Trail building tool

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  • Trail building tool
  • st
    Member

    A specific question on a trail building tool, does anyone know of a UK supplier Olof something like the digging Hoes here;
    http://www.prohoe.com/hickory_handles.html
    I’ve got most other tools including McLeod, Mattock and Chillington ‘Crocodile’ hoes but the Prohoe (snigger) looks like a good alternative. My thinking being…

    It’s heavier (better) that the Crocodile
    It’s more compact than the McLeod
    It’s wider and potentially better weighted than the Mattock

    The closest I can think if is modifying a Mattock to remove the axe edge but this will still leave a narrow cutting blade.

    This is for formal trail building where I get to take a selection of tools out hence no need to compromise on a one for all tool.

    Going to the States looks like a faff in postage and duty costs but I’m struggling to find anything in the UK so far.

    Ta.

    A mattock is a British equivalent of that tool great bit of trail building kit
    £20 at screwfix
    http://m.screwfix.com/p/roughneck-5lb-mattock-fibreglass-33/85777?kpid=85777&cm_mmc=Google-_-Product%2520Listing%2520Ads-_-Sales%2520Tracking-_-sales%2520tracking%2520url&gclid=CImvifeB6LsCFWmWtAod_H8AoQ

    Edit sorry didn’t read your post fully now realise you already have the mattock!

    st
    Member

    Yep, got a (well about 15) mattocks ;o)

    The Prohoe seems to have an option roughly twice as wide as Mattock so about the same as the Crocodile hoe but I find the Croc a bit twangy and low on weight when swung.

    cubemeup
    Member

    speak to some who builds tools to knock you one up

    st
    Member

    I’ve been keeping half an eye out for a decent metalworker to speak to locally. Got let down but the last place and also lost the tool I’d given them as a rough template in the process which was annoying.

    Handles can be tricky to source but something based around a Hickory Mattock handle could work.

    looky

    My mate Gareth builds these, not sure about postage from Dunedin though!

    ninfan
    Member

    If you get a batch sent over, I’ll take one off your hands 😀

    In the meantime – the OP needs to have a look at chillington digging hoes

    http://www.chillingtontoolsonline.co.uk/digging-hoes-and-handles-c1

    Tried here for azadas?

    http://www.get-digging.co.uk/tools.htm

    Really good quality tools. Chap has also given SingletrAction some generous discounts 🙂

    If anyone’s found a McLeod supplier in UK / affordable I’d love the details. The proverbial rocking horse …..

    Same for Pulaski / fireman’s axes?

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Subscriber

    The Prohoe 55H is the best trail digging tool that I have used, bar none! A 5 lb mattock is too heavy, and 2.5-3 lb garden mattock isn’t wide enough in my experience. They’re made from old disc harrows, and the steel holds an edge much better than anything else that I’ve used.

    I have never found the pointy bit like on the 60A to be of any use whatsoever; and its a drawback as they can’t dig as deep since the handle is centered, not at the top edge like the 55.

    I keep a well sharpened Pulaski on hand for root cutting, not general digging. The Rogues cut small roots easily, but can bounce off of larger ones since they aren’t very heavy. The estra weight of the Pulaski works better here IMO.

    How much is shipping to the UK? I’m American, so shipping is about $12 for a single tool for me, total of $52. If the situation was reversed, I’d be willing to pay close to $100 if I had to; they’re that good IME.

    st
    Member

    Ninfan & cheekymonkey, already sorted there with the Chillington Crcodile referred to in my posts. The Chillington stuff is good value but the interface with the handle isn’t great and the plate from which the tool itself is made of makes it quite twangy. The Prohoe looks to have a much more positive joint between the blade and the handle and hopefully the head is more substantial.

    JoeG, thanks, you may be right and it could be the best option, shipping may not be too bad but import duty could be a killer. I’ll enquire further.

    Anymore suggestions?

    I’ve used cheap and lightweight chillingtons from Silverline before. The ones I’ve linked to come in a variety of weights and the heavier ones aren’t “twangy”. I’m wondering how different a Prohoe would be in reality. proo

    Drop me an email if you decide to buy. Always keen to try new tools and delivery (or tax) shared might help.

    Chairman@singletraction.co.uk

    st
    Member

    We have about 10 of the Chillington ones and they all sit loose on the handles and I’d like a more shaped handle than the ones we have.

