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Tools for life(ish)

 
Posts: 60
Location: Currently located in central OK. Farmstead location is in northern VT.
8
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Hey y'all,

So a few years back basically all of my tools were destroyed in a flood (Harvey) and I have been very slowly rebuilding the arsenal. My wife and I finally bought our land and are starting in on a lot of tasks this Spring. Therefore, I am going to need to renew the tool collection and add to it some invaluable homesteading/forest farm/garden/building tools. At the moment I have about 5k that I can drop on this stuff. Some things we have, I ordered a Meadow Creature 12" broadfork, I have a couple of hammers and screwdrivers and whatnot. As well as a hammer drill/driver, a small axe (I am looking for a good felling axe), a 20" bar chainsaw, and a couple shovels of moderate quality. So, my question to you, Hive Mind, is what are your most invaluable tools, your favorite tools, the most durable, etc. and what are those brands? Keep in mind, due to plague and present location, if I can't curbside it or have it delivered, it isn't happening. So while I know old rummage and estate sales are great places to find good high quality stuff, I am not going to be going to any anytime soon.

We are starting projects up at our land in late March or April sometime and I would like to have a good amount of what I need with me already.

First tasks will be sowing in cover crops in a 2 acre meadow (simply for soil building. no harvesting), beginning a hedgerow around the property (~50 acres), getting the orchard planted, getting some slow growing forest perennials going, and inoculating some dead wood with an assortment of fungi. Basically, getting all the things that take forever going.

Get at me with your favorite tools, brands, and weapons of mass regeneration!

** extra brownie (apple?) points for tool suggestions that do not require fuel or electricity **
*** extra EXTRA brownie points for brand suggestions **
 
Posts: 62
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A good flashlight is always useful. My favorite is an Olight s1rbaton2. It has 4 settings ranging from 1 lumen to 1,000 lumens. I have used it to read a book in the dark (1 lumen) to tracking down chicken predators in the dark. It has a two way clip so you can mount it to the bill of your hat and have a head lamp. It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery and a magnetic charger and base on the battery so you can stick it to something metal. (This has come quit in handy fixing heavy equipment where I work) couldn't recommend more highly!!

Olight S1R II 1000 Lumens High Performance CW LED Single IMR16340 Powered Upgraded Magnetic USB Rechargeable Side-switch EDC Flashlight with Battery and SKYBEN Battery Case (S1R II) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G3SJPLZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_ZBQ6PCMAG2Z8KNQWNJ3E
 
Patrick Edwards
Posts: 60
Location: Currently located in central OK. Farmstead location is in northern VT.
8
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Silas Rempel wrote:A good flashlight is always useful. My favorite is an Olight s1rbaton2. It has 4 settings ranging from 1 lumen to 1,000 lumens. I have used it to read a book in the dark (1 lumen) to tracking down chicken predators in the dark. It has a two way clip so you can mount it to the bill of your hat and have a head lamp. It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery and a magnetic charger and base on the battery so you can stick it to something metal. (This has come quit in handy fixing heavy equipment where I work) couldn't recommend more highly!!

Olight S1R II 1000 Lumens High Performance CW LED Single IMR16340 Powered Upgraded Magnetic USB Rechargeable Side-switch EDC Flashlight with Battery and SKYBEN Battery Case (S1R II) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G3SJPLZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_ZBQ6PCMAG2Z8KNQWNJ3E



I actually have some good flashlights. One ridiculously bright led one and a green one for hunting. They were gifts and I couldn't tell you the brand but they have rechargeable batteries and work damn well. I also have an old school maglite. Can't go wrong with those. I do need a couple new headlamps though if you have any favorites. I'll check out the flashlight too. You can never really have enough good flashlights and the magnetic mounting feature sounds super handy. Thanks for the suggestion!
 
