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About Gimlet

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  1. It smashes rather than cuts clean but it's brilliant for reducing thick brush almost to mulch. They're heavy though. Needs 40 cc+ and a strong drive train IMO.
  2. I wonder how long a blade like that would last. It's not delivering a controlled and steady cut like a chainsaw. It's going to take a battering, bouncing of stems and hitting unintended objects. I would of thought it would disintegrate fairly quickly. Making a DIY blade from an old saw chain sounds like an accident waiting to happen. For general heavy brush and especially old bramble I use a three pointed Oregon shredder blade. It's pretty devastating and will take out green saplings to about 20 mm thickness and lasts for ages with resharpening. How thick are your bamboo stems?
  3. Burn them for zero carbon green energy. The Swedes do and their children cruise the world on zero carbon racing yachts.
  4. In a nutshell, all that's wrong with the world.
  5. Ezee Tree? http://www.ezeetrees.com/hedge-guards
  6. Tree guards are a bloody nightmare when you're hedge laying. I've got one farm where there's literally miles of hedging that's been planted with the intention of laying. They've used spiral guards on each sapling and every one has to be carefully unwound before you can start cutting. The type they use are supposed to be biodegradable but after fifteen years all that happens is they become brittle and if you're not careful taking them off they break into a hundred bits. I have to drag builder's dumpy bags around with me and I fill one with plastic guards about every hundred yards. I've noticed crab apple saplings react badly to guards. They keep the stems very damp and mossy and crab apples in particular tend to get some sort of fungal infection where they're encased in the guard which kills off most of them. In most mixed native hedges I've laid on this farm about 80% of crab apples are dead when I come to take the guards off. Which is a great pity because crab apple is a lovely species for hedging and always produces an abundance of blossom when it's been laid. The farm in question doesn't actually have many rabbits but it is exposed and windy (which is why they're planting hedges) and the bloke who does the planting says he uses guards more to stop the saplings getting blown over than to protect them from rabbits. I hope I've persuaded him to look at other solutions.
  7. They probably do genuinely dislike green elder but I expect they'll do what they do with badly laid traps: dig round them and carry on.. It's true though that mole hills tend not to be found under elder trees so maybe planting a ornamental specimen in the middle of your lawn..? Dunno. Someone try it and let us know.
  8. Double post. Please delete.. They may genuinely dislike green elder but I expect they'll do what they do with badly laid traps: dig round them and carry on..
  9. Most old wive's tales have some basis in fact. It's true the berries are poisonous when green, but when ripe they're fantastically high in vitamin C and antioxidants and have been an effective remedy for treating colds and flu for centuries. Even the flowers contain medicinal properties and taste wonderful so it's perhaps not surprising the tree has a powerful folkloric reputation. Round here old country folk always said it was unlucky to cut down an elder tree in your garden (maybe because you might need its properties one day); and it was said to be unlucky to bring elder wood into the house and that burning it would entice the Devil down the chimney. Possibly that's because elder is a terrible firewood. It produces little heat and spits horrendously and can actually explode if it's green. In the days of open hearths spitting and bursting elder wood was probably responsible for causing house fires. A log that burns your house down is indeed a pretty unlucky log. Using fresh elder flowers as a cut flower in a vase will fill your house with masses annoying insects as well. Elder is a menace in hedgerows because it out competes every desirable species and like privet sucks all the nutrition out of the soil. It also produces runners which send up saplings at regular intervals, so one tree can develop into a string which will colonise a hedge and oust other species. An elder tree in a hedge will kill off it's immediate neighbours and leave gaps. And it can't be laid so elder must be removed or killed off or eventually your hedge will consist of nothing but elder in a sparse and gappy string. You can see this all the time where hedgerows have been neglected and annoyingly, elder is one of the few species that can withstand long term repeated mechanical flailing. So it's not surprising there are so many elder-only "ghost" hedges all over the country. I have a soft spot for the tree though. As a stand alone specimen where it doesn't interfere with anything else it's a useful species for insect pollinators and dead or alive, it hosts masses of insect life. It also discourages moles. They tend to avoid elder roots and are said to be repelled by green elder stems in their tunnels. Elder also is a composting catalyst that's almost as good as comfrey. Adding green elder growth to a heap enriches compost and speeds up the process. And as well as the dozens of wines, cordials, jellies, jams and deserts that can be made from the flowers and berries, the dried hollow wood is an excellent friction firelighting material. A place for everything and everything in its place. I don't think the tree in the pic is an elder though...
