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...