Going tool shopping... need some pointers- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Going tool shopping... need some pointers

    Whee - time to spend our grant money!!

    1. I built books into our budget, of the three books put out by IMBA ( Trail Solutions, Natural Surface Trails by Design, and Lightly on the Land 2nd Edition) which ones are the most useful? I can get all three if I want, and extra copies too.

    2. Good resource/best price on McLoeds, clinotometers etc. I've got the Forestry Supply catalog. Does any supplier give preference to trail building organizations?

    Thanks!

    Formica

  2. #2
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    Depends on where you're building

    I have been building trail in Tennessee woods for 2+ yrs. Our technique is to rough cut the route with a weedeater with blade, then rake out with the stiffest leaf rake you can find; then dig the tread with a cutter mattock; then rake out the dirt to final contour with the stiff rake. by alternating between rake and mattock, you can work all day. In my opinion, for maximum output, each person needs both tools. You might get some extra rakes, becasue frequently the ladies don't want to dig, but will rake out the leaves so we can get to digging. I got my favorite hickory handled 5 lb cutter mattock from:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/newreply.php?...te=1&p=2271761 I think it was about $27. These might be a little heavy for folks not used to swinging one so might get some lighter ones too, or some pulaskis. I like the wood handles, and have never broken one, but i know not to try to pry out a root.

    You might also get a disc sander and some sanding pads to keep tools sharp. I sharpen all our tools about every third or fourth time used. We are cutting roots mainly, but they dull from rock strikes.

    I have tried the all metal Shulaski and find that it vibrates when hit a hard root or rock. Also handle hard to hold so wrapped with anti-slip ball bat tape. They are indestructable however, and may be reason so popular with volunteer groups. The Shulaski McLeod is a good tool, but I don't use it too much.

    The stiff rake that I have found best is called a shrub rake, and is very stiff. Got them at Lowes (Lumber and building mtl chain here) for less than $7 each. Under the Lowes label, they said Ames, a good brand. They have beefy handle too. great deal.
    Kindacreeky,
    Tennessee Singletrac Sculpter

  3. #3
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    We bought our clinometer on ebay for only $35 but make sure you get the right model.

    We bought our McClouds from Lamberton Rakes in Oregon and I found the 12" model to be easiest to use by volunteers. The deep trail rake is good but kind of heavy after awhile we use the shallow ones.

    We bought our pulaskis, rock bars, shovels loppers and etc from Home Depot (bring your tax exempt certificate for a discount/tax break.

    Forestry Suppliers will give you a 10% discount if your a not-for-profit...ask for a price quote. We bought alot of specialty tools from them.

    I would buy all three books and read them a couple of times over the winter.

    Of course your tool selection will depend on the terrain and soil structure you are working with.

  4. #4
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    This is specifically what I am shopping for: mcloeds, clinometer, hip chain, measuring wheel. Everything else we have covered.

    Went to HD today and bought $300 of drills, that was fun!

  5. #5
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    We bought a measuring wheel (pro model) off e-bay for $17

    We also bought a 1,500 pound capacity Tree Cart from our local landscape supply house...we are going to use it to transport big boulders to build technical trail features and a switchback wall.

    http://www.lambertonrake.com/

    I bought a few different sizes 12" and 12" deep...the 61/2" one is good to put in the BOB trailer when we have light duty trail maintenance.

    You can also buy Shulaskies and McLeods from Traildesign...ask for a catalog: [email protected]
    Last edited by sick4surf; 09-21-2006 at 01:42 PM.

  6. #6
    Builder of Trails
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    My local club and I have used the Lamberton rakes and have seen the teeth get bent on these rakes. For my business, I bought some locally built rkaes, Anderson rakes, that are made from rolled steel and not pressed. They are heavier with bigger teeth and not susceptible to bending. $45 each.

    The best book to have is IMBA's Trail Solutions. It's well written and practical. IMBA members get a discount, too!

