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Cool Tools, lesser known tools that can improve your life

 
pollinator
Posts: 1016
Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
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So I happen to find this while looking at poor mans ATV videos and just thought, wow that is awesome. What a great option for folks who don't want to deal with trailers.



It is a truck bed rack and ramp system that weighs aprox 450lbs, can be installed and removed in aprox 10 min (with a group of people or mechanical help), allows for the carry of ATVs and or mowers, has a rack for storage of items with room to park a mower or ATV under, assisted ramp lift, extends your track bed length, and depending on local laws needs no special registration, title, inspection or insurance.

While not exactly a cheap item at $3000, it is competitive with trailer prices while saving a lot of the added costs of trailers.

It can be found here https://theramprack.com/

I am seriously looking at this as a great option to have, so thought it highly worth sharing since others here might appreciate it as well. Now I suspect most of us wouldn't use it as a landscaping truck (though some permies are doing permie landscaping), but more of a farm truck addition to bring in some of those bulky and heavy items that would normally need a trailer.
 
pollinator
Posts: 457
Location: San Diego, California
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aluminum OHV truckbed ramp

This is what my uncle liked to use to load his dirtbikes into his truckbed, light, folds down, and easy to load engine driven equipment(rolling non-drive-powered heavy equipment up that ramp would be quite a chore).

 
Devin Lavign
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Dustin Rhodes wrote:aluminum OHV truckbed ramp

This is what my uncle liked to use to load his dirtbikes into his truckbed, light, folds down, and easy to load engine driven equipment(rolling non-drive-powered heavy equipment up that ramp would be quite a chore).



Yep, I already have a folding ramp for my truck. The one I posted however is more than just a ramp, it is an extension. Giving you more room for equipment and/or items. Which is a big part of why I find it so cool.
 
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One of my favorite tools is my prong.  https://www.theprong.com/pri-long-prong
We use it a few times weekly for leveraging rocks and other heavy stuff.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 245
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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This year I have been discovering the amazing utility of what I affectionately refer to as "baby tools". All the effectiveness, or more, of the big tools, with more precision and a lighter weight. No idea on real names, most of our garden tools come from yard sales and antique stores.

So far this year I have split and planted about 150 perennials, and likely another 50 ish annuals or garden center plants. The majority of this has been done with my baby spade -almost the same precision of a trowel, and nearly the same power as a big spade, with the same upright posture. I use it for digging holes, and also for splitting. It's straight, so it cuts down between things nicely.

I have also inherited my grandma's baby hoe. Its so light my 90 +year old grandma can use it, and has a thinner than normal handle because it's not used for any heavy work. It does a far more precise job of weeding than a big hoe, with the same upright posture, and is better than my scuffle hoe for getting in between plants.

I also love reprurposing tools... one favourite is something I have recently learned is an edger.... I had grown up referring to it as an ice chopper.
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Baby spade side by side with normal spade
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Baby hoe vs normal hoe
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Ice chopper
 
pollinator
Posts: 407
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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S Tonin wrote:Last year I bought a Korean homi and it's better than any other hand tool I've tried in my conditions.  Hori Hori and normal trowels won't work for me because my soil is too dense and rocky.  I have a nejiri kama, but it's not substantial enough for my needs.  I have a few different hoes that are probably as old as my parents, but I can never seem to find the right body mechanics to use them comfortably (and, well, rocks the size of shoeboxes don't help much either).  
This is what mine looks like (bought it on Amazon for like $15 I think):



Yes!  And yes, yes, yes, and yes again!!!  I have one of these and I love it, though I didn't remember that it was called a Homi.

Funny story though...  I bought this 15 years ago, in my old life, when I was a bonafide yuppie.  Well, not really bonafide.  I was a yuppie in that I was a "young urban professional," but I still spent my evenings and weekends working in my community garden plot, rather than out at clubs or collecting expensive clothes.  So I was probably the least yuppie yuppie around.  Anyway, somebody recommended this Korean cultivator tool, and I eagerly bought one.  But I couldn't ever quite figure out how to use it right.  I can't explain it, but it just seemed awkward to me.  So I chalked it up to a bad investment (thankfully it wasn't too pricey), left it in the bin, and relied on a standard hand spade (some people call it a garden trowel) instead.

