1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Greetings all - Machetes, axes, clearing foot paths?

Discussion in 'Kit Chatter' started by Edtwozeronine, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Edtwozeronine

    Edtwozeronine Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2020
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Newport City
    I joined up to ask a question: I currently have what believe to be grass machete from Amazon, technically it's my brother's but he moved to Scotland. The other day I was in the local woodland with it and attempted to cut into a tree that had fallen across the footpath, after what seemed like an hour with rests I managed to make it about 2 inches into the substantial trunk.

    I wasn't aware before doing some research that there were grass machetes and chopping machetes, hence my assumption that I have the wrong sort.

    So would it be better to buy a chopping machete (what with the hysteria over knife crime ATM) or buy a chopping axe? Which might seem less threatening to dog walkers and such as I'm just trying to do something good for the community in clearing the footpath.

    I think a normal person might just call the local council but it's not the first time this has happened and using my small silky saw I've previously managed to clear a small tree off the path by sawing out wedges until I could just saw through it, which was much more satisfying!

    Just so you have some idea of my background, I've been collecting firewood for a log burner in our house using chainsaws, a hydraulic log splitter, a splitting maul and a small splitting axe for kindling for probably over 20 years.

    However this doesn't mean I know anything about bushcraft items for chopping or crafting wood, so do you have any guidance on where to obtain reliable reasonably priced chopping gear for say 60-100 squids?
     
  2. C_Claycomb

    Mod

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Messages:
    5,463
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    Bedfordshire
    Hello,
    I made some additions to your thread title to make it more relevant..."Greetings" doesn't hint that you have a very specific question.

    To clear public foot paths...axe or machete? I would say neither, but then I am making some assumptions because you have not spelled out information about where the path is or whose land it passes over, or whether you have permission from that land owner to collect firewood from it.

    I am going to assume that the location is not too remote, and that you do not have permission from the land owner to be there cutting wood, because if you did, you would have taken your chain saw and clear it up quickly and efficiently?

    Are you familiar with Section 139?

    139 Offence of having article with blade or point in public place.E+W http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/33/section/139

    (1) Subject to subsections (4) and (5) below, any person who has an article to which this section applies with him in a public place shall be guilty of an offence.

    (2) Subject to subsection (3) below, this section applies to any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except a folding pocketknife.

    (3) This section applies to a folding pocketknife if the cutting edge of its blade exceeds 3 inches.

    (4)It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had good reason or lawful authority for having the article with him in a public place.

    (5)Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (4) above, it shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had the article with him—
    (a)for use at work;
    (b)for religious reasons; or
    (c)as part of any national costume.​

    Without permission, there is no question that you are committing an offence (yes, it seems ridiculous to say so, but this is how the law is worded). You thinking you have a good reason does not mean you are not committing the offence, and does not mean you could not be taken to court. It just means that the authorities might decide that the defence is enough to prevent a conviction and that prosecution is not in the public interest.

    So....The questions are, how likely you are to have to explain yourself to the authorities, and whether one tool or another is going to be easier to explain and have you walk away?

    For cutting a large log, the most effective tool, after a chain saw, is a bow saw. This would also be the least likely to be of concern to anyone, and the easiest to explain.
    If a Bacho doesn't do it for you...
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bob-Dustrude-Quick-Buck-Saw/dp/B07KRTS8ZN
    https://www.tamarackoutdoors.co.uk/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=25329934
    https://www.workshopheaven.com/shogun-265mm-universal-folding-kataba.html

    If you are dead set on using a chopper, and running the associated risks, I would recommend an axe, and taking a bow saw too since the two work well together and the saw adds credibility to your defence. More gear=more believable that you are carrying it for a good reason.

    I would not recommend a machete of any kind, or a parang. I own three such blades and while I use them when working with felled trees, they are not effective for clearing the main trunks and start to be less effective on branches over 2-inches, depending on timber type. They are also the most dangerous due to blade length and how they are used. ...and yes, they are the most alarming for people to see you walking around with.

    There are some good threads in the Edged Tools section that recommend axes. One was quite recent.
    Axminster Power Tools carries some good ones. As do some of the same places that sell professional chain saw equipment.

    Best of luck, stay safe.

    Chris
     
    #2 C_Claycomb, Jan 19, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  3. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Messages:
    12,257
    Likes Received:
    2,212
    Location:
    Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
    It depends on what you are used to.
    I personally prefer an axe.

    I was not aware that machetes came in two flavours. They are widely used here ( Caribbean) by farmers, gardeners and locals, and one machete does it all.

    Maybe it is the angle of the cutting edge?

    Also, an axe dies not look so martial or dangerous when carrying around.
    FYI, machetes are called ‘cutlasses’ in Jamaica. I assume you know what a cutlass was.

    I assume you have permission, or some kind of app4oval for the clearing job?
     