    I also get my pulaskis at Home Depot. They used to be around $20 but now approach $30 each. It still a better deal than Forestry Suppliers at $65 plus.

    I bought my measuring wheel at a local police product distribution business. GT Distributors has some tools, too, but they are expensive. The link above is to the tools specifically.

    Measuring wheels are here.

    Browse around the web site; they have some cool stuff.

    D

  7. #7
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    Whee - time to spend our grant money!!

    1. I built books into our budget, of the three books put out by IMBA ( Trail Solutions, Natural Surface Trails by Design, and Lightly on the Land 2nd Edition) which ones are the most useful? I can get all three if I want, and extra copies too.

    2. Good resource/best price on McLoeds, clinotometers etc. I've got the Forestry Supply catalog. Does any supplier give preference to trail building organizations?

    Thanks!

    Formica
    1) I have Trail Solutions and Natural Surfaces. Trail Solutions is much more valuable. If you have the budget, Natural Surface has some additional info, but I'd probably buy a ratio of 3 to 1 in favor of the IMBA book. If you have one or two main crew leaders, they may glean some additional info from the Natural Surfaces. Another interesting book I've read was published by an Appalachian Trail Group. Lots of info on tool maintenance and skylines (very cool, but pricey).

    2) We recently bought several Nupla McClouds, yellow fiberglass handle, from CPS outdoors. Got a six pack for about $45 each. Great McLeod price. No bent teeth, but 2 have a slightly loose head/handle connection after less than a year. Avoid McLeods that attach the handle with a large nut on the face of the blade because its terrible for tamping. http://www.cspoutdoors.com/mcleodfiretool.html CPSoutdoors is slow but have decent prices. I can't tell if the Mcleod in the pic has a nut or not.

    Brunton Clino's (recommended to me over the "S" brand by a certain TCC crew) can be found on ebay for $35-$40.

    Pulaski axes sell regularly on ebay for $15. Some of the sellers buy dozens at a time from forestry surplus. Track down the sellers and ask to purchase multiple axes. That said, I really like the weight and cutter width/length of an axe mattock for heavy benching. We have some of each, put the Pulaski is what most folks go for first.

    Sound fun! Happy shopping

  8. #8
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    Our secret for success is the rhino hoe from national firefighter. 8 steel blade. 42 hickory handle. Cheap at $34 (compared to mcleods) bench cuts and goes through roots like no other. It can be used for compaction as well. mcleod is still a better finishing tool. Pulaskis have been relagated to use only on removing very large roots. here in Indiana it is our tool of choice.




  9. #9
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    Rhino Hoe - thanks for tip

    Thanks for the tip, but I am not sure that this will work for us too good. I have tried a hoe sold by the railroad tools guys, called a wood adz. it has only about a 5" wide blade and is great for good digging dirt, as cuts roots great, but if we get into a rocky patch, the regular cutter mattocks with their 3.5 -4" blade are much more efficient. dont bounce off of the rocks as much and break through. I think tools are site specific, and it helps to have a lot of different types. Most women can't handle a mattock too heavy, but most men that are used to work, can do more work with the heavier tool. So we have both pulaskis, light mattock, heavier mattock, but the Mcleods are generally relegated to tamping around here. (TN) Just too wide of blade to use for cutting bench. SORBA Mid TN. I may get one of these to try anyway.
    Kindacreeky,
    Tennessee Singletrac Sculpter

  10. #10
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    New question here.

    Glad you posted about the Rhino Hoe.
    I had seen this in a mail order last year and wondered how it would do?
    I was considering using it for the finish work cutting roots out of the tread.

    As to the assortment of tools, yes it is very good to have plenty to choose from.
    But it's real hard to find an operator for a 5 lb mattock.
    For some reason there is always a big turnover with operators
    Anyway, IMO the pulaski can't be beat. The trick is not to kill the trail with every swing but to baby step it, little bit at a time.
    Something else I've used is a heavy duty scraper. It's great for walking new tread and stabbing at those roots, no bending involved.

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