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Long reach pruning

 
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I've been looking for a long- reach pruning tool, but I'm struggling to pick one. Like Pearl, and her threads on real tools for small women, I have some tool handling issues, of my own. Arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, and well as shoulder injuries are adding up to some REAL challenges, in a long-reach pruning tool! Motorized/chainsaw type ones put the worst of the weight down where it's easier on my shoulders, especially if they have a strap, but they're harder on the environment, and the vibrations zap my hands. The manual, shears-type ones are much lighter, but they levers are often too much for me to squeeze. Am I missing another option or ten, in tools? I can't hire someone, the branches and pruning needs are too sporadic...
 
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I'm not sure I have any answers, but I can come up with questions

What kind of pruning are you talking about?  Reaching branches 15' off the ground, trimming a hedge or something else?

Thick branches, twigs or leaves?
 
Carla Burke
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Nothing too thick, really. I have a small (abt12 tall?) peach tree, in need of some pruning, near the top, because the branch was dropping lady year, with just it's own weight. Any real fruit load, I'm afraid might damage it rather closer to the trunk. I've also got a few trees - mostly oak - that are threatening to poke us in the face, when we are on the deck, lol. I suppose I *could* just loop them off, where they're most menacing, but for symmetry, and view, I'd lie to be able to get closer to the main branches they're growing from. I think, in both cases, they're only an inch, to 1.5inches thick? So, the long arm chain saw seems like overkill, anyway - But, that thick is pretty tough on my hands, wrists, and, depending on the balance and weight of the tool, my shoulders, too.
 
Mike Haasl
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Gotcha, so small branches and they are more than 6' away from your armpit.

I use a manual pole saw but it's not easy to saw through a branch and the higher it is, the worse it is.  But having it razor sharp makes a difference.

There are also rope saws that you could consider.  You throw it over the branch and pull on the two ends to saw through the branch.  I've never used one and can't say if it would work at all.

 
Carla Burke
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Hmmm... with one of those reach-extender-grabber things, that would possibly work, for the ones by the deck. I'm less optimistic, about the peach tree. In order to get that one, I'd pretty much have to stand directly under it, with that, in order to have less risk of damage to the other branches - which would put my head in the direct path of the one I'm cutting. Is my hubs paying you? 😄😜
 
Mike Haasl
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Yeah, using the rope saw, or the long reach pole saw, would likely require standing somewhat near the falling branch.  I'm not sure you can avoid that without using a ladder or bucket truck.  

Hubs couldn't pay me enough to put you in danger
 
Carla Burke
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Awwww... That was truly a joke. My hubs is a pretty awesome guy, and would never, lol. 😁😎😉
 
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Carla: Mike Haasl beat me to it, rope saws work fairly well. You do NOT have to be under it if you think on it hard before you place the saw. The cut can be angled by you being where you want. Suggestion: use something like a long piece of pipe with a hook or notch in it to place the saw part and the ropes exactly where you want them. That will hurt less in the long run (possibly more in the short run, though.)

I put simple 3 or 4 inch hooks into pipe or wood to make hooky sticks that I can do a lot with, including control things like ropes. If your pipe won't hold a hook, fit a piece of wood inside of it, then drill it for the hook. Remember to make the hole you drill smaller than the width of the shaft of the screw hook, so the threads will catch. When you hold a drill bit up to the screw, you need to be able to see the threads on both sides. If you can't, go down in bit sizes until you can see threads. Drill with that bit, then the screw will bite in tightly. In this picture, I disagree with them, I'd go down one or two sizes from there, that screw will work loose too fast, not enough bite for the threads.




My long pole pruning saws have a bitey part that cuts up to 3/4 inches, and it's a pull motion, not a squeeze. Incidentally, when I use squeeze type cutters, I put padding on myself, and use my body for one end of it, and both hands for the other, pull toward myself, and let the pad take the brunt of the force. That only works if you can reach it, though. You can also put cheater bars on them for more leverage, takes less strength then.

Bitey part:  


Rope saws are useful beasts to learn to work. I don't have one right now, have in the past, I need to get one. Best way to learn them is closer to the ground, then move up higher as you understand them.

:D
 
Carla Burke
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Thanks, Pearl! I'm not entirely sure I get how it gets me out from under it, though...
 
Pearl Sutton
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Carla Burke wrote:Thanks, Pearl! I'm not entirely sure I get how it gets me out from under it, though...


The rope saw? Put it on the branch you want, start the cut to about 1/2 way through. Move the ropes so they are pulling diagonal, and you are out of range. Try going on  the other side of the tree from the branch, so when you finish the cut it falls on the other side from where you are. It'll take work to get the ropes right where they work best. They'll have to be threaded over a bunch of branches. That's what hooky sticks do well.
This is why learn to do it low, then move upwards, don't start with a high branch :)
I can sketch it if you want.

:D
 
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You mention motorised tools... I LOVE my battery chainsaw. Lightweight, low vibration, low noise. I use it for loads of regular pruning jobs, but then I'm also happy climbing from time to time to reach troublesome branches. A pole saw version would be amazing.
 