  10. I don't have a problem with competitions and l'm far from lazy. A mile of hedging a year doesn't lay itself. And it's all south of England style and I'm cutting at least half of the required stakes and binders for it myself at weekends. I detest cliques and pseudes in equal measure, I've no time for play acting and I don't need Internet forums or competition-based initiation into national associations to find work. I didn't come on here to find work. I've got plenty. I posted on this thread to try and help someone else who is struggling to get started. Fuck off yourself and stay fucked off. You're not worth my time.
  11. The only time anyone from NHLS got back to me over contractor accreditation, he said I needed to do competitions. I'm afraid I'm not really interested. Round here they're generally held either at the beginning or the end of the season. At the start of the season I've got a lot of hazel to cut and haven't time. At the end I've probably just finished the best part of a mile and I've had enough, and in the middle I'm flat out. I enjoy going to the comps but for me they're a busman's holiday where I get to watch other people doing a bit. I treat it as a jolly, wandering round having a natter (avoiding the ever increasing numbers of dreadlocked Thomas Hardy crowd scene extra wannabes strutting about about in rustic fancy dress and sucking their little roll-ups) but I'm afraid I've never found them a business networking opportunity.
  12. If you can have some introductory A4 fliers printed with a couple of pictures of your work, clip on a couple of business cards and stick them through farm letter boxes. I don't think farmers do a bottle of wine and Goggle of an evening. You need to put yourself under their noses. Adding a gardening service as topchippyles says is a good idea. One job often leads to another. And when you do get some work, have some site signs made up to display over the finished hedge. Clients can be nervous of employing someone they don't know without seeing their work first because a hedge isn't like a garden wall. You can't just push it over and do it again if it's no good. For the 2020/21 season I've got 700 metres of prime hawthorne hedge to lay right next to a main road. I've got permission from the landowner to put up 6' long signs for a few months so they can be read by passing traffic.
  13. I got my biggest contract simply by card dropping in farm offices. Just walk in with some cards, introduce yourself and ask if they need a hedge layer. My main customer is a large organic farm. I assumed they'd have a hedge-layer already, but it was worth a try and it turned out they didn't and I got the work. Stick cards on the counter of your local agri-merchants as well (and remember to buy some chainsaw supplies or something from them..). Or any nearby livestock markets. Hunts can be possible clients too so card drop those or write to them or email. Just generally get your name out there. It usually takes a while for anything to happen but it's a numbers game and if you make yourself known to enough farmers and landowners, something will come from it eventually. Having a logo and a professional business cards helps too. As does getting listed on your local coppice group, if you have one. Make sure you have photos of previous work too because clients often ask for them, especially for bigger jobs. If you have any dealings with Natural England through work on SSSIs for example, grit your teeth try and cultivate a friendly relationship with their people because they're involved with allocating grants and they're in direct consultation with landowners and they do get asked about contractors and tradesmen. They're not allowed to give personal recommendations but they can pass on details. One thing that didn't work very well for me was print advertising. I tried local and parish magazines and papers but got only one response from hundreds of pounds of advertising. The NHLS contractor listings do produce results but they tend to be small domestic jobs. I've had a lot of non-starters from there as well with people calling me out pretty much just to give advise or to look at hedges that cannot be laid. Good luck trying to get contractor accreditation though. I've been trying for two years and struggle to get anyone to answer my emails or return calls. Domestic clients looking for a hedge layer tend to use Google as a first resort and "find a hedge layer" takes you straight to the contractors page on the NHLS site, so time wasters aside, it's well worth the £75 subscription to get your name on the list.


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