• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
  • James Freyr
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Kate Downham
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

Tool thoughts for women

 
gardener
Posts: 1562
Location: mountains of Tennessee
552
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees chicken bee homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

"it will take off your finger before you even know it's hit you."



That comment reminded me of the importance of using only tools you can control, always observing tool safety, & using the right tool for the job. I'm sure there's still a scar on my scalp from the time I was hammering a broomstick into the ground with a claw hammer. Don't know why I was doing that. Give me a break, I was five years old. That probably explains why:)
 
pollinator
Posts: 554
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
65
fungi gear trees chicken bike building woodworking wood heat homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My wife is extremely handy with tools, stemming mainly from the fact that she's been a sculptor in bronze & glass for over 20 years.  She regularly makes use of propane torches, angle grinders, belt grinder, pneumatically powered tools (of the die-grinder type), hammers, electric drill, soldering iron, and sandblaster.  Outdoors, she does a fair amount of digging with a garden spade and uses other garden hand tools, and she splits wood with an axe.

She's not big — standing 5'4" tall, and weighing about 120 lbs (when she feels she has her weight under control).  And here's the reason I thought I'd post a reply.  She always felt she wanted to leave all the chainsawing to me, because she not only hates the sound of the machine's engine and its output of smoky exhaust, but also she always doubted she had the strength to manage the dangerous tool.  But since I acquired a battery-powered cordless small chainsaw for pruning and for cutting smaller firewood rounds, she has tried this tool and realized she can handle it safely to do some things she wants to do.  It's not only lighter and smaller, but smoke-free and quieter.

My wife doesn't post on online forums.  But I reported my positive experience of the cordless chainsaw (and mentioned its special applicability and advantages) here: https://permies.com/t/92001/Cordless-electric-chainsaw#764645
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 4175
Location: SW Missouri
1635
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joel: Cool, I'm glad she is comfortable with it. It gets back to the bit I said about the tools that are designed for the big guys being designed for high upper body strength. They are unwieldy and not comfortable for some of us less strong women. But your big chainsaw is also probably designed to take down good sized trees, not for small wood. I have a small battery chainsaw, and it's way different that the big ones that terrified me.

Part of the reason I wrote this thread was to let women know there ARE other options other than getting your butt kicked by things that are just too big for you. A lot of women don't know there ARE other options :)

Tell your wife that a tool using lady on Permies says HI!! :D
 
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My favorite tools are the Hands saw and chop saw.
 
pollinator
Posts: 113
Location: North East Ohio USA (Zone 6b)
41
homeschooling goat kids forest garden foraging books chicken food preservation bee medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fantastic thread!! I never knew there were any other options out there other than the standard, run of the mill guy tools. My husband is very handy and has a good amount of tools but so many are just to big, awkward or powerful for me to use and it's so frustrating.

I'm definitely going follow the suggestions and start hunting down tools to build up my own tool kit. That is my new mission!
 
gardener
Posts: 616
Location: Wheaton Labs
331
foraging books wofati food preservation cooking fiber arts building writing rocket stoves wood heat woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This thread is fascinating. I have never noticed that I have any issues with tools being too big/heavy/unwieldy for me, really. Sometimes handles are awkwardly far apart for one-handed use on some snips/pliers/etc., maybe.

I use pretty much exclusively hand tools, because I hate the sound of power tools and would rather spend two hours with a hand tool than five minutes with power tools. I also like the feeling of leisurely control and precision I get with a hand tool. I also prefer to sew by hand rather than machine for much the same reasons.

I wonder if it is because I use mostly older hand tools that I don’t notice the gender bias? Even men used to be quite a bit shorter/smaller when many of the tools I use were made. I am 5’6” and stronger than average for a woman, but not to extremes by any means.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 4175
Location: SW Missouri
1635
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Adrienne: YAY!! You need your own! :) Mark them so they don't get swiped by husband or kids...

Jennifer: Yes, probably since you are using older hand tools, you have less issues. I use old hand tools too, and rarely have issues with them. It's the stuff that they make "ergonomic" for the wrong person that i have an issue with. Also (I can't prove this, but it's an interesting theory) I think that when men were using the hand tools every day, for long times, they needed to be able to do it without tiring. Now if a guy uses a hand tool on a job, it's more likely to be for a 30 sec thing they just can't do otherwise, so they made them more usable. I know my metal shears etc the older ones are always easier.
 
pollinator
Posts: 165
Location: Ontario - zone 6b!
100
forest garden foraging tiny house books bike bee
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I posted this elsewhere... but I am super in love with my smaller gardening tools this year. We buy most of our garden tools at garage sales or antique stores. This year I was given some from my 90+ year old grandma. Old tools and old chairs just fit me better!

