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  • Blogs

    1. Hand Pruning Saws


      Sheathed Saw vs Pole Saw vs Pocket Saw


      Hand pruning saws are essential tools for arborist, landscapers and forestry workers when pruning shrubs and trees, and woodworking. These sharp cutting saws are a common alternative to using a chainsaw for light work, and can also be used in combination with the chainsaw to complete heavy-duty tasks. Robust, handheld Silky Saw's are designed in a variety of sizes with a range of razor-sharp teeth configurations, and have long been the choice of professionals. Today, we are reviewing the most popular Sheathed, Pole and Pocket Saws from our list of the top 10 pruning saws. Please feel free to comment and share your reviews.


      1. Silky Zübat Sheathed Saw

      The Silky Zübat Saw is a heavy duty sheathed saw featuring 7.5 teeth per 30mm. This razor sharp saw has been manufactured with a low curved blade and is ideal for delimbing large branches, including those above shoulder height. Comfort is assured with this saw by means of its moulded rubber handle. The saw comes with a scabbard with a constructed handle to creating a firm lock. Available in sizes 24cm-39cm.


      • 7.5 teeth per 30mm
      • Ideal for delimbing large branches
      • Moulded rubber handle
      • Available in sizes 24cm-39cm





      "The Silky saws are the very best you can get - they are fabulous for cutting branches. (some people have used them to log whole trees but personally, I prefer a chainsaw for anything larger than 2 to 3 inches across). All of them do the job better than any other handheld saw on the market. This one is no exception and I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. In fact, this model is probably the KING of the SIlkys. You can use it when aloft and you can use it on the ground and you can reach up high with it to cut branches out of reach of normal handheld saws because of its curved blade. The Silky is the saw of choice for most tree surgeons.partly because it is the best but also because it is so easy to attach (and detach) to your belt in its scabbard." - John W Pennell




      2. Silky Zübat 2700 Pole Saw


      The Silky Zübat Pole Saw 2700 is telescopic saw extending up to 8.85ft with a blade length of 15". This is the perfect saw for pruning branches at height without the need to climb. Its oval-shaped pole assures firmness and strength while sawing, in addition to allowing the user full control over the direction of the cut. The saws unique four cutting angles allow a fast and smooth cut, while shock absorber via the pole end ensures great comfort.


      • Extends up to 8.85ft
      • Remains firm when extended
      • Blade length: 15"
      • Four cutting angles



      "Absolutely love this pole saw! It paid for itself in the first three days of owning it. Don't hesitate just buy it! I no longer have to climb to reach the lower branches, it saves so much time but not having to set your ropes, especially if the tree is too small to climb and there's nothing around to set your rope in that's tall enough or large enough. It is a bit wobbly when you have it fully extended and hard to keep in the cut. Try not to cut anything large when fully extended, takes too long and the branch can come down and break your pole saw. Or just take smaller chunks at a time instead of the whole branch at once." - David


      3. Silky Gomboy 210-10 Pocket Saw

      The Silky Gomboy 210-10 Pocket Saw contains 10 teeth per 30mm which are impulse hardened to ensure strength and durability are maintained. The blade itself is extremely thin and tough meaning that the saw will not bend as it cuts on the pull. Its handle has been designed using a rubber, insert processed steel for comfort and toughness. All folding Silky Saws utilise a safety lock system to ensure the blade remains still when folded.


      • 10 teeth per 30mm
      • Thin and tough blade
      • Comfortable firm handle
      • Safety lock system




      "This really is an awesome little saw. I've had mine for just over 5 years and I still use it regularly. Ok, it's not as sharp as it once was, but it has had a serious amount of use over the years, and just yesterday I was using it to saw through 5"-6" branches, which it cut through with ease. I was cutting some quite large branches with it the other week and passers-by couldn't believe I hadn't used a chainsaw, it's that good. I should really stop being such a cheapskate and buy another, but while it's still doing the business I can't see the point." - CBallard

    2. Man has always had a direct link to the landscape, though that link, whilst it is always there, may not be in the form that it once was. Keeping with the wood pasture theme, which I am really enjoying learning about through books and journal articles, I thought we’d look at how the manner in which we approach the ecosystem has changed over the centuries (quite briefly). Of course, what is written below doesn’t stop just at wood pasture – it has cross-over to other ecosystems, where the reasons for interaction with the landscape have altered through space and, more pertinently, time.

