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Working quiet with hand tools.

 
pollinator
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Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Does anyone else loath the sound of yard tools? Maybe I’m a dinosaur but I feel that there are a few of you out there.
Up until last summer I used a reel mower exclusively. Sure the weeds wouldn’t get cut but the serene rhythm of the blades were soothing. Last spring I bought a push mower with a bagger. I needed to bag to make mulching and compost building easier. It did.
I have a chainsaw but for smaller jobs a good bowsaw is more soothing. Especially when the chainsaw refuses to start!
When I became a permie I sold my tiller. No upkeep, storage or noise.
I absolutely love splitting wood. I have some friends with a badass splitter but it’s loud and disturbs my peace.
There is a rhythm to being outside and I love the process.
 
pollinator
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Scott Stiller wrote:Does anyone else loath the sound of yard tools? Maybe I’m a dinosaur but I feel that there are a few of you out there.
Up until last summer I used a reel mower exclusively. Sure the weeds wouldn’t get cut but the serene rhythm of the blades were soothing. Last spring I bought a push mower with a bagger. I needed to bag to make mulching and compost building easier. It did.
I have a chainsaw but for smaller jobs a good bowsaw is more soothing. Especially when the chainsaw refuses to start!
When I became a permie I sold my tiller. No upkeep, storage or noise.
I absolutely love splitting wood. I have some friends with a badass splitter but it’s loud and disturbs my peace.
There is a rhythm to being outside and I love the process.



I've only used my scythe once, but I already love the sound it makes, the quiet, easy exercise, and the feeling of being part of the natural rhythm of things instead of a loud, noisy, stinky interloper.
 
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I've never used tools other than my hands or a hoe for weeding. Has anyone ever used this tool that I'm going to win??? 😁
 
master gardener
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My #2 Son totally agrees with you - he hates loud noises and always has and he has the strength and skill to do things by hand that I just don't have the strength to do. However, that lack of strength also means that if I'm going to use a power tool, I have to choose carefully.

I *don't* use chainsaws - my hands are fairly small, so I don't have the same control as a larger, stronger person can have. For that reason, I often use a pole saw for pruning. It allows me to rock my whole body rather than relying just on hand and arm strength.

I have a 30 year old 19" gas mower and they just don't make them anymore. It's on its last legs after several patch jobs and at least 2 new sets of wheels. The motor's fine (it's had some TLC on several occasions) but the deck is rusting out in spots we can't easily repair.  Hmmm... I wonder if we could make a cast aluminium replacement using it as the mold... I can dream can't I?

I think part of the difficulty is that many people have not been taught to use hand tools. When my kids were little and going to birthday parties, Canadian Tire put on sale these cute plastic car-shaped tool holders with screw-driver bits with a handle, some pliers and the "head lamps" were a flashlight. They were intended to be a car tool-set, but I gave them to 3 kids who needed gifts. One boy used it for years and his mom was thrilled to let him "assemble" new purchases with his tools. One mom swiped it from her kid because she said it was the best tools her household had and she didn't want her son loosing the bits (how sad is that!) and the third family was polite about it, but I don't know that it saw much use. At least I felt I'd tried!
 
pollinator
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I agree about the noise. We do use power tools, but I got my first battery chainsaw last year and love it. I can use it without driving everyone else away. Starts instantly, no ear protection needed.

I appreciate the attraction of hand tools, but sometime you just need something done fast, or something with a bit of extra grunt.
 
pollinator
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yeah. i've been doing all of my mowing (except once when we were in a pinch before a party) at my place with a scythe for the last 5 years. recently i've really been enjoying being out early mowing. i get more cool morning work time if i eat breakfast after the first push of work for the day, and especially at 7am when i've been starting, i'd be loathe to spoil the sound of the hills waking up with a motor. the flip side is that there are some areas that don't get mowed as much as i might want.  

i love splitting wood too, but when you've got tough pieces and you're pounding in metal wedges with a sledge, i dunno if i'd call it 'working quiet'! better than a motor though for sure.

for what it's worth, i do love my chainsaw though.
 
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I definitely do not like the sound of engines.  I'm completely off the grid and if I want to use power tools that not only means listening to the tool itself but to the generator.  I'm committed to my quiet hand-tools.  One of my favorites is my Yankee push drill.  I use it all the time.   Mine's not fancy but it does have drill bits in the handle and, most importantly, it works well and it works quietly.

I was going to share a photo of mine but I seem to have forgotten once again how to do it without first uploading it to someplace on the web so I can get a URL.  I don't seem to be able to just paste the photo in a reply.
 
Trace Oswald
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Yeah, don't get me wrong, I still use my wood chipper and my chain saws.  For some things, power tools are just more practical.  I wouldn't want to cut 10 cords of wood a year with a hand saw and I can't reasonably make wood chips without a power tool.  I'm not changing to only hand tools, but I am very much enjoying the change to manual tools that I can use practically.  
 
Trace Oswald
pollinator
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Lif Strand wrote:
I was going to share a photo of mine but I seem to have forgotten once again how to do it without first uploading it to someplace on the web so I can get a URL.  I don't seem to be able to just paste the photo in a reply.