Posts: 100
Location: Far Northern California Coast, Far South Pacific Northwest
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I use a battery sawzall often for quick pruning or cutting up larger branches, easy small tasks. Ours is an old 18v DeWalt but they aren't what they used to be. Try for Milwaukee or Rigid. A grinder of the same type is another handy thing to have. A good dolly get's used a lot here, wheel barrow or wagon with sturdy wheels. Good quality fencing pliers, wire snips, t-post puller, post pounder, splitting maul, post hole digger.  I don't have brand recommendations but always try to go with mid grade price wise and made in the USA when possible.  
 
Patrick Edwards
Posts: 60
Location: Currently located in central OK. Farmstead location is in northern VT.
8
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Melonie Corder wrote:I use a battery sawzall often for quick pruning or cutting up larger branches, easy small tasks. Ours is an old 18v DeWalt but they aren't what they used to be. Try for Milwaukee or Rigid. A grinder of the same type is another handy thing to have. A good dolly get's used a lot here, wheel barrow or wagon with sturdy wheels. Good quality fencing pliers, wire snips, t-post puller, post pounder, splitting maul, post hole digger.  I don't have brand recommendations but always try to go with mid grade price wise and made in the USA when possible.  



I am big on the hand tools and anything where I don't have to replace blades or anything like that but man... I do love a good sawzall. I am eyeing some now actually. I was inclined to go with DeWalt just because I already have a 20v hammer drill/driver and impact driver from them. Battery interchangeability is a big bonus. I know some of their models have been deemed less than what they were but my understanding is that the XRs are pretty solid. I have also heard that Milwaukee customer service can be a huge pain in the butt. Although I have only heard good things about the tools themselves.

A dolly is an excellent suggestion. I had completely spaced it but they do get used all the dang time whenever I have had one. Got a favorite wheelbarrow? A friend had a two wheeled one I liked quite a bit. Although it was absolutely gigantic.  
 
Melonie Corder
Posts: 100
Location: Far Northern California Coast, Far South Pacific Northwest
17
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Patrick Edwards wrote:

Melonie Corder wrote:I use a battery sawzall often for quick pruning or cutting up larger branches, easy small tasks. Ours is an old 18v DeWalt but they aren't what they used to be. Try for Milwaukee or Rigid. A grinder of the same type is another handy thing to have. A good dolly get's used a lot here, wheel barrow or wagon with sturdy wheels. Good quality fencing pliers, wire snips, t-post puller, post pounder, splitting maul, post hole digger.  I don't have brand recommendations but always try to go with mid grade price wise and made in the USA when possible.  



I am big on the hand tools and anything where I don't have to replace blades or anything like that but man... I do love a good sawzall. I am eyeing some now actually. I was inclined to go with DeWalt just because I already have a 20v hammer drill/driver and impact driver from them. Battery interchangeability is a big bonus. I know some of their models have been deemed less than what they were but my understanding is that the XRs are pretty solid. I have also heard that Milwaukee customer service can be a huge pain in the butt. Although I have only heard good things about the tools themselves.

A dolly is an excellent suggestion. I had completely spaced it but they do get used all the dang time whenever I have had one. Got a favorite wheelbarrow? A friend had a two wheeled one I liked quite a bit. Although it was absolutely gigantic.  



I had an XR kit for work and the chuck on both my regular drill and hammer drill went out way too quickly. Donated the rest of kit to the crew and got Milwaukee. I had to send my Sawzall back about three months in when it just stopped working. I had my repaired saw back in two weeks. They offered a loaner from a 'nearby' store but here there aren't any really close. It was quick and simply.

No favorite wheel barrow but we are about to replace ours and plan on getting two wheels. Just easier to balance heavy loads, especially when there are always small children helping me.
 
Patrick Edwards
Posts: 60
Location: Currently located in central OK. Farmstead location is in northern VT.
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Good to know. I'll have to see how the ones I have hold up. I may check out the Milwaukee Sawzall instead though. What about Makita? There was an old Makita drill that I liked but it was corded and for a lot of the work I have to do, I would need an extension to cover a few acres of space or have to haul a generator around with me.