Then one day I woke up in a hospital, was told I'd been wiped out on my bicycle by a drunk driver, that I was now permanently paraplegic, and that my life as I'd known it was over.

Flash forward 15 years.  I am still, of course, paraplegic.  I am now living a different life in a different state and attempting to build my own suburban-scale permaculture homestead from a wheelchair.  Which probably makes me an idiot, but that is another conversation.

The point is that my approach to things now is by necessity different in just about every conceivable way compared to back then: mentally, financially, physically, ergonomically, etc.  Ergonomics is the key dimension for this discussion.  Since everything I now do is done one-handed while hanging sideways out of a wheelchair, a conventional shovel is less than useless.  Most tools are, for that matter.  Hand spades are okay for some things, but I just can't get much power out of them for any serious digging in my heavy clay soils.

So, I have relied on one-handed mini-mattocks.  "Those are awesome!" I thought.  But I had to keep a hand spade around at the same time.  I'd use the mini-mattock to break up the soil, then switch to the hand spade to move the earth.  A workable arrangement, but also kind of a pain in the ass.

And then this year I discovered my old Homi in a storage unit, hidden among a load of items from my old life.  I started using it again.  Somehow, it perfectly suits my new ergonomics!  Whereas before I just couldn't get the hang of it, this season it was my one go-to gardening tool.

Because of its recurve shape, you can dig with the point using the same one-armed chopping action that I use with the mini-mattock.  And the steel is thick enough to totally support that sort of robust, chopping/hacking approach through my heavy clay.  But you can also then turn it sideways and use the blade to move the loosened soil around perfectly well, without changing tools!  You can also use the point to scratch a narrow furrow in softer earth.  And you can use the flat of the blade as a mini-tamper.  It is the perfect tool for transplanting and general-purpose light gardening : )

I guess the lesson to be learnt here is that circumstances matter.  Different gardening approaches, different soils, different capabilities, and different body types will make different tools work for different people at different times.  So keep trying new things, and even retrying old ones.  You never know what new/old tool you might discover!
 
pollinator
Posts: 313
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
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Matthew Nistico wrote:
I guess the lesson to be learnt here is that circumstances matter.  Different gardening approaches, different soils, different capabilities, and different body types will make different tools work for different people at different times.  So keep trying new things, and even retrying old ones.  You never know what new/old tool you might discover!



Oh, how you have inspired me and given me hope. Here I was, moping, because it's so hot outside and I feel so physically not up to the tasks before me. But you've given me a second wind and a desire to find the tools that will work for me, too. Thanks so much!
 
Posts: 73
Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
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Francis Mallet wrote:


When I first used this trench digger I fell down to my knees and cried. I use it to break new ground, remove small stumps, cutting roots, unearthing rocks, etc.
Before digger = hell
After digger = pleasant workout



Francis, who is the maker for that trench digger?  I am in the market for one have not see one like that.

Thanks!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I like this how very much because it is light, has a short and ergonomic handle.
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Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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This one is absolutely tipical from the Canary islands!

I have to shorten a bit the Wood handle‚Ķ They are often all in iron though, but this one is lighter, for the garden. You can use the point part or the flat part, and even start with the Sharp point and then turn it when it entered the soil. I like it very much, you can do a lot of things  with it, and pull more soil tan with the usual triangular one.
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Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Local artcraft 24 cms Blade and a smaler knife used to remove flowers from the bananas.

I had the idea this one would be perfect to work on a skin without risking a hole!
Local-aircraft-knives.jpg
Local aircraft knives
Local aircraft knives
 
Devin Lavign
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Nicole Alderman wrote:LOL on the redneck quad! We totally used ours as one yesterday! (Though, we didn't modify the lawn mower at all. It's still our lawnmower!)