This is my baby spade next to my big spade. Like a trowel, but with the strength of a spade and half the weight.... I can use it for way longer than either!  I have transplanted more than 150 perennials this year, mostly using the baby spade only



And this is my baby hoe next to my big hoe. Light enough to be used by a 90 year old woman with arthritis, precise for close weeding without bending, and with a thin handle. And fast!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1956
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
73
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just posted about the Canarian tool called wataca, and it makes me think that it exists in 2 or 3 sizes!

I had bought a small one for myself, and even men would tend to borrow it instead of using theirs!

As said before by others, I don't know why so many tools are oversized, but I have noticed that it is the same for finding some working clothes, as if only tall men were working… I think in our standardized world, that they try to make what Will be fine for the majority. Everybody can put a small body into a big t-shirt, and the reverse is not true! But it ends up to be unpractical.


Psychologically, I think that it touches the theme of humiliation Vs proud. You have to be strong and tough in the world of physical work! Maybe that is also even why they make those pink tools… so that the message to men is that "Yeah, we know you are not going to buy those toys, so we make them in a color that Will not attract you."


So when I talked about men workers borrowing MY wataca… the 1st case was a construction worker, a strong guy but who was not "sweet" with his helper. He would give a heavy wataca to the guys working for him! And it was done as a TEST! Meanwhile, he would himself use mine as much as he could...
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1956
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
73
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am waiting for the new chainsaw I bought!

A real chain-saw… just a chain, with 2 handles. I cannot use a chainsaw, and I had been amazed at the job that this chain can do, so I bought another one. They really cut better tan a hand saw. Let's say this is a handS saw! You can also cut a Branch where you have no room for a saw. And as you work towards you, pulling helps the strength. Also, it cuts both ways, so much faster.

You find them as camping materials.
 
Posts: 41
20
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great thread!  I'm 4'10", but quite strong for an old lady.  I do everything on my farm myself, from carpentry to mechanics to stacking hay, but I do it kind of slow, and in smaller bites than your average bigger person.  I haven't seen the height and reach issue addressed here yet.  Everything from grocery store shelves to normal height carpentry is about six inches out of my reach, which is on the extreme end of things, but many women work in a world sized for taller folks.  As a great tactic to avoid using a ladder all the time, try a really sturdy milk crate. You can move it easily, it's stable, even outside if the ground isn't super sketchy, and you can use it as a mini sawhorse too.  

Having a tool that I'm not fighting makes a huge difference!  I use Makita 18v cordless tools a lot, and they have served me well.  They are very light, and one thing I appreciate about cordless tools is when you hit a dead stop with a drill, say, they don't torque so hard it tweaks the wrist.  Corded tools cause me more wrist problems, I find.  I can't take the batteries off one handed either--my hand span is smaller than they are designed for.  For all tools, especially power  tools, you have to learn to use them safely!  I'm not much for getting help, but do find someone who can show you simple rules like keeping your fingers tucked in when hand sawing, or positioning yourself so if a tool slips you are not in the line of it.  It's really dangerous to use a tool that is dull or that you can't really control.  If you can't rig it up safely, walk away and think about how to do it a different way.  Every time I've hurt myself it's been when I thought I'd "just go ahead and do it this once".  

I cut handles off to the right height on lots of tools and also shave them down to a better diameter.  If your shovel handle is too long it can whack you in the jaw!  Yes, keep tools sharp!  Learn to chainsaw on a small saw first, to learn how to do it.  My neighbor swears that cordless chainsaws are much safer and lighter, but I've yet to try one. I can handle a middling sized saw now, but have a very clear sense of my limits.  On the subject of anything with a pull start, shorten the pull cord so the moment when you have to use force is not when your hand is way up above your head somewhere, but down where you still have some physical advantage.  Electric start tillers and generators are great, but it's good to be able to pull them, when the battery gives out, which it will.  I like Japanese style saws, and a cheaper hardware store version is the Bear Saw.  You can get lots of different blades for them.  I use these for teaching kids carpentry.  It's good to stop and critique your stance and technique once in a while and ask yourself if you are overextending or in a weird position, and if that is just life at the moment, or if the tool is affecting things, or it you could set things up differently.  Smaller people need to use guile and intelligence to get things done rather than relying on brute physical strength--physics is our friend!