    I’ve sent an email off to the guys and will see what they come back with, I’ll let you know how it goes.

    scruff
    Member

    £5 per rider should pay for some import taxes…

    I’ve found cheap chillingtons to be bad for that. When new we whack the heads in then soak for a couple of days, helps a lot. Get Diggings versions come on good, larger diameter shafts so fairly comfortable. Long handled tools in general are just much comfort IME.

    Let me know before you order (now and in future). Just about to blow a fistful of club funds on tools for several sites. Cheap tools just generally don’t last.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I lost my old chillington, but it used to have a pretty loose head- I ended up smacking in a load of wedges to stabilise it but tbh it just felt like I was using the tool harder than it wanted to be used.

    ninfan
    Member

    Cheeky – there’s some Pulaski’s on Ebay from a Scottish Tool supplier, that are made by Truper, which IIRC bought out Collins, who used to make the USFS Pulaski heads

    Mine is a Valley industries one that I got before they went under in the UK

    The Azada’s do look very nice, might give on of them a go

    regards loose handles – I was very lucky in that when I trained with the FC we still had a proper tool store with all sorts of old tools like peat cutting spades and the tricks handed down by one of the old boys on a wet afternoon cleaning tools – he showed us that the old trick was when fitting a new head they went straight into a bucket of paraffin for a couple of weeks to soak before use. Also used to have a half drum filled with sand and old engine oil to clean shovels with (rinse off the worst with water, then shove the blade into the oil soaked sand to clean and oil it before putting it back in the store)

    Ninfan – cheers, was looking for plastic shafts but those might be an acceptable alternative. We’re still using one that IMBA gave SingletrAction when it started up, I think that was nearly 12 years ago. Needs a good sharpen 😉

    If you do get anything from Get Digging please mention us. He’s been very generous with discounts and I’d like him to know we were recommending him. I find his stuff much better quality and durability than Silverline. If you can afford quality tools (and will look after them) they’re usually worth it, IMO.

    I find this one to be a great general purpose tool:

    It has its limits but when you’re off for a wander, don’t want to lug lots of tools and might need to tweak something / general maintenance its spot on for me.

    The other good thing about the Azadas on Get Digging is they’re available in different weights. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford a couple and don’t have to worry about carrying them to work sites then it’s easy to match the right one to the job. Nothing like the bone jarring vibrations of a heavy azada contacting a buried rock 😉

    If anyone wants to try them out we have dig days first Sunday every month at Stainburn. Petrol costs might be cheaper than an expensive shipment from the States 😉

    st
    Member

    Fortunately rock isn’t an issue for use, it’ll all hard packed gravel with the odd big stone, hence something better than a Croc and slightly lighter than a mattock would be great.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    If anyone’s found a McLeod supplier in UK / affordable I’d love the details

    There actually is one now. Think it might be these guys: http://www.yell.com/biz/jafco-tools-ltd-wednesbury-1428870/

    IIRC they’re still not cheap but nothing like as dear as importing from the US.

    st
    Member

    When I looked into it Jafco fibreglass handles were used by a company who made a UK Mcleod for Phil Lee who was part of the team behind the early South Wales trail development.

    Jafco make handles for fire beaters and other such tools.

    A fledgling Chase Trails (us) ended up with two of them through our co-founder and we used them as inspiration for our own McLeod and had 20 made up by a metalwork company through a friend of the group. Most of these McLeods are still going strong after 11 years of use but the link to the company that made them has been lost.

    I’m sure as a group we will end up getting more made and if this happens I’d like to think we could help other groups out with a limited supply but who knows when that will be.

    Murray
    Member

    @ninfan – what does soaking the shaft in paraffin do? If it swells the shaft, doesn’t it shrink afterwards or does the wood retain the paraffin? I’m just trying to get my head around how it works.

    ninfan
    Member

    Murray, yes like water it swells the shaft but take a lot longer to dry out and shrink.

    I’ve heard that soaking in anti-freeze fixes it for even longer, but don’t know if it weakens the structure at all.

    Fortunately rock isn’t an issue for use, it’ll all hard packed gravel with the odd big stone, hence something better than a Croc and slightly lighter than a mattock would be great.

    If you need a good groundbreaker this isn’t bad. We have one but it’s less useful at Stainburn given all the aforementioned rock (sorry, it’s not “going spare” 😉 ) And of course, it’ll only break the ground, not shift it.

    Might have to give Jafco a ring. Also found these:

    http://www.lasher.co.za/show_products_full.php?id=260&product_category=Agricultural

    Sadly located in Africa!

    st
    Member

    I’ll sort out some pictures of ours and email them over to you. It’s a design that should be fairly easy for anyone who works in tool steel to replicate with a simple way of fixing (and therefore replacing the handles) which in our case are wooden and have been lasting very well.

