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whats your favorite gear  RSS feed

 
lisa goodspeed
Posts: 8
Location: southcentral kansas, south of wichita. zone 6b-ish. more like oklahoma.
forest garden hugelkultur
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so i am fairly new here and don't know alot about much of the gear others talk about on here, but i am here to learn.  this usb head lamp seems like it will be awesome.  i have owned a few headlamps but they always seem to get lost in between the batteries dying and me finally getting around to finding new batteries for them.  having something that i can just put at my usb charging station would be a sweet idea.  as far as my favorite gear it would have to be my cast iron collection.  i still live in town, so while out camping i amaze alot of other campers by just what dinner can look like over a campfire if you got the right equipment.  got a seperate set for camping and at home.
 
Joel Bercardin
Posts: 262
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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You may get a lot of replies, and if you do it may be the start of a very interesting thread.  But for anyone with homestead experience, I'd think it's impossible to reply and feel you've answered the question properly.

Different sorts of tools and equipment go with the various tasks required.  If you're living in town, city, or in a rural area, there will be commonalities in food-gardening tasks.  So there are the basic tools involved with this.  Then there are more specialized tools, besides the basic ones.

But I've found that living on a rural homestead means that you're confronted with many requirements or demands.  Besides food production and preparation, I've learned skills in carpentry, woodworking, plumbing, household/shop/outbuiding electrical, welding, water systems, fencing, tree surgery, woodcutting, heating systems, and numerous other things.  Though there can be certain overlaps in gear required for these, each area of skills can have it's own special tools that may be needed or at least extremely handy.

During any given month or week, I may find I've been feeling a special affection for some particular tool or piece of equipment, because it's well designed, well made, or has recently proven very useful – but can I say it's my favorite?
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1708
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I honestly don't know enough about the gear I have to be able to say one's fantastic over another brand's version of that tool. Most of the tools I have (shovels, rake, pitch fork, reel mower, trowels, cultivator/hoe, and pruning shears) were given to me.

I can say that "no-flat" tires on a wheel barrow are a wonderful thing. It's great to not always have a flat tire or need to keep inflating it (as we were with the tires on our hand-me-down wheel barrows). I can also say that I really, really love my felco pruning shears. I don't leave home without those. I was given the fiskars pruning shears, and they worked so differently from my felco's that I won't use them unless I've already searched unsuccessfully for over 10 minutes for my felcos...and even then I might just put off pruning!

Aside from that, I can only tell you which tools I couldn't do without and use the most:
#1 My pruning shears
#2 My big digging shovel
#3 My wheel barrow
#4 My hand trowel
#5 Pitchfork (really useful for turning my duck bedding. I lived without it, but it's really, really handy)
#6 My leaf rake (Really useful for raking up grass and leaves to add to beds as mulch)

I might be able to make due without number 4-6, but not without 1-3!

You might also be interested in this thread: https://permies.com/t/51813/Hand-tools

 
Peter Kalokerinos
Posts: 94
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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A decent socket set....I am amazed at how often ours gets used and I have no idea how I got on before without it
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1319
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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A good wheelbarrow is worth it's weight in gold, but my pickup is my most used "gear". 
 
Mike Jay
Posts: 711
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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My newest piece of gear is awesome.  I put off getting one because I never knew if it would be that much better than using a normal level.  If you ever need to install a wooden post and want it to be plumb, you need to get one of these.  Best $6 I've spent in a long time.  OZCO post level - Menards

Plus it looks like a singing alien 
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Singing alien post level
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1708
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Mike, your Singing Alien made me laugh so hard. Thank you--I needed that today!
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
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My bulldozer.

I have a small Kubota, and while that is a formidable machine unto itself, I find I use my bulldozer so much that my tractor sits idle 99% of the time now. I did take off the cab, and while it looks small and stupid now, I can get inside every building I have which includes cleaning out the sheep barns. Just lower the blade, "scrape" and the manure is pushed out the other end. Just yesterday I said to my wife, "The Kubota could never do that." We had let the manure build up a bit and when I got to the other end of the barn, the piles was 7 feet high and 12 feet wide! Not to mention installing a half mile of swales last year...stopping only because it was lunch time and I was hungry.

A close second is my Wallenstein Log Trailer, which is much more then that, it has a grapple so it can lift logs, big round hay bales, really lift anything heavy, yet be switched out to a backhoe and dump body, or post hole drill. Teemed up with my bulldozer, the two pieces of equipment are go-anywhere and do-anything machines.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1319
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Mike, your Singing Alien made me laugh so hard. Thank you--I needed that today!