Try all tools thoroughly before you buy them.  I have a Stihl weed whacker that is great, except when I need to bump that little button to advance the string.  It turns out that you have to hit it square to the ground, and no matter how I adjust it, the angle is wrong for me and I can bump only one side.  I either find something to stand up on when I bump it, preferably next to a solid thing to hit it on as well, or I have to stop and manually advance the string, which involves shutting off the engine, getting out the pliers (did I mention the span is too wide to take the little case off with my size hand?), pull out some more string, reassemble it, and start it up again.  It makes me furious every time!  But, I've discovered using a blade on it, so much of the problem is solved.  Anyway, this is the machine everyone uses--it's really the standard one, but for shorter people, not so great.  So, before you lay out real cash, find one to work with for a while first.  And yes, I also use scythes, which are a fabulous tool, and are a good example of how having something sized to you personally is so important.  Do lay out the cash for a custom snath--it's very much worth it.  

Moving things like a sheet of plywood, where I am gripping it by just my fingertips when I reach across it, requires planning.  There are special handles for this, which I have yet to try.  I often screw a handhold onto sheet goods, or use a c clamp, if they have to go very far.  I use a lot of blocks and lines and temporary cleats and braces to hold things up, where a taller person would just put them up and hold them while attaching.  I recommend a book called 'Working Alone', by John Carroll,  for a zillion helpful ideas for holding, lifting, and moving things.  They apply to working when smaller too.  I'm sure actual carpenters already know a lot of these tricks, but people like me who are constantly reinventing the world with the materials on hand can find some good ideas in it.  

Mostly, don't give up!  Just keep looking at and trying tools, or modifying them. All things are possible, you just have to find a way around obstacles and not close your mind to possibilities.  If you focus how to get the task done, rather than getting stuck on using a particular method or tool, you take advantage of your brain, which is the most important tool you have.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 4175
Location: SW Missouri
1635
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Isa Delahunt: A lady after my own heart!! I ordered the book about working alone that you recommended,  I too reinvent the world too often.

Everything from grocery store shelves to normal height carpentry is about six inches out of my reach, which is on the extreme end of things, but many women work in a world sized for taller folks.

Me and my mom are building our home, we are both 5 foot 2, I have longer arms than her and have a bit more reach. We are skipping top kitchen cabinets for now, doing deep drawers in base cabinets. I measured our reaches for shelves in closets etc, nothing will be out of reach accidentally, some will take a stool, but are planned that way. The countertops through the house (kitchen, garage, studio) are all multi-heights, some things you want higher to work on it, some you want lower. I want to be able to work on whatever I have without straining. The rental we are in has a workbench built into it that I can't use for much at all, way too high. I drilled a set of holes in the tailgate of the truck, exact right height to mount my bench grinder when I need to use it. Taking it off and on is a pain in the tail, but having a mattock blade dancing around at my eye level because I can't control it when sharpening it was just not working for me.

If you can't rig it up safely, walk away and think about how to do it a different way.  Every time I've hurt myself it's been when I thought I'd "just go ahead and do it this once".

Oooh, so true.

It's good to stop and critique your stance and technique once in a while and ask yourself if you are overextending or in a weird position, and if that is just life at the moment, or if the tool is affecting things, or it you could set things up differently.

I do that constantly! :D

Smaller people need to use guile and intelligence to get things done rather than relying on brute physical strength--physics is our friend!

I often heard my dad lecture people he was working with on Physics 101  "It's working as a lever, so you HAVE to have it like this so it can do like that, physics 101!!" After he died I found a tool he had written Physics 101 on, gave it to his best friend, who says that one was written on one day when he was doing something stupid and dad corrected it. His best friend is a classic case of a strong man who has never had to use anything but brute strength to do things, as he gets older, he's suddenly having to learn to think about what he does.  

Moving things like a sheet of plywood, where I am gripping it by just my fingertips when I reach across it, requires planning.  There are special handles for this, which I have yet to try.  I often screw a handhold onto sheet goods, or use a c clamp, if they have to go very far.

I like vice grips for fast handles on things too,as well as C clamps. 8 inch ones will drag plywood easily. I have a set of those handles, they assume you are lifting it, I'm more likely to drag it.
Dragging it is a whole subject of it's own. I use tarps or blankets or sheets to move a lot of things around. Furniture sliders are sometimes useful, anything you can put under something to make it slide easier (snow saucer, plastic mixing tubs with flat bottoms, platforms with wheels, garden carts.)
Straps: I use straps to grab a lot of things. I keep fabric belts around, and loop them around things to carry them, or lift them places.

If you focus how to get the task done, rather than getting stuck on using a particular method or tool, you take advantage of your brain, which is the most important tool you have.

Often the most neglected tool in the box....

If it's OK with you, I'd like to use your words on posters to put on the house construction site. I'm hiring teenagers as my personal crew, mostly girls, and am trying to teach these type of skills to them. You word it well!! I get frustrated at them sometimes. "Are you feet stable? Check position, bounce, ok?" How many times do I have to say that before they check their own feet? I look over, they are standing sloppy again...