Our neighbors became too busy for their chickens, and so we adopted them and took their coop/run to our place. Of course, none of us had a truck. It was me, my husband, my teenager neighbor and her mom. We pushed the coop onto their trailer and tied it to our John Deer riding lawnmower with a chain. My husband drove and the three of us ladies pulled and pushed to keep the coop on the trailer and relatively balanced down about 1/2 a block of gravel road. We all wished we had a camera, because it was so redneck. But, we did it!

Editing to add a picture of the coop/run, nos that I have a picture!





l love the chicken coop/run. It is an amazing thing to have on the homestead.
 
Devin Lavign
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:Local artcraft 24 cms Blade and a smaler knife used to remove flowers from the bananas.

I had the idea this one would be perfect to work on a skin without risking a hole!



A good knife is important.
 
Devin Lavign
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The knife I carry, well besides my Barebones hori hori, is the Jeff White Nessmuck

Can be found on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-White-Nessmuk-Skinning-Knife/dp/B00YJE112Y
and ebay https://www.ebay.com/itm/Jeff-White-Custom-Nessmuk-Trade-Knife-w-Curly-Maple-Handles-Sheath-NEW/283513495559?hash=item4202b8a007:g:DZMAAOSw9KBd0Ysv

JW-Nessmuck.jpg
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Diane Kistner
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Nicole Alderman wrote:LOL on the redneck quad! We totally used ours as one yesterday! (Though, we didn't modify the lawn mower at all. It's still our lawnmower!)

Our neighbors became too busy for their chickens, and so we adopted them and took their coop/run to our place. Of course, none of us had a truck. It was me, my husband, my teenager neighbor and her mom. We pushed the coop onto their trailer and tied it to our John Deer riding lawnmower with a chain. My husband drove and the three of us ladies pulled and pushed to keep the coop on the trailer and relatively balanced down about 1/2 a block of gravel road. We all wished we had a camera, because it was so redneck. But, we did it!



You lucked up big time!!!

Like I always say, where there's a will there's a way....
 
gardener
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S Tonin wrote:Last year I bought a Korean homi and it's better than any other hand tool I've tried in my conditions.  Hori Hori and normal trowels won't work for me because my soil is too dense and rocky.  I have a nejiri kama, but it's not substantial enough for my needs.  I have a few different hoes that are probably as old as my parents, but I can never seem to find the right body mechanics to use them comfortably (and, well, rocks the size of shoeboxes don't help much either).  
This is what mine looks like (bought it on Amazon for like $15 I think):



How big is this, please? And how much does it weigh?
 
pollinator
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Carla Burke wrote:How big is this, please? And how much does it weigh?



Total length:  ~11.75" long
Handle: ~5.75" long, ~1" diameter
Blade is ~5.5" from where the metal bends to the tip and maybe 3-ish" at its widest point (forgot to measure that bit)

I didn't weigh it, but I don't think it even weighs a pound.  The one I have has a very lightweight handle, not a heavy wood like oak.  It feels chintzy when you pick it up, but it's not.
 
Carla Burke
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S Tonin wrote:

Carla Burke wrote:How big is this, please? And how much does it weigh?



Total length:  ~11.75" long
Handle: ~5.75" long, ~1" diameter
Blade is ~5.5" from where the metal bends to the tip and maybe 3-ish" at its widest point (forgot to measure that bit)

I didn't weigh it, but I don't think it even weighs a pound.  The one I have has a very lightweight handle, not a heavy wood like oak.  It feels chintzy when you pick it up, but it's not.



Thank you! This might be a huge help for me, too. I've been looking at them, for a while, but haven't been able to decide, without getting my hot little hands on one, to try it!
 
We can fix it! We just need some baling wire, some WD-40, a bit of duct tape and this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench - now FREE for a while
https://permies.com/wiki/138231/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Plans-Annex
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