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  1. #1
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    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips

    This thread is all about building and maintaining trail. This is not a thread about trail advocacy. It's about your tools, packs, techniques and pictures of what you are working or have worked on.

    Here's my latest additions to my trail building kit for Ontario. I like to travel light with as few tools as possible. I try to avoid power tools as much as possible. In most cases it is unnecessary here in Ontario and you can work around the difficult spots. Though I do have my chainsaw as backup, but would rather build an up and over/jump then buck a dead fall.

    These are my rough in tools. Very light weight and fit easily in one pack. I can hack/clip/saw through a surprisingly a lot of trail in a short amount of time. This tool kit gives the ability of up to 3 people to be involved in the work. The cost for all this is minimal.


    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-1a.jpg

    The next tool is my rogue hoe pulaski with a 4' handle. Solid tool and very light weight. The steel is high carbon so it sharpens to a razor and holds an edge nicely. I will talk about how to sharpen your trail tools with an axe file and a course stone in a latter post. Sharp tools make the job easier and safer. I like these tool because it works so well for benching. I try to bench the trail every chance I get. The reason for this is the flatness of Ontario, yet we have enough contours to add benches to make a fun flow trail with bumps and jumps. A lot of people building trail don't understand this.

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-1b.jpg

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  2. #2
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    SCMBC was fortunate to purchase many trail building and maintaining tools. This was just the first few. Since that time additional cutters, loopers, saws, blowers or all sizes have been bought with club membership and sponsorship funds.

    Trail dog not purchased with club funding.


    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_0285.jpg

  3. #3
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    back on topic...

    here's a concept i came up with to carry in prefab bridge sections. it's a recycled fork and an old rim brake front wheel. used two u-bolts and one bolt to hold the steering tube to the angle. cost almost nothing to make. i've used this to haul in a couple hundred pounds of prefab spans 8' long. though you do need 2 people to operate it.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    back on topic...
    Haha, you are a beauty.

  5. #5
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    so i've been working on this bridge building technique. the idea was what bridge can you ride in on a cargo bike and assemble it on the trail with hand tools...

    so i drew up a basic concept. it helped me conceptualize what scales and loads i have to deal with. also the life span, moisture tolerance and removal aspects.

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-untitled-7.jpg
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  6. #6
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    thanks to the folks who came out for this build. it was the first build trying out the techniques that where developed in the post above. the build went in pretty smoothless with only 3 people. plus the build had longevity...

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-pb015052.jpg

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  7. #7
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    One of my riding goals for 2015 was to devote more time to doing volunteer trail work. The more projects I am involved with the more I learn.

    This pic is from a trail day where our crew had to build a bridge out of dirt and rocks over a big drainage pipe.

    The biggest challenge, besides the height of the pipe from the contour was the amount of soil and rocks used to build it up. In addition the angle that trail had to take and still maintain flow was convoluted. It was a very positive experience and made me appreciate how much work goes into making the best trail alignment.

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-dsc04445_zps02551d7a.jpg
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  8. #8
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    awesome! i must say, the volunteers who come out to build trail deserve all the rep...
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  9. #9
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    free form swamp wood is a craft... set up for a jump

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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    so i've been working on this bridge building technique. the idea was what bridge can you ride in on a cargo bike and assemble it on the trail with hand tools...

    so i drew up a basic concept. it helped me conceptualize what scales and loads i have to deal with. also the life span, moisture tolerance and removal aspects.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Cool idea for a thread SS. What type of wood is that in the pic with the serious sidecut? It looks painted or stained?

  11. #11
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    I don't do much trail building (looking to do some more this year with the club) but I like to carry one of these in my pack to clear deadfall. Lightweight and compact, cheap to boot.


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    The Rouge Hoe has become all our builders favourite tool. They are expensive and worth the money. We are going to order a bunch for this building season. A rake, shovel, chopper and tamper in one super strong tool.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-w8.jpg  

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikin' Bric View Post
    I don't do much trail building (looking to do some more this year with the club) but I like to carry one of these in my pack to clear deadfall. Lightweight and compact, cheap to boot.

    That looks cool Bric. Do you find it better then a folding saw?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Shaw View Post
    That looks cool Bric. Do you find it better then a folding saw?
    Takes up less space in a camelbak, good for clearing a down branch here or there. I find it easier to use than a folder. For a trail maintenance day I'd use something bigger for sure.

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    BoB with the Black Tooth Grin works well to get tools to the harder to reach places.