Lif, when you hit reply, you just click on the tab that says "attachments" directly below the box where you type your reply in.  Then click the button that says "upload a file".  You can browse to wherever the picture is, and then hit "submit" an your picture will be in your reply.
 
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I'm with you on the reel mower. Granted, I have very little (and working towards getting even less) grass to cut. But the freedom of doing it whenever without having to consider the disturbance to neighbours or my own is a blessing.

I find it a very zen activity. (We do have a weed wacker though)
 
Scott Stiller
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If one has a thick Bermuda lawn there’s nothing better that a reel mower. I think I paid 120 for my Fiskars mower. I wished I’d have went one model up though. It had two blades and threw the grass forward instead of turning my pants green.
Feast your eyes upon my super ghetto fresh grass catcher! Cut, bent and bolted corrugated metal. Surely one of the finest engineering feats of the new millennia!
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Lif Strand
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Lif Strand wrote:I was going to share a photo of mine but I seem to have forgotten once again how to do it without first uploading it to someplace on the web so I can get a URL.  I don't seem to be able to just paste the photo in a reply.



Thanks to Jay Angler for instructions so I can now post the photo of my well-used and well-loved Yankee push drill!  It is shown with its end cap off and with the bits displayed that are normally hidden in the handle.
YankeePushDrill.jpg
Yankee push drill with end cap off & drill bits displayed
Yankee push drill with end cap off & drill bits displayed
 
pollinator
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Scott Stiller wrote:Does anyone else loath the sound of yard tools?  


Me, me, me!
I guess I am actually a dinosaur too! I also don't like the extractor hood in my kitchen, it is so noisy.

Luckily by now our grass area in the garden is quite small (our garden is small anyway!) and we don't mow often so we have some flowers (a.k.a. weeds) blooming and it does not turn brown in dry spells. We do not have a working spindle mower right now. We rescued one from the dump but it does not work properly.
We have an electric mower with a cord (also rescued from the dump) and it does not make half the noise of the gas mowers from the neighbours around. So annoying if you want to enjoy your garden and around you hell breaks loose! (very small plots here, so you hear the mowers from the whole block).
There is a song in German which more or less goes: When summer comes we take refuge in the house because there is always an idiot mowing somewhere...

We also have a garden shredder which is a useful tool, but so loud!
Husband does not mind loud noises so that's his task.
 
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When my 76 year old sister bought a two flat in South Chicago she bought a little push mower. This seemed like a good idea until the heat index hit 105. Fortunately her tenant's husband, who calls it "the contraption", is wild about yard work. He even cleans up the neighbor's yard.

Figuring having a garden would mean less grass to mow she began hauling in bags of dirt and compost. The soil in South Chicago is heavily tainted with lead and other bad things. She even spent an entire day putting together one of those twirling composters. To make things easier she went out and bought a little car so she doesn't have to carry bags of dirt home on the El. Even so she was grateful to the UPS man who saw her struggling and stopped to help her get them up the sidewalk and through the gate. Moral of the story,  playing the little old lady card is not totally shameless.
 
master gardener
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I dont mind the sound of power tools, but I do find using traditional had tools to be soothing.  Part of this has to do with my past.  In Jr. Highschool it was mandated that all boys attend shop class.  I was the science geek  and was a fish out of water.  The teacher was exceptional and took the time to be sure that I learned the basics of all the primary hand tools.  I still hear his voice guiding me when i use them.
 
pollinator
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I totally agree that hand tools are the way to go! Sometimes though, I get carried away and end up paying the price physically. I resort to using a combination of hand, electric, and gas trimmers, mowers and saws depending on how much time I have and how I am feeling.

Battled the tendonitis in both elbows all spring and summer from over-doing hand tools - just now starting to feel some relief but I had to slow down and/or incorporate more power tools, which is a little frustrating.


 
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Absolutely agree, I love hand tools in the garden.  I have a manual mower, but I have now weeded our enough grass, replaced with clover, violets, and garden beds, and pathways, that I don’t really need that anymore.  I do use power tools for woodworking still, though I am working on getting better at (and collecting) hand tools that could replace some of the power tools.
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
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Love the German song Anita! My grandma always said they were the smartest people on earth.
That’s where we have to find the the balance Don’t we Tyler? I’m limited now too. Even if I still used that reel mower I’d not be able to at this point in the season. It’s rained and been extremely humid here the past few weeks. All of my yard weeds (which I like) are now tall with seed heads. That reel mower just bends them over and they pop right back up. My power mower with a bag collects everything, seeds and all. Those seeds are free, non-gmo chicken food. I also use the bagged goods for mulch. I don’t even care about weeds anymore. I consider them the fourth sister in my three sisters garden. I especially like lambs quarter, clover, dichondra and nutsedge. Ever had a horchata at a Hispanic restaurant? It’s made out of nutsedge.
Sorry, got off track there but I’ll make up for it. Feast your eyes upon this gorgeous quiet  saw for people like us. Dinosaurs unite!  🦖  🦕
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