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Most valued homestead tool...

 
master pollinator
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A week ago I would have probably mentioned my chainsaw or a good hammer. I had one wild day yesterday involving,not at the same time, a stray cat with a damaged eye, a hostile rooster, an escaped baby goat, and several highly independent chickens ....oh yes, a raccoon.  Anyway,  my weapon of choice in all cases was a long handled fishing net.  I am amazed how often I use the thing.  

My question is, are there other  non traditional tools being put to use?
 
master pollinator
Posts: 379
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Just out of mild curiosity, how did confronting a raccoon with a fishing net go?
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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I have shot my share of Raccoons.   Before it is over, I will probably end up shooting this one. It was a youth, separated from its mother and clearly confused. My Australian Shepherd was about to RIP it apart.  Anyway, the net worked well. I took it out in the woods , in the suspected direction of the den, and dumped it. No, it did not even try to chew through. It was froze in panic. Yes, I had my 9mm with me in case it was needed. I can hope it has decided never to go back in my yard again, but I doubt it. It caught me in a soft moment.
 
Posts: 270
Location: On the plateau in TN
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probably my maddox/pick axe.  Great for dandelions and attacking weeds.
 
pollinator
Posts: 313
Location: Yukon Territory, Canada. Zone 1a
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Buckets!
I get vegetable scraps from a local deli, and they come in a new bucket each week. I've got stacks of them, and sometimes I've got them all filled up. But I use a few everyday.

Hauling water, sifting compost, moving rocks, soaking clay, catching mice and squirrels, pee, compost tea, biochar storage, sawdust storage, wood ash storage, moving mulch.........
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Chris,

On a homestead, one can never have too many buckets.  I have carved then into hay feeders for my goats, containers to grow potatoes, to haul small amounts of dirt, for harvesting, and to store food. The list really never ends.
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Michael,

I use kine for prying stones out of the ground as well.
 
Posts: 94
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One of my most used tools would be a 4 wheeled wagon that I built. It is based on stackable pallet collars so I can easily adjust the hight commonly 8, 16, or 24 inches high.
I use it for hauling wood, mulch, manure, bedding, and all sorts of other things both by hand and behind an ATV.
 
master gardener
Posts: 533
Location: Lasqueti Island, British Columbia - USDA zone 8-9
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So far i would have to say. My dolly has been one of the most useful tools. I have moved many things including posts, 11 foot cedar fence posts, 9 foot x3ft x 30" potting table. I moved a goat house which was about 10 feet long x 4 feet wide x 5 feet tall. I have moved the chicken tractor with it which was 10 feet x 7 feet x 2 feet. I also move heavy totes which have seaweed or compost.

Totes are quite useful as well.
 
Posts: 423
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my brain. I love my long net, my shovel, and a host of other items, but they all cost me money. Too many times i've been given advice by well meaning people to just buy X and solve my problems. Often I can puzzle out the problem with a little patience and my grey matter. Ultimately I could walk into the forest without any tool other than my brain and survive.
 
Posts: 17
Location: 45.7187 N, -97.4436 W (where it is really cold)
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The pallet forks for my tractor are by far the most useful and helpful tool I have ever had. It allows me to carry huge loads, work at higher altitudes, and move things around with ease.
Nothing else that I have ever had has ever come close to the utility and control of work on the farm.
 
gardener
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Marc Dube wrote:One of my most used tools would be a 4 wheeled wagon that I built. It is based on stackable pallet collars so I can easily adjust the hight commonly 8, 16, or 24 inches high.
I use it for hauling wood, mulch, manure, bedding, and all sorts of other things both by hand and behind an ATV.



Thanks for posting this,  I hadn't heard of pallet collars!
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Gerald,

I have been interested in forks for a while.  Your post has moved them up on my list.
 
master steward
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Marc Dube wrote:One of my most used tools would be a 4 wheeled wagon that I built. It is based on stackable pallet collars so I can easily adjust the hight commonly 8, 16, or 24 inches high.
I use it for hauling wood, mulch, manure, bedding, and all sorts of other things both by hand and behind an ATV.



For the curious:
 
pollinator
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Not the most used tool, but something, that is not for the intended purpose. I make stinky comfrey compost tea in a bucket, and water it out each time I water my garden. My garden is in the community garden plot, not near the place I live, so I have to go straight from there to work, and that smell can linger for a while on the hands, which was a problem. I got water dipper -large cup with a long handle, which is used for the bath in Japanese households. Got it in Daiso, Japanese $1.50 store, and it solved that problem nicely.
 
Marc Dube
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The pallet collars are an awesome find that I'm glad I found. I use the 1x8 wood for all sorts of projects, the hinges are unbelievable handy instead of paying money for store bought ones. Then the actual times I use them for a box.

