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What's your favorite "chop and drop" tool?

 
Diana Guillermo
Posts: 6
Location: Severn, MD Zone 7b
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Hi all! What are your favorite tools to small-scale chop-and-drop with? Not looking for a full-scale scythe, just an isolated comfrey plant or two.

Suggestions as to brand, where to buy, etc? Over the years, which of your tools do you find yourself reaching for each time you have a small chop and drop job?

Thanks guys!
Diana
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9445
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I use loppers and clippers, I don't know what brand. But I use both of these daily.

I'm thinking of getting a "rice knife" as these seem to be popular with some permaculturists.

 
Rue Barbie
Posts: 70
Location: Coastal Southern California
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I got a rice knife (also called Japanese sickle, grass sickle, etc) on amazon 3 months ago. I really like it. It cuts through herbaceous plants very fast and once you get the hang of using it, You can go quite quickly. I got one with an orange plastic handle so it's easier to find if I put it down. I was surprised to see it had doubled in price to over $16 since I got mine. Not sure I would have paid that much for something I'd never tried before.

I think I'll always have one of those now. In some circumstances such as grasses, they work better than anything else manual I've tried. It's also great for patches of cover crops for chop and drop and leaving the roots in the soil.
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 670
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I have lots of tools for this kind of thing, some pretty expensive. Over and over I find myself going back to my $12 corn knife from Tractor Supply. Very sharp, easy to use, and perfect for most things I need it for. I easily use it more than all my other cutting tools combined.

Corn Knife
 
chip sanft
Posts: 354
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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I like to use a machete. It has so many uses and can take so much abuse, it's amazing. I chop all sorts of stuff without having to worry about damaging it by hitting rocks or whatever, as filing can fix it. This is the machete I have: machete. It's been very satisfactory, but it's gotten much more expensive than it was (I paid less than $20). When I need to replace it, I'll probably get a Tramontina -- they cost around $20 and they get great reviews.
 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 1104
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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Most of my chop and drop with with hand pruners. When I would gather grass for our rabbit I would take the fish filleting knife from out kitchen.

As I'm gonna be running a couple of errands today, I think I'll stop at my local tractor supply to see if they have that corn knife. There are other areas where I could see that being very useful.
 
alex Keenan
Posts: 487
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I tend to cut giant ragweed and goldenrod alot
The tool I really like is a six inch slightly curved blade on a two foot handle.
I like it better than the corn knife because I grab with the left hand and cut with the right.
The short cutting blade is safer for me than the corn knife but also allows hacking on a really big stalk.
I lay the tarp down and bend the stuff I am cutting over the tarp and chop and drop onto the tarp.
When I have a full load I drag the tarp to either the chickens or to a area I just mowed so I can put a heavy layer of much and kill all the weed growing on it.
After a winter the stalks tend to break down easily and can be worked into soil or just ignored.
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 670
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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alex Keenan wrote:I tend to cut giant ragweed and goldenrod alot


I use giant ragweed a lot myself. It gets huge in no time so it makes lots of mulch with no work on my part. The secret to cutting giant ragweed and other tough stalked plants like it with the corn knife is to strike the stalk downward at a 45 degree angle. If you hit straight from the side, whether with the corn knife or a machete or whatever, it will sometimes cut part way thru and then tip over, pinching the knife and making the whole thing turn into a struggle. If you hit the stalk downward at 45 degrees, the whole plant will fall straight down to the ground and you can use your off-hand, or the knife and tip it the way you want it to fall. Its works great and is very easy to get the hang of. The stalks are strong so when you hit at that angle, they cut easily because they are braced against the ground and can't move, rather than moving to the side when you hit them straight on. To cut straight across, you need a very fast swing speed and it gets tiring. When you do it at the downward angle, they cut much easier, cut all the way thru, and you don't have to swing hard at all. It took me about half a day to discover that method Now I can cut thru a whole grove of ragweed in minutes with no real effort.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3306
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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For small stuff, one or two here and there, I love a kama. Especially good for working near plants you don't want to cut.
http://smile.amazon.com/Japanese-Steel-Sickle-Wooden-Handle/dp/B00XYP7EHA/ref=pd_sim_236_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=21BW%2BseECCL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR134%2C160_&refRID=1E99W7AA9V0J06HT4J0C

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6139
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I like these Fiskars loppers. They are about a foot long. The built-in gear makes it easy to cut fairly thick stuff.

I use a Fiskars stik for high stuff and for anything that is in a prickly location where I don't want to reach my arms.

My smallest cordless electric hedge cutter is used when a lot of smaller material needs to be dropped. It works on both woody material and grass.

I seldom use one handed snips. Too slow and hard on the wrist.
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[Thumbnail for k2-_af7f47ef-b33f-4ee2-9ee2-c09213938779.v1.jpg]
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Speaking of Fiskars, I get I a lot of mileage out of their brush axe. It's got just about the right length- in conjunction with a handy concave hook at the end of the blade- for casual one-handed use without stooping.
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 670
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I like these Fiskars loppers. They are about a foot long. The built-in gear makes it easy to cut fairly thick stuff.

I use a Fiskars stik for high stuff and for anything that is in a prickly location where I don't want to reach my arms.

My smallest cordless electric hedge cutter is used when a lot of smaller material needs to be dropped. It works on both woody material and grass.

I seldom use one handed snips. Too slow and hard on the wrist.


I have one also that I use for pruning my trees. I like it.
 
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