Thank you SO MUCH for great input, add more if you think of it! It's a different way to look at how to work, and few small people have been taught this, and a LOT of us need to work this way. :D
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11663
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
874
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm loving the little Ryobi electric chainsaw my husband got for me.  I don't have enough arm strength to use a "real" chainsaw, but this battery-powered one is very light.  It's best for pruning cuts on 2 inch diameter or smaller green wood, though with patience can get the job done on thicker limbs and dead wood.  I'm so happy now I don't have to bug my husband every time I need something chainsawed!

 
pollinator
Posts: 246
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
70
forest garden books building ungarbage
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
**happy sigh**   A forum full of tool wielding women…. is this heaven?  

My community in Kentucky is full of women who know their way around workshop /barns, beginning with my daughter the welder.  I’ve visited amazing woman-built structures.  But there is never much conversation about it.

In WV, in what passes for urban spaces, I’m frequently the only person with tools handy.  A basic kit travels wherever I go in my van.

Years ago, I served on the local Habitat for Humanity board.  One project was a workshop for women to give them some confidence on the work site.  We focused on leverage tools that helped to even the field psychologically.  Learning how to remove a nail easily; using that plastic doo-hickey to open 5 gallon buckets of paint; carrying sheet materials with that other doo-hickey shelf handle.  And of course, choosing the right sized hammer and using its own mass to drive nails.



(I see there is a metal version too!)



here's the drywall/panel carrier:



Later, I worked on an all-woman build, and I was so proud.  There has never been a more precisely built house.

Pull start tools have always intimidated me, but in recent years I found investing in new and keeping them serviced may have some bearing on the issue.  But I’m glad to know chainsaws and trimmers are now powerful enough with batteries, and am shopping accordingly.

The hand tools most annoyingly not built for women’s hands, in my experience, are angle grinders and power sheep shears.

In gardening, my world shifted when I discovered the spading fork.    And the long handled 3-tine cultivator is also a favorite; sometimes for accomplishing jobs it wasn’t intended for – shaking down chestnuts from high on the tree, for example.

I picked up a couple of Werner 20” height work platforms at a yard sale, and they are the best investment ever.  On construction site, in the arbor, and useful wherever you need a temporary put ‘er there.  We use them for bench seating at holiday dinners.

My first battery tools were Makita.  They had a sweet 4” circular saw that was so versatile in small work.

When daughter bought her house, I settled on a set of Porter Cable as being mid-range hefty and reliable.  When I bought my ridgetop place, she returned the favor.  And since then, we’ve invested further in the lithium battery set with my other daughter.  The circular saw is a bit under powered though, IMO.

I’m going back now to re-read some of the recommendations.  We love our tools.

 
Posts: 9
Location: Eastern Tennessee
3
goat chicken homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not sure if this was mentioned in the post yet, as I haven't seen it, but for me, one of my favorite tools lately is my electric chain saw I got on Amazon! Although it has the same size bar and chain as mom's monster pull start saws, it weighs about half that much, runs very quietly, no emissions at all, and still gets the same job done. I was smart and got a second battery at the same time as the saw, and with my physical limitations, that amount of use is about perfect.  Things I couldn't do before I definitely do now! Last winter, we thought we would freeze - couldn't afford to turn the furnace on, and because neither of us could start the monster gas powered saws we were super short on wood we could burn (even though we have over 70 acres of woods of our own, and plenty of fallen wood to cut up).  This year, that is NOT a problem, as I use my handy, quiet little chain saw for nearly all my cutting needs.

Heck, it even did a fabulous job cutting wood to size for the billy goat shed!

 
Ruth Meyers
pollinator
Posts: 246
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
70
forest garden books building ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Sandy Cromwell wrote:Not sure if this was mentioned in the post yet, as I haven't seen it, but for me, one of my favorite tools lately is my electric chain saw I got on Amazon!



Well, now you've gotta tell the make and model!  I'm on the lookout for the right battery chainsaw, and hoping to buy a trimmer/brush cutter on the same battery system.
 
pollinator
Posts: 766
Location: Denmark 57N
169
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There was a mention further up of battery operated things where the battery is hard to remove, I had one like that where there were two clips on either side of the battery that needed pushing simultaneously to release the battery. I now have makita battery tools and they only have one clip at the front of the battery making them very easy to remove. AT 5'7 and a size 8 hand I don't generally have an issue with "Man" sized tools when they are working, however I don't have the extra strength that hubs has to fight with them when they are not working properly, like our rotovator where the clutch sticks or the lawnmower where the self drive belt came off.
 
pollinator
Posts: 138
Location: White Mountains of New Hampshire zone 5
25
hugelkultur cat dog forest garden books fiber arts bee solar homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great thread Pearl! I agree about need different sized tool for each individual user. I think I probably use my 18volt drill driver the most often. Some companies make a smaller battery which is much easier for small hands to maneuver off and on .as well as making the tool lighter.


