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  1. #1
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    Trail Building Tools

    Running into alot of people on the trails that appear to want to get involved... especially once they see what a few determined/deranged people with some simple tools can do!

    Now... I'm under no illusions that people, on the whole, talk the talk alot more than they walk the walk when it comes to trail work. However, contrary to the selfish rat-race image that other canucks have of T.O., this city has done nothing but amaze me with the number of people that work in the Don and the extent of the collective contribution. So it's well worth posting and talking about this kind of thing 'cos $20 says at least one person will go out and get a set and pull off something rad.

    No, I don't work for Lee Valley.

    Ok, on with the show... so if you could only have 3 tools for building trails with, this is what I would recommend - the 'holy trinity':

    the 'Bill Hook', $29.95
    http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page...=2,42706,40718



    the 'Pulaski', $66.50
    http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page...51&cat=2,45794



    And the sturdiest rake you can find!~$30

    This is not as easy as it sounds, there's alot of crap out there that might work in your garden but bust after not much trail work. I found this bow rake (http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/16-Tine-Bow-Rake/) from Ridgid at HomeDepot, but you know how they change models on the fly. Bastards.



    After tax this all works out to around $150. You could make do with a series of lesser rakes, or grab something out of your garage, and bring that total down further.

    Alot of riders work downtown, and it just so happens that Lee Valley tools has an outlet down on King St (590 King Street West) not far from either Bathurst or Spadina. So it would be very easy to pop by and pick up both tools on a lunch break, after work, whenever. If you live out in the east end, maybe the 1275 Morningside Ave location would easier, and if in the west end, try the 5701 Steeles Ave West one.

    Get you favourite biker a set for Christmas/Eid/Diwali/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/whatever!

    /plug over
    Last edited by The Rear Admiral; 11-09-2007 at 07:06 AM.

  2. #2
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    Ok, now if you were after a couple more things, I would recommend these:

    I've found a Stanley FatMax 15" saw works great... cuts quick, doesn't flex or bind too much, but I suppose any good bow saw you like would work as well.

    [SIZE="1"]OR[/SIZE]


    And now with all the tools, what do you build, and how do you do it?

    Both of these books are excellent. http://imba.stores.yahoo.net/mamobi.html, $35 or http://imba.stores.yahoo.net/lionla2nded1.html, $30

    [SIZE="1"]OR[/SIZE]

    IMO, you don't need to build stuff quite to the level that IMBA or the other guide recommends. To do so would require amounts of time and manpower, and probably supplies, that are generally not available to small groups or DIY builders. At the same, the ideas are solid and if everything were built that way, stuff would be awesome and last hella long.
    Last edited by The Rear Admiral; 11-08-2007 at 06:01 PM.

  3. #3
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    If you find yourself really getting into things, then in short order you'll get sick of carrying heavy, sharp things in a back pack, along with supplies. Especially as they repeatedly shuffle around or slap against your spine as you hike/ride the trails.

    You can pick up a 30l barrel and harness for under $100 I think. I know I got mine for a good bit under that at Europe Bound just across from MEC in downtown TO. Dunno what they sell for now though. Tip: stick to the 30l. I have a 60l too and if you fill it with tools & supplies you can barely lift it, and it's not comfortable on the trail. 30l is more reasonable.

    It's also (duh) waterproof which is nice when you have good tools so they don't get rusty or buggered.



    And if you like to build structure, and who doesn't, don't skimp out on your cordless screwdriver/electric drill. Never had a problem with my DeWalt 18v 1/2" DW959, the batteries and charger are quick & efficient, the torque is insane, and it holds up to abuse pretty well. The kit I purchased came with two batteries, and between those two, I can drive enough 3" construction screws to build at least 80 feet of 1' wide 2x4 ladder bridge before having to recharge either. Nice. Think the kit was ~$150.



    Always drill pilots holes and countersink... saves the wood from splitting. Also looks great. Ah, but it's alot of extra work... or is it? I love this bit, saves so much time and makes for a great build (http://www.wolfcraft.com/product_detail.cfm?id=88). You can get these at Home Depot. I've found other designs & brands, but they all seem to suck except for/compared to the Wolfcraft ones. Don't waste money on ones where the part that bores the countersink is bolted on and secured via a set-screw - they just won't last.

    Last edited by The Rear Admiral; 11-08-2007 at 06:42 PM.

