Tuesday, 11 November 2014

First Aid Kit - in vehicle

The first aid kit in my truck lives behind the passenger seat, its clearly labelled and I make a point of making sure everyone knows where it is
The contents consist mostly of large wound dressings, large sterile dressings and assorted tape/gauze.

It all just about squeezes into the case

which is a Peli case I originally brought to house my SLR camera, but decided after countless other first aid boxes had fallen to pieces that it would see more action and be better suited to living in my truck.
Peli are renown for there quality and robust build, they are completely water and dust proof and will take a serious amount of abuse.

This helps keep the contents clean and dry and all in one place, what's the first aid kit like in your truck

Saturday, 8 November 2014

First aid kit - personal

I've never really climbed with a first aid kit, I've always founf they got in the way, and to be honest was probably a little complacent about it. One of the firms I've been working for recently provided me with one and figuring I had nothing to loose I thought I'd try it out

Well, after a couple of weeks I was reminded as to why I never bother wearing one, as it promptly started falling to pieces!

The Velcro and press stud combo is strong enough to hold it on the harness for about half a climb, or until it comes into contact with a branch or limb. The trouble is it just sits in such a way that its bound to catch on stuff, the only flex or give in it is when it pops off
Then if you look at the actual contents the only thing that would be of any actual use in a tree is the large wound dressing, the waterproof plasters don't stick to anything and had gone mouldy and the first aid guide had disintegrated  
Time for a rethink...

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Arbtruck storage solutions

Just a few modifications/storage solutions for my Landrover Arbtruck

Pole pruners and rake mounted on chip flap with quick fists, also a 5lt jerry can holder also does a pretty good job of holding a 2 stroke can

Under the passenger seat I've managed to fit a set of jump leads and a bottle jack next to the battery
the bottle jack is wrapped in foam to stop it banging around
In the drivers side under body storage box I've got a socket set, spanner role, can of WD40, marking spray and a tool bag

Tool bag has most of the things yours likely to need, including some fencing tools for when you need to take down (or repair!) a fence, there is also spare chains for all the saws
The passenger side box has 2 cans of Aspen, a spill kit and bottle of engine oil

Monday, 27 October 2014

Retrievable Top tie for SRT

I've always favoured a top tie for SRT, I find it cleaner and neater and don't need to worry about someone (or me!) cutting my base tie. I tie a figure 8 around a dmm anchor ring which has been preinstalled on the other side of the line. This way there is less friction/ware on the point at which it cinches on the line/tree.

The main flaw with this system being that I always need to climb back to the top to remove the tie in and then usually have to switch back to double rope to descend.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with this it can be quite time consuming, So I have been experimenting with using a 5mm cord and a small DMM snap to retrieve the line

I clip this into the figure 8 not the dmm anchor ring, as then when you pull the cord the ring stays in the right orientation and does not add friction to the system, it seems to retrieve the tie in quite well, the cord is just thick enough to get a good purchase on it to give it a good pull. It has worked on a 2ft ivy clad stem so I'm hoping it will retrieve from most anchors. the only issue so far is when to clip the line in and how much would it get in the way if installed at the beginning?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Stihl ms200t - refurbs

Decided to do something about my old climbing saws that had sat around unused since I got my new husky. They had both been pretty temperamental for some time, and only one would ever work at anyone time.

I can do most aspects of saw maintenance myself, but I felt these needed something more, so having read good reviews about the work of 'spud' on Arbtalk I decided to send them to him. 

Turned out they wanted quite a bit doing to them and the parts replaced included the following: Fuel tank breather, Second-hand Crank, Secondhand Flywheel, Fuel pipes X2, Carb kits X2, Recoil Handle, Crank bearing, SealsX2, Sprocket X2, clutch springs X6, Lower AV buffer, Throttle trigger, Chain-catcher. They were also cleaned through, pressure tested and retuned to run on Aspen
This will be especially beneficial for these saws as they will be back up saws and may sit for months at a time without being used, which would be detrimental with normal pump fuel.  

Slowly making the switch over to aspen on all my saws and hedge trimmers, but this is another post altogether...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Lirios Armor hitch cord - first impressions

Picked up a couple of metres of Lirios Armor hitch cord at the APF on the recommendation of Honey Brothers, at 3 times the price of the Sirius I normally use I was initially doubtful and it was going to have to seriously impress me

Only used it on 2 climbs so far, one large (SRT) and one smallish (Double rope) and I have to say I was very impressed, used it with my usual knot - distel. Its very smooth, holds well and tends nicer than any cord I've used before. So if it lasts I may well be a convert! I won't speak to soon though, its early days yet, more later...

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Tree Runner P500 - First Impressions

Had a couple of opportunities recently to try out the new Tree runner rigging bollard I picked up for CTC's lightweight rigging kit from the APF

Rigged down this smallish sycamore last week 

Nothing overly massive or complicated but still needed rigging

The ratchet holds the bollard well, and there was no sign of any movement, even when rigging some pretty hefty lumps (kind of size lumps that need cutting into 3 - 4 pieces in order to lift them onto the van)

We were using it with a 16mm rope, which is technically bigger than recommended (14mm) but seemed fine, just needed less wraps than you'd need with a thinner rope. 

As a secondary device for reductions/limb removals it would more than sufficient and a definite improvement on a portawrap or similar. The main advantage being the user friendly nature and how quickly in-experienced ground staff can pick it up and get to grips with it. 

Being rated at only 500kg it is no replacement for a Stein bollard, but would be a good device for small crews and start ups. or as a secondary device for larger firms. 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Husqvarna T540xp - ongoing review

Been Using this saw almost exclusively for at least 6 months now.