And yeah, the two wheeled wheelbarrows are where it's at. No more torquing ones back trying to keep a heavy load from tipping over on uneven ground.
 
Posts: 50
Location: Harrodsburg, United States
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Personally, if I had $5K for homestead tools, I'd be looking for an ATV and trailer, or the rarer but more useful garden tractor with loader. I am in my late 40's, abused my body before and during my military career, and would not be able to do many essential tasks without my "heavy stuff movers"!
 
pollinator
Posts: 182
Location: Haute Vienne, France
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Makita 18v tools tool range have been excellent for me. Both as a professional carpenter and homesteader.
The batteries have been incredibly long lasting.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2284
Location: 4b
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Keep in mind that Milwaukee tools are made in China now.  I like Rigid myself, but to each his own.
 
Patrick Edwards
Posts: 60
Location: Currently located in central OK. Farmstead location is in northern VT.
8
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Joshua Rimmer wrote:Personally, if I had $5K for homestead tools, I'd be looking for an ATV and trailer, or the rarer but more useful garden tractor with loader. I am in my late 40's, abused my body before and during my military career, and would not be able to do many essential tasks without my "heavy stuff movers"!



ATV is definitely on the list. My issue is that our soon to be farm is located about 1800 miles northeast of my current location. It's a long story but we are not actually going to be living there full time for a couple more years. Just a lot of back and forth in the meantime. Plague allowing, of course. So I don't really have anywhere to keep an ATV there yet, no one to mind it, and I don't want to have to drag it nearly 2k miles when we move. So, we are waiting on the ATV. That being said, if you know someone looking to sell a Honda Foreman for cheap up in New England. Hahahaha.

I am no spring chicken myself anymore and riddled with old injuries and latent issues from neurosurgery on my spinal cord almost 20 years ago. So I understand what you mean quite well. I am gonna need an ATV to move logs out of our woods and haul assorted whatnots. That's about as big of a machine as I want though. Hand tools take longer and are harder but there is something very peaceful and meditative about using them, I think. I love my chainsaw and all, but I would rather use an axe and some sort of hand operated saw when I can. No fuel, easy maintenance, no extra noise. It just speaks to my soul a bit more, ya know?

That being said, there is a balance to be struck because I am a bit janky these days and not getting younger.
 
Patrick Edwards
Posts: 60
Location: Currently located in central OK. Farmstead location is in northern VT.
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Trace Oswald wrote:Keep in mind that Milwaukee tools are made in China now.  I like Rigid myself, but to each his own.



Aside from the national economic benefits of buying American, Chinese stuff has really improved. So the "made in China" go to doesn't necessarily imply poor quality anymore. It certainly can but I have also gotten some amazing and durable products that were manufactured there. The last decade there have been some really massive improvements in the quality of goods manufactured in China. I have also bought a lot of absolute crap that was "Made In America" with a label half the size of the product saying as much. In my experience, these days - it is about the same. Some great products made in USA. Some garbage. Some great products made in China. Some garbage.

I have virtually no experience with Rigid but the couple of times I have used one of their products it seemed just fine. I would definitely be willing to give them a chance.
 
Patrick Edwards
Posts: 60
Location: Currently located in central OK. Farmstead location is in northern VT.
8
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Rus Williams wrote:Makita 18v tools tool range have been excellent for me. Both as a professional carpenter and homesteader.
The batteries have been incredibly long lasting.



Good to know. I really loved that Makita corded driver. It was a tank.
 
Melonie Corder
Posts: 100
Location: Far Northern California Coast, Far South Pacific Northwest
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Patrick Edwards wrote:Good to know. I'll have to see how the ones I have hold up. I may check out the Milwaukee Sawzall instead though. What about Makita? There was an old Makita drill that I liked but it was corded and for a lot of the work I have to do, I would need an extension to cover a few acres of space or have to haul a generator around with me.