    We are very lucky to have Bike Shops who support our building efforts.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-w6.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikin' Bric View Post
    Takes up less space in a camelbak, good for clearing a down branch here or there. I find it easier to use than a folder. For a trail maintenance day I'd use something bigger for sure.
    I like it. Many tools in the quiver helps hit the buff trails target. The ease of doing a small amount on a ride is a big plus. Is TPMBC allowed to use chainsaws?

  17. #17
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    hi bric, nice portable tool. it's surprising what efficient tools you can carry in your pack. you really don't need power tools, it's amazing what you can do with hand tools.


    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-dsc00995.jpg

    that's a frozen maple, almost 12" diameter. the handsaw made short work of it.
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  18. #18
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    Here's some pics I took during a trail day last year of an area that had lots of planted pine that was logged and I helped to build a trail

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-10614381_546712868791059_3219123863686108388_n_zps3d7c1b24.jpg

    Our crew used loppers, to cut many of these sections out. We cleared the branches by hand

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-dsc04242_zpsdf56d3a4.jpg

    I benched the trail through this cut out section. I enjoyed walking the trail to see results of other crews.

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-10622913_546713085457704_6154096833717709986_n_zps5771ea99.jpg
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  19. #19
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    i've also experimented with building teeter totters bases from recycled steel and machine parts. the trick was to make it weather proof and very overbuilt. the base was designed to be anchored against poured concrete slab. the bearings are sealed and have grease ports. the shaft is secured by collars. i know it is really over built, but for the amount of use that this features see's it is prudent to do so.

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  20. #20
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    here's another technique i've developed to make incredibly strong and long lasting bridge/deck spans. basically i use rejected 2x4's that are to twisted or split. the 2x4's can be picked up for free at you local lumber supply place. usually they have a pile out front for the taking. i use 3" decking screws and all weather construction adhesive. start with your first 2x4, apply a liberal amount of construction adhesive, clamp with c-clamps, screw together, repeat... you are making a composite beam. stain when done. in the picture you can see a old cut up bike tire that i recycled as a traction aid to the face.

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-pb152287.jpg

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-pb152289.jpg

    oh, forgot to add that the last two outer pieces are 2x6's
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    that's a frozen maple, almost 12" diameter. the handsaw made short work of it.
    Question: How well does the saw work on leaning or hanging trees? My local trails get a number of fallen trees which get hung up off the ground against other trees or lean against the slope of the ravine. Right now I chop out the smaller ones with an axe and the guys with chainsaws take care of the big ones.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Shaw View Post
    I like it. Many tools in the quiver helps hit the buff trails target. The ease of doing a small amount on a ride is a big plus. Is TPMBC allowed to use chainsaws?
    Yes TPMBC is, but only a few are certified to use them as per our MOU's with property owners. The hand saw is nice a quick for the smaller stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    hi bric, nice portable tool. it's surprising what efficient tools you can carry in your pack. you really don't need power tools, it's amazing what you can do with hand tools.

    that's a frozen maple, almost 12" diameter. the handsaw made short work of it.
    Nice saw, does it fit in a hydration pack?

  23. #23
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    yes it fits easily in a hydration pack. it's also fairly light weight. this saw was recommended to me by a certified arborist. even though i have my logging bucking and felling certification, i prefer to use hand tools.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bikin' Bric View Post
    Yes TPMBC is, but only a few are certified to use them as per our MOU's with property owners. The hand saw is nice a quick for the smaller stuff.



    Nice saw, does it fit in a hydration pack?
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  24. #24
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    it depends, hangers are very dangerous so when in doubt leave it to the forestry people. that being said, it's all about compression tension. you have to figure out how the compression/tension is acting on your cut. when you nail it the saw does not bind. you might have to do one partial cut followed by an opposite cut. sometimes this is not possible, to deal with this i carry a plastic wedge to keep the cut from closing and binding the saw. always be aware where the cut tree will roll or drop, safety first.


    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    Question: How well does the saw work on leaning or hanging trees? My local trails get a number of fallen trees which get hung up off the ground against other trees or lean against the slope of the ravine. Right now I chop out the smaller ones with an axe and the guys with chainsaws take care of the big ones.
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    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-saw-2.jpg

    I keep this folding saw in my camelback for trimming as needed. It folds down to 8 inches so doesn't take up much room and has come in handy numerous times.