Judith, I wonder if using a band saw might be better for making your pickets? Check to see if any of your friends have one to try out. You might be able to rent one from a tool rental place if there is one nearby.

Dale, I've mentioned before that I bought a shed from a closed garden center that came full of her unsold stock. There are quite a few of those shorter handled pruner/lopers in there. They seem to work great with my smaller hands, at least for close cuts. The ones in my shed are from Ames tools. They used to be right in the next town over from where I grew up, in Easton, MA. I'm sure their tools are now made in China, as most things are now. Nice comfy grips also.
 
Ruth Meyers
pollinator
Posts: 246
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
70
forest garden books building ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Josephine Howland wrote:

The ones in my shed are from Ames tools. They used to be right in the next town over from where I grew up, in Easton, MA. I'm sure their tools are now made in China, as most things are now. Nice comfy grips also.



We had an Ames plant in my town as well, until 2005.  (Parkersburg, WV)  So I went looking for an update.  Wikipedia says they still build wheelbarrows in Harrisburg, PA.  I have noticed their hand tools in Home Depot recently and they seem much improved from the shovels and rakes they were making here before they closed.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2132
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
225
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Love tools. Have tons! This thread reminds me of 9 years ago when I was ripping all the carpet out of our house to lay hardwood flooring. There I was, on the floor, with a flathead screwdriver and a hammer painstakingly taking up the tack strips. I did all but 2 rooms this way. Those 2 rooms had to wait, as I was pregnant at the time and we have a big house.

2 years later I set about removing the carpet from the remaining room when my husband strolls in with the crowbar, walks the perimeter yanking up all the tack strips and leaves. I've never been more dumbfounded and furious in my life. How could he watch me do the whole house with a screwdriver and a hammer.


My very smart father began buying me tools for my birthday so I would stop borrowing his all the time.

My very favorite tool to use is my sexy planer. I found it so soothing and I loved the little curls of wood.

What I probably use the most is the crowbar, impact driver and chop saw.

When I was cutting my metal roofing I had issues with this circular saw blade I had. Mentioned it to the guy at Home Depot and he told me they were crap and gave me a different one that worked like a dream. Sometimes men at hardware stores can be real jerks to me, as a woman, but sometimes they're a very useful source of information!
Planing-the-Butcher-Block.jpg
Plane and curly shavings
Plane and curly shavings
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2132
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
225
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh big complaint, I have big hands, I guess. I mean I'm 5'8" tall so I think my hands are pretty right for me but women's gloves never seem to fit. They are always too small. Men's gloves are much better but if I don't get the ones with velcro they can slip off my hands. I also feel like they make women's gloves super cheap. I bought the more expensive brand of work gloves for when we went to chop wood in the mountains and after 2 uses I had holes in the fingers. So I got a cheap pair of men's gloves and they are still going strong. The quality of stuff they peddle to females just isn't that great.
 
Sandy Cromwell
Posts: 9
Location: Eastern Tennessee
3
goat chicken homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ruth Meyers wrote:

Sandy Cromwell wrote:Not sure if this was mentioned in the post yet, as I haven't seen it, but for me, one of my favorite tools lately is my electric chain saw I got on Amazon!



Well, now you've gotta tell the make and model!  I'm on the lookout for the right battery chainsaw, and hoping to buy a trimmer/brush cutter on the same battery system.



Sorry - should have said up front.... still new to all this!
It is the Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 4.0 AH Battery Included 20312

The extra battery I got (because it was cheaper, but works just as well!) is the Biswaye 29472 Replacement Lithium Battery 40V 4.0Ah for GreenWorks 40V G-MAX Power Tools

Greenworks has a whole slew of tools that use the same battery, and I have my eye on several of them!

Happy Shopping!
Greenworks-16-Inch-40V-Cordless-Chainsaw.JPG
[Thumbnail for Greenworks-16-Inch-40V-Cordless-Chainsaw.JPG]
 
gardener
Posts: 1897
Location: Southern Illinois
336
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pearl,

WOW!!  THIS IS A GREAT THREAD!!!

I want to add in a little but it is really hard to beat what you started and others have added to.

So a solid portion of your original post related to power tools.  I certainly appreciate the fact that you are looking for real tools and not merely toys.  I also respect the fact that you don’t want to settle for 12 volt tools.  With that in mind I will try to make a few suggestions.

