Tool advice for garden?

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Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,884
175
Knowhere
Most electric shredders are very time consuming, big petrol ones are great, but pricey! Beware removing too many roots on a slope because roots hold the soil together. However for trees of a reasonable size, bow saw, basic hand axe, small folding saw, trowel and mattock are needed. Bow saw to cut down the tree. Mattock to dig around the roots, trowel to scoop out soul from under roots. Small axe and hand saw to cut through larger roots. A pry bar or lever to get the stump out us also helpful.
I will second a mattock, best thing for grubbing up awkward roots, especially brambles. I also have what I haven't seen recommended is a large digging hoe of the kind you will see Asian farmers using. I have essentially aquired a lot of tools over time, generally if I don't have anything that is up to the job I go out and find something, like a long handled bulb planter for instance which is also useful for planting small tree saplings.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,895
1,954
S. Lanarkshire
I bought a 4' long Gorilla bar a fortnight ago. It's absolutely brilliant. It lifts my 3' x 2' slabs with ease, and they are not lightweight, they each weigh over eight stones. It also howked out a rotted in situ fencepost and it's concrete, in minutes.

I've worked with mattocks, and I reckon this is not only easier, it's a blooming sight kinder on my back let alone my neck and shoulders.


Beware though, the ends are usefully sharp. I chopped through tree roots easily with it.

M
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,689
714
Lancashire
On the subject of strimmers - electric/battery ones are OK for tidying grass edges but not powerful enough to cut back scrub (nettles and heavier stuff.) IMO. I've not seen an electric one that claims to be able to handle the metal blades (bushcutters) and I've never found the plastic blades to offer any advantage over good quality plastic cord (don't buy cheap stuff). If there's a lot of heavy cutting back I suggest you hire a petrol bushcutter.

A 24" Bahco bow saw is only £15 from Screwfix - it's the blades you can't skimp on mind. Make sure you buy a blade for green wood not seasoned wood or it will constantly jam in your cut if you're cutting anything thick.
Yes, it's the teeth pattern that's important for performance with different wood types, green, etc.
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,373
574
Canada
I have done two gardens with a mattock and was a long time champion of them, but I prefer a pick (or similar) and a sharp spade now .... the mattock just invites overexertion, and unless you is fit and big, injury and at best achy sleep and the smell of liniment

You cannot over-state the essentialness of a sharp border spade (plus a Sneeboer Great Dixter trowel, a dutch hoe and the right Felcos .. among one or two other items)

If you feeling like you should have a treat, buy a Tina pruning knife :) If you feel that you haven't been such a good boy after all, buy yourself a good 4 1/4" carbon steel stockman and keep it very sharp.

Also handrolling tobacco. Even if you don't smoke, it is good for the overalls, flatcap and knackered jacket vibe ... but my gardens have seem to have been in their best condition when I smoked ... always popping out the back, always seeing something to do.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,689
714
Lancashire
I bought a 4' long Gorilla bar a fortnight ago. It's absolutely brilliant. It lifts my 3' x 2' slabs with ease, and they are not lightweight, they each weigh over eight stones. It also howked out a rotted in situ fencepost and it's concrete, in minutes.

I've worked with mattocks, and I reckon this is not only easier, it's a blooming sight kinder on my back let alone my neck and shoulders.


Beware though, the ends are usefully sharp. I chopped through tree roots easily with it.

M
We used to find a lot of use for the large wrecking bars when I used to volunteer with BTCV and the odd time with national trust. We've moved large boulders out from the bank of a road in wales for example when making a passing point. Huge lump of stone but we moved it far with wrecking bars and ignorance. If course steel toe cap boots are pretty important at times like that.
 
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Ok new house offer is in and we're determined to win this house and move in asap. Garden needs work. Overgrown by trees, shrubs and ground plants. Lots of cutting and possibly grubbing things up like roots to allow replanting or clearing to creat a lawn. Land is fairly steeply sloping such that there's steps all over the place. Loads of narrow paths twisting up and left or right to little seating spots. Halfway up there's a funny, plastic fake wood slats fencing with a small picket gate into an upper garden area that's much the same but more natural/less landscaped. Leading to another picket gate off the back of the property onto a footpath track.

So I've got basics such as fork, spade, loppers, various types of secateurs, hand axe, possibly a Dutch hoe and basic diy tools. My parents have a fairly new/decent looking Flymo mower for the small, front lawn area. What am I missing to get the job done?

My ideas are now saw, folding saw, possibly a larger axe but probably not, a borrowed electric chainsaw. I'm thinking there could be groundwork to grub out roots, lift concrete blocks (some steps consists of these), etc. That'll be a pick axe or Mattocks I think. Is it worth getting billhooks or power tools taken over with a strimmer instead?

Basically, I'm asking what do you think I need?

Btw if I'm clearing it I want to cut in winter in thinking while the sap is down, right? It's 10 weeks to Xmas. Currently searches take 8 weeks so we might not be in until 2021 which doesn't give much time. Any suggestions to get the job done??

PS my partner said pay someone else to landscape it. I want the work right now but halfway through I'm not guaranteeing? As someone said, I used to do national trust so I'll be up for it. She meant I did btcv volunteering so I've done easy tree clearance or thinning before?
Good day Paul. The tools we use most are a post hole shovel & a mattock.
Regards, Keith.
Living off grid.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,689
714
Lancashire
That's the two linked shovel ones right? Used them near the trough of Bowland to put a chain link fence in only to see the whole line of fencing "float" out of the peat. Sometimes you need a bigger hole and pack it with enough rocks to weigh and hold the posts straight. They're nice to use though. Great for a nice, deep hole. What else?
 

fenix

Tenderfoot
Jul 8, 2008
83
39
Kent
Bow saw
Loppers
Billhook
Mower. I prefer an electric to petrol. Depends on garden size.
Strimmer / brush cutter. I have a Stihl combi, very reliable.
Chipper / shredder. I have been lent several but purchased a Bosch ATX25 TC. Its surprisingly capable and acts as a chipper and shredder. not my video, terrible music.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,677
1,629
McBride, BC
For all tools with edges, learn how to keep them as sharp as new. Not magic.
The work is a lot less effort with sharp tools. Even filing a shovel cutting sod.
Buy the right stones and learn to use them at the proper angles.
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,373
574
Canada
Best way to sharpen a spade is on a concrete path :) Ideally by dumping a one ton pile of sand on said path and then, using said spade, move the sand from one place to another .. A productively pointless exercise that will result in a spade perfectly sharpened ... best done with a new spade that won't dig into the soil at all