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Shrub grubbing tools - Maul and "Pullbear"

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Re: Shrub grubbing tools - Maul and "Pullbear"

Postby js_radford on Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:01 am

Follow-up ... and a perhaps an under-appreciated use of the McLeod (at least I've never seen one used thusly).

MAUL: I tried the maul extensively this past weekend and though it excels sometimes it is, IMHO, too specialized for any but maybe a paid trail crew to take along. The Pulaski works almost as well in the situations I think the maul works perhaps best but the Pulaski does it all and is definitely the tool of choice if one has to take just one big tool. It is a great, versatile tool, as all veteran bushwhackers know.

PULLBEAR: Also the "Pullbear", though I've never used, is maybe, on further thought, not really a VWA tool or even a trail crew tool. I realized that it is designed and performs beautifully as a "weeding" tool where grubbing is the necessary outcome for plants up to 2.5 inches diameter - a lot of work per average plant if lopping or sawing and not grubbing is desired outcome. It is not likely something that can ever replace lopping and it cannot grub out big stuff like the Pulaski certainly can.

I still think some other, more portable tool employing leverage would be a great take-along for brush that is just beyond the unassisted hand-pulling stage. I have pulled many small near-trail Ceanothus plants by hand. But I am still looking for a very quickly employed levered tool to uproot the slightly larger plants that maybe can be yanked out more cleanly and quickly than lopped. But it has to be a much smaller device, somehow integrated into another tool (maybe a Pulaski add-on somehow, like a gripper attached to Pulaski handle that can be flipped into place/clipped out of place back alongside the handle very quickly and securely).

UNDER-APPRECIATED MCLEOD?: in situations where one can get at Manzanita and Chamise near-trail, the McLeod works wonders compared to lopping. Manzanita is so brittle that the McLeod easily breaks off multiple stems at the base in one good downward-chopping whack compared to lopping. Chamise is similarly brittle but not quite so much and the stems grow tall and interfere with a good swing but results CAN be similarly spectacular as is the case with Manzanita. If there are complications (Ceanothus ingrowing amidst the Manzanita or overhead branches blocking a strong swing or Manzanita burl too far away from the trail) ... then back to lopping.

But in some circumstances such as an exposed trail overgrown with Manzanita and little else or with some Chamise thrown in, the McLeod is a truly phenomenal bush whacking tool. In those situations, I've found it to be 5-10 times as fast as lopping and a lot easier (from upright position - no bending and groveling or sitting). So much fun!
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Re: Shrub grubbing tools - Maul and "Pullbear"

Postby jonl on Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:52 am

Looks good, I have a similar tool, a Weedwrench. It works well on broom, ceanothus etc. Only drawback is weight but probably no heavier than a maul. Weedwrench is no longer in business. Pullbear looks to be at least as good and less expensive, free shipping and they even weld your name on it if you want.
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Shrub grubbing tools - Maul and "Pullbear"

Postby js_radford on Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:24 am

Anybody use either of these tools?

MAUL: the Pulaski is great general purpose tool that does more than a maul can but for certain common types/situations of brush nothing excels a maul, IMHO. I am talking about use on burl-based shrubs and old re-sprout clumps and re-growth on tree stumps (to split off re-growth, not to split the stump!). I have recently used a new maul on MPT shrubberies and had great success.

I've found the maul works terrifically well on Manzanita (older the better), Chamise (ditto, if you can get in a good swing), old re-sprouted Ceanothus (as in bad trimming job followed by abundant re-growth of many stems from base, woody "stump" sort of cluster), Madrone stump-sprouts, and some stump re-sprouts of Scrub and other Oak. I've found that quite often, once the "burl" or equivalent is split, the plant just about falls out of the ground. Such plants have rather weak rooting beyond the impressive-looking burl thing. One can remove a large Manzanita in under a minute sometimes. Ironically, the smaller the shrub (young or new burl) the harder it is to remove with a maul.

A lot depends on your accuracy of swing, same as is the case when splitting cord wood. I have a 12-lb "monster maul" (huge steel head and welded-on steel pip handle) at home I've used for years. But that's way heavy. I just bought an 8-lb wooden handle maul from OSH and it somehow doesn't feel all that heavy (feels lighter than the fiberglass handle 8-lb maul somehow). I'd say it is very close to most Pulaskis in weight.

Most brush is NOT best attacked with a maul, for sure. But if a trail has, for (common) instance, a lot of Madrone and stump-sprout Ceanothus (e.g., the latter on upper PRT), then I feel the maul is well worth the carry weight (maybe 10 pounds total). It could save you hours per trip and much aggravation.

A Pulaski (my original inspiration for getting a maul) does a similar job in these cases, but not as well and sometimes not nearly as well. Of course, if one could only bring one or the other, obviously a Pulaski is what you take.

PULLBEAR: this is a type of tool, using leverage, that I have vaguely dreamt of for some time. Well, some Canadians went out and recently developed and started producing this. There are many versions and the 15-lb one with handle extender (pops out up to 2.75" diameter shrubs, I think it is) seems to be the one to take. MAYBE ONLY FOR USFS or paid or youngster-filled trail crews? I think somebody ought to check it out. If grubbing out brush is needed, this thing works like a miracle, per the advertising, with reasonably little effort using the most ancient principle of leverage.

Check it out: - a little pricey but probably not at all unreasonably so.
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