Wednesday, 24 February 2016

6 types of shovels

There are a lot of differences between different kinds of shovels that are specialised for different purposes as they see a large variety of different uses.

Digging shovels

Digging shovels have a slightly curved scoop with upturned edges and can have either a flat or pointed tip. Pointed tips are more used for digging and planting in soft tilled soil whereas the flat tips are used for the heavier more hard packed soil that need more force to get in to. Square point shovels can also perform many of the same functions as a garden spade such as lawn edging or cutting small roots.

Trenching shovels

These are designed for digging and clearing trenches and they normally have a sharp pointed tip and square sides to help them produce clean trench walls while minimising the disruption to the surrounding soil.They are also often used for laying irrigation pipes and removing deeply rooted plants.

Drain Spades

Drain spades are extremely narrow with slightly curved edges and a rounded tip which makes them very good and more precise work such as adding flowers to flower beds and transplanting small shrubs.

Scoop  Shovels

Extremely broad shovels with a flat tip that are terrible at digging but very good at moving loose materials like coal, stone or snow.


Scrapers are used to clear ice and debris from driveways and roofs and are also pretty handy for eliminating weeds poking through the ground.

Trowels and soil scoops

Normally used for small jobs such as re potting, spot reseeding and other various tasks. They do not have the long handles or wide blade instead they have a pointed curled scoop to dig out holes for seedlings and new transplants.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Removing Rust from Saw Blades

Surface rust is a common problem regarding chainsaw blades that can lead many owners to go out and purchase completely new blades due to not having the know how or go get em attitude required to simply remove this harmless rust. To help save the pounds and throw a little knowledge your way, here is how you remove rust from saw blades using white vinegar.

The White Vinegar Method

  1. Fill a container capable of submerging your saw blades with white vinegar.
  2. Leave saw blades to soak in white vinegar for 48 hours.
  3. Remove saw blades and wash thoroughly with soapy water.
  4. Use towel to dry the saw blades.
  5. Place in drying rack with fan directly placed on them.
Following these steps will make your saw blades as good as new but will do very little to prevent rust forming again. All is not lost however as following these simple tricks will ensure your blades stay in good knick. 

Thursday, 11 February 2016

How to split firewood correctly

Using your own wood for a fire can be quite cosy and a good way to ride out the winter in comfort while keeping that heating bill down so here's a couple of tips on how to split all that wood yourself.



Your going to need either a maul or an axe. A maul has a wider head and is heavier making it ideal for splitting wood but an axe can be used for smaller jobs. sharpness inst all that important for a job like this as our not cutting the wood. You're splitting it. You're also going to need a good source of wood. Seasoned wood splits easier but this does mean you'll have to stack it twice. Never attempt to split wood with nails in it. Its bad for the axe and potentially for you if it comes flying out.


Put the piece on its end on a chopping block if one is available or on the ground. Using he ground has a chance to dull the axe blade however. Make sure that you position yourself so swinging with straight arms the blade will hit the centre of the wood. Make sure not to overreach. Coming up to short your blade hits the ground and its not too bad but if you overreach the handle will hit the wood and oo much of this and you'll need a replacement.


Its good practice to aim for the same spot every time even if you don't always hit it over time this will improve your aim. Also make sure to let the weight of the axe do most of the work not your own force. this will stop you getting tired as fast.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Best Way to Cut Hedges

Cutting hedges can seem like a very straight forward task that can be achieved with nothing more than a can do attitude and some form of hedge trimmer I guess. And this sit true but to cut a hedge correctly to achieve a neat finish you also need a little bit of know how as described below.



Hedges should be trimmed 2 - 3 times a year unless you have a few types that grow quicker than the average hedge in which case 4 times would be more suitable. You have to be careful with how much you do trim your hedge as you are basically amputating which the hedge can most certainly have a bad reaction to.


Use taut lines attached to canes in order to know exactly where you are cutting. Once you get some experience you will be able to do this by eye but if you are a starter it always good to have these lines to ease you into hedge trimming.