  4. Tiley

    Tiley Full Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,950
    Likes Received:
    106
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    In this country, an axe will prove to be more versatile than a machete/parang.

    The other thing you need to be aware of is the use of such a tool on public or common land and/or public rights of way, such as footpaths and bridleways. In general, if you are on one or other, you should not et out your axe to clear obstructions unless you are licensed to do so.

    In terms of which axe to buy, well, you have a huge selection. For sheer value, it's hard to beat the Husqvarna offerings; then, there are the more established makers like Gransfors, Hultafors et al.. You should establish what you will use it for most and that will guide you to the correct head weight and handle length that will suit your needs. There are many folk on this forum who will be able to guide you more specifically. Whatever you do, use the axe on private land and most definitely with the land owner's permission.
     
  5. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Messages:
    8,026
    Likes Received:
    1,239
    Location:
    McBride, BC
    Most of the time a chainsaw with a 16" bar should do the majority of log cutting.
    I have both gas and electric. For rough-out wood carving, that's plenty.
    You can see me leaning on some rounds in my avatar. Cut with a 36" bar.

    Living in the Taiga/Boreal Forest, trees thrown across the logging roads is a constant nuisance.
    Everybody travels with either a power saw or a bow saw at the very least.

    Knife things don't work well in wood. Tropical plant growth, the forest understorey,
    grows fast and it's like chopping celery. Nothing we will ever experience in the temperate zone.
     
    santaman2000 likes this.
  6. C_Claycomb

    Mod

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Messages:
    5,463
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    Bedfordshire
    Dear RV.
    I would like to say this in a polite way, but I am not sure that there is one. This post is exactly the sort of post that causes discord and problems for us. It is tangential, with irrelevant information based all on your personal experience in a very particular, and different, geographic area. Perhaps a more thorough reading of the question, taking in all the particulars of location and situation, would help. It isn't useful to anyone to tell us or the OP what size chainsaw you recommend, how many chainsaws you have, what you cut your big logs with, what people drive around with in their trucks on another continent, in another environment, to deal with trees of an almost certainly different species and size...or about wood carving with a chainsaw when no one is talking about carving.

    We know you have a wealth of information and like to share, but it would be so much better for everyone if you could take a little longer and make it more relevant to the other folk who start and contribute to the thread. For instance, you could have asked what size and type of wood the OP was talking about...then recommend a bow saw for that size, and ways of cutting so the blade isn't pinched, or you could recommend an axe weight and bit shape, or warnings about safety when cutting logs that might be suspended off the ground a bit.

    Please try to stay on point and not take discussions off topic, at least not this early on.
    Thank you.

    Regards

    Chris
     
    #6 C_Claycomb, Jan 19, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
    Robbi and Robson Valley like this.
  7. Edtwozeronine

    Edtwozeronine Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2020
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Newport City
    The woodland backs off the the housing estate I live in, more commonly used by dog walkers 99% of the time and in the summer kids drinking cider and or smoking herbal cigarettes while camping so their parents don't catch them at it. :angelic2:

    I happen to know the land itself belongs to the Church of England after being through several hands and its assumed they were hoping to get building permission on the land but were all refused it. If you were looking at it from above it would be roughly divided 50/50 between the housing estates on one side of a large hill and woodland on the back of the hill. Very easy to get to and Newport County Council seem to be the ones responsible for keeping the public footpaths (think muddy tracks not posh gravel) open and repaired.

    While I'm aware a chainsaw would be the most effective tool for the job it's not as much fun as practising a bushcraft style activity that would also benefit anyone planning to take a wander through the woods. It seems like a saw of some kind is the more favourable choice then, shame, I was looking forward to a nice new shiny axe. :smuggrin: I have a small Silky saw that's been very useful for clearing smaller debris off the footways and have a few bowsaws hanging in the garage but when I've used them previously they often got stuck in the wood and had to be rescued by chopping at the other side with a the silky saw. Just one the reasons I thought a chopping tool might be a better idea as they're much less likely to get stuck.
     
  8. Edtwozeronine

    Edtwozeronine Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2020
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Newport City
    To attempt to give yet more context, I watch a great deal of youtube and take inspiration from characters like ReallyBigMonkey1 (Dave Pearson) who gets out and makes shelters to wild camp in, he has a bunch of gear in which machetes heavily feature. Also a couple of fairly big Canadian channels, My Self Reliance (Shawn James) who does home stead building, wild camping and photography and Joe Robinet who's into wild camping, canoe trips and all that those things entail.
     
  9. C_Claycomb

    Mod

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Messages:
    5,463
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    Bedfordshire
    Long ago a friend, jokingly, told me he reckoned you could get away with just about anything by wearing a HiViz jacket and acting like you belonged there. :lmao::rolleyes3:

    Regarding blade pinch, yes, an axe can be a blade saver. One can do things like put props under the long and drive wedges into the saw kerf behind the saw to stop it closing.
     