  4. #4
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    One thing we've done in the Don is to make a concerted push away from nails towards the use of screws. They have sooooo much more holding power and durability, and make repairs/relocations easier. In this zeal, some people have used any screw lying around... which doesn't always cut it - small head, weak threads, wrong type, etc. Dunno how to describe the right ones, except to say they're Dura-Grip deck screws from HomeDepot. Yeah they're not cheap, $20 for 250, or a bucket of 1000 for $60-$70, but they're worth it.

    Here's a pic:


  5. #5
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    People have commented on the style of alot of the Don bridges, in particular the ~1/4" channel routed into each plank that makes up the decking. That started off as a fluke; 2x4s were purchased and it was only noticed later that there was a groove running down the centre on one side. The obvious intent being you'd construct a frame around some thin wood latticework using the grooves to secure it, and then use the panel in a fence or railing.

    Had a great side effect as previously slippery 2x4 was now able to catch and hold knobbies way, way better. A serendipitous method of simulating the extra grip of naturally split wood. You'd think these would fill up with crap and wear down after a while, but that's not the case. With a little rain they naturally clear themselves out. If the wood is wider, ie 2x6-8-10-12, then just route extra channels across it.

    Easy to do, and you don't need an expensive or very good table to do it. If you wanna buy a new one, I think Canadian Tire has as router + table combo onsale for $130 or something...




  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rear Admiral
    So it's well worth posting and talking about this kind of thing 'cos $20 says at least one person will go out and get a set and pull off something rad.
    One person will go out and get his buddies together and they'll start building ramps and stuff.

    Then one of them will get hurt.

    Then he'll sue the land owner that they illegally built their stunts on.

    Then said land owner will go out to buy the same tools and build a fence to keep out all those "pesky mountain bikers". Maybe he'll use the saw to cut down all the trees, too. We hate it when there's no trees afterall.

    Two days with no response tells me people *still* don't care (apart from the fact that it's winter).

    The beer barrell is a nice touch. Nothing like swillin' and buildin'.

    Meh, at least your heart is in the right place.
    I ..... need ..... DIRT!!!!!

    ... and cookies.

  7. #7
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    Bin ridin' the road bike lately, huh Andrew
    Famous Last Words....."Hey, watch this!!"

  8. #8
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    I care, and I appreciate the work that has been done.
    However, and you may think me hypocritical for this, I think encouraging anyone to go to this extent to build trails on city land is not something we should be doing without getting the city directly involved, or at least obtaining permission first.

    *dons flame retardant suit and gets ready to duck hurled objects*

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1440Brad
    Bin ridin' the road bike lately, huh Andrew
    Yeah, something like that.



    I ..... need ..... DIRT!!!!!

    ... and cookies.

  10. #10
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    Actually, no response was needed nor expected. I ran into a dude on the trail the other day and rather than spend all kinds of time getting contact details, I just said I'd post some stuff on mtbr, that's what really kicked the idea off.

    Figured it'd be handy since it's equally applicable to folks building their own trails on private land as well.

    Dunno what's got yer panties in a twist there, AndrewTO.

    Also, hello & thanks to that new dude that showed up yesterday with the mattock and lent a hand. Very cool of you.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by prod
    I care, and I appreciate the work that has been done.
    However, and you may think me hypocritical for this, I think encouraging anyone to go to this extent to build trails on city land is not something we should be doing without getting the city directly involved, or at least obtaining permission first
    If you involved yourself more in what was going on, say check out www.torbg.org or come out for a trail building day, then you might find the situation is not quite what it appears. Conjecture away gents, but do enjoy the trails

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rear Admiral
    If you involved yourself more in what was going on, say check out www.torbg.org or come out for a trail building day, then you might find the situation is not quite what it appears. Conjecture away gents, but do enjoy the trails
    RA makes a good point. It's not like TORBG and DMBA are secret clubs. A little bit of research on posts by me and RA (and others) here and on dropmachine.com will pull up all sorts of useful information.
    Jason Murray
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  13. #13
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    Lets have less negative vibes and more positive momentum forward for the mountain bike community . Come on guys , WTF ! Get involved , dont just sit there with your diet soda and wine like juveniles . Participate and get the facts .
    Thank you R.A for all of the many ( many , many , many ++ ) hours you have put into building and maintaining the trails that I and others enjoy to ride . You are a true asset to the mountain bike community . Cheers

  14. #14
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    Back on track , sorry about the rant .
    But this is what I carry in my camel back to trim back encroaching foliage to the trail or dead fall . $10 and a couple min of my time on a ride keeps the trails trim .