    As far as trail building goes we use McLeods, Polaskis, loppers and fire rakes all depending on what the terrain we are building on dictates.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    it depends, hangers are very dangerous so when in doubt leave it to the forestry people. that being said, it's all about compression tension. you have to figure out how the compression/tension is acting on your cut. when you nail it the saw does not bind. you might have to do one partial cut followed by an opposite cut. sometimes this is not possible, to deal with this i carry a plastic wedge to keep the cut from closing and binding the saw. always be aware where the cut tree will roll or drop, safety first.
    ^This.

    Thank fully a lot of the dead fall we get up here is the thinner trees. And on a fair bit of the clubs trails I can get in on a ATV as it is private land we are on. My preferred method is a good length of rope secure to tree with good distance between me and tree. Back away with the ATV so I can keep my eye on what is going on. Been doing this for 3 years now. Apperently I have become the clubs "expert" on tree removal.

  27. #27
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    We use a Mcloud, Polaski, shovel, rake, tamper, loppers, folding saw and a wheelbarrow for all our building and maintenance.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  28. #28
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    Throwback Thursday : Trail building/maintenance 2008

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-155-5561_img%5B1%5D.jpg

    On one of first experiences trail building, Singlesprocket provided me with an orientation of the difference between a Pulaski, Macleod, Mattock etc.
    but I ended up shovelling dirt and picking up rocks and the best way to move that stuff was by wheel barrow.

    The spade is good for digging and cleaning up the edges of the trail. And I learned to use a square, flat shovel for packing jumps and landings and shaping lips.
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  29. #29
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    Even though I will never ride on any trails any of you have built I want to say thanks, your hard work is appreciated by all of us that ride, no matter where it is.

  30. #30
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    As we are on private land have access to a ATV which allows me to get multiple things done in one run.

    Pre Kingston Cup track scouting.


    Momentary pause between tasks to enjoy the view.


    Improving berms.

  31. #31
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    A lot of what I ride on the side of town tends to be hydro track and various barely there track or minimal maintenance. In some ways closer to what we rode way back in the late 80's. Simply there is not enough riders in Kingston to keep tracks used.

    The local golf course officially marked it's property and blocked a track I used as a mud season option. Noticed what looked like a overgrown past route.

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-1399300_10201331662946486_809431093_o.jpgBuilding trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-1399387_10201331660586427_710893834_o.jpgBuilding trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-1396860_10201331660546426_997974739_o.jpg

  32. #32
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    A few years ago, (2008) Santa brought singlesprocket a Dakine backpack designed to carry a chainsaw. He's been using it ever since. Great storage capacity and durable.

    Although he has frightened a few people walking through the woods like this

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-l1020239-1.jpg
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    A few years ago, (2008) Santa brought singlesprocket a Dakine backpack designed to carry a chainsaw. He's been using it ever since. Great storage capacity and durable.

    Although he has frightened a few people walking through the woods like this

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    I gotta get one for this year. Carrying a chainsaw by hand sucks.


    This is my kind of thread!

    I always carry a Silky Big Boy 2000 in my pack. 15" blade can make short work of just about anything with a bit of elbow grease.

    If I'm bushwhacking or clearing corridor, the best hand tool I've found is a Swedish brush axe. It's super light and awesome for cutting smaller branches and stuff.



    If I'm doing any serious corridor work a chainsaw is absolutely essential. It's by far the most important trail building tool around here because the forest looks like this:





    I am often envious of your widely spaced Ontario trees. Most of our trees are pretty small, though so felling them usually isn't all that dangerous.

    I also have a bunch of heavier tools that I hide off trail in various locations, because i'll often ride into work sites. 45lb draw bar, 10lb sledge, regular mattock, pickaxe, shovel and one of these pick/shovel combos:



    Pulaskis and hoes are generally pretty useless here because it's so rocky.

  34. #34
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    good stuff l ron hoover. we are thinking about a trip out east this year. we have some friends who have a camp near miramichi with lots of trails and i've always wanted to ride and see newfoundland.
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  35. #35
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    working hard putting in trails....Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-folirda-menceh.jpg
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  36. #36
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    is that Bono?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by emu26 View Post
    is that Bono?
    Doppleganger!
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    good stuff l ron hoover. we are thinking about a trip out east this year. we have some friends who have a camp near miramichi with lots of trails and i've always wanted to ride and see newfoundland.
    Let me know, either on the board or by PM if you're heading to the rock. I'd be happy to show you around the St. John's area trails and could likely put you on to someone for the west coast. They now allow mountain biking on some nice trails in Gros Morne and even if they didn't, the park is highly worth seeing (check Eastman15's post on fatbiking there above).