First off, I absolutely love my Home Depot/Ridgid branded cordless power tools, but they big and heavy, and in fact, many tool reviews remark that this is their single most undesirable feature.  However, I do have a pair of their 12 volt drills that I bought for ceiling work and I love them.  In fact they are frequently my go-to tools.  My wife and daughter just grabbed them yesterday to do a project (a squirrel feeder).  The handles are a tad big, but my 12 year old daughter had no problems.

Milwaukee brand tools might be ideal for you.  They make excellent quality tools that are heavy duty and still lightweight.  Just picking one up, you can feel the quality in the build.  They are not cheap though.  If I were buying all my tools over again and money were no object, I might well buy Milwaukee.  They are deliberately made to be light and easy to carry around all day.  Also, their handles are deliberately made for smaller hands (which annoys me as I have large hands).

Craftsman is another brand worth considering.  25 years ago I got my first cordless drill and it was a craftsman and I loved it .  2 years ago I would have told you to avoid craftsman like the plague as Sears is likely going bankrupt.  But since then Craftsman has been sold off and licensed out to Lowe’s.  And they have a new line of 20 volt (which is really 18 volts, but that is another story) tools.  I recently played around with them and they were quite nice.  They were small and lightweight but packed a punch.  Their batteries were small, which will affect running time, but this also keeps the weight down.  
   Something to watch for though is that Craftsman is making two lines of power tools.  There is one for the remaining Sears stores and another for Lowe’s and strangely they are not identical.  Lowe’s is warranting their Craftsman tools, but Sears is more ambiguous.  At this point I would recommend buying from Lowe’s.

Something to consider for buying cordless power tools is the style of battery.  The old style had a post that slid vertically into the handle of the drill.  This made the drill handle wider to fit the battery.  Most newer batteries slide horizontally into the base of the drill and need no special geometry in the handle.  As far as I know, Ryobi is the last major tool manufacturer to still use the post style battery.  This might be an issue for some, but others have already stated their appreciation for Ryobi so take this review for whatever you think it is worth.

Fantastic thread, Pearl, and great additions everyone!

Eric
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 4175
Location: SW Missouri
1635
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

elle sagenev wrote:Oh big complaint, I have big hands, I guess. I mean I'm 5'8" tall so I think my hands are pretty right for me but women's gloves never seem to fit. They are always too small. Men's gloves are much better but if I don't get the ones with velcro they can slip off my hands. I also feel like they make women's gloves super cheap. I bought the more expensive brand of work gloves for when we went to chop wood in the mountains and after 2 uses I had holes in the fingers. So I got a cheap pair of men's gloves and they are still going strong. The quality of stuff they peddle to females just isn't that great.



Elle: did you see my comments on gloves in, I think, the OP? I don't fit in, and won't wear women's gloves. And I can't afford expensive men's gloves, I'm hard on them. The cheap ones from Harbor Freight that I mentioned work great for me, I kill them, but it takes me a while. I'm opposite of you, I don't like wrist fastening, I take my gloves on and off all day, some days 100 times or more. I have a pouch I wear that I put them in, and it's totally autopilot to put them off and on. I have some with fastenings, but they can't be my primary gloves.
 
gardener
Posts: 1040
Location: South of Capricorn
338
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

elle sagenev wrote: women's gloves


This is one of the banes of my existence.  I'm also tall with big hands and I go through gloves like nobody can believe. Men's gloves tend to be too roomy.
This year I bought these gloves and it is the first time I've had gloves that fit (the M/L is snug, but they do fit) and didn't immediately get holes or crap out. Next time I'm up in the US I'll buy a dozen pairs.
https://www.gardenersedge.com/dirty-work-womens-synthetic-leather-gloves/p/VP-DW86205/
 
Eric Hanson
gardener
Posts: 1897
Location: Southern Illinois
336
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pearl,

I just have another thought.  Thinking about how you clearly want quality tools and not toys got me thinking about a few other tool talking points.

For starters, at this point I won’t buy a hammer unless it is a single piece of forged steel.  Estwing makes great hammers and while I cannot explain why, they feel light in hand while hitting heavy.  I get solid steel hammers because I have swung a hammer, struck solid surface (pine wood) and actually broke the handle!

In a similar line of thinking, I won’t buy a socket wrench unless the entire thing as viewed from the outside is solid steel.  I have had sockets I the past where the back of the head had a little lid that clipped into the handle/head/frame as a way of containing the ratcheting components.  I used one of these cheapo wrenches in college to assemble/disassemble my loft in my dorm room.  Once as I was disassembling, the little cap or lid on the back of the head popped off and all the ratcheting pieces fell out into my hand.  FRUSTRATING!  I mean I was taking the thing apart, I could not possibly over tighten and even if I did, the tool should absolutely not fall apart while in use.  