Cutting the side of the hedges with a vertical sweeping motion as you walk along the hedge is the standard technique that most gardeners employ. Cut the top of the hedges with a horizontal sweeping motion.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Installing a Fence

Installing a Timber Fence

Installing a fence seems like a daunting, difficult job for those inexperienced with the process, I know it seemed that way for me! I didn't know the first thing to do or even how to start installing my fence but with some help from my more knowledgeable friends I had my fence setup in no time. Now it's time to pass on this knowledge in these easy to follow steps:


Digging the Fence Post Holes

Before we work out the spacing involved in the holes lets talk about the hole dimensions (for the purpose of a 6ft fence with 4x4 inch posts). The hole should be 2ft deep & 12 inches square to make for a sturdy fence that won't fall down at the slightest breeze or even all these storms we have been having.

Measure and double measure and then triple measure a length of string. Once you have ensured that this string is the exact distance you need you can use this to space out your fence posts. Make a mark on the ground where you need the fence to go in.

Installing the Fence

Place the post in the hole and make sure its the correct depth and then we move onto the fence panel. Some fences come with fixing brackets and these are very self explanatory to setup (and if not open the manual guys!) other fences you may need to use nails or woodscrews.

Concreting the Fence Posts

Concreting the fence posts is a whole other kettle of fish, especially if you want to mix your own concrete. There is a fantastic blog that has done a wonderful post on this and can explain it much better than I can here.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Axe Types

Before you choose an axe it is important you know what it is you are looking for to fit your desired purpose of this axe. Cutting, shaping or splitting.

Cutting axe

Cutting axes are very thin as they are used to penetrate across grain. This thinness means that it presents max force on small area similar to a razor blade in this respect. This causes it to sever instead of wedge which makes it less useful for splitting but great at cutting.

Splitting axes

A splitting axe has a wide angle blade and when slammed onto a log it has a wedge like action and forces the log apart. It expends all its energy in this way and therefore causes a deep split that forces the grain apart. Because of this it cannot be used to cut across grain as it will not penetrate nearly deep enough and will lead to a shallow cut.

Curved or Straight bit

A curved bit means only a small point of the wood will be in contact with the axe at a time and this aids in wood penetration either with or across the grain. A flat bit gives an even cut rather than a deep cut and there are varieties on this theme. The broad axe has a flat bit and a ramp on one side. This allows it to cut out a very flat section of wood but for general purposes a rounded bit is much more versatile.

Single or double bit

The single bit axe is more common and has certain advantages such as its design is optimised to put all the torque behind the one bit it has.  A double bit axe offers different advantages and is generally symmetrical around the center line. This does offer a certain amount of balance that isn't found in other single bit axes. The two blades are often ground differently to offer both splitting and cutting prowesses and therefore grants a large amount of versatility however these axes cannot be bludgeoned.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

When or When Not to Buy a Top Handle Chainsaw

The decision to buy a top handle chainsaw or not depends entirely on your situation. Lots of factors come into play like will you need to use the chainsaw one handed, will you be using the chainsaw in a place where balance is key or even your current experience with chainsaws. All these factors we need to look at when asking the question, "Should I or should I not buy a top handle chainsaw?"

Benefits of a Top Handle Chainsaw

A top handle chainsaw key feature is that it does not have a rear guard. This makes the chainsaw more compact and easier to sue in tight situations. It also allows the chainsaw to be used with one hand which can come in very useful when in a tree, cutting a branch or at the side of your house if space is tight. The final key benefit of using a top handle chainsaw is that they usually have a smaller engine than a regular chainsaw which makes it the ideal starter chainsaw for beginners

Negatives of a Top Handle Chainsaw

A top handle chainsaws key drawback is that it has a smaller engine. Now while this can be a benefit for a beginner chainsawer, for a seasoned professional looking to cut down a redwood maybe a 26cc engine just doesn't cut it? Now a redwood is an extreme example but even large trees in the garden can be a lot more difficult to cut without that bigger engine that the top handle chainsaw simply does not have.

Conclusion on "When or When Not to Buy a Top Handle Chainsaw"

You should buy a top handle chainsaw when you have a smallish garden where you may need to cut branches of trees and space is tight. Also if you are new to chainsaws a top handle chainsaw is a fantastic way to start.
You should not buy a top handle chainsaw when the amount of work that is required is substantial and large objects need cutting.