      Historically, wood pastures were managed for economic purposes. The grazing of animals on grasslands containing trees (and the feeding of the livestock with cuttings from pollarded trees, and a tree’s fruit crop), such as cattle and pigs, was for the direct benefit of communities, who relied upon the produce of the livestock (milk, meat, and so on) in order to make a living, and to generally therefore survive. Of course, the wood pastures needed to be conserved, so that they did not disappear, due to over-grazing. In this sense, they were actively conserved (by replanting dying and dead trees, and limiting grazing intensity), though largely because, without actively conserving them, the livelihood of many tens of thousands of people would be challenged. A by-product of this conservation of wood pastures, for the benefits created from grazing livestock, was that the sites were very rich in biodiversity – birds, fungi, insects, and plants, for example. The complex mosaic of niches within the wood pasture, ranging from open and disturbed soils through to the (perhaps sizeable) groves surrounded by the mantle and fringe vegetation, meant that a large number of organisms could viably frequent the site. However, for all of the biodiversity present as a result of the careful management and conservation of wood pastures throughout history, biodiversity was not the reason for management – until recently.

      The shift, in Europe, probably begun when wood pasture became disliked (for hope of a better word), during the 19th-20th century (varies depending upon the country). Foresters wanted to maximise output from the trees (coppice – sometimes with standards), and farmers wanted to maximise agricultural output. Therefore, the two practices, initially married, were divorced from one another (somtimes farmers were forced to stop grazing their livestock in wood pasture!). Wood pastures were thus either cleared of trees entirely, or alowed to regenerate into forest. With this came a decline in the richness of biodiversity and, eventually, this loss of biodiversity caused a rather evident of panic amongst conservationists. Ironically, therefore, the rationale behind creating and maintaining wood pasture became largely ecologically-driven, in place of economically-driven (though, particularly in Spain and Romania, wood pastures remain, are these are generally economically viable). Regardless of reason however, the status of wood pastures essentially went full-circle.


      A fantastic wood pasture in Estonia. Source: Ideas for Sustainability.

      Of course, this new found love for wood pastures does not necessarily mean that they can ever exist in the manner in which they did before. First and foremost, wood pastures are extensively grazed, and thus, for operations to be self-supporting financially, they must cover large expanses of land (unless the wood pasture is maintained for subsistence purposes, or grants are provided as a means of financial support). As farmers in Europe are generally in ‘the game’ for profit (they must make a living), managing livestock in wood pastures is probably not going to be all too popular, as it’d probably signal a marked drop in profits and / or a marked increase in labour input (at least, initially). Scope does exist to harvest edible mycorrhizal mushrooms from the wood pasture, such as truffles, though this is a specialised pursuit that is far from the current farming status quo of Europe.

      Furthermore, European culture has changed. Gone are the days of communities being self-sufficient, and instead many Europeans now work a job (that they may even hate) and buy their food from the supermarket (or even order it online). Therefore, is there even the desire to re-introduce wood pastures, for anything other than ecological reasons, or to supply the market with a niche animal product (such as Iberian ham from the black Iberian pig, in the holm oak dehesas of Spain). With this change in culture there has also been a change in learning priorities, and unfortunately many today seem to be fixated with knowing pointless facts about sports teams and celebrities. Functional and practical knowledge is largely gone. As a consequence, the management of wood pastures will be left to an expert few, where knowledge has either been gained academically, or via being passed-down through the generations (usually limited to rural areas where grazing still takes place). However, as more people now live in cities than in rural areas, and this trend will likely continue as rural areas are swallowed up by urban sprawl, or people move into cities for economic reasons, this tradition of passing practical knowledge on and keeping up the family tradition of extensive livestock grazing within wood pasture may very well become ever more the stuff of legend.

      black iberian pig dehesa

      The black Iberian pig grazing amongst a landscape of holm oak, in a Spanish dehesa. Source: Andrew Petcher.

      Society is simply in a different place than it once was. For this reason, the conservation of wood pasture is to be far from mainstream. People are certainly aware of nature (of which wood pastures feature), though more and more awareness comes from watching on the television and less from direct experience, and with this comes a discord. There is less emotional and cultural attachment to nature, and as a result, less of an impetus to associate with nature. Why help with the recreation of wood pasture when you can watch about its conservation on television, utter some lamentations, and then switch the channel and soon relegate it to a mere memory? That’s even assuming people watch such programs, in large numbers, in the first place.

      This probably turned out far more dystopian than I ever intended for it to come out as, though hopefully this illustrates how social changes have led to landscape management changes, with specific focus upon wood pastures in Europe. This is obviously applicable to other landscape types as well, of course. The principle generally carries across.

      Source (of inspiration): Hartel, T. & Plieninger, T. (2014) The social and ecological dimensions of wood-pastures. In Hartel, T. & Plieninger, T. (eds.) European wood-pastures in transition: A social-ecological approach. UK: Earthscan.