  10. Edtwozeronine

    Edtwozeronine Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2020
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Newport City
    A cutlass would be a curved pirate sword according the Pirates of the Caribbean films.:jimlad:

    I don't just carry it unsheathed by the way, it's in my bag full of other tools with just the handle poking out. I also wear it over my shoulder in such a way that from the front you see a guy with as satchel style bag slung over his shoulder and the handle sticks out at the back - so hopefully anyone seeing it thinks it's an umbrella handle or something. I've been previously praised by a local dog walker as she witnessed me getting stuff off the path with my folding saw, probably the only person to see me that day. I have no idea why so many trees seem to be rotting and falling over round here...
     
  11. Edtwozeronine

    Edtwozeronine Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2020
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Newport City
    Unfortunately, since it gives the impression that you A work for the council B you work for a security firm or C you might be some sort of policeman cordoning off the scene of a crime, you probably could get away with quite a lot of things in that get-up.
     
  12. Broch

    Broch Full Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    2,425
    Likes Received:
    1,671
    Location:
    Mid Wales
    First I thought RV's post was very relevant! - admitted he took a while to get to the meat but his message that a machete is a tropical tool is very good information for anyone considering using one in the UK - too many people rush out to buy one because it's vaunted tool :(

    Secondly, you may not be aware Ed. that there are two styles of bowsaw blades - one for green wood with coarser teeth and more kerf and one for dry wood - make sure you're using a green wood saw if the timber has recently fallen.
     
    santaman2000 likes this.
  13. Deekin

    Deekin Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2019
    Messages:
    1,364
    Likes Received:
    638
    Location:
    Scotland
    I've used this for years,

    get the cheapest chainsaw chain out of screwfix, break a joining rivet , make a couple of handles and away you go. Plus it rolls up and goes in your pocket.

    If it's sharp it works better than this guys.
     
  14. forrestdweller

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,272
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    travelling (OZ, NZ, korea, Japan, central america)
    given the legal issues in the UK and presuming you're talking about preventing vegetation from encroaching a footpath i'd suggest secateurs, loppers and a pruning saw...
     
    Woody girl likes this.
  15. Woody girl

    Woody girl Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Messages:
    2,343
    Likes Received:
    1,483
    Location:
    Exmoor
    Yes you are not likely to be reported and arrested with secateurs and a saw. Must admit, If I was walking in a wood and saw someone swinging a machete I'd be straight on the mobile phone 999... no questions asked of the chap swinging the machete!
     
  16. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Messages:
    12,257
    Likes Received:
    2,212
    Location:
    Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
    Surely you would not make that call if you saw him/her pruning??
    Or just walking with the tool inserted in the scabbard, hanging on his side, or inside his backpack?
     
    #16 Janne, Jan 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  17. Woody girl

    Woody girl Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Messages:
    2,343
    Likes Received:
    1,483
    Location:
    Exmoor
    Are you joking,trolling, or just being provocative?
    A private woodland with permission is one thing. But a public footpath with what is classed nowadays as a weapon ie fixed blade over 3" long ?? I'm not going to walk up to a man and ask what he's doing. Is he just clearing a footpath or taking his frustration with something out on a log with the possibility he might turn it on me! Yes I would make that call. If he's legit then no worries. If he's not......I may well stop someone else getting seriously hurt or worse. What a stupid comment!!!!
     
  18. Deekin

    Deekin Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2019
    Messages:
    1,364
    Likes Received:
    638
    Location:
    Scotland
    I do this once a week, at no time has anyone asked what I'm up to, quite the reverse, a lot stop and comment on what a difference I'm making, and I have a variety of "evil" looking tools. Sure I have authority to do the work, but no one has ever asked, and I'm not wearing any uniform or carrying ID.
     
    santaman2000 likes this.
  19. TLM

    TLM Nomad

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2019
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    108
    Location:
    Vantaa, Finland
    Here the tool most needed to maintain footpaths is the scythe, at least in the more open areas. Old pine or spruce forest are different, chainsaw being the useful one. Billhooks are handy, I have a machete but there really is not much to slash here.
     
  20. Broch

    Broch Full Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    2,425
    Likes Received:
    1,671
    Location:
    Mid Wales
    I think the OP is talking about a lot more than vegetation encroaching; he's wanting to deal with 'substantial trunks' falling across the path.

    It is within one's rights to clear a path through a public right of way (but not to remove the timber). However, to use a chainsaw in public one should have the relevant LANTRA (or equivalent) ticket - and that's not cheap. You should also carry public liability insurance. Even if using a bowsaw it is possible to a) cause damage and b) cause injury that could result in prosecution - unlikely I know but the 'authorities' would see it as an uninsured risk.

    If you really want to do this kind of thing why not volunteer with the local Wildlife Trust who will have regular working parties going out clearing paths and hedgerows to/on their reserves - you'd get to use a variety of tools on different materials and, I suspect, learn a lot.
     

Share This Page