    I've been mostly in lurk mode lately but I check in pretty often.

  39. #39
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    need something portable that breaks down in the pack... going get me this tool with the heavy duty handle...

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-3_piece_handle_with_rogue_55a.jpg
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satan2 View Post
    Haha, you are a beauty.
    so in your picture what tool do you enjoy the most?
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  41. #41
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    the shovel is the attachment i would get next. though i'm not to keen on the shovel stiffening attachment add-on

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-attachment_shovel_close.jpg
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  42. #42
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    Throwback Thursday... ok picking up trash isn't sexy but it is a rite of spring and necessary

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    2010 Ride along the Humber we spied trash by the shore.
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_6830.jpg

    No bodies were found
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  43. #43
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    Good work was done last year.

    BYOT
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-10509725_546713232124356_4551044828402780182_n_zpsecbd0fef.jpg

    Axe work
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-10522573_546712915457721_4312764538503642406_n_zps0bb523d8.jpg

    shovel and rake work
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-10613037_546713152124364_3336075618404716105_n_zps590152da.jpg

    Looking forward to helping again this year
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    One of our big berm builders discovered last year that tamping on top of a tarp lets you work in damp conditions where otherwise huge globs of mud come up with the McLeod - especially good for clay soils. New, super cool technique! | Christie Lake Trail Builders

    At Christie, the favourite tool is definitely the Rogue hoe, since we have very few rocks. For this year (post forest thinning) that might change to the rake or saw!

  45. #45
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    Good stuff Nerdgirl We noticed more sticks on the Humber trails recently.. could be due to the high winds. Plus some of those sticks and branches caught in the tree branches over hanging the trails.
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  46. #46
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    Throwback Thursday 2014

    Rebuilding and reinforcing a section of a popular trail
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-dsc04461_zpsebecec16.jpg


    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-dsc04465_zps891b9f93.jpg
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    It's bloody still bloody winter down here with a potential blizzard in the forecast for Monday. Got a bit of scouting done the other week but it's really hard to know what the terrain is like when there's 3 feet of snow on it.

    Have discovered a proto-trail along the front side of the hills on the right of this picture. Going to try to get up there on the weekend to scope out possible development. East Coast Trail runs along the back side but officially we're not allowed to use it despite mountain bikers riding up there before the ECT even existed. Really nice terrain up there. Lots and lots of slick rock and fabulous views.

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-st._johns_newfoundland.jpg


    From the air: You can see the bare rock sections at the crest of the hill.
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-3026568458_49cc70ca82_z.jpg

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    need something portable that breaks down in the pack... going get me this tool with the heavy duty handle...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I bought a couple of Silky saws now that I am doing more trail maintenance. They are frighteningly sharp. I found the 9" Gomboy just about perfect for just about all the small and medium stuff. What is this called and where can I pick one up. Also looking for a recommendation on a folding shovel please.
    Burnt Norton

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    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-11152701_953697444671099_8167346740391258666_n.jpg


    Builder - Official Teaser 2


    Builder tells the story of trail building, through the eyes of some of our sport's best riders and builders. Directed by: Scott Secco. Premiering, April 17th 2015.

    This video looks awesome!

    http://www.pinkbike.com/v/embed/404065/
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by secret agent View Post
    I bought a couple of Silky saws now that I am doing more trail maintenance. They are frighteningly sharp. I found the 9" Gomboy just about perfect for just about all the small and medium stuff. What is this called and where can I pick one up. Also looking for a recommendation on a folding shovel please.
    It's called the trail boss Trail Boss

    I haven't found a decent portable shovel yet other then what comes with the trail boss.

    Though this one looks promising

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  51. #51
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    Thanks. I'll look into that. Looks about right, though it might be overkill as I am doing maintenance and not building. Also, I am not going to do anything serious without guidance.
    Burnt Norton

  52. #52
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    Working on the fun track.





  53. #53
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    Throwback Thursday

    Earth Day April 2012 Picking up trash
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-p1018111-1-.jpg

    2009 Crothers Woods for some trail work
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  54. #54
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    Throwback Thursday
    Some trail maintenance in ~2011

    I enjoy the stewartship opportunities. I get to meet new people, check in with old friends and learn new techniques
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-p1012993.jpg

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-p1012983.jpg

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-p1012992.jpg


    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-p1012978-1-.jpg


    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-p1012997-1-.jpg
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  55. #55
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    Removing widowmakers safely.