    3. We have been splitting logs lately, the timber has been lying in the yard for a couple of years and now we want to get it converted into logs to finish seasoning indoors so we have been busy with the firewood processor. Looking at the pile of logs and thinking about selling it all next winter has led me to consider the best way to market and sell our produce.  Since Trading Standards and the Weights and Measures Act 1985 have little to say regarding firewood we are a bit in the dark when it comes to quantities, packaging and pricing. With most goods the law is quite clear and very strict with serious penalties for suppliers who sell goods in quantities or measures outside those prescribed in the Act. Firewood however is a bit of a mystery, I suspect that it falls under the category of solid fuel, but its hard to confirm if thats the case. However it is viewed officially it would appear that the market is wholly unregulated.


      Logs are sold in a variety of ways, here are a few of the most common:


      By weight; usually by the “ton” however this is almost never confirmed by any kind of weigh bridge ticket something which  is likely to be illegal as far as the weights and measures act goes as one thing they are strict on is selling by weight. There is however a fundamental problem for the consumer with buying timber by the ton, this is simply that the wetter the wood the more it weighs. So there is an obvious incentive for the supplier to sell unseasoned wet wood as this will significantly ‘up’ his margin, if he bothers to weigh it at all that is!  Supermarkets have been dicing with the same issue for years when it comes to meat, hanging the meat performs the same function as seasoning logs, it dries out a little and whilst the flavour may improve, and possibly the price per kilo, the lost moisture is lost profit since they bought the meat by weight in the first place. They have got around this problem by injecting the meat with “stuff” to bulk up its weight, and apparently this is ok with trading standards! This has gone on for years of course, in times gone by bakers used to be infamous for adulterating their flour with fillers such as bone meal, chalk, sawdust and even gypsum! Thankfully at the end of the 19th century laws were brought in to standardise what could be called flour, maybe its time they took a look at bacon! (all that white stuff that comes out as it fries is the supermarkets added filler).


      So back to logs, selling by weight simply encourages the supplier to sell wet wood, and wet wood is not good for burning, not only does it produce little heat but because it burns at a lower temperature the combustion is incomplete, so gaseous tar and soot condense in your flue potentially leading to chimney fires. It would perhaps be ok to buy logs by weight at a known moisture content as happens in the wood chip for biomass industry, but that rarely happens.


      By far the best way to buy firewood is by volume, this way you get what you pay for, they may still be wet, but 100 logs are still 100 logs wet or dry, so now the incentive is with the supplier to sell a quality product, assuming he wants to keep your business that is. So the next problem to arise is quantifying that volume, a cubic meter is a relatively common unit and should be the ideal but thats not always the case, which leads us to what is perhaps the most common way of selling logs…..


      The load. So what is a load of logs? Well, anything you want it to be really, and this is where the industry really needs some guidance from the government. The load could be a bulk bag, but these vary in size from 2 cubic meters down to less than 0.5, or it could be a vehicle of some sort, trailer, pickup, 4×4 or even a car boot. From the consumers perspective how are they to compare one ‘load’ with another, does the back of one suppliers transit van compare favourably with another’s trailer? Who knows?  The upshot is the poor consumer is left in the dark. With weights and measures regulations so strict on other industries, including coal and smokeless fuel, why is it that logs are still in the dark ages when it comes to consumer protection?


      The answer may lie in the fact that during the industrial revolution we abandoned wood as a fuel, only to re-discover it in the last 10 years or so, and when the laws on weights and measures were made firewood just wasn’t on the radar. But these days it is most definitely back as a serious contender in the fuel market, sales of wood burning stoves have soared thanks to the carbon neutral credentials of  burning wood over fossil fuels. (don’t get me started on the carbon credentials of imported eastern european logs though!)


      Its time for HM Government to wake up to the burgeoning market in firewood and apply a little common sense to the way in which our logs are sold. We could do with a standardised moisture content for firewood, so that customers can expect to be able to get a certain calorific value from their wood, at least if its advertised as ‘ready to burn’ anyway. Then theres the weight / volume issue, logs really should be sold by volume, and all prices should be advertised by the cubic meter, irrespective of the size of vessel used to deliver them. This way the consumer can confidently compare prices from one supplier to the next. We have found that selling by the cubic meter we loose out to other suppliers selling by the bulk bag, our £60 per m3 has less appeal than a £50 bulk bag even though that bag may only contain 0.6 cube, making it considerably dearer, what do we do, sell unseasoned wood in order to cut our prices further, or try and skimp on the amount we sell?. Sadly the lack of regulation is currently driving quality down as firewood producers engage in a race to the bottom to stay in the game.


      So if you agree with the views expressed above please share this article on Facebook with your local trading standards office, yes they all appear to have FB accounts! You could also share it with your MP. You never know we may end up with a fairer firewood market in the not to distant future.


      For some further reading here’s a helpful PDF from the Forestry Commission.

    4. Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager at HAIX 


      Between 2016-17, 13,000 workers in Britain’s agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors suffered non-fatal injuries, with slips, trips and falls causing the most incidents. It is estimated that slip, trip and fall accidents cost Britain £800 million annually, with the direct cost to employers costing around £300 million. Do you understand the importance of footwear in protecting you from slipping when facing uneven floor surfaces, wet environments and poor lighting? 