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1194833367115

    Gear Notes:

    Meyerco Folding Saw

    Weight: 225g

    You never know when a saw will come in handy in the backcountry. This stainless steel folding saw has a simple push-button release and locks in both the open and closed position.

    Coarse tooth 15cm blade.
    Includes a nylon belt sheath.

  15. #15
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    Sorry if im out of the loop, but last I heard we were being accused of wrecking the valley. I just dont want the majority of the citizens thinking we are selfish riders who dont care about the ecosystem.

  16. #16
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    I am surprised that no one has mentioned THE trailbuilder's tool of choice - the McLeod. It has a very heavy gauge steel blade / rake head (mine can be unbolted and easily replaced), it can do almost anything a pick-axe or the hoe blade of a Pulaski can and it puts hardware store garden rakes to shame. Available at any forestry / firefighting supply outfit - not cheap though ($50-$125), but this is a professional firefighters tool that is made for abuse.

    Last edited by nanda; 11-12-2007 at 02:18 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanda
    I am surprised that no one has mentioned THE trailbuilder's tool of choice - the McLeod. It has a very heavy gauge steel blade / rake head (mine can be unbolted and easily replaced), it can do almost anything a pick-axe or the hoe blade of a Pulaski can and it puts hardware store garden rakes to shame. Available at any forestry / firefighting supply outfit - not cheap though ($50-$125), but this is a professional firefighters tool that is made for abuse.


    Ya that thing looks sweet ! I have looked at those in the past , but seeing most of my tool
    go missing when out in the trail , I have only been investing in the budget versions . It would made fast work of bench cutting etc .
    cheers

  18. #18
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    What to buy for trail building tools.

    I pulled this together from the old "Save the trails" forum. This is the non-mechanized version.

    Lamberton Rake. http://www.lambertonrake.com/
    There are a number of lengths. I bought the longest one. I would say you don't want to buy anything shorter than the 12" one.

    Rogue Hoe. http://www.thestgeorgeco.com/catalog...ogue_hoes.html
    I hear these are awesome tools to use. I've never used one, but I can see why. They would remove dirt extra, quickfast from the bench and backcut.

    Super Pulaski. http://code3tactical.com/index.asp?P...D&ProdID=17036
    Basically a Pulaski with a Rogue Hoe on the other side of the axe.

    The Ultimate Macleod. http://www.zactool.com/products.html
    Zac tools used to make the best Macleod around. Then they went under, now they are back. Welded, reinforced head, not bolted on. Fiberglass handle.

    Bush Hook. http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com...oducts_id/3355
    For clearing the corridor by hand.

    Hedge Trimmers to corridor clearing. http://www.stihl.us/hedgetrimmers/HL100-135.html

    Folding Saw. 10" to 12" blade. I hear Fiskars makes a good one. ACE brand is supposedly good too.

    Bow Saw. We can easily handle a log of 12" by hand, so a 24" blade on the saw. Anything larger and we'll have you guys go in with a chain saw.

    Power Leaf Blower. http://www.echo-usa.com/prods_list.a...ry=POWERBLOWER
    Makes clearing the corridor of leaves easy. It also makes "landscaping" the downslope with leaves easy too. Get a "backpack" one so you don't have to hold on to the whole motor.

    Hip chain. http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/pr...ge.asp?mi=5708
    This is for measuring distances. Useful for measuring how much trail we've cut in a given session.

    A powered wheel barrow. http://www.mucktruckcanada.ca/.
    Richard says we really should go with tracks rather than wheels, tracks being more stable.

    A digital level. To measure outslope precisely. http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...seBVCookie=Yes
    Jason Murray
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  19. #19
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    Long post warning!

    Quote Originally Posted by prod
    Sorry if im out of the loop, but last I heard we were being accused of wrecking the valley. I just dont want the majority of the citizens thinking we are selfish riders who dont care about the ecosystem.
    You do have very valid points, and I don't wish to dismiss those. In fact, they're quite common and this is a great opportunity to address them.

    First off, what you must take into account is that the folks accusing us of wrecking the valley are very small in number, and very vocal. Classic squeaky wheels types, but folks have been very apt at applying pressure and shutting them up somewhat. If you've ever wondered why I appear to be such an idiotic loud mouth, it's to try and balance out the idiotic loud mouths on the other side.