Among the most frustrating experiences I have ever had is having to fix something only to have the tool for fixing itself needs to be fixed!  Grrrrrr!!

At the moment I only own Craftsman socket wrenches.  I am sure that there are others, but I have always loved Craftsman brand hand tools.

Eric
 
Ruth Meyers
pollinator
Posts: 246
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
70
forest garden books building ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Eric Hanson wrote:Pearl,

For starters, at this point I won’t buy a hammer unless it is a single piece of forged steel.  Estwing makes great hammers and while I cannot explain why, they feel light in hand while hitting heavy.  



I will only use Estwing, inherited from husband.  When I had to replace one, after losing it (or giving it away), I had a panic attack when it wasn't readily found.

The other common tool I insist on is the utility knife with quick-change blade storage.  Stanley made it first, but Craftsman bought the concept.

I hope this image comes out okay:


Quick flip yellow plastic pocket on the underneath of the handle.

I recently discovered serrated blades for the utility knife, and boy! do they slice through carpet like butter.  Not always in stock, but found at Home Depot.



 
Eric Hanson
gardener
Posts: 1897
Location: Southern Illinois
336
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ruth,

Wow!  That is one wicked looking utility knife!  I did not know that they came this way.  I might go out and buy some blades.

Glad you like Estwing hammers.  They are my favorite.

Eric
 
gardener
Posts: 963
286
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love my Yankee screwdriver - but only have drill bits for it, lol. I've had to hide it, to keep from having it 'grow legs', when husband #2 discovered it, in my tool box. Pearl, do you know where to find more accessories for them? Or, how to make some?
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 4175
Location: SW Missouri
1635
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Carla: this is  what I have in my notes, will require a welder and one functional bit:
No clue where I got this from, looks like I have had it in my files since 2014.

Years ago, I had my local machinist turn a magnetic bit holder from my screw gun into an adapter for my beloved antique, as shown in the drawing. I can use any 1/4-in. hex bit and replace it cheaply and quickly when it becomes worn or broken. The magnetized bit not only holds screws ready for driving but also can retrieve dropped screws and small hardware.





I would be interested to know if these are for sale anywhere, if anyone finds them, please pass the info on.  I never have gotten one or more of them made, and the welder I like died less than a month ago. I don't know who else to call right now. Not sure if anyone's going to keep his shop open.
 
Carla Burke
gardener
Posts: 963
286
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, no! I'm sorry! Thanks for sharing the drawings - that makes a lot of sense. I'll check around here, and seer if anyone knows someone.
 
Posts: 13
2
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for this thread!! You have given me sanity and validation for NOT buying or taking when offered various power saws involvng circular blades. I have always said I should pay someone else to do those kinds of cuts because I like having fingers. Your thread has confirmed that i am correct to continue to refrain from buying any kind of power saw, - including any chain saw - that is too heavy to handle.

My fingers and all of my limbs, as well as my head and heart thank you!  
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 4175
Location: SW Missouri
1635
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

stephanie gelfan wrote:Thank you for this thread!! You have given me sanity and validation for NOT buying or taking when offered various power saws involvng circular blades. I have always said I should pay someone else to do those kinds of cuts because I like having fingers. Your thread has confirmed that i am correct to continue to refrain from buying any kind of power saw, - including any chain saw - that is too heavy to handle.

My fingers and all of my limbs, as well as my head and heart thank you!  


Stephanie: You are very welcome! I struggled for years because I worked with big tools, and felt like an idiot sometimes, knowing that less skilled guys were doing stuff easily that was so hard for me. When the guy doesn't even know how to change the blade on the saw, it's really not fair that he can use it easier than me. I learned to use the correct tools, and it all changed.

I said in my first post on this thread that my dad used different tools than me for the same tasks, and that he said everyone has tools that are THEIRS. I worked with a guy one time who one of his tools was circular saw, he swung it like a butter knife, could do anything as fast as he could think it. We built a porch, one person marking cuts and holding  for me, him cutting and trimming, me with a drill shooting sheetrock screws. That was fun, we were all in our elements, and it was fast, easy and came out lovely and sturdy.

Welcome to permies, where we have interesting ways to look at things! Good to have you here, we need more tool using women! What has worked for you? Share it, so we all learn
 
Sandy Cromwell
Posts: 9
Location: Eastern Tennessee
3
goat chicken homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pearl Sutton wrote:
I would be interested to know if these are for sale anywhere, if anyone finds them, please pass the info on.  I never have gotten one or more of them made, and the welder I like died less than a month ago. I don't know who else to call right now. Not sure if anyone's going to keep his shop open.