I used to tote a 12v Makita at work, and while I used the drill less then it took a beating and kept on going. In fact I think it still rides around in one of our trucks...fifteen years of being abused and mishandled. So they at least used to be good. I have no recent experience as locally you can't really find "kits" and that is what I tend to need.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3709
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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My construction crew run Makita, Milwaukee, dewalt, hilti, Hitachi, bosch, plus a couple rigid and ryobi.  Yes, common batteries are nice but there are certain tools from certain brands that are either so much better or so much cheaper that it's worth buying a different brand for that tool.

Milwaukee makes the best sawzall, hands down.  Makita makes the best impact driver, hands down. The big three all have good full size circular saws. Bosch has been a major disappointment. The Milwaukee cordless framing nailer is awesome, but HEAVY and not quite fast enough for production, but perfect for punchlist stuff.

AM Leonard is an awesome catalog to find good shovels.  Earth tools in Kentucky carries European garden tools, many hand forged. Rogue hoe makes HEAVY duty hoes and Pulaski's for trail building and forest fire fighting that can handle rocky soil.




 
gardener
Posts: 3410
Location: Southern Illinois
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Patrick,

Sorry to hear about the loss of all of your stuff.  Regarding tools, some of the tops on my list include any of the following:

5 piece 18v tool kit.  Personally I am fond of Ridgid found at Home Depot as I think they have good performance for the money.  If you can find one, I highly recommend an oil impulse driver which works much like an impact driver but is much quieter.  BTW, I occasionally buy used or factory refurbished and I think they are just as good as new but are 1/3 the price.

I like having a 16” all steel axe from Estwing.  Absolutely rock solid, as are their hammers and such.

A good quality crowbar

A long flathead screwdriver.  I used to work in property management and I ALWAYS had a long screwdriver with me as a sort of all-purpose prybar, screwdriver, wedge, etc.

I have a number of rakes and hoes from rougehoe.com, prohoe.com, and easydigging.com.  I especially like the short handed rakes, grub hoe(easydigging), and the 8” rakes by rougehoe and prohoe.  (Rougehoe and prohoe sell basically the same merchandise).

A deadblow hammer from almost any vendor.  They are lightweight but hit hard and are great for tapping/moving things into place.

A good pruning saw.  I have one by Fiskars.

I do like my battery OPE tools, especially a trimmer and a smaller Chainsaw.

I can go on and on but I will stop here.  I will update if I can think of more later.

Good Luck!

Eric
 
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Middle Georgia, Zone 8B
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We REALLY like our digging fork, link here: https://www.amazon.com/Radius-Garden-20311-Ergonomic-Stainless/dp/B071YZW9KW/ref=sr_1_9?dchild=1&keywords=digging+fork&qid=1612977360&sr=8-9 It is heavy duty, practically indestructible tines, and ergonomic. We'd like to get other hand tools from this same line.

Hubbie loves his Stihl chainsaw: https://www.acehardware.com/departments/lawn-and-garden/outdoor-power-equipment/chainsaws/7000496

This posthole digger/auger is handy for digging shallow wells and fencepost holes. Much easier to handle than the traditional design: https://www.amazon.com/Seymour-Industrial-Hardwood-Replaceable-Handle/dp/B000OY4ABW/ref=sr_1_42?crid=23S986B1WNBPK&dchild=1&keywords=post+hole+digger&qid=1612977746&sprefix=post%2Caps%2C217&sr=8-42

Hubbie bought this Echo string trimmer from a government liquidation auction and it has been handy: https://www.amazon.com/SRM-225i-COMMERCIAL-GRADE-STRING-TRIMMER/dp/B006RO2X3U/ref=sr_1_4?crid=18ZQFCTM9EGF4&dchild=1&keywords=echo+weed+eater&qid=1612977792&sprefix=echo+wee%2Caps%2C324&sr=8-4

 
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