      Slippery substances such as oils, grease or rain, mud left on the rungs of a ladder and general debris are all risks you are familiar with. Falling victim to such accidents could increase the likelihood of you developing serious injuries or debilitating longer term health conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders. This will not just affect your health but also the productivity of the business in general, as you might be unable to work due to the pain. 


      The right safety footwear offers protection against many industry hazards. With so many safety shoes on the market, we are inundated with options and it’s difficult to know which to choose and what safety features are important. 




      Wearing footwear compliant to safety standards and with the right protective features is critical for preventing injuries. It is crucial to choose the right footwear for the right job – looking out for these features will set you up for the best protection: 



      If you are suffering from wet feet, you may find it harder to concentrate as you are  more concerned about comfort, rather than the job in hand. This could lead to an accident.  To be labelled as waterproof, boots should adhere to the EN ISO standard: 20345/20347. This is the minimum European standard manufacturers should achieve. HAIX work only with the Gore-Tex laminate system which is highly breathable, as well as creating a durable barrier against outside water penetration which far exceeds the standards required.


      Breathable, ventilation and insulation 

      Quality materials are additional key footwear features to consider, particularly in the winter months. Breathable and insulating materials will keep feet comfortable and insulated, safe from freezing temperatures. HAIX forest boots utilise breathable GORE-TEX® inner lining provide maximum climate comfort and total protection against moisture in any weather conditions.


      Chainsaw protection 

      Forestry professionals must ensure their boots  offer chainsaw protection. The EN ISO 17249:2013 standard relates to safety footwear with resistance to chainsaw cutting.  Category levels range depending on the level of protection required for the chainsaw speeds: Class 1 (20 m/s), Class 2 (24 m/s), Class 3 (28 m/s). 


      Investing in quality footwear is priority. For more information on HAIX’s range of forestry boots visit, https://www.haix.co.uk or to find your nearest dealer contact WorkWare  http://www.workware.co.uk/

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  • Our picks

    • Arborists in south-east England are being reminded to protect themselves this spring and summer from contact with oak processionary moth caterpillar hairs (OPM).
      They are also encouraged to help control the pest by reporting sightings to the Forestry Commission, and to take care not to spread the pest when removing oak material from tree surgery sites.
      As well as damaging oak trees by feeding on the leaves, the caterpillar can impact human and animal health: contact with its hairs can cause itching skin rashes, eye irritations, sore throats and other health problems. In rare cases they can cause breathing difficulties and allergic reactions. Arborists in the affected areas are therefore strongly advised to wear protective clothing.
      The hairs can be blown on the wind, left in the caterpillars’ nests on and under oak trees, and can stick to bark, clothing and climbing ropes. The greatest risk period is May to July, although nests should not be approached at any time because the hairs remain active for many months.
      The known affected areas include much of greater London and parts of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, West Berkshire, Surrey and Essex. The affected areas are organised into ‘Core’, ‘Control’ and ‘Protected’ Zones, and maps and explanations of the regulations and procedures applying in each zone are available in the oak tree owners’ manual at www.forestry.gov.uk/opmmanual.

      OPM nests and silken webbing trails. Nests can be attached to trunks and branches anywhere on the tree,
      but not among the foliage. ©Forestry Commission/Crown copyright.

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    • Currently looking to build a new team within a fast growing company based in Melbourne, Australia. Good candidates would be offered 457 visas to extend there stay with the view to permenant residency. Good starting salaries available.
      If you’re interested then you could forward me a copy of your CV.
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    • Morning All
      GreenMech is putting on a couple of dates for factory tours etc. The first date will be Wednesday 25rd April and will be limited to 18 to 24 places for the first date with another proposed a week or two later. I have a few names already on the list but if you wish to come, please email your contact details to either peter@greenmech.co.uk or sales@greenmech.co.uk to book a place. The factory is at B49 5QG
      The day will start at 09:30 with coffee and bacon bun. There will be a short welcome speech, followed by a Power Point slide show showing the pedigree of manufacturing at the GreenMech site and a few facts and figures about what it takes to manufacture machinery for a year. The GreenMech factory tour can take a couple of hours and this will be followed by a buffet lunch. There will be a chance to try various woodchippers and following an open forum/coffee break the day will end. We try to get visitors away by 14:30/15:00 to allow for distances etc.
      If attendees have a special dietary need, please add this detail to your email and we will try to accommodate you. It is a proper working facility and we would ask that you dress appropriately - especially if you wish to use a chipper too!
      Applications will be screened but otherwise, are open to anyone who has a 'bent' for machinery, factory processes, is considering a purchase and is curious etc. Previously held events have been well received by all and your picture may well end up in the national trade press/social media.
      Thank you.
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