    “Tool steel” workers are the key I think. One of our former members got some made in mild steel but they didn’t last all that long. Particularly not in the hands of some of our more “enthusiastic” volunteers 😉

    ninfan
    Member

    Interesting one for lighter/finishing work

    http://www.spaketools.com/products-page/

    scruff
    Member

    Im not sure if the current FC H&S policies would allow paraffin soaked handtools, would be great lighting a few up though, like Temple of Doom torches.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Apparently BTR Fabrications (the same guys who make the love ’em/hate DH hardtails) have knocked up a batch of mcloeds for someone in Scotland. Might be worth giving them a shout. http://www.btr-fabrications.com/contact/

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Subscriber

    I don’t know how well the prohoe would work in a gravel soil, that’s not what we have where I live. And McLeouds aren’t real useful for my trails as there are lots of roots in the soil that they snag on. But when soil conditions are right, McLeouds work great.

    The Prohoe hickory handles are virtually indestructible, and the head never moves on them IME. They appear to be glued and pinned into a deep rectangular steel socket that is welded to the blade. I’ve abused mine using it to pry on roots and stumps, and its never loosened. The hickory handles make axe or sledgehammer handles look downright flimsy!

    I have heard that Prohoe give discounts for large purchases, especially by nonprofit groups. It would definitely be worth an email to see what they can do as well as what shipping would cost. And I’d guess that its not a terribly busy time of year for them as well.

    I’ve seen Truper tools here in the US, and I think that they are on the cheaper/lower quality end of the spectrum. Ames, Collins, True Temper, Council, and others are better, I think.

    The Pulaski uses a double bit axe handle, which I think is a US thing not common overseas. So you might want the fiberglass or plastic handles, or maybe buy some extra handles if you place an order from the states. Even in the US, Pulaskis are expensive to ship because they are heavy.

    st
    Member

    Joe, I sent the guys a message yesterday so will hopefully get something back over the next couple of days and will report back.

    st
    Member

    In case anyone is still checking this thread I’ve just received a reply from Prohoe and they can ship a single FB55h over to the UK for £101 so as expected the shipping is more than the tool with roulette on import duty. I’m tempted to go for it but it looks like multiple tools would be a better punt.

    ninfan
    Member

    Would a bunch of heads not be better, and shaft them here?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I think the typical macleod is a bit specific maybe… I don’t get on well with ours. But I had a wee swing of Joe Barnes one, which is kind of half macleod, half medieval weapon- shorter and heavier, with a thick oblong head (rake, tooth and edge on assorted sides). Way better for dirt that fights back. Think you might tneed to be stronger than me to get the best out of it mind.

    st
    Member

    Ninfan, I can’t comment for others. It I’d much prefer to have a complete tool delivered. It appears to be one of their seeking point last that the handle/head interface is robust. I’m happy to rely on their experience on the one!

    Lawmanmx
    Member

    Time to break the welder out and make one of them rake things, and where can i get one of them azadas jobbies from in the uk?

    dab
    Member

    Tam @ BTR did a load of mcleods for us at AmBTA
    Really solid stuff

    As a few people have pointed out the get digging site is good
    If you speak to Simon he’s got the bellotta catalogue and there’s some really good stuff he can get you

    I own some azadas and love them

    I think £50 would be about acceptable for a prohoe, IMO. i expect that’ll be difficult to achieve for a whole tool from the US 🙁

    I’ve just spent over £500 on tools etc for 3 sites with big orders to come from Get Digging. ST do you want me to get you an azada to try? At about £25 its got to be worth it compared to £100+ 😉

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    cheeky, there are 4 spare STA azada at St Ives which I’m removing from the container (along with the Terram) to use elsewhere. No point in them sitting not being used.

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Subscriber

    they can ship a single FB55h over to the UK for £101 so as expected the shipping is more than the tool with roulette on import duty

    😯 😮 😯 😥

    Do you know anyone in the US military? If so, maybe they can order them for you and pay US shipping rates.

    It may also be worth checking with a couple of large suppliers that carry them, try http://www.benmeadows.com/ and http://www.forestry-suppliers.com

    I’ve never seen anything similar to the hickory handles on the Rogues here in the US, so I doubt that you could find something to fit in the UK if you somehow managed to order the tool heads only,

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 45 total)

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