Things I love about it:

- Feels balanced in the hand
- The power is definitely there, maybe not quite as quick as a good 200t, but its definitely there, you notice this especially when chogging down larger that bar length timber
- The clip on the back that allows one handed clipping to a caritool or similar

Things I hate:

- Not entirely sure I'm sold on auto tune yet, don't like how the saw runs when its ran dry
- The general build quality
This was the handle after it fell 1m out of the truck and hit concrete, not quite all the way through and not completely un usable but still not good. 

And this is the rear AV spring after I went away for a few days and one of the other climbers took it out and must have been dropping it on its strop rather than clipping it short. 

I do like this saw but feel they may have slightly missed the mark on build quality...

Sunday, 21 September 2014

APF 2014

Managed to get across to Ragley Hall yesterday to check out the APF forestry exhibition. Its always a good opportunity to check out the latest gear and machinery, as well as do some shopping!

Picked up a few bits for myself -
Another Petzl bucket bag! 25m of 8mm Sirius accessory cord (my hitch cord of choice, this should last me a while!) and some 8mm Liros armor hitch cord I decided to try.

Also got myself a pair of Arborwear canopy trousers that I've wanted to try for ages 

As well as an Arborwear polo shirt. I'm currently looking to get some work shirts printed, but want to start off with a decent shirt, rather than the standard fruit of the loom ones. So thought I'd give one of these a go. 

Also picked up some bits for the company I do some work for in London - 

A tree runner p500, to replace the portawrap in our lightweight rigging kit (fixed bollards are so much easier for people to get to grips with)

Some weaver spikes for the aerial rescue kit and a new husky T540xp for the other team. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Stein RC3001 - storage solution

Anyone who has read more than one of my posts will no doubt be aware of my slight obsession with climbing/rigging gear and there associated kit bags, as well as generally being OCD about organising my tools and equipment.

So when I recently got a new Stein rigging bollard I was faced with the challenge of somehow getting it to fit in one of the Petzl bucket bags I'm always waxing lyrical about.

I knew it would fit, but not lying down as it would be too wide, so it would have to be standing, but weighing in at 14kg that was going to be an awful lot of pressure in one spot. That coupled with the general awkwardness of getting anything else in the bag, as well as keeping the bag upright in transit led me to the following solution.

It all fits

Stein block, ratchet, strap, dead eye sling and rubber mountings... 

With everything else removed the stein block remains upright with the aid of a lump of Cedar

A 4" thick plank cut to roughly the dimensions of the bag, with a slit notched into it for the bottom anchor point of the bollard to slot into...

Which keeps the Stein block nicely upright and means the rest of the kit can be fitted in around it 

The rubber mounting blocks fit into the back of the bollard, as they make it too wide if fitted in their normal configuration 

Everything needed in one 25lt bag, it is pretty heavy, but manageable on your own 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Going off brand... Echo PAS 265ES

When it comes to buying 2 stroke tools there are really only 2 brands I would look at, husky and stihl, I don't really have a favourite between the 2, I probably own a few more stihl items, bu generally I'll reasearch and read lots of reviews and buy the best tool for the job. And your normally pretty safe with either.

But when faced with the task of choosing a new long arm hedge trimmer or multi/combi tool, one name kept popping up in the forums as being the best or at least coming very highly recommended: Echo. 

So I decided to take a punt and 'go off brand' and brought myself the PAS-265ES engine unit and hedge trimmer attachment. 

Fairly conventional design, first impressions are that it's well balance and has a reassuring weight to it, but not overly heavy. 

The cutter head has a range of settings and a simple pin/ring combo to easily alter the angle of cut. It looks significantly less robust when compared to the stihl equivalent (hardly a surprised when you look at the price difference) but is of a similar weight and size, although the cutter bar is slightly shorter. 

A nice touch is the inclusion of conventional sized grease nipples, meaning you can use a normal grease gun rather than relying on the expensive stihl tubes.

Another nice touch is the fact that when folded flat against itself for storage the cutter bar clips into the handguard, providing extra security from damage when storing in the truck with other tools. 

Here's a size comparison next to an old style stihl HL75, not much in it really. 

Initially negative thoughts are that it does seem to lack the overall build quality and feel of stihl and husky machines, but having only used it for a day it's way to early to judge it too harshly. 

The trigger assembly inparticular concerns me as both the trigger and dead mans seem very flimsy and exposed, I suspect if anything is likely to break in a hurry it will be these. 

Having only used it for a single days hedge trimming I can't fully comment on its use, this is only a first impressions review, though it cuts well and seems balance, the power is there, leaving a nice finish on thick conifer hedges but definitely lacking when it comes to cutting anything bigger than 10mm. And you certainly wouldn't want to give it the abuse that I've given my stihl over the years.

More to follow...

Monday, 28 July 2014

Big boys toys

Took delivery of this last week 

Slightly bigger than my usual toys, I'm hoping this will be a bit of a game changer for my up coming season of winter river coppicing. More to follow... 

Monday, 30 June 2014

Stein Arbor trolley

Been used a bit more in anger this week.

Was actually a bit of a life saver as we turned up to do a job that had been booked in a while, with parking permits sorted and everything, only to discover that the road was closed and the closest we could park was about 200m away!

Fortunately it wasn't a huge job, just a smallish cherry to fell and a fig to reduce, and with the aid of the arbor trolley we managed to get it all to the truck in 4 trips, 3 for brash and one for logs. 

This is fast becoming one of my favourite tools, I just wish all garden gates were a bit wider!…

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Side on chipping

Think I've mentioned this in a previous post but feel its definitely worthy of a couple more photos

We use this when ever we can, without making life difficult for ourselves, saves at least 10 minutes sweeping/clearing up at the end of the job. Especially if we have the TW150 and are chipping conifer or something very leafy like lime as it always seems to get a bit bogged down and not have the power to fire it right to the back of the truck