  56. #56
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    good job, keep it safe


    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    Removing widowmakers safely.



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  57. #57
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    Sadly, most of our trails still look like this:



    Still a few weeks away from riding here.

    Did a walkthrough to clear the inevitable deadfall from multiple near hurricane force wind events over the winter. Had a chainsaw failure and forgot my saw tools (D'Oh!) so I ended up clearing a bunch of stuff with my Silky. Took me 8 minutes to go from this:



    To this:



    Not fully cleared but passable. The couple of remaining trees are caught up in other trees and pretty solid. Removing them will require the chainsaw and probably another body.

  58. #58
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    looks like you got your work cut out for you l. ron hoover. we have to try to get out to the rock this year. your trails look like a lot of fun.
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  59. #59
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    picked up a cool little backpack shovel for my portable trail building kit. will see how it holds up.

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-92sf_1.jpg
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    build trail!

  60. #60
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  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-11212658_10205083360976592_6139123616520593184_o_zpsgwjejilc-1-.jpg

    The site is problematic lately
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  62. #62
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    lately?


  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    looks like you got your work cut out for you l. ron hoover. we have to try to get out to the rock this year. your trails look like a lot of fun.
    It's been getting windier and windier here. We had a couple of true hurricane events over the last bunch of years that decimated a lot of trees and weakened a lot more.

    Be sure to get in touch if you head out here. I will show you around and if I can't I can certainly point you to the good trails.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    Link to berm shot.
    Looks like a nice berm, but that's a lot of standing water. Mosquitoes!!!

    Our method for berms that have to go the wrong way for water drainage is... drainage! We installed weeping tiles (just the plastic hose - quite cheap) from the bottom of the berm (covered with rocks) through the berm down the slope. It even seemed to keep ice from building up there.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerdgirl View Post
    Looks like a nice berm, but that's a lot of standing water. Mosquitoes!!!

    Our method for berms that have to go the wrong way for water drainage is... drainage! We installed weeping tiles (just the plastic hose - quite cheap) from the bottom of the berm (covered with rocks) through the berm down the slope. It even seemed to keep ice from building up there.
    Only if you could drain the swamp around. Advantage to private land.

  66. #66
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    Flashback May 2011

    Singlesprocket doing the final touches smoothing a newly build drop
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_0936.jpg

    I cleared the the stingweed from this stretch of trail.
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_0939.jpg

    This bridge replaced an old rotten one
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_0949.jpg
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  67. #67
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    Real course workers can ride 30k of trails with a chainsaw.

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-10264127_10202762598678985_5680000997100381098_o.jpg

    And mods...can we please fix the pic links. It's funny how we have new website stuff yet can't use it. If you can't then go back to the previous method which actually worked if we wanted to link from an URL. Currently as useful as Apple IOS.

  68. #68
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    safety first...

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  69. #69
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    Throwback Thursday

    2010 Primrose with BTA

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_8023.jpg
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  70. #70
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    Quick update from the Rock. Work on the new trail in the Southside Hills (tentatively named Earth Rocker after the Clutch album of the same name) is progressing. Reached a milestone on Sunday in that it now can be ridden end to end. Still some ground work to do but overall it's riding pretty well. There are definitely some hard moves and spots where ground work will smooth things out enough to carry a bit more speed. Pretty techy and soft right now. It's been wet and there's a lot of moss.

    Crappy cell phone pics:
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_20150707_200154.jpgBuilding trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_20150707_200408.jpgBuilding trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_20150707_200456.jpgBuilding trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_20150707_200654.jpgBuilding trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-img_20150707_205415.jpg

  71. #71
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    Throwback Thursday!

    October 2011

    Maintenance work. One of those rare times when no one brought a chainsaw... but there were plenty of helpers! Everyone pitched in to saw through that big ol' tree

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-p1013769.jpgBuilding trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-p1013779.jpg
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  72. #72
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    Hawthorns bad

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-12295352_770224323106578_4673615909650366581_n.jpg


    Snippers good

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-7dpyxhq.jpg

    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-12115450_770226426439701_6608106738593931581_n.jpg


    Job Done!
    Building trail 2015... tips, tricks and trips-12240105_770225879773089_5993546183095872556_n.jpg
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