I totally recommend picking these up if your looking for pallets and see them.
 
pollinator
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John F Dean wrote:Hi Gerald,

I have been interested in forks for a while.  Your post has moved them up on my list.



They're really that great, I've definitely used them more than the bucket.

Someday I will get around to building my dream forks:

Around 5.5ft wide, with an extra large backplate, an extra flip-down tine at both outer edges to have 4 tines for brush. Pair of grapples on the top. Large diameter round bar to bolt across grapple tips: use this with the forks out of the way to pick up round bales.

Hangers for a 20ft chain and 2 short chains on the back of the guard. Reinforced spots to hook said chains in various places.

An attachment for a hitch receiver, set about a foot out from the guard, so it has way less leverage than out near the ends of the tines.

 
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It's cheesy, but all the simple machines - a good ol' fashioned crowbar especially. Rope is useful for just about everything as well.
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Jennifer,

No more cheesy than my fishing net.  Welcome to the site.
 
master pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Well, I have all manner of tools, and can barely restrain myself from acquiring more.

But the most consistently valuable is a long-handled shovel, medium duty, with good carbon steel that can take an edge. The number of things I can accomplish with this simple tool is amazing.
 
Posts: 67
Location: East Tennessee
9
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My belt knife, used for anything and everything. Pruning, trimming, splitting kindling, shaving pitch pine for starter, cutting stitches, carving, scraping, sometimes (rarely) digging, poking holes in things.

I forged it from a truck coil spring and used bronze to make the guard and butt cap, just a beat up almost indestructible steak cutting, animal cleaning tool!
 
steward
Posts: 4113
Location: West Tennessee
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Ben House wrote:

I forged it from a truck coil spring and used bronze to make the guard and butt cap...



Neat man! Will you share a picture?
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Ben,

Years ago, during a period of temporary insanity at a knife store, I bought a Buck 110.  I also bought a couple ultra cheap pocket knives.  Yep. The Buck sits on the dresser because I am terrified I will lose it.  I use the cheap knives constantly.  I even bought 2 more of them.
 
Ben House
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James Freyr wrote:

Ben House wrote:

I forged it from a truck coil spring and used bronze to make the guard and butt cap...



Neat man! Will you share a picture?




Sure, keep in mind this is when it was a new thing, quite a few years ago.  She's a bit rougher now.
SAM_1068-800x800.jpg
My Old Belt Knife - House Blacksmithing
My Old Belt Knife - House Blacksmithing
 
Ben House
Posts: 67
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John F Dean wrote:Hi Ben,

Years ago, during a period of temporary insanity at a knife store, I bought a Buck 110.  I also bought a couple ultra cheap pocket knives.  Yep. The Buck sits on the dresser because I am terrified I will lose it.  I use the cheap knives constantly.  I even bought 2 more of them.




Ah well the best thing you can do for a knife is use it, I just forged a knife for a fellow that paid me $350 for it and I told him (it was a big Bowie) that you could fight with it, he was surprised. But I think every knife should be good to use, I won't make a knife that cannot be used. A good knife should have wear!

I've went through a few old Buck 110s they are solid knives that can be beat on and sharpened plenty; a good choice for a folder!  Get a belt sheath for it and wear it out, you will find you enjoy using quality knives over quantity knives, there is just something about a good knife.
 
Posts: 15
Location: Oregon/Z8b
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My Fokin Hoe's awesome!
 
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Frontend loader with backhoe, tiller,box blabe, & rotorycutter.
Swiss army knife.
 
gardener & author
Posts: 1755
Location: Tasmania
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Too many to think of!

We use our garden cart a lot, moving water, firewood, mulch etc around.

My broadfork has greatly improved our compacted chicken tractored garden soil, and if I had more time I could use it as a kind of chisel plough on the pasture as well, to improve the soil life there as well. Maybe I'll do a few bits of pasture with it.

I can second (or third) the usefulness of buckets. I'd like to get more of them and set up a sprouting system, drilling holes in a few buckets and having one without holes, grain gets soaked, and then rinsed and sprouted, and with a few buckets there's room to have sprouted grain for animal feed every day.

I just got a field scythe and a blackberry scythe, and these seem very useful for haymaking, harvesting grain, and clearing bracken.

A long handled hoe is really useful, I use mine for opening up pockets in the mulch to put compost, seeds, and seedlings into. Also good for ripping up weeds while standing up.

I use my hand trowel quite a lot. And a good shovel is good for moving mulch and stuff around.
 
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This post on tools has bern helpful and I see so many  tools to start saving for. The hand sickle would really help  because I just cannot stay ahead of weeds as I work to get established. My off homestead job is stressful and long hours and the pressure from weeds is causing me to feel defeated.
I will keep trying and will look at tools that truly do. What they are supposed to do to make me more efficient.
 