Mike Haasl
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For things that need a grip or pinching motion, they make plenty of ratchet style lopers/pruners so that for a given squeeze it only does 1/4 of the cut.  So four gentler squeezes get the same job as one hard squeeze with the old style.  I bet they even have that for the pole saw/loper that Pearl showed in her post.

Hey, like this one:


Looks like with each pull of the rope, it ratchets the cutter into the branch a ways, then pull again and it ratchets farther.  The main issue I have with these is that the level arm tends to snag on other branches nearby.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:
Rope saws are useful beasts to learn to work. I don't have one right now, have in the past, I need to get one. Best way to learn them is closer to the ground, then move up higher as you understand them.



I have seen another type of saw "tooth" arrangement on a rope saw.  It looks thinner and I wonder if it would reduce the drag or binding of the blade.  Teeth are only on 1 side tho, a drawback.  Does anyone have experience with this type of saw?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HHLBFX6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00HHLBFX6&linkCode=as2&tag=basiplumrep09-20&linkId=WY4GYVF3YH4SJZWU&th=1

Thanks!
 
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> cheater bars

Careful there. I've broken a couple of loppers and clippers that way...

And, as somebody mentioned: Sharp makes a WHOLE lot of difference for a pole saw. Even for a clipper or lopper.



Rufus
 
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Juanita Colucci wrote:
I have seen another type of saw "tooth" arrangement on a rope saw.  It looks thinner and I wonder if it would reduce the drag or binding of the blade.  Teeth are only on 1 side tho, a drawback.  Does anyone have experience with this type of saw?


No, but I like it! Needs a LOT longer ropes though. Looks like a better version of what I used to have.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Rufus Laggren wrote:> cheater bars

Careful there. I've broken a couple of loppers and clippers that way...

And, as somebody mentioned: Sharp makes a WHOLE lot of difference for a pole saw. Even for a clipper or lopper.


Depends on how much force you are using. On a bad day, I can only manage about 20 foot pounds pressure, putting that on cheater bars for leverage gives me a chance. If you are putting too much pressure on anything you break it, I'm looking at "I don't have enough strength to do what the tool is able to do." not "let's get 165 foot pounds of pressure on this puppy!"

I sharpen my tools fairly obsessively. 95% of the time I do quick and dirty, and often. Once in a while I do them right.

 
Rufus Laggren
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> [arm strength]

I read long ago that the strongest force we can get out of our arms is pushing the hands together,  the hands close to each other on your chest a little above the breast bone. I found that's fairly true. You can feel when your hands are in the sweet spot and the only muscles you use are your chest muscles.

I suspect there are other convenient points of leverage using a hip or torso mucscles, but the above is simple and sometimes helps.

> carpal tunnel
I've had that several times, both wrists. Ideally, don't do anything that hurts, at all (that includes unhappy positioning when you're sleeping), and it gets better and heals, given time. There is a bit of a sucker trap with soft tissue injuries: The pain lessens and even goes away when you work through the pain and the tissues warm up. Problem is, even though the pain goes away, you're hurting the tissues more and the next day it's much worse. Don't fall for that one. Try not to do anything that hurts _at all_ to allow for healing.


Regards,
Rufus
 
Carla Burke
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Thanks, Rufus. I've had the CTS since about '92, lol. I'm not a fan of the white coats. I'm really just looking for tools I can use. Thankfully, I've learned a lot about how to work well with them, most if the time, and even ride my own Harley, with a hydraulic clutch, that even my hubs says is tight. Maybe someday, I'll break down, & take the time to get my wrists 'fixed'. The pain can be excruciating, I'd I don't stop doing whatever I'm doing, when it gets bad. ;)
 
Rufus Laggren
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> CTS

I had steroids injected twice (different times) because I thought I "had" to keep working to close up a job before bad weather and some other reason I forget. It worked, sorta, lasted about 6 months. But after reading a lot (this was, maybe, 2015) I decided to never do that again. What I read was that steroids actually degrade the tendons, connections and other soft tissue, making a real cure less possible.

Yeah. So. Get a little hard ass with yourself and don't do anything that hurts. A buddy, a mechanic for 50 years, goes around picking up things with his elbows - so as to keep his wrists good enough to hoist full sized pints at the end of the day... They do get better if not abused.

I talked with some musicians, flute and a violin, on a train trip a couple years ago, and this subject came up. They said when they have any trouble they try to expedite a cure by hot/cold treatments. Run a basin of hot water, hot as you can stand, and immerse up past the bad wrist for several minutes, maybe 5. Then run the cold water until fully cold, fill the basin and do the same (or a few minutes with an ice bag, but most people don't keep those handy). They said it helps because the mild shock encourages the body to wake up in that area, helps get blood moving and generally energizes healing. Haven't messed myself up since then, so can't say personally, but they definitely had strong motivation to do stuff that works - their hands were their living.


Regards,
Rufus
 
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