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Matthew Norman

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About Matthew Norman

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    Senior member, Raffle Sponsor 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Birthday 27/08/1978

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  • Occupation
    Freelance arborist
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  1. They're £25.00. I've improved the design a bit since then.
  2. Thanks, Stubby. That's an idea for me to look into. HI Steve. Do you mean the belt loop / plate on the pouch? Sorry, I no longer have any of these pouches left at the moment for me to take a photo of. If I make up any more I'll be sure to post a photo here. Thanks, Bill. I've had no complaints so far! I've not, but that's an avenue for me to look into. Thanks for the info. All I'd need are the sizes of the chisels and I may be able to help you out...
  3. Also, I've made some leather secateurs pouches for some local, and Canadian, arborists.
  4. I've recently become interested in bespoke, made-to-order leathercrafting and have made a few items to date. I'm finding myself drawn to the more hard-wearing, robust stuff such as bushcraft, EDC and outdoors pursuit stuff. I recently made these 1oz pouches and wondered if you think they would make suitable storage for things such as fire starting kits, first aid kits, survival tins... or even just for holding your rolling baccy and whatnot. They come with a belt plate on the back which allows the pouch to be worn horizontally or vertically. I'd love to hear your feedback on them. I'm hoping to set up an online shop soon, but for now I'm putting feelers out on here and FB / Instagram. Thanks for your time.
  5. Is that your first attempt at that particular rope, or your first splice in general? Well done on managing the core on that one - it falls apart so easily it can be a right pain in the neck. If you'll accept some slight constructive criticism it does look a little bunched up. I find having a larger eye on rigging ropes helps to share the load better, as well as allowing you to keep the crossover nice and taught when burying.
  6. What I use gets checked regularly as I'm using it, and I have a ritual of when I get back home everything gets tied up, packed up or put back in it's place which gives me ample opportunity to look for defects and damage. Stitched eyes I don't check as much as I should, and tool strops hardly ever - two things I need to improve upon. My kit gets LOLER examined every six months.
  7. I've been subbing since '09 and have had my kit LOLER examined pretty much every six months. As a subby you never know who you might end up climbing for at short notice, and the last thing you want to do is arrive on site and them ask for you LOLER records when you haven't got any. For instance: I subbed to a guy not long after I started subby work, and he was on a contract with fountains. fountains guy came out on the first day I was there and asked for my LOLER records immediately. Some of the other firms I climb for have commercial contract clients that require all subcontractors to hold all relevant insurances and LOLER certs. etc.
  8. I use non-CE Cougar Blue for SRT with the RW and CE Cougar Orange on DdRT and would recommend both ropes for those applications. I have also used the non-CE CB for DdRT with a Spiderjack 2.1 and Hitchclimber which seemed to work really well.
  9. I have a Mk III ZigZag and the ART Spiderjack 2.1. I prefer the SJ over the ZigZag, but I prefer the friction hitch (Hitchclimber setup) over the SJ for most things as it's more versatile.
  10. Riiiiight. That would explain it. Thanks, Steve. For a minute it looked like I was re-posting old stuff again.
  11. It is excessively long, but I think that's one of the selling points about it. I was kindly gifted one by Dan (ReeCoil.com) after showing interest in it, but not sure whether the cost could be justified. I can honestly say that it is the best saw lanyard I have used and is worth every penny. I attach my saw to my harness on the central rear loop, so that it is equidistant between either arm. However, with the normal lanyards, if I wanted to use my saw on the left-hand side I would need to pass it, often awkwardly, behind me. The ReeCoil lanyard allows me to now pass the saw across my front and is far easier, safer and more efficient. The length is easily taken up by the bungee and, when stowed on your harness, does not snag or dangle unnecessarily. The total length of the lanyard means I can use the saw at full arm's length without it coming up short. It may sound like a load of advertising spiel, but it is a great bit of kit. When I accidently caught my original one and cut the outer sleeve I ordered a new one immediately to replace it without hesitation - it's that good. I have also got the Big Boss version, but as it's used on my bigger saws I don't really need the extra reach as such - so that lanyard, for me, is a nice thing to have, but not a necessity.
  12. I have no idea why this thread has suddenly popped up @Steve Bullman. I originally posted this years ago and definitely didn't re-post it yesterday at 11:16 as it says at the top. Anyway, at the time of writing, this referred to the SJ 2.1. And, yes, this is a great piece of kit for bombing out of a big tree.
  13. Honestly, it's like no arborist was ever was consulted when the working at height regs were drawn up...
  14. Well I've been known to do dabble in a bit of splicing here and there, but I'm Cardiff based so don't know if it's worth the travel or not? Let me know if I can help.
  15. As a freelance arborist I climb for a number of regular and occasional guys undertaking varied work and it has been the ideal way to trial the Spiderjack – from deadwooding a big 100’+ cedar to thinning out a scraggly bird cherry in a customer’s garden. I’ve used it on every job for the last six months, big and small. Here’s my own personal feedback. GOOD POINTS Quality product – A well designed, built and good-looking gadget. Just what you’d expect from German engineering. Self- and slack-tending – Smooth, friction free self tending when in the right position. One-handed slack-tending is fantastic, especially when on the outer periphery of the canopy and you’re clinging onto the skinniest of branches with your free hand. Pantin friendly – When combined with a foot ascender the Spiderjack provides smooth, easy and faultless ascending, even when you are positioned away from the stem or when ascending from a redirect through a crotch etc. Reduced rope wear – Fast, controlled descending is achievable without the worry of melting or glazing your climbing line as when using a friction hitch. Great for BIG trees – When traversing big voids, or finding yourself moving vertically up and down the tree a lot, the Spiderjack comes into its own. BAD POINTS Levers – On more than one occasion I had foliage strike the lever of the Spiderjack without warning. On one such time a large chunk of thick ivy fell from above and landed on the device. I dropped approximately 12′ vertically down the stem of the tree before the cam closed again. Other times I have been working in tight crowns and either branches, or my own arms have nudged the lever and the cam has released. Cam operated by climbers weight – Not a problem as long as the climber’s weight is always on the line. However, a number of factors can negate the climber’s weight, thus leading to the cam opening. This has happened to me when working in windy conditions – as the anchor limb and the limb I was stood on swayed independently of each other, my weight, in effect, was taken off the Spiderjack causing the cam to release and slack develop in my system. This has only been a problem on larger trees. Less versatile – The Spiderjack is used to ascend and descend the tree in a DdRT system and that’s pretty much it. Compare this to the versatility of the Hitchclimber with which you can ascend and descend as normal, but also use M-rig and V-rig systems and clip other hardware and software into it by way of additional holes in the pulley. Additional bits and bobs can be used with the SJ by using quickdraws and extra krabs, but it ends up being a big, jangley mess. Not good in smaller trees – Compacted crowns and conifer trees don’t readily lend themselves to the SJ. CONCLUSION Although a superb bit of tree climbing equipment I found that the bad points I highlighted above meant that the Spiderjack, unfortunately, is not for me. This is my own personal review of the Spiderjack and in no way a negative reflection of the device itself – it’s just that it doesn’t match my climbing style. I really, really wanted the SJ to work for me, but ultimately the versatility and security that the HC affords is more important to me. I fully admire what Hubert Kowalewski has created for tree climbers, and understand that there are SJ users out there who are more proficient at using it than I am. My Spiderjack hasn’t been totally retired though – it’s in my climbing kit bag along with the Positioner (similar story!) If there are any big trees to do in the future I’m sure I will consider using it again


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