Nov 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm #1295792
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
What are the lightest loppers out there? Most of them seem pretty heavy. Intended use would be trail clearing.Nov 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm #1926367
From "big box" store
Fiskars loper – some sort of hollow plastic handles – 13.5 ounces
Folding Corona saw is much more useful – 6.6 ounces
lopers better for lots of little twigs – I take these occasionally
folding saw can do 6 inch diameter branches – I take this more often
Nov 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm #1926369
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Hmm… I guess loppers are just going to be heavy either way. The trails I want to help clear are overgrown with mostly chaparral stuff. Way too thin for a saw and too springy/awkward for using a machete safely.Nov 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm #1926370
Yeah, I've looked for lighter lopers
Maybe someone else knows of somethingNov 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm #1926379
The trail adopting I do is slow enough work that saving a few ounces on tools has little noticeable advantage.
We can maintain about 4.5 miles in an 8 hour day and we have 9 miles. There's a good place to camp conveniently near the midpoint and it's a three hour drive each way so it pretty much fills a weekend.
Tools are medium length loppers geared for a 3:1 mechanical advantage (handles stuff up to 1.25 inch), a one handed pruning tool for tiny stuff and 24" bow saws for downed trees.Nov 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm #1926383
@filsingerLocale: Pacific Northwest
It really depends on the amount of trail you need to clear. I have cleared a lot of chapparal and you must have high quality pruners. Once you have it cleared it is easy to maintain with corona professional grade hand clippers, but if you need to prune for hours on end than I would buy Corona 20" Professional Bypass Vine Loppers (about $35).They weigh 1 lb. 15 oz. but are versatile, hold an edge, and the wooden handles absorb a lot of shock and helps to prevent arm and hand fatigue. The curved arc blade allows you to push cut branches to the side. Remember to bring quality gloves and you can prune for longer periods of time.I would avoid the cheaper lighter plastic or metal loppers as they will fail with very little use.On a side note trail building and clearing is a very gratifying experience.
HootNov 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm #1926384
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> avoid the cheaper lighter plastic or metal loppers as they will fail with very little use.
I found that the long wooden handles themselves are good, but the way the metal extensions from the blades were poked into the handles was poor. So I stripped the handles off, stripped the metal sleeves off the handles, cleaned out everything, and then reassembled with LOTS of epoxy.
20 years later (or is that 30?), they are still very robust.
CheersNov 5, 2012 at 7:29 am #1926438
The Fiskars units (there's one larger than shown above, too) are good and really are pretty light for what they are, due to the thermoplastic handles. We have a set of each that have lasted a few years on trail crew. Personally, I use a set of compound loppers that have sliding extension, fiberglass handles. I don't think of them as heavy, but they give reach and power other loppers don't have. –So much so that one can damage the lopper by attempting items too large. They field repair easily, however.
Loppers, hand-saw, burly pruning shears, a McCloud and a hoe are my essential tools for a multi-person crew.Nov 5, 2012 at 7:40 am #1926443
I haven't babied my Fiskars and they've survived so far
There's a mechanical advantage of maybe 6:1 – I've gone through some fairly big branches. The blade has a couple places where it's bent a little – maybe I should try to fix that.
Like all lightweight gear, it won't last forever – there's a compromise between heaviness and lifetimeNov 7, 2012 at 9:39 am #1926845
@heyyouLocale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
For brush clearing in chaparral, I carry the Fiskars 15" anvil loppers, costing $20-25 depending on the season. My saw is a $9-$10, 16" Stanley Shark Tooth hand saw in a black and yellow paper sheath sold at all big box stores, including Wally World. The saw has fine teeth so you can cut a bundle of very small stems or a 5" limb on a palo verde tree. The saw cannot be resharpened.
Fiskars products have a lifetime warranty. You go to their website, fill out a form, include a picture of the damage, and your replacement product arrives in two weeks. I've done that once.
Anvil loppers only have one cutting blade. One side of it is flat, the other side is entirely a big bevel. The flat side has a eighth inch of sharpened bevel on it. In Mother Earth News, they recommended sharpening only on that tiny bevel, then make one pass on the other side to remove the slight burr. That has been working well for me, lightly sharpening about twice per day with a one inch by four inch sharpening stone intended for use in the kitchen.
Safety glasses are needed with short handled loppers, not every time, but you don't stay lucky if you leave them at home. I carry foam knee pads to use when kneeling to cut near the ground. My gloves are heavy, split leather, gauntlet cuffed, welding gloves, imported from China, costing $10 for three pair. I use them when clearing cat claw. I only touch prickly pear cactus with metal tools, never picking it up with gloves that I want to continue to use.Nov 7, 2012 at 10:09 am #1926857
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I would opt for a Gerber Sportsman's saw at 3.3oz and $10-$12. Not as handy as a lopper but light and more universal. I would add good work gloves and just break the smaller stuff off.Nov 7, 2012 at 10:50 am #1926865
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
Another vote for the Fiskars. Cheap, relatively light and surprisingly durable. I too use the 15" powergear anvil super pruner. Works well for smaller branches on typical chapparal.
I've thought about whether a pair of hedge shears would be handy for more quickly lopping back abundant small growth encroaching on trails. With long handles it could be good for beating back PO too. Haven't tried it yet as I haven't found a lightweight pair but I keep it in the back of my mind…
A pruning saw is handy. I go a little more overboard on this and carry a Silky Big Boy 2000. 14.5" inch blade, 5.5 teeth per inch and a nice long handle. Weighs just under a pound. Can easily cut up to about a 12" diameter blow down. Pricey but a group of local hikers got together and ordered a bulk shipment at a discounted price. We've got a small army of these things out patrolling and maintaining our local routes.
Obviously I don't always carry these items but if it's a trail work oriented trip, one or both come along.
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