    Secondy, they're not entirely in tune with the reality of the Don. We might look like grubby mountain bikers, but we have copies of just about everything from the 1800s onwards that has anything to do with the Don Valley. Collectively we know more about it's history then these community garden folks do. We have the aerial photos, survey maps, everrything that shows (a) what the Don was originally like and (b) how it has been almost completely abused top to bottom by business and companies dumping fill, changing the route of the river, and developments. If the city archives ever burn down, we'll be able to regenerate surprising amounts of their documentation for them. We own and have read the Charles Sauriol books, and we camp in the same spots.

    In short, anyone arguing from a position of us 'destroying the Dons natural beauty by polluting and modifying it's natural state' will have their arguments obliterated.

    Thirdly, we have an increasingly large and sophisticated support base. The City has significant involvement, and while I'm usually second in line to slag the higher-ups in the city, the actual City folks on the ground that deal with biking are good folks. Yes, there is alot of guerilla building going on in the Don, but that's only a part of it. There is tons of official, by the books stuff going on. Of particular importance, though it might not seem it at the moment, is the trailhead construction project in Crother's woods by the Loblaws hole in the fence. Loblaws has graciously ponied up something like $12 000 in cash and is currently building a real, honest-to-goodness trailhead. Like with benches, garbage containers, and probably a map. Yay for City and business involvement - you can't buy that kind of symbolic value as an individual.

    Of course, Loblaws will get tons of hungry biker & hiker business in return!

    It's not like we're all kids still in high school here, though we welcome everyone to pitch a hand in. We have businessmen, parents (AKA voters with the loudest voices of them all), sadly we even have lawyers... just kidding, we seem to have some good hearted lawyers too that know all about the kind of issues going on, that have happened elsewhere and that could happen to us. I seriously doubt they'll work pro-bono, but if we got a gaggle of hard-core biking lawyers coming out, I fail to see how that could anything but expand and strengthen the network of Don riders.

    Fourthly... we really don't create or cut that much new trail. I'd be willing to wager that in the last 5 years 90% of the work we've done is maintenance and repair. Cleaning. Rerouting eroded lines. Fixing drainage. Bench cutting off camber parts to make them more sustainable. Picking up garbage. Sometimes planting trees. And 50% of what appears to be 'new' trail is actually old walking/biking/dirt-biking stuff from the 70s/80s that fell into disrepair or was abandoned. Almost all of the other 50% of 'new' trail isn't actually new trail either, it follows old game lines, particularly deer lines, which run all over the place in the Don. And I'm totally leaving out the mass of equestrian trails that honeycomb the area, well worn by generations of Torontonians walking along the Don river to their fishing spots

    All of this is not to say that we don't make mistakes, or that we don't have loose cannons that f--k things up on occasion. But we keep an eye out for own mistakes, and those of others, and we aim to go back and correct them. We very much police ourselves, and we have 'unwritten' rules about where stunts are to go (not on the main line of popular trails, or allegedly environmentally sensitive areas like Crothers' Woods) and construction quality.
    Last edited by The Rear Admiral; 11-12-2007 at 08:09 AM.

  20. #20
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    Most useful trail building tool for Ontario ever.

    Build 10x more trails that rides 10x more fun.

  21. #21
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    Off the IMBA site (http://www.imba.com/resources/trail_...ol_guide.html), wow does this ever look sweet Better be for $250 though. Not bad, ~12lbs.

    http://www.maxax.com/




  22. #22
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    Hmm, I dont like the look of that multi-tool, the axe head is fixed. You better watch out if Im swinging an axe around behind me all the time, covered or not.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by prod
    You better watch out if Im swinging an axe around behind me all the time, covered or not.
    ahhh the infamous "circle of death". always start off trail builds with a safety meeting.

  24. #24
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    I bought one of these at a local forestry supply store; it's a great saw - I read about it on nsmb, where they know their trail tools. To carry around I wrapped the cover it came with in duct tape, then shove it in the camelback. It sticks out a bit, but it can cut awesome due to the grooves.



    I also grabbed a Macleod and a Rogue Hoe from benmeadows based on the feedback from this thread. The shipping to Canada isn't bad, but the items got held up in customs for a couple weeks. These two items (and a couple smaller other smaller items) were about $100 CDN shipped to Calgary. UPS didn't kick me in the nuts at the door like they usually do wanting brokerage fees; it was shipped UPS expedited.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcolin
    I've heard talk of those saws; apparently they're a thing of beauty! Think I'll replace my Stanley FatMax with one of those when it stops cutting OK. Thanks for the Ben Meadows link as well, much appreciated.

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