water table fluctuates quite a bit over the year.
It is probably not resilient to rely so heavily on a well, but is it ethical? Is it earth care? Is it possible to determine if I am depleting the aquifer more than I am charging it? Would the build up of topsoil and carbon in the soil from cycles of irrigation and grazing offset in some way the heavier water use?