Which hand tools to use?

I seem to be very good at ruining tools in the garden image I can only imagine that I am putting too much pressure on things, for instance cutting too thick a branch with hand secateurs etc. I would love to know what you use, in particular, for generally keeping things neat and tidy.  I can never seem to get a 'clean' cut, which I know means there is something wrong with my blades. It  always looks so easy when other people do it! How often do you sharpen your blades?


  • B3B3 Posts: 9,962

    I use loppers for thicker branches. Make sure they are light enough to hold at shoulder height if necessary.

    Don't bother with extendable loppers as they are very heavy and the balance is all wrong and they keep retracting anyway.

    There is a difference in the cut with different secateur blades. This was explained to me but I can't remember the details. Someone on this site will know.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 2,584

    Unlike B3  I love my extendable loppers - they have been extended so long they are rusted into that position image, but I do have short ones as well. l have a lot of trees and large shrubs and the longer arm gives you greater pressure for larger branches. They are also useful for reaching into the middle of large shrubs you could'nt reach another way and for prickly things like berberis.

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 4,752

    I have a range of cutting tools.

    Lightweight, long bladed ARS snips for all snipping and pruning (up to about 1/4") - very sharp, easy to sharpen, long thin blades get into small spaces to make really clean cuts. Can be bought for about £10 - a bargain.

    Wolf bypass secateurs for tougher, woodier pruning jobs up to about 1/3".

    Long handled Wolf loppers which will go through branches about 3/4" diameter.

    Pruning saw for branches up to 3" diameter

    Bow saw for thicker branches.

    Telescopic pruning pole (up to 6m) for pruning high branches up to 1" diameter.

    Tree surgeon for higher / bigger jobs!

    It is very easy to sprain secateurs etc by trying to cut things which are too thick. I have built up my toolbox over a few years and I would suggest buying good quality tools and then taking care of them (sharpen and wipe down with an oily rag after every use & keep them somewhere dry).

    I have a small (about the size of a wax crayon) blade sharpener which cost me £3.99 a few years ago. It is really easy to use and has prolonged the life of many gardening tools. 


    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 2,584

    I use my bow saw a lot too, but not everyone will need one perhaps. We have sucessfully and safely taken down several trees of a decent size using it. Though sawing by hand is slower and harder, you have much better control over the rate of cut and can feel when the tree is getting close to falling.  At the start we tie a long car tow rope to it, first having selected the safe direction for it to fall. When there is sufficient movement in the trunk we move away from the tree and pull on the rope from safely out of range. Can't be done if the tree is in amongst others though or if you can't get out of reach.

  • I use heavy duty loopers for trimming and pruning. It does the job for meimage

  • I have few articles about gardening tools, it's about hand tools, cutting tools etc, check them out image http://gardeningtools.online/gardening-tools/

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