Pearl - if you put in Yankee screwdriver on Amazon, it comes up with some tools very much like the originals. Sadly, my ex got mine!! It was awesome.....
 
pollinator
Posts: 1432
Location: RRV of da Nort
186
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just wanted to make a pitch for the saw below and please correct my thinking here if this is not deemed appropriate use for the item.

My wife never liked circular saws.....and to this day will have me cut plywood sheets for her with a hand-held circular.  That said, some years back I bought a chop-saw of the type shown below.  They can generally be bought new for under $100.00 and then the blade switched out from the metal-cutting disc to a saw blade for wood.  I showed my wife how to use it to cut up kindling for the woodstove and she quickly realized how much more efficiently she could cut 2X4 and other lumber for building and repairing animal shelters.  She's nearing 70 and is of quite slight build, so anything she can use that does not intimidate the pants off of her and allows her to use less energy at getting tasks done will be quickly adopted into her day.  What I can't speak for is the appropriateness of swapping out the metal-cutting blade for the saw blade.  But it's worked for us on two different saws for over 12 years, so seems not to be an issue.
Chopsaw.JPG
[Thumbnail for Chopsaw.JPG]
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 4175
Location: SW Missouri
1635
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Weiland: that would be a chop saw, one of the things on my good list! The only thing I'd comment for anyone else considering one is the one I like is like this ( I don't have this brand, I'd have to go look at the brand, don't know off the top of my head) because the wide base on each side of the blade gives it more stability, as well the ability to make angled and beveled cuts instead of just straight like it looks like yours does. I DO like the stability of mine, it never dances around. Mine also has hold down clamps, I like that a lot, things can sit still easily.
My 80 year old mom uses ours easily, it's a great beastie :)
Tell your wife I suggest read the OP of this thread, some good ways to figure out what works for you in there. And please tell her I said "YAY! Tool using women!" :D

 
Carla Burke
gardener
Posts: 963
286
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pearl Sutton wrote:John Weiland: that would be a chop saw, one of the things on my good list! The only thing I'd comment for anyone else considering one is the one I like is like this ( I don't have this brand, I'd have to go look at the brand, don't know off the top of my head) because the wide base on each side of the blade gives it more stability, as well the ability to make angled and beveled cuts instead of just straight like it looks like yours does. I DO like the stability of mine, it never dances around. Mine also has hold down clamps, I like that a lot, things can sit still easily.
My 80 year old mom uses ours easily, it's a great beastie :)
Tell your wife I suggest read the OP of this thread, some good ways to figure out what works for you in there. And please tell her I said "YAY! Tool using women!" :D



This would be a Godsend, for me!! Or, a table saw.
 
Posts: 43
13
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Interesting post.  I am 5'4", 110 pounds.  I've been using all these man-sized tools for 40 years and never had a problem.  Even using the Tiger saw isn't a problem.  And my hands are really small.  What I sense, and I could be wrong is that it isn't the smallness of the hands that may be the problem, but rather two other things.  The first, maybe the most important is strength.  I could maybe see that if someone has been a city person for a lot of their life, then tries to come and live this life, they may not be inherently strong enough to wield these tools comfortably, and maybe never will depending on their age coming into this life.

Now...I was born in 1948, life was different then, values were different, goals were different.  I was always doing boy things rather than girl things and even as a small child was tinkering with things boy sized.  Then I just moved on to man-sized and truly I've never even had this subject come up in my mind.  Its not about size, its about consciousness.  If one sees a problem, imagines a problem, then that thing gathers power and soon you DO have a problem.  Self-made but nevertheless, a problem.  This isn't a criticism, just offering a different way to look at things. At 75 years of age, I can still heft 50-60 pound bags of feed around.  Yes, I wear a good back brace as health insurance, but I still do this kind of heavy work every single day.

For instance, as an example.  Normally one man can't move really heavy things by himself...he asks others to help.  Putting up roofing beams comes to mind.  So as a woman, having built everything on my farm myself, alone......I looked at ways to get around these obstacles.  It becomes quite a bit of fun....looking for alternative ways to do things.  I hung heavy 4x8 galvanized metal sheets up in my barn by putting up two heavy screws, drilling holes in the metal sheet, and using a pully to get them up to the screws, one at a time.

Cheap tools aren't an answer for anyone, man or woman.  Spend the money, if tools are too heavy, or too big, and get top of the line tools.  Fein is a brand known for excellent tools, they will last your entire lifetime, and they are smaller.  Makita is another brand.
 
Why is the word "abbreviation" so long? And this ad is so short?
2020 Permaculture Design Course for Scientists and Engineers, June 14-27
https://permies.com/wiki/permaculture-design-course-2020
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!