Chris Sturgeon
pollinator
Posts: 313
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Not me! But I thought I'd post this here for your pleasure:
Beetle sweeper-upper
 
Michael Moreken
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John F Dean wrote:Hi Michael,

I use kine for prying stones out of the ground as well.



Pulled out of yard an 30 lb. barbell weight with the maddox!
 
pollinator
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A pencil is tops for me.
 
gardener
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John, everyone,

I will give two tools I find invaluable, a large and expensive one and a small and inexpensive one.

For the large one, my tractor is tops.  Especially the loader.  My JD 2038r is a mid sized compact utility tractor and I use it for all sorts of work on my property.  But a tractor is next to useless without implements and attachments, and the attachment that is by far and away the most important is the loader.  I never realized how incredibly useful a tractor loader would be until I owned one.  I can lift all sorts of heavy objects.  I got mine with two lift hooks welded to the top of the loader and I have used these to lift heavy logs that otherwise would just sit on the ground.  I can scoop and move snow like no-one's business.  I also use it as a sort of power wheelbarrow.  In fact, in an hour or two I will take out the garbage cans by loading them onto the loader to make the 400' distance a piece of cake.

For the cheaper tool, I would have to say my Estwing, solid steel mid-sized ax (about 16" long).  It is perfect for all sorts of chopping and clearing roles.  It is big enough that I can use it two handed and get some real power in a chop, yet small enough that I can comfortably use it one-handed.  It is so useful that I keep it right by the doorway so I can easily grab it on the way out.  It is a great hand tool.

Eric
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Eric,

I suspect this could just about turn into a new thread.  Regarding your axe, I have avoided shorter handled axes because of the potential dangers.  The Hudson Bay axe used to be the standard in canoe country.   But I ran into a number of canoe enthusiasts who avoided shorter handled axes. The primary issue was a missed or poor swing with a long handle would bury it in the ground.  A missed or poor swing with a shorter handle might bury it in your leg.  Thoughts?
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Ben

I admire your skills, but I would be terrified to touch a $350 knife. My Buck 110 is way too expensive for my tastes.
 
pollinator
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Still gotta be the pulaski.Chop, split, dig, trench, grub, pry, all with one sweet looking tool. Bonus, it makes you look like a sexy-ass firefighter!


"The (pulaski) is the greatest (non) battle implement ever devised".
   --(not) Gen George S. Patton

 
Joe Grand
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Michael Moreken wrote:

John F Dean wrote:Hi Michael,

I use kine for prying stones out of the ground as well.



Pulled out of yard an 30 lb. barbell weight with the maddox!



I used a Maddox/madd-ax all my life, it is not a shovel, not a hoe or an ax, but it can do the job they do in skilled hands.
It is best for breaking up that first layer of red clay, under the four foot of sand you have already removed.
When an large animal died on the farm, we dug a 6' X 6' X 6' deep hole so the wild animals & plow would not unearth the animal.
I never knew why 6 foot cube was the right formula, I was just glad it was not an eight foot cube.
 
Eric Hanson
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John,

Interesting that people consider a 16" ax to be more dangerous that a longer handled ax.  Personally I always found the shorter handled ax to be more controllable, especially when using it two handed.  After the May 8th storm back in 2009 I cleared up much of my woods chopping through debris with that ax.  Actually I find that I am more likely to miss a swing with a longer handled ax.  Further, I have always found that longer handled axes are less efficient than my 16" Estwing.  By that I mean that my Estwing gets a better bite and deeper penetration with each swing and for less effort that a long handled ax--even if i am only swinging one-handed.  I think this is because the Estwing has a narrower blade than a regular ax.

I did go on a little ax binge while cleaning my woods and bought the Estwing hatchet and the 26"  long handled ax.  The hatchet was great for small, one-handed jobs and the long handled 26" ax was better for larger work, though not by much and was useless as a one-handed ax.  

I guess that in my experience I have a different opinion than convention suggests.  I really like the wield-ability of the 16" ax quite a lot.  I have used it for a lot of chopping and never had an issue with losing control over the tool.

My thoughts,

Eric
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Eric,

I thought the theory was worth listening to.  Frankly, although I own an axe, I rarely use it.  Your post jolted my memory,  so I thought I would take advantage.  For the short handled danger to be valid, one would have to be chopping wood on the ground.  Even then for a miss to strike ones legs,  you would have to have an odd stance.  I can see where a pre-chainsaw logger might have a problem with the lighter head and shorter handle  ( of the Hudson Bay).... and that may have been the origins of the theory.
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