I ordered one because of it    I'll never be able to look at it without thinking of that.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 830
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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Some great ones mentioned! (I like the alien.) My list looks similar to Nicole's. I'll add to that my folding saw and broadfork. As for kitchen gear, I love my meat cleaver/tenderizer. I saw another one in an antique store in Tenn. years ago. I kick myself for not getting it.

(Edit to add: I almost forgot my favorite gear...My fishing rod and reel! A Shakespeare Ugly Stik and Penn 209. Having flounder for dinner tonight. 😀)
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"Molly Hatchet"
 
Carrie Land
Posts: 13
Location: Maryland
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The best gear I have used in my permie adventures of tearing up my backyard to convert it into a dreamy urban homestead are Sloggers.

For those of you who have never heard of these babies, they are American gardening footwear. They have a variety of colors and styles and did I mention, American made!

I love these things, and actually, wear them every day when I head outdoors. They are durable and very comfortable. I have boots and the garden shoes, and I don't know how I managed without them before.

And, just in case you are wondering, I have no affiliation with them in any way. I am just one happy customer!
 
jared strand
Posts: 32
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It''s not my "favorite" in any way, but I do use a headlamp a LOT.  I get up at 5 in the dark because I have chores before work. In the winter a headlamp is obligatory for filling waters and feeding the chickens, rolling bales of hay out to the sheep.  I'm surprised we don't have a thread comparing headlamps (or I didn't look hard enough) because the one I have I really, really HATE.  Northbound Train (really?) And the switch is finicky, the headband too slippery and doesn't stay where you set it (had to stitch the band where I wanted it to stay)
I have to agree though, a tractor is a big help- evendors a small Craftsman to pull a trailer around allows more work to be done.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1490
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
18
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Cordless impact driver. I have two(!) identical Milwaukee 12 volts. I needed more batteries,and well never mind. Suffice to say I improve the efficiency of my work partners by handing them my spare.
Drives any screw like a dream. With an chuck adaptor, or  the right bits ,it drills like a dream as well.
Dewalt is probably better, but I have too many Milwaukee cordless tools to switch ecosystems.

My corded Milwaukee sawzall finally died after 10 years of hard use. The folding handle made it optimal for tight spots, even over the shorter  cordless model.

A basin wrench is the worst tool to use,and also indispensable. There are fancy substitutes,which are way easier to use, but they can't do everything a basin wrench can.

Channelock pliers. When you need a set of hands that have a grip of steel and feel no pain,you need slip-joint pliers . Can't go wrong with Channelock brand,but lately I've been using Erwin's ,with the push button locking adjustment.  Erwin makes Vise grips, good tools,but they're not as bullet proof as Channelocks are.


Internet. Yup, filled with people begging you to use their knowledge,the internet,while it lasts,is the bomb for DIY.
I still have DIY books, but I don't buy them. They simply can't compete with the free video tutorials,blogs,comment sections,product reviews,and forums I can find online.
Sure its 90% crap, but so is everything.Discernment is the key to using this knowledge,but isn't it always?
 
Dan Grubbs
Posts: 542
Location: northwest Missouri, USA
34
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Hands down, cordless hammer drill with dual rechargeable batteries.

Followed by my Morakniv Basic 511 utility knife.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1319
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Not sure how many people know about this, but if you buy Rigid tools at Home Depot, you get lifetime warranty on the tool, including the battery charger and batteries.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
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I am not sure I could be without a chainsaw. I use mine almost everyday, whether it is cutting logs in the building of my house, constructing new sheep barns, making fence posts, doing carpentry, making hugels, obtaining firewood, or cutting pulp and logs just so I can feed, clothe and provide for my family, it all comes from a simple ole chainsaw. (A Stihl MS461)

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Joel Bercardin
Posts: 262
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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William Bronson wrote: Cordless impact driver. I have two(!) identical Milwaukee 12 volts. I needed more batteries,and well never mind. Suffice to say I improve the efficiency of my work partners by handing them my spare.
Drives any screw like a dream. With an chuck adaptor, or  the right bits ,it drills like a dream as well.
Dewalt is probably better, but I have too many Milwaukee cordless tools to switch ecosystems.

My corded Milwaukee sawzall finally died after 10 years of hard use. The folding handle made it optimal for tight spots, even over the shorter  cordless model.

A basin wrench is the worst tool to use,and also indispensable. There are fancy substitutes,which are way easier to use, but they can't do everything a basin wrench can.

Channelock pliers. When you need a set of hands that have a grip of steel and feel no pain,you need slip-joint pliers . Can't go wrong with Channelock brand,but lately I've been using Erwin's ,with the push button locking adjustment.  Erwin makes Vise grips, good tools,but they're not as bullet proof as Channelocks are.

Good post.  I've got a Milwaukee corded sawzall and I think it's great.  Channellock pliers, yup!  I don't have a basin wrench, and wouldn't use one too often - and I improvise when I need to... but, you're right, it's involved with a very tricky & uncomfortable task.  Haven't yet invested in a cordless impact driver, though many of my friends have.  I rely on a corded DeWalt drill/driver and a cordless 18v Makita.  But I'm sure that, given how many big wood screws I've coated with vaseline before driving, I should have an impact driver.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1319
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Joel Bercardin wrote:I rely on a corded DeWalt drill/driver and a cordless 18v Makita. 


I really like my Dewalt tools, but since I found the Rigid/Home Depot deal, all my new stuff is going to be Rigid.  Only have the sawzall right now, but I'll be replacing everything as they wear out or I need different ones.
 
Annie Lochte
Posts: 66
Location: The Ocala National Forest. Florida, USA
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My pocket knife. Hands down most used/useful tool and saved me thousands of steps. Current one is a wenger Swiss army style with Phillips, straight blade, can opener, punch, and a couple blades.... Small and light weight, but mighty!
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
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Todd Parr wrote:
Joel Bercardin wrote:I rely on a corded DeWalt drill/driver and a cordless 18v Makita. 


I really like my Dewalt tools, but since I found the Rigid/Home Depot deal, all my new stuff is going to be Rigid.  Only have the sawzall right now, but I'll be replacing everything as they wear out or I need different ones.


Don't commit to the Skillsaw just yet, or at least give it a good try before buying. The only reason I say this is, like you, I have slowly started to swap over to Ridgid. But when my Dewalk blade return spring broke on my worm-drive Dewalt Skillsaw, I went out and bought a Ridgid worm-drive Skillsaw.

It is okay, but honestly I would prefer to have my Dewalt Skillsaw back. It had a lot more power. Now I will make this admission, I use rough sawn lumber so I am hogging through lots of full thick planking that is sopping wet and made mostly of Hemlock (my preferred lumber species). That is a tough to hog through, but the Dewalt just had more power. Even my father noticed this and was not even using it, just observing me make cuts.

That is just my experience, but not knocking the Ridgid line at all. I have some of their tools and love them, just not the Skillsaw. Its okay, but lacks power from the DeWalt.

 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1319
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Travis Johnson wrote:

That is just my experience, but not knocking the Ridgid line at all. I have some of their tools and love them, just not the Skillsaw. Its okay, but lacks power from the DeWalt.



Thanks Travis, I'll keep it in mind.  Of all my tools, I probably dislike using a skillsaw the most, so hopefully I won't have to replace it any time soon.
 
lisa goodspeed
Posts: 8
Location: southcentral kansas, south of wichita. zone 6b-ish. more like oklahoma.
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thanks to all of you for all your replies.  i still live in town but once we get our piece of land i hope to be able know more of what tools work best for what jobs.  you have all given me quite a bit of information that will be useful.  just gotta say i love permies  with all the great information.
 
Travis Johnson
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Todd Parr wrote:Of all my tools, I probably dislike using a skillsaw the most...


Me too! Obviously I have to use one if I am building something substantial like a barn or something, but to cut a few boards, I actually grab my hand crosscut saw. In woodworking I actually prefer hand tools. But I have serious compulsive disorder when it comes to saws being sharp so maybe that is why. My father, he goes to all this great effort just to cut one board with a skillsaw and I am like, "just cut it off with a handsaw"..."nah", he says", too much work". Then I watch him make 3 trips to get the saw, an extension cord, the board, etc and I am thinking he would have been done if he had just used a handsaw.

In all fairness thought, I am meticulous in getting my saws super sharp, especially my chainsaw. I go insane this time of year cutting wood because it is mud season and my trees get all yucky, which of course plays havoc on the saw chain. I am too the point now where I won't even use a new chainsaw chain without filing it, that is how obsessive